3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Senator DOBSON presented a petition from sixteen booksellers and newsvendors in Tasmania, praying the Senate to permit all magazines to be imported free of Customs duty.
Petition received and read.
Senator DOBSON presented a similar petition from eleven booksellers and newsvendors in Tasmania.
– In to-day’s Age there is a report from Perth which states that, in reply to a deputation from the State Rights League of Western Australia, which’ waited on the Premier to urge him to use his influence with the Federal Government to give thatState the
Tight to impose her own Customs duties for a certain time, he said that - the fact that the State was prohibited from giving bonuses to her industries prevented them doing what was done in the Eastern States.
Arising out of that report, I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether the Government’of Western Australia has at any time sought the permission of the Federal Parliament under section 91 of the Constitution to grant bounties to assist the industries of that State in the production of goods, and, if so, whether such permission was refused ?
– I ask my honorable friend to give notice of the questions.
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether, in view of recent developments in connexion with the administration of the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act of 1906, the Government will consider the desirability of amending the Act so as to provide that the Excise duties levied thereunder shall be equal to the import duties levied under the Customs Tariff Act of 1906?
– I ask may honorable friend to. give notice of the question.
– I desire to ascertain whether the attention of the VicePresident of theExecutive Council has been directed to a report which appeared in the Melbourne Herald of the 24th of October, and which contains certain statements by delegates from Queensland to the Australian Women’s National League now assembled in Melbourne?One delegate is reported as saying -
In the Mackay district women and children were now to be seen working in the cane-fields.
-What is the name of that delegate?
– Mrs. Mitchell.
Children who should be at school were obliged to leave to help make a living.
Another delegate from Mackay, Mrs. Chataway, is reported to have made this statement -
White men now employed were of bad character and unreliable.
– She said further that they wanted a bath.
– Order !
– I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether the Government have received any information from their officers, or from sugar-cane growers, that such a state of things obtains af Mackay, or any reports bearing out the statement that the white men engaged in the sugar industry in Queensland at the present time are of bad character and unreliable?
– My answer is: “To the best of my belief, no.” But if my honorable friend will give notice of the question, I shall get more definite information by Wednesday next.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, whether he noticed that his follower’s indignation about the employment of women workers in the cane-fields was not shown during the consideration of the Sugar Bounty Bill, when I objected to it?
– To what sort of work?
– When I objected to women working in the open canefields in the tropics, I was told by Senator Givens that there were working in the canefields women with stronger physique than I possess.
– I am hot aware of the incident to which the honorable senator has alluded.
– When Senator Turley was asking a question just now, I heard Senator Macfarlane say, “ Hear, hear,” and I desire to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council, without notice, whether the Government has been officially informed of the correctness of the statement in to-day’s press that Senator Macfarlane is deputy leader of the Opposition ?
-No official information of the kind has reached me. But, from the proceedings of my honorable friend yesterday, I recognised that the mantle of that great office was on his shoulders.
Transfers to Clerical Division:
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, whether the statements in to-day’s press referring to clerical appointments and sweating in his Department are correct?
– I read with some astonishment, as I was coming into town, the article on the subject in this morning’s Age. I obtained a statement from the Public Service Commissioner in case it might be. referred to here, and so far from the new regulation which is canvassed in the article being an oppressive one, it is intended to be a benefit to the officers transferred from the general division to the clerical division. The statement, which clearly sets out the position, reads as follows -
The original regulation provided that an officer transferred from the general to the clerical division should continue to receive the salary paid him as a general division officer, and an officer so transferred was required to wait twelve months after transfer to clerical division before receiving an increase. Thus, a general division officer, say at £72, on transfer as a clerk had to wait twelve months before increase of salary to £80, whereas, had he remained a general division officer he would Drobably have received £84 in two or three months’ time. Officers so transferred thus, in many instances, suffered a loss of pay.
The new regulation will permit of this and other anomalies being removed, and will enable an officer to receive an immediate advance in salary, where equitable, upon taking up clerical duties. In the case of the officer quoted above, instead of waiting a vear for advance to £80, he may be given that salary immediately on transfer to the clerical division..
The new regulation will prove a boon to. officers, and will be welcomed by them as an important concession affecting not only salary but seniority in the clerical division. The statements appearing in to-day’s Age are based upon a misapprehension. Instead of tending to sweating, the new. conditions of transfer from one division to another are more liberal than any hitherto provided, and while additional expenditure is undoubtedly involved in these concessions, it is considered to be justified in the interests of officers who have qualified for higher duties. .
– I wish to remind the Vice-President of’ the Executive Council, that when the Works Estimates were under consideration, he promised the senators for South Australia that he would ask the Postmaster-General to visit Port Pirie and inspect! the postal buildings and facilities, and to inquire if he hasconferred with his colleague, and, if so, with what result?
– I have had the pleasure of conferring with my honorable colleague on the matter which the honorable senator and Senator O’Loghlin brought under my notice. He assures me that he will take the earliest opportunity of visiting Port Pirie and dealing with the matter.
Application to Arbitration Court
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether his attention has been drawn to certain statements which are reported in a letter forwarded by the President and Secretary of the Agricultural Implement Workers’ Union, namely, that since they have been drawn into the case now being heard in the Arbitration Court, they have been involved in heavy expenditure, and have had to issue debentures in order to pay the legal costs, and that, in consequence of those circumstances, a large number of them have been dismissed. Will the Government seriously consider the position in which these men are placed, and,if possible, give immediate relief to them? The Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act, as honorable senators will know, was intended to give relief, but when the men’ are seeking relief, they are thrown out of employment.
– At this stage, it is quite impossible to say what the facts are in connexion with this matter. I do not think it is a matter in which the Government can attempt to interfere. Honorable senators are aware that certain amendments’ have been circulated affecting the measure now before the Senate, which will, as to the future, more or less deal with the contingencies to which my honorable friend has referred. But as to any retrospective action by the Government I do not feel myself justified in making any promise.
– It is an extraordinary position that the men can get no relief.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council when the Senate may. expect the Workmen’s Compensation Bill to be introduced, and whether it will be introduced here or in the House of Representatives?
– A week or. two ago I interviewed my colleague, the AttorneyGeneral, in reference to the Bill to which my honorable friend refers, and I am aware that he gave instructions that, it should be immediately prepared. It is not a measure of a simple character by any means.
– It is not nearly so complicated as the Insurance Bill.
– Oh, yes, it is; very much more so. The Insurance Bill is practically a reprint of the English Act. The Workmen’s Compensation Bill will be a complicated measure consisting of probably 60 or 70 clauses. Of course, our conditions are different from those of the Mother Country. I will remind my colleague of his promise, and have no doubt that we shall have the Bill before us in two or three weeks. I can almost certainly say that it will be introduced in the Senate.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Home Affairs whether, in view of the scanty reports published in the newspapers with reference to the proceedings of the Federal Parliament, he does not think it desirable in the public interest that a daily Hansard should be published at a cheap rate?
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of his question. The publication of Hansard and all matters relating to printing, are dealt with by the Department of the Treasury.
– Let the honorable senator send the matter along to the Printing Committee, and we willmake a recommendation.
– Can the VicePresident of the Executive Council tell the Senate when the Government propose to make a statement regarding theirpolicy of naval defence for the Commonwealth?
– At this particular moment, I am not in a position to say when an announcement will be made. I can only give my honorable friend the assurance that the matter is under the immediate consideration of the Cabinet.
– Has the VicePresident of the Executive Council any further information to give the Senate with regard to negotiations for the site for Commonwealth offices in the Strand, London?
– Further than that the negotiations are proceeding, I have nothing to add.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Melbourne Argus of the22nd October dealing with labour supply at Cobar, New South Wales, in which it is stated that : - “ Recently twentythree miners were engaged in England for the Great Cobar Mine, and of these twenty-one arrived at Cobar. Eight refused to start work, while four worked for a few weeks only. The class of men sent out was not suitable for working hard ground, as they had come from the soft iron mines in the north of England “
– I point out to my honorable friend in reply to his question that the statements contained in it are somewhat indefinite and indeed unauthoritative. I shall, however, be happy to bring them under the notice of the Prime Minister.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Will the Governmentgive favorable consideration to the necessity of establishing a telephone or telegraph station at Port Davey or some convenient point near the South-West coast of Tasmania, in view of the sad loss of life from want of assistance and food in the wreck of the barque Alfhild, and previous wrecks in the same locality ?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows -
The Government will be glad to assist in establishing communication by wire with Port Davey, and is now in correspondence with the Tasmanian Government on the subject.
asked the Min-. ister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answersto the honorable senator’s, questions are. as follow -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions is asfollows - 1 and 2. The Postmaster-General’s Depart ment is now awaiting a report by wire on both these matters, and steps will be taken as early as possible to remedy the difficulties complained) of, so far as circumstances warrant and permit.
Motion (by Senator Best) proposed -
That- the report be adopted.
– Before this Bill is finally disposed of, I wish to compliment honorable senators opposite on the strength of the fight which they put up in the interests of trusts believed to be injurious to the public of Australia.
– In the interests of fair play, to every citizen, and equality under the law.
– I do not say that they did this with the intention of leaving; loop holes for criminals to escape.
– Why not say that?
– The honorable senator does not say it; he only thinks it.
– I do not know that it is right for an honorable senator sitting behind me to say that I am not game tosay it, though I think it.
– It would behighly disorderly, to do so.
– The position as I regard it is this: Whilst honorable senators opposite profess to be in favour of legislation that will give power to the Government to deal with trusts and combines that are injurious to the public, at the same time the effect of the amendmentswhich they submitted would have beenthat people who have been styled by thePresident of the United States “ wealthy criminals,” would have had a number of loop holes provided for them by means of which they could escape from the effects of the legislation. !enator Mulcahy. - But now the honorable senator thinks we have them properly!
– I do notknow that we have them yet. I am not sure that even this legislation will be strong enoughto deal with the class of persons referred to by President Roosevelt as “ wealthy criminals, and men who prey on the public at large.”
– Have we any of them here?
– I am not including Senator McColl in that class of persons.
– I do not mean in the Senate, but in Australia.
– I believe that the trend of industry, the absolute necessity for the concentration of huge masses of capital to carry on enterprises will produce that class of persons in Australia, even if they are not here now. They will prey upon the public as far as they possibly can. And let me say that I do not blame them. I should not blame Senator McColl for a moment if he were in that position. In all probability I should do exactly the same thing if I could. But it. would be for Parliament, in the interests of the people at large, to prevent me. The honorable senator is not opposed to legislation which interferes with the burglar, because he steals directly.
– Is the honorable senator afraid that he will become a wealthy criminal?
– I am not afraid of becoming anything of the sort. I do not think that I shall ever have enough of this world’s goods to lead me to do anything to break the law in this direction, at any rate. I do not say that honorable senators opposite took the action to which I refer at the behest of the Central Council of Employers of Australia. But it is a most peculiar coincidence that the opinions expressed, and the amendments moved, are exactly on the same lines as the objections taken by that union, and a copy of which was supplied to every honorable senator.
– An extraordinary coincidence !
– It is. I wish to point out the effect which the amendments would have had in the direction of carrying out the opinions of the Central Council of Employers. It is just as well to put into Ilansard the resolution sent to us from that body. The document which I received states that a meeting was held at 325 Collins-street, Melbourne, on 17th October, presided over by Mr. E. E. Smith. There were present representatives of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia -
The Secretary’s report adversely criticised the Bill for the amendment of the Australian Industries Preservation Act, which, it was stated, if passed in its present form, could be used to oppress trade generally. The inquisitorial character of the Bill was condemned as entirely opposed to the British spirit of fair play.
That phrase has been thrown across the chamber hundreds of times in the debate on this legislation.
After discussion the following resolution was agreed to : - That this Council, having carefully examined the clauses of the Australian Industries Preservation Act Amendment Bill, consider the powers proposed to be placed in the hands of the Minister and his officers, or any person named by him, as dangerous to the interests of the mercantile communitv, in that the Bill proposes to give power to a Government officer or other person to harass traders, even before legal proceedings are instituted against them, and to impound all documents, even the most secret papers, connected with his business, thus being endowed with extraordinary powers for harm not exercised under any other Government in the British Dominion. This Council, therefore, protests strongly against the passage of the amending Bill, as it did against the original Act, on the ground of its inquisitorial nature, and seeing that its. uses are at present purely theoretical, this Council cannot see any reason for extending its powers.
That, in a concrete form, represents exactly the mass of opinion and assertion which we have heard from honorable senators opposite during the debate on this Bill. The amendments submitted from the other side, which would have had the effect of practically destroying the utility of the measure, would have given legislative form to the opinions and desires of the Central Council of Employers. That is an extraordinary and undesigned coincidence. Although I have referred to honorable senators opposite, it would not be fair to overlook the fact that three or four members of the Opposition cannot be characterized as opponents of the Bill. I regret that they were not present during the whole of the consideration of the Bill in Committee. One of those is Senator Millen, who, when speaking on the second reading, said that honorable senators who were supporting the Government knew their minds in connexion with the Bill, and would support the Government in any proposal which they made to control the trusts. The honorable senator, who was at the time temporary leader of the Opposition, also said that it was the duty, more particularly of honorable senators with whom he was associated, to give all the assistance in their power to any Government, whether they believed in that Government or not, to deal with trusts, because honorable senators opposite were supposed to represent the interests of the class which was the basis of the combines. Therefore, to show the public that they were not in any way biased, and that they did not represent that class more than any other, Senator Millen said that it was the duty of those sitting on the other side with him to show that they were prepared to support legislation of this description.
– But not to say that a man had to prove his innocence.
– I am speaking of the general principle of this legislation. Last year a, number of honorable senators opposite put up nearly as vigorous a fight against the original Bill as they have put up in the interests of injurious monopolies on this occasion. Senator Millen stated, also, that, while he did not think the Bill was right in every way, he was prepared to support it. He is reported, on page 4489 of Hansard, to have said -
I believe that the Bill is framed on wrong lines, but, holding a very serious view as to the growth of these combinations and trusts, I am not prepared to take any step which would in the slightest way impede the action of the Government in trying to control them.
He added that when the Government were dealing with this legislation they would always find him one of their strongest supporters.
-In justice to Senator Millen, it should be said that for weeks and weeks he has told us that he would have to go up country, and it happens that he has had to go to-day.
– I am not saying anything derogatory of Senator Millen.. I am simply showing that, had he been here, he would, as he promised, have been one of the Government’s strongest supporters in this matter. I shall mention the three honorable senators opposite who gave their adhesion to this legislation.
– Did Senator Symon, who is our leader, give his adhesion to it?
– Senator Symon declared that he was in favour of any legislation which had for its object the control of monopolies or combines or injurious trusts. But, at the same time, he moved an amendment which, if carried, would have rendered the Bill absolutely ineffective. I do not attach much value to the assistance of people who, if they saw a man drowning, would call out to him, “ I should very much like to help you out, old chap ; there is a rope here, but I do not care about throwing it to you.” In the same way several honorable senators opposite, while loudly professing to be in favour of the measure, have done all they could to render it ineffective.
– Can the honorable senator explain the attitude of Senator St. Ledger, the present leader of the Opposition ?
– I must ask the honorable senator to give me a far easier question to answer. Senator Clemons - page 4909 - said, when speaking on the second reading -
I am going to support the Government, and, as I said before, shall endeavour to strengthen their position. We have put our hands to the plough in regard tothese trusts and combines. We cannot afford as a Parliament to allow our legislation to be ignored. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to be told that we are unable to control these bodies. And there is practically no limit to which I am not prepared to go in the effort to get them under our control.
He is another member of the Opposition who is prepared to go to any length to assist the Government in this directionSenator Dobson last evening, when a number of other honorable senators who sit with him were endeavouring to introduce amendments which would have rendered the Bill absolutely ineffective, said, “ I believe in this legislation. I do not see how it is possible, unless we give the Government the full power for which they ask, to interfere effectively with injurious trusts and combines.”
– He said he believed in intrusting to a Judge the exercise of the powers to be conferred.
- Senator Dobson atfirst said he believed in bringing in a Judge, but he announced last night that he had changed his opinion in that regard, and was prepared to intrust these powers to the Comptroller-General. He only asked for one small amendment, which was agreed to by the Government. He then voted with the Government against the amendments moved by hiscolleagues on the other side. I have mentioned Senator Millen, Senator Clemons, and Senator Dobson, because it is not fair to include them with those who sit on the other side as not being prepared to support progressive legislation of this kind. I wish to ask the Vice-President of the ; Executive Council a question. Senator ; Clemons suggested, when speaking on the second reading, with the object of strengthening the Bill, the inclusion of a parallel power to be given to some other person besides the Comptroller-General. He said - page 4910 -
I am not going to be a party to weakening this measure in any way whatever. I am sure that the Vice-President of the Executive Council recognises that in any suggestion or criticism of mine, my only desire is to strengthen the Bill. I think it might possibly be strengthened by giving fuller powers to the Court, as well as these additional and comparatively unusual powers to the Comptroller-General.
The Vice-President of the Executive Council, when replying, promised to consider that suggestion. I have not since heard any suggestion from the Government to give effect to that promise, and I hope that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will explain why they have not taken action in that direction.
– I am sure we have all listened with interest to Senator Turley. I have been consistent in the strong objection which I took, in the debate on the second reading of the Bill, to the principle which it involves that a man should be held guilty until he has proved his innocence. I think it is usually admitted, and that it is in accordance with British ideas of justice and fair play, that it is better that nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should be punished. The principle of British law is that a man shall be regarded as innocent until he is proved to be guilty. Unfortunately, in this Bill there is, in this respect, a new departure.
– Nothing of the kind.
– With alldeference to the honorable senator., I think there is, and I say what I think. As Senator Symon pointed out yesterday, an offender against the Customs Act may be assumed to be guilty, but he must have taken the initiatory step of making an incorrect, or omitting to make a correct, entry for the goods he imports. Then I have a very strong objection to the Bill as one which interferes with the liberty of the subject. I point out also that honorable senators opposite supported an amendment which will have the effect of offering a premium on the employment of solicitors who have been struck off the roll, as agents when applications are being heard, to the disadvantage of reputable members of the legal profession.
– Where is that in the Bill?
– Honorable sena tors have decided that they will not allow counsel and solicitors to appear, but are willing to permit agents to appear in cases under the Bill.
– The honorable senator is dealing with the wrong Bill.
– I beg honorable senators pardon. It is true that the provision to which I have just taken exception has been introduced into another Bill. However, with regard to the Bill before the Senate, I wish tosay that honorable senators on this side are under no caucus rule. We are individualists, and can agree to disagree. It is admitted that Senators Clemons and Millen have supported the Bill even more strongly than have some honorable senators on the other side.
– Senator Stewart has supported theOpposition on this Bill, so that there can be no caucus on this side either.
– Of course, but Senator Stewart is the only independent man in the Labour Party. ‘ I think it is only fair to Senator Millen to say that his absence during the discussion on the Bill was not due in any way to a desire to escape responsibility in the matter.
– I never insinuated any such thing. senator WALKER. - I am aware that the honorable senator did not, but it is still only fair to Senator Millen to say that weeks ago he had arranged to be absent this week. As regards Senator Clemons, that honorable senator comes and goes as he likes, and does not always arrange for a pair.
– It is not fair for the honorable senator to attack a member of his own party.
– Surely I have a right to say what I have said. Senator Clemons, no doubt, has his own reasons for being absent, and I know nothing about his movements, whilst I am aware of the fact that Senator Millen found it. necessary to look after a property which he has up country in New South Wales, and which is suffering from drought With respect to the references made to the Employers Union, I can assure honorable senators that I have nothing to do with that body. I have taken an active part in opposing the Bill, but I have not been influenced by the circular to which reference has been made. There is surely no harm in such a body corresponding with members of the Senate ?
– I did not charge the honorable senator with supporting the Employers’ Federation. I got one of the circulars myself.
– I again protest against the interference in this Bill with the rights of British subjects, and against the departure from the principle of British law that every man shall be regarded as innocent until he is proved to be guilty.
– I find it difficult to understand why Senator Turley should have gone out of his way this morning to make an attack upon certain members of the Senate. The honorable senator has not put the position fairly. The amendments to the Bill presented from this side were only five in number. Two of these were readily accepted by the Government, one moved by Senator Dobson and another by Senator Sayers, providing for access to books and documents. Of the other three, one was Senator Symon’s amendment that the Comptroller-General should take action only “on reasonable grounds.” Another proposed the insertion of the words “ without just cause and excuse,” and the third was intended to provide for proceedings before a Judge prior to action being taken by the Comptroller - General. Senator Turley spoke as if honorable senators on this side had made a deliberate onslaught upon the Bill. He further endeavoured to couple the slight opposition offered to the measure from this side with a circular from the Employers’ Federation. Such conduct was quite unworthy of any honorable senator of Senator Turley’s standing, and certainly did not justify the respect and esteem I held for him before as a straightforward man. I do not seewhy he should have gone out of his way to couple members of the Senate with an association with which they have nothing whatever to do, nor can I understand why he should have endeavoured to make it appear that amendments submitted from this side were designed to wreck the Bill. I considered Senator Symon’s amendment a very reasonable one, and one which the Government might fairly have accepted. It would not have militated in any way against the successful administration, of the measure, because the only person who would have had to decide as to the reasonableness of the grounds on which he acted is the ComptrollerGeneral himself.
– That is not so.
– I felt that I could take it for granted that the ComptrollerGeneral would not move under the Bill unless he had reasonable grounds for doing so, and I voted for the amendment. I voted also for the amendment introducing the words “without just cause and excuse,” but it was really a trivial matter. However, on the one amendment which might possibly have had some effect in defeating the intention of the Bill - the substitution of a Judge for the Comptroller-General - I voted with the Government. Senator Turley did not mention that.
– I did not think of it, or I should have done so.
– How can it be said in the circumstances that honorable senators on this side have displayed towards this measure the great opposition of which Senator Turley has spoken? I think the honorable senator was not fair in the remarks he made, and certainly should not have traversed the whole of the debate on the Bill on the motion for the adoption of the report, which is usually regarded as a formal motion.
– If I had been out of order the President would have pulled me up.
– I do not say that the honorable senator was out of order, but that his remarks were in very bad taste indeed.
– That is a matter of opinion.
– As Ihave been very strongly opposed to this Bill, I should like to say a word on the remarks which have been made by Senator Turley. As honorable senators on this side have been blamed for opposing the Bill, I might point out that the Government have been receiving support on this measure from a party who do not believe in the Bill, but who have admitted that they have supported it because they wish to pave the way for the nationalization of industries. Are the Government in favour of that principle, and if they are not, do they consider it fair to accept support for this Bill on such grounds? I, for one, repudiate the insinuation that I am prepared to uphold any vicious trust whatever. I should not regard any measure as too drastic to check the operation of such trusts so long as the individual liberty of the subject was respected.
– Whether a man is vicious or not?
– Even a vicious man should be given fair play, and should not be dealt with in star-chamber fashion.
– I voted for the second reading of the Bill, and the fact that I did not manage, to induce .honorable senators in Committee to accept an amendment will not prevent me .from voting for this motion. I object to the suggestion that efforts were made by a majority pf honorable senators on this side to defeat- the Bill, and I object to the effort which has been made to throw upon honorable senators on this side the onus of trying to prevent the Bill becoming law. i understand that Senator Turley referred to a circular ‘or resolutions forwarded to honorable senators by a certain organization. Innumerable circulars have been forwarded to members of the Federal Parliament .recently, and I should not be surprised to fmd that the particular circular referred to was sent to me. As I have not perused it, I am free, to say that I have been in no way influenced in my action with respect to this Bill by what it contains, and have been guided only by my own opinion as to what was the right thing to do.
.- I wish to direct the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to an omission when we were in Committee on the Bill which might involve its recommittal. I point out that iti subclause 2 of the proposed new sub-section 15c we failed to substitute for the word “named” the words .” appointed by him in writing,” as I think we intended to do.
– That is so, but I think that may be regarded as a consequential amendment.
– I have directed attention to the omission in order that the phraseology of these provisions’ may be made uniform.
-The Vice-President of the Executive Council has informed me of the object of the honorable senator’s suggestion, with which he concurs. ‘ I consider that the amendment suggested- is only a consequential amendment, and that the Clerk will be perfectly justified in making the alteration necessary.
– I do not wish to detain the Senate by going over the whole course of the previous debate upon this Bill. It has been admitted on all sides’ that the Bill is a very important one, and I wish to take up only so much of the time of the Senate at this stage as will be necessary to enable me to place before honorable senators concisely my reasons for the attitude I have adopted towards it. In the first place, during all the course of the inquiries leading up to the prosecutions for alleged offences, there is no appeal provided against such an inquiry or procedure of the ComptrollerGeneral to any Court of law, whether a Court of summary jurisdiction, a State Supreme Court, or a Judge of the High Court. In the second place, in the case of any indictable offence, the accused must be confronted with his accuser at the preliminary inquiry. He must be informed that he need not give evidence, and he cannot be compelled to make any disclosure of any kind. But a trader against whom inquiries may be instituted on matters relating to his trade is under this Bill placed at the mercy of any secret informer, with whom he may never at any time be confronted. In, the third place it is admitted by the Government that there is no precedent save one for such arbitrary modes of procedure by way. of preliminary inquiry in matters of internal trade between the people of any other self-governing portion of the Empire or of the United States. Then in the fourth place the alleged precedent put forth by Senator Best refers only to powers given to a Bureau of Information to inquire into the_ working of the railway companies of the United States, which are said to be the main instruments working in restraint of InterState trade. As the railways- here are almost entirely in the hands of the State, the precedent cannot be held to be analogous.
– To begin with the honorable senator is utterly wrong as to his precedent.
– Let that pass. That is what I take to be the effect of the honorable senator’s explanation.
– I was referring to facts.
– I think that in effect that summary is substantially, if not literally, true. The fifth point is, that it appears to be admitted that no communication between solicitor and client relative to his client’s Inter-State trade can be considered privileged-
– I never said so.
– And that the communication so made must be divulged to the Comptroller-General under a penalty of £50. This places all confidential Inter-State trade communications on a level with communications between solicitor and client in furtherance of criminal conspiracy or fraud. I may be right or I may be wrong in my summary of what I think is the effect of the measure. It was to mitigate to some extent .the undue severity of its provisions that some senators on this side fought, and not in opposition to its enactment. If they are as drastic as I have described, it seems to me that that is exactly what the Government desire them to be. It is clear from the speech of Senator Turley, who very well reflects majority opinion on this measure, that he wishes trade combines to be treated on the principle of the alleged declaration of President Roosevelt. According to the honorable senator, and various speakers on the other side, no treatment of the combines can be too drastic. It is admitted by honorable senators on the other side that there is no strictly analogous precedent for this legislation, which violates the principles of British liberty, and interferes very largely with trade. Whatever construction may be put upon our actions, we have only been doing our duty to the people and the country in expressing our honest difference of opinion from honorable senators on the other side. It is well that the public should be educated as to the possible effects of this legislation. But I hope that our anticipations as to its effects will not be realized.
– In my speech’ on the second reading, I acquainted the Senate with the attitude that I intended to adopt, and that was to give the Bill my warm support, recognising that its introduction was necessary, and that the sooner it was enacted and brought into force the better. In order to carry out that object, I have abstained from speaking in the meantime. I intend to support this motion and the motion for the third reading, because I believe that I shall thereby be doing the right thing for the Commonwealth. I should not have risen on this occasion were it not for the fact that Senator Macfarlane, who is now installed or acting as leader of. the Opposition, has fallen into an error. I feel sure that he, above all others, does not wish to injure those who dare to differ from him. He has repeated a statement which is frequently made, and to which I most strongly object. He has referred to the supporters of the Government as “these dreadful Socialists who support Ministers.”
– I did not call them “ dreadful Socialists.”
– The honorable senator, with others, has referred to certain senators as “those who want to nationalize all our industries.” If that reference is intended to include me, it is not correct. I have never believed in that idea. What I believe in is the nationalization of injurious monopolies, and my object in supporting this measure is to knock out those wicked men who trample persons under their feet for the mere love of “gold, and for nothing else.
– What about land monopoly ? »
– This is not the time to talk about that subject. I am sorry that the honorable senator - and I did not intend to make this statement - has to some extent been carried away by the influence of another great speaker who visits the Senate frequently, and makes tracks home - sometimes on the same day.
– I had no intention of again discussing the measure, but I think it would be cowardly on my part if I maintained silence after the most extraordinary speech delivered by Senator Turley. He did not content himself with referring merely to the merits or .demerits of the Bill. He did not make a direct accusation, because the forms of the Senate did not permit him to do so; but he went out of his way to insinuate that certain senators in opposing provisions of the Bill were the tools of the Employers’ Federation. I do not think that any one will believe that that association has had any influence over my action. My political record is before the public, and I am quite prepared to stand or fall bv it. No one can advance any charge of that character against me with the slightest semblance of truth. I received the circular which was sent out by the Employers’ Federation, but, unlike Senator Turley, I had not read it “until he referred to it. It could have had no influence over my action, because I had not read it. I did not care two straws what the Employers’ Federation said about this or any other Bill’. What surprised me when Senator Turley was speaking was that be did not go a little further, “and accuse certain senators of being under the influence of the Employers’ Federation. I was waiting to hear him insinuate that the money of the combines was at work in the lobbies of the Senate.
– The honorable senator was waiting, but he did not hear it.
– I 1 suppose that the honorable senator thought it, if he did not say it; he went as near saying it as it was possible for a man to do without saying if.
– The honorable senator can build >up a lovely case on that premise.
– When, the honorable senator is not prepared to admit that other men mav be equally sincere -in the views they hold as he is, I really cannot describe or think what his mental constitution may be. I am quite prepared to admit that he believes it desirable to abandon the fundamental principles of law, as we know them, for the purpose of catching the trusts, but he ought, on the .other hand, to be prepared to admit that I do not think anything of the kind necessary. There is no need to insinuate corruption, even if one goes so far. But the honorable senator’s speech was, from beginning to end, one whole insinuation of corruption and undue influence on the part of the Employers’ Federation with regard to those senators who did not accept holus-bolus the proposals of the Government.
– I never insinuated corruption, and I never hinted at it. The honorable senator starts with a false premise, and-then builds up an argument upon it.
– Senator Turley knew that he would not be permitted to say so; but he went as near to saying it as he possibly could. He went right down to the water’s edge, but he knew that if he went in he would be drowned. Like a wise man, therefore, he kept out. I wish to direct attention to the fact that the second reading of this Bill was carried by a majority of sixteen. There were twenty ayes arid onlyfour noes. The debate on the second reading was very favorable to the measure. With one or two exceptions every senator supported its principle. I supported it myself. But I thought, and still think, that some of its ‘provisions are too drastic. For that reason, I attempted to make amendments. But because I did so I am to be accused of being under the influence of the Employers’ Federation ; I am to be accused of being their pimp and their tool, I am to be accused of following their lead. What I wanted was to secure that before the law of this country every man should be equal, the rich man with the poor and the poor with the rich.
– That is what the Bill says.
– But the Government and their supporters, who pose as the apostles of liberty, are not in favour of anything of the kind. The Vice-President of the Executive Council interjects “ That is what the Bill says.” It is exactly, what the Bill does not say. The Bill, in effect, says that combines and trusts shall be treated as outlaws, as men who have placed themselves outside the pale of the law.
– So they have.
– I can remember the time when Senator Turley took up exactly the same ‘position with regard to another matter as I am taking_ up to-day with regard to this. When the rights of another combine - a trade union - were being invaded by a Government in Queensland, when the right to enter that trade union’s office and to seize its papers and documents was sought to be Obtained, Senator Turley, like a man, like an advocate of liberty as he then was, stood in the. breach and did’ his level best to prevent it. But the Senator Turley of that day and the Senator Turley of this appear to me to be two different individuals.
– Perhaps the combines are different.
– I do not care whether it is a combine of capital or a combine of labour that is affected. My argument is that whatever it is, and whoever is concerned, equality and justice before the law should be assured. I do not want to have’ one law for a combine of labour and another for a combine of capital. I want to have one law for all. The halls of justice should be equally^ open to everybody, and our laws should apply equally to every person against whom they are set in motion.
– Does the honorable senator not distinguish between a combine for the elevation of humanity and one for its subjection and exploitation?
– It is all a matter of opinion. The honorable senator himself was for many years a member of a combine.
– And am still.
– His political success was rooted in his being a member of a trade union. That was a combination of labour. From being a member of one trade union the honorable senator ultimately, I believe, became a member of the federation,, or combine, of trade -unions. Our friends the capitalists took up exactly the same attitude towards that combine as honorable senators opposite take up to-day with regard to combinations of capital. My honorable friend said that the Governments of that day were wrong, and that if it was right for tailors, shoemakers, masons, and carpenters to combine it was equally right that those unions should form a larger combination. Why? To prevent competition, to enable the men employed in the industries concerned to make a better living, to prevent their being victimised by their own employers, owing to their cut-throat competition with one another. That was quite right and proper from the honorable senator’s point of view and from mine. But the capitalistic Governments of those days tried to put down that sort of thing, and honorable senators opposite opposed them to the utmost. That is the picture as it was a few years ago. Let us turn to the picture of to-day. We find a number of merchants engaged in business. They are competing keenly with each other - so keenly that their businesses have become unprofitable. They resort- to combinations. They form unions. Ultimately they resolve themselves into a combine; and what is now practically, or to a great extent, a Labour Government, applies exactly the same principle to that capitalistic combine as previous capitalistic Governments sought to apply to labour combines.
– Not a Labour Government, but a Government that hangs on to Labour.
– It is a Government that is supported by the Labour Party. Now, I do not believe in that sort of thing. I believe that the laws of our country are strong enough to take hold of and punish any person for committing any offence without tearing up the fundamental principles of justice by the roots and scattering them to the four winds of heaven. I have no more to say. I hope that the Government will succeed in catching the trusts,, and if they are doing an injury to the country that it will punish them. I have done my best, not to defeat the objects of the Bill,, not to enable trusts to escape, not to manufacture loopholes for them to get through,, but to place on the statute-book an Act which shall at once succeed in its purposeand be a credit to a free country.
– I think that honorable senatorsopposite have- somewhat misconstrued Senator Turley’s charge against them. Senator McColl, for instance, said that Senator Turley had charged them with making an onslaught on the Bill. I did not understand him to do that. The word “ onslaught “ brings to. one’s mind a frontal attack on the whole principle of the Bill. That was what Senator Turley said there was not. He complained of its absence. His point was that, instead of there being a bold frontal attack on the whole principle of the Bill, there had been that sniping from a kopje, of which we heard so much, and about which complaints were so bitter, during, the Boer war. He complained that the Boers in this case would not come out into the open and fight the Bill on its principles ; but that after allowing the second reading to pass they, by means of amendments, which would, in Senator Turley’s opinion, and in mine, have utterly destroyed its value, sniped at its vital parts. It would have been small satisfaction to the Government if, after the Bill had emerged from Committee, they had found that it was a mere husk, because the kernel had been extracted from it by means of amendments devised, we think - perhaps wrongly - for that very purpose. One cannot shut one’s eyes to the fact that there is in Australia a strong body of opinion that insists that action shall be taken to regulate trusts. I believe that there is no party in this Parliament that dare stand up against that body of opinion and say, “ We will not deal with trusts one way or the other.” No party could live that took up such an attitude. Therefore every party must find some means of dealing with trusts. Those who framed the amendments aimed at the vitals of the Bill, and sought to withhold from the Government a weapon which would enable them to deal with trusts in an effective fashion. Senator Stewart’s position in this matter seems to me to be utterly incomprehensible. During the debate in Committee he took up this position - that he would listen to what was said b- those who put forward amendments, but that he would shut up his mind absolutely to every argument that was urged against them.
– I did not hear any.
– I am quite satisfied that the honorable senator did not, because he was determined not to hear any. Let me draw his attention to one thing which I think ought to convince even him. Senator Symon argued that in this Bill an unprecedented power was proposed” to be given. He said that no such power was contained in the Customs Act, or in any other British Statute. Senator Stewart cheered him to the echo. But a little later on the Vice-President of the Executive Council rose in his place and quoted several sections of the Customs Act.
– I quoted sections 38, 21:4, and 234.
– But Senator Symon said that they did not apply.
– My honorable friend did not need Senator Symon’s assurance. If he looks .at the sections he will see that there is no escape from the position.
– I did look at them.
– Take section 234, for instance. It says that “ no person shall “ - there is no limitation whatever, it applies to any person - then in paragraph g - “refuse or fail to answer questions.” What legal subtlety can get round that? There is absolutely plain language, which it is impossible to misconstrue or misunderstand.
– Did not Senator Symon show that a case under that section must be founded on an entry being made or some transaction taking place with the Customs ?
– I defy the honorable senator to prove that that section relates only to the passing of entries.
– It includes entries amongst other things.
– Senator Symon did not and could not reply to those arguments. Senator Stewart is’ taking up a position which one can imagine that the knights of mediaeval times took up on the introduction of gunpowder,. We can picture them when face to face with the insignificant musket refusing to doff their knightly armour or to resign the lance and sword of chivalry in favour of the new weapon with which the progressive soldier of that day was going to shoot from great distances and from behind protected positions, in a manner altogether opposed to the prevailing ideas of chivalry. We can imagine those old knights saying, “ Shall we throw on one side these old weapons that have stood us in good stead in so many jousts ? Shall we disdain our knightly armour, throw aside the lance and sword, the weapons of every true knight, and take up this beastly stinking invention, success in the use of which depends merely on chance and not on a man’s bravery, skill, martial ardour, or military training?” One can understand the knightly Stewarts of that day refusing, ‘even when faced with an entirely new set of circumstances, to throw the old weapons away, because there was no precedent for it in the past. I fear it was a new Senator Stewart that made use of those arguments, because if there is one senator who in the past has shown a supreme contempt for precedents it is Senator Stewart. Many a time I have listened with pleasure to his speeches urging the Senate to strike boldly out on new paths,, to throw aside all precedents, to sweep away the mists of antiquity, and to remember that we are facing new conditions. This Bill is novel for the simple reason, as Senator Trenwith put it by interjection, that we are dealing with an entirely novel set of conditions.
– That is simply an assertion.
– Is it not a fact? Does this honorable senator’s consciousness not bring home to him the fact that trusts and combines are a novelty in our commercial life? If not, he must have been asleep. In this matter we must be guided by the experience of the United States - the country which has suffered most from this evil, and where it’ has reached its highest development. I suppose that the people of the United States have just as much respect, for precedent, and just as much desire to give weight to the lessons of the past, as we have, but they have been compelled by the stern logic of circumstances to throw aside everything that the past has to teach them on this question. They applied to the problem at the outset’ the well-known principles of law with which. Senator St. Ledger has favoured us this morning, and which Senator Stewart has begged us to adhere to, but the result was the utter and complete failure of every prosecution which they took in hand.- The trusts laughed at them, broke up their ancient swords and spears, arid pierced their armour. All the old principles of law, as applied to this new predatory foe, were put to scorn. The trusts played with the law and the lawmakers. The United States have been compelled, in their attempts to check the growth and avariciousness of those great concerns, to adopt, not only the principles that appear in this Bill, but other principles far more extreme. With those facts staring us in the face, how can any honorable senator say that while he desires to manacle the trusts he prefers to attack them only with the obsolete weapons of the past? Senator Stewart’s desire and respect for precedent have carried him beyond the region of common-sense.
– I never once referred to precedent.
– The honorable senator referred repeatedly, even this morning, to the fact that the Bill outrages all precedents of British justice and the fundamental principles of British law.
– I said it was outside the law as we know it, and it is.
– The conditions are outside the conditions of commercial business as we know them. If the conditions’ were normal I should say, “ By all means deal with them by normal Taw,” but they are abnormal.
– That is the very argument that was used against trades unions.
– If Senator Stewart can prove that trade unions are against the best interests of the community, and that to prevent them from preying upon the community it is necessary to go outside the known principles of law, then I will admit that we should be justified in doing so in their case also.
– All I have said is that other people not only tried to prove that, but passed laws which placed trades unions in that position. The honorable senator is doing exactly the same thing with regard to combines now, and from the same motive.
– The honorable senator’s analogy is unfortunate. Will he argue that a trade union is detrimental to. the public good, or, on the other hand, that a trust which would Sestroy an Australian industry or create a monopoly to the injury of the public, or the consumers, and the workers, is deserving of encouragement ?
– I never said so in either case.
SenatorPEARCE.- If the honorable senator will not argue in favour of either of those propositions, then his analogy is useless.
– Does Senator Pearce argue that only trusts’ that are doing an illegal and improper thing will come within the purview of this Bill ?
– The Bill empowers the Government to take action against any man or combination of men, whether their actions are legal or illegal.
– The honorable senator has completely lost sight of the fact that this Bill is a corrollary of the principal Act and will be read and construed as one with it. The Bill is governed by sections 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 of the principal Act. That law is not directed against trusts simply because they are trusts, or, as Senator Stewart called them, trades unions in commerce, or simply because they have seen fit to combine. That fact will not bring them within the reach of this law.
– Of course it will bring them within the reach of this Bill. They will have to go before the ComptrollerGeneral and disclose their affairs.
– The aim of the law is to prevent trusts doing certain things. The mere fact of combining is notan offence. Senator Stewart drew an analogy between a trade union and a commercial trust. The formation of a commercial trust is not an offence.
– I said that the capitalistic Governments of that day took up exactly the same position with regard to trades unions. They claimed that they were injurious to the public interest and tried to put them down, just as the honorable senator is trying to put down trusts today.
– I am referring to that part of the honorable senator’s remarks where he attempted to justify his attitude towards this Bill by saying that in forming a commercial trust the. capitalist was doing no more than the trade unionist did. The honorable senator said that the capitalist had just as much right in the face of competition to form his combine as the workman had to form his trade union. But nobody denies that, and this Bill does not make it an offence. Therefore, Senator Stewart is open to the charge of using a false analogy to support his arguments in favour of. the amendments proposed to the Bill.
– If a trade union entered into an agreement with a trade combine which might be to the detriment of the public, would the trade union be subject to the provisions and penalties of this Bill ?
– That is entirely a legal question, but I should think that if a trade union broke any of the provisions of this measure it should be just as liable as a trade combine to be placed in the dock. If a trade union takes action with intent to restrain trade or commerce to the detriment of the public, or with intent to destroy or injure any Australian industry-
– That has often been alleged against them.
– But not proved.
– A trade union is a combination for the purpose of raising wages. Does the honorable senator argue that the raising of wages is to the detriment of the public?
– It may be at times. It is not necessarily always so.
– I argue that the raising of wages is for the benefit of the public. No honorable senator will argue that if a trade union acts in such a way as to restrain trade and commerce to the detriment of the public or to destroy or injure an Australian industry, it should not be prosecuted. Senator McColl asserts that we have none of these trusts here and that therefore there is no occasion to take such drastic powers. We have here an American trust which to-day is before the Courts of America. The American Government are asking the Court for such drastic power as will take the business entirely out of the hands of the trust and place it in the hands of a receiver. I refer to the American Tobacco Trust, ofwhich ours is only a branch. It is directly related, because the BritishAmerican Tobacco Company, the Trust now being prosecuted in the United States, is a direct shareholder in the Australian Trust. We have had that statement made in sworn evidence, given by one of the members of the Trust, before the Tobacco Commission. Senator McColl’ s statement, therefore, is worth nothing. . The trusts are here, and we have one which commands 75 per cent. of the tobacco trade of Australia.
– And their employes state that they are well treated.
– Yes, after certain action was taken on the floor of this chamber, and when the tobacco duties were coming on for considerationby this Parliament.
– If it were not for the presence of the Labour Party in Parliament, they would not be well treated.
– It is a significant fact that it was after the matter was ventilated in the Senate - and, I am glad to say, with the assistance of certain honorable senators on the other side, who supported us on the occasion - that the Trust, who had discharged their men and turned them into the streets, notified that they would get half-pay for the remainder of the time they were out of work.
– I have ho wish to minimize the effect of the discussion which took place here.
– I am only showing that some of the generosity claimed for the Tobacco Trust was forced generosity. Senator McColl said that we have no trusts here, and I say we have the germs of them here; they are growing fast, and as our conditions are very similar to those which prevail in the United States, we may expect like results. When I introduced a Bill in the Senate to’ nationalize trusts, I was met with the objection that it was possible to regulate them. One honorable senator after another got up on the other side, and said that we could, and would, regulate them. -This Bill is the test. The Government are asking for power to regulate them. The people of Australia did not give us a majority in this Parliament to nationalize these trusts. So far as I can interpret their will, they have said, “ We ask you to regulate them,” and I am, therefore, prepared to give the Government all the power they deem necessary, even to the extent of the adoption of novel principles of law and legislative weapons, to deal with the new conditions which have arisen. I say that the obligation lies upon honorable senators to face the position, and to arm the Government with all the power necessary to deal with those new conditions.
– Honorable senators opposite are to-day adopting a very peculiar attitude. There was a large majority on this side in favour of the second reading of the Bill. There was only one proposed new section to which any very strong exception was taken, and I am one of those who objected to the provision sought to be enacted.
– It was the keystone of the Bill.
– That may be the honorable senator’s opinion, and I am quite willing that he should express it, but if we are, on every occasion, to accept the i-bse dixit of a Minister that the provisions of a Bill he submits are all right, and we must not dispute them, we have no business here a,t all. I shall criticise every Bill introduced into the Senate as well as I can, no matter from which side it is introduced. When the Bill, which is now the principal Act, was being passed, honorable senators were told, in just the same way, that it should not be altered, that it provided for all that was required, and that if it were passed into law the Government would be able to deal effectively with trusts and combines. We know that, as a matter of fact, they have never attempted to administer that law. They have not, by attempting a prosecution of any trust or combine, shown that there is any necessity for the very strong additional powers for which they have asked in this Bill. Honorable senators who are supporting the Government at the present time, were amongst those who condemned them most strongly for taking no steps to deal with the trusts under the existing law. But those honorable senators are dumb to-day. An honorable senator from Western Australia opposed the Government, and contended that combines did a great deal of good. But now assertions are made - and they are only assertions - that combines are everything that is evil. To my surprise, honorable senators who contended that combines are good, and, therefore, opposed the Government, are now supporting them. If they choose to shut their eyes, that is their own business, lt is absurd for the other side to contend that, because we considered that a certain provision in the Bill required amendment, we, therefore, desired to defeat the object of the Bill. I expressed my willingness to clothe the Government with ample powers, but I still considered one of the provisions unnecessarily severe, and desired to see it altered. Honorable senators on the other side attacked the Government for neglecting to collect the Excise on agricultural machinery from a certain date. The Government did not contend that they had not the power to do so, but they allowed the whole matter to remain in abeyance. In the same way they have allowed the provisions of the Australian Industries Preservation Act to remain inoperative, and, without making any attempt to enforce them, they come down here with an amending Bill, and expect honorable senators to swallow it without discussion. I objected very strongly to the proposed new section giving the Comptroller-General what I consider to be very extraordinary powers, but I never at any time desired to destroy the Bill. Honorable senators refused to accept the amendment which was moved, and I bowed to the will of the majority. I shall not oppose tlie motion for the adoption of the report, because we could not carry our views in the amendment of a particular provision.
– The honorable senator has least reason to complain, because he managed to secure an amendment of the Bill.
– I am referring to the proposed new section 15B, which the honorable senator has described as the keystone of the Bill.” It was suggested that we would destroy the Bill if we carried the amendment moved on that section. I believe in the principle of the Bill, and no one has any right to condemn me or any other honorable senator for doing what we believed to be right. I thought that the Bill would have been improved by the amendment of the proposed new section to which I have referred, but as the majority thought otherwise, I have no wish now to obstruct the passage of the Bill, or to call for a division on this motion.
– Senator Sayers has made some unfair references to Western Australian senators. He has stated that at first they contended that there was no harm in trusts, and that now they can say nothing good of them. The honorable senator could not have been closely attending to what was said. We recognise that there is some good to be effected by combination. I have been aware of the existence of combinations amongst coal-mine owners in northern New South Wales for a considerable time, which have resulted in great good to the community by preventing insane competition amongst themselves.
– That is the excuse of all combines - that they prevent cut-throat competition.
– They do not all make that excuse.- Some do not offer any explanation at all for their operations. The combinations of coal-mine proprietors in New South Wales, by preventing cut-throat competition in the trade, certainly did a great deal of good for the men who were working in the mines, as well as for those who had invested their capital in them. It is therefore incorrect to say, in that very bald way, that honorable senators of the Labour Party condemn all combinations of capital.
– Senator Findley puts it in that way.
– I do not think that Senator Findley, or any other member of the party, would put it in that way. We recognise that certain combinations amongst capitalists in certain trades are absolutely necessary, and may result in a very great deal of good by preventing sweating conditions in an industry. For years there was sweating in the coal mines of New South Wales, until the coal-mine proprietors combined to prevent competition in prices, and thus put an end to those conditions.
– What are they doing now ?
– They are doing no injury.
– I am not sufficiently acquainted with present conditions in the coal-mining districts of New South Wales to speak with authority. I do not believe that Senator Sayers knows very much about the coal trade of New South Wales.
– I know what has appeared in the public press.
– I believe that the honorable senator knows very little about the state of affairs in his own State in connexion with the matter with which we are now dealing, and we can therefore excuse him for knowing nothing about the conditions prevailing in New South Wales. One argument trotted out by the opponents of the Bill is that, while trusts and combines may be rampant in the United States and in other parts ofthe world, they do not exist in Australia, and this legislation is consequently entirely unnecessary. There are trusts in existence in the State from which Senator Sayers comes. They have been proved beyond a shadow of doubt to exist in Queensland more than, perhaps, in any other part of Australia.
– The honorable senator knows nothing about it.
– The honorable senator is innocent of what is going on in his own State. These facts were elicited by the Navigation Commission when it visited Brisbane two years ago. - They were not brought forward by Labour representatives, but by merchants who were carrying on business in several parts of Queensland. They stated that, owing to the coastal trade being controlled by a monopoly of ship-owners, there was in force a system of deferred rebate - which sometimes extended to a period of two or three years - which was an act of tyranny to them, and from which they could obtain no release. Although we obtained that evidence from several prominent merchants in his own State, yet Senator Sayers knows nothing about it.
– I have heard a lot like that which the honorable senator is telling me now.
– I doubt if the honorable senator heard previously what I have just told him.
– We are justified in going to almost any extreme in order to relieve those merchants from that rebate system, and to insure a fair deal to them. No later than last night I was informed by a Queensland gentleman that, notwithstanding the existence of the Australian Industries Preservation Act, the rebate system is to-day just as much in full swing in Queensland - and I suppose it is the same in other States - as it was when the Navigation Commission received that evidence. I see very little prospect of thi’ legislation achieving the object which we all have in view. There is really but one remedy, and if that is not going to be applied, I feel satisfied that even Senator Sayers will come to his senses some day, and recognise the necessity of adopting the cure which the Labour Party have frequently advocated. He may shut his eyes, or shove his head into a sand-hill, and refuse to admit the truth, which is obvious to every other person, but sooner or later, I feel satisfied that when the failure of this kind of legislation is demonstrated, even he will recognise that the Labour Party are on the right track, and that their remedyis the only one which can be applied with any hope. of success in dealing with trusts.
– I admit that we must take whatever measures are within our reach to ease the evil: The more clear sighted of those who are dealing with the question to-day must recognise that the Bill is a mere easing of the evil, and not a cure-all. I intend to assist the Government in every- way I can in their efforts to regulate trusts, realizing fully, that sooner or later they will come round to my way of thinking, and remedy the evil in the one and only way in which it can be done.
– I should not have spoken again on this measure had it not been for the remarks of Senator Sayers. I believe that he had in his mind the personality of Senator Henderson when he was referring to the senator for Western Australia who has practically expressed himself as being favorable to the existence of trusts.
– Hear, hear.
– I think that Senator Turley ought to be complimented upon the very happy position which he has taken up. He has afforded the Opposition an excellent opportunity to apologize to the people and to the members -of the Senate for the absurdity of the attitude which they have taken up in regard to the Bill.
– Does the honorable senator think it necessary to provide that a British subject must show his innocence?
– In the sight of the honorable senator a British subject is, I believe, always innocent no matter what crime he may have been guilty of. In my opinion, Senator Turley has rendered an excellent service to the members of the Opposition, inasmuch as he has created for them an opportunity to make an intelligent statement of their position.
– We have taken up the same position all along. I said so in my second-reading speech.
– Although the honorable senator was not prepared to vote down the Bill at its inception, still he was ready to adopt what is an old custom in connexion with mining stocks - to so water down the Bill that it would be utterly useless when it was put into operation. I plead guilty to the partial accusation that I favour some combines. I do so because of personal knowledge of the benefit which those combinations have conferred upon out industrial life. Certain senators seem to regard the Coal pombine as one which is almost heinous in its operations. Probably they regard the Coal Combine from the same stand-point as that from which I regard certain combines in other industries. But that is owing to the fact that they are not acquainted with the condition, of the coal industry. Senator Sayers may possess some knowledge as to the value of gold-mining stocks, how companies are floated, and so forth, and he may even be a bit of ah authority on gold-mining in general. But he is as innocent as a child in respect of the coal-mining combinations in New South Wales, or any other State in the Commonwealth.
– That is the honorable senator’s opinion, and he is perfectly welcome to it.
– If the honorable senator had possessed the slightest knowledge of the coal -mining industry, he would have hesitated before he made any remarks which were derogatory to the Coal Combine of Newcastle.
– I suppose the honorable senator is aware that abuse is not argument ?
– I am not “abusing the honorable senator, and I disclaim any such intention.
– The honorable senator is talking of what he knows nothing about.
– Order ! I ask the honorable senator not to interject.
– I intend to offer, direct evidence, and prove conclusively that the statements regarding the Coal Combine are so absolutely wide of the mark that they ought not to have been uttered. The only way in which a person can arrive at the position of an industry is by ascertaining what it is doing. Although I have had a life’s experience in coal-mining, still I am not sufficiently selfish to believe that the coal-miner ought to be the only person to derive an advantage from the industry. He ought to receive a fair living wage, and I want him to receive that fair living wage under what may be termed respectable conditions of labour. At the same time, I want the man whose capital is invested in the industry, and who is trying to make it a success, to get an equitable return for his services. The operations of the Coal Combine are much talked about. I hold in my hand a record showing the benefits which the coal-owners in the northern district of . New South Wales have received during the last five years. The dividends have been of a very small and insignificant character, whilst the provision for the exhaustion of capital has been nil. The figures show that the coal-owners have not without very solid reason arrived at the decision to present a united front to the consuming public of Australia and other parts of the world, and demand for their product a price which is considered to be fair and legitimate. I believe that their recent decision to supply the public with coal at11s. per ton will not give satisfaction to the general body of operatives in the industry. It must be considered that that price is far short of the real value of the . commodity. The Dudley Coal Company, for instance, has for five years paid dividends of 5 per cent. That rate exceeds a good many of the dividends that have been paid in the district. It cannot, however, be considered to be an extraordinary one. “ It cannot be said that the company is working to the injury of the public. I defend those combines whose operations tend to increase the number of employes and to make the conditions of labour more comfortable, whilst giving a fair and reasonable return to capital. To the trusts which are conducted with the intention of preying upon the public, I still offer my strongest opposition on every occasion.
– I have been invited by Senator Turley to make an explanation as to the suggestion made by Senator Clemons last Friday. He expressed his anxiety to strengthen the Bill, but he expressed a fear that the ComptrollerGeneral might yield to Ministerial influences, or otherwise fail to make the necessary inquiries with a view to the institution of a prosecution. He, therefore, suggested that some independent person should be at liberty to go to the High Court and make an application. I admit that an alternative procedure of that kind might strengthen the Bill. But there are some” practical objections. When a person goes to the Court he makes his application in accordance with recognised procedure. In the absence of elaborate machinery providing for such contingencies, it would be impossible to makean application to the Court, except where a cause had been instituted. Where a cause had been instituted and certain affidavits filed the High Court would be at liberty to make certain orders. The very essence of the procedure referred to in proposed new section 15B is that preliminary inquiries, not in any cause, but before any cause is instituted, may be made by the’ Comptroller-General. The first difficulty we are met with in carrying out Senator Clemons’ suggestion is that no procedure is prescribed. Then comes the trouble as to the Comptroller-General already having refused to make these inquiries. That might make the matter contentious, and the Judge might, under those circumstances, require to know from the ComptrollerGeneral why he had not taken action. We should be well advised, in my opinion, in leaving the machinery of the measure as it stands. If experience should disclose such an extraordinary condition as that the Comptroller-General was not doing his duty, and if we can imagine that in any such case of flagrant neglect of duty the hands of the Ministry were not forced by Parliament, it would be time for us to introduce a new provision. If we chose to provide elaborate machinery for contingencies of that kind, it is possible that the Bill would be strengthened ; but, under all the circumstances, I am satisfied with the Bill in its present form, and shall be ready to deal with any emergency of the kind suggested when it arises.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 24th October, vide page 5129):
Amendment (by Senator McGregor) further considered -
That the following new clause be inserted - “ 8b. No employer shall dismiss any employee from his employment on account, of the employee having appeared as a witness, or on account of any evidence given by him on any application, or on account of any award or declaration made in respect of any application. ,
Penalty : Fifty pounds.
In any proceeding for any contravention of this section, it shall lie upon the employer to show that the dismissed employee was dismissed for some reason other than those mentioned in this section.”
– We have not heard a word from the Government as to this and the other proposed new clauses.
– They are practically taken from the Conciliation and Arbitration Act.
– I think that they are based upon abstract justice.
– We accept them.
– At the same time it must be recognised that it is very difficult indeed to carry out such provisions. We can, to a certain extent, bind the employers, but it is very difficult indeed to bind the employes. In the first place, an employer can dismiss a workman for any cause, and it is verydifficult to prove that he has been dismissed for the cause mentioned in this clause. An employer can stop his work and tell his men to take a. holiday and can afterwards re-engage those whom he pleases. I think it would be wrong of any man to dismiss a workman simply because he. had given true evidence in a Court. I am ready to pass any clause to punish such conduct, though I recognise how difficult it is to make such provisions operative. With regard to the employe the difficulty is still greater. It is impossible to compel employes to remain at work ifthey do not feel inclined to do so. “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men “ could not force a large body of workmen who desired to turn out to accept the award of the Court.
– The honorable senator is arguing that the clause will be useless.
– I am afraid that, while the clause is theoretically just, it will be practically useless in operation. But I do not intend to oppose it. I think that it might be strengthened both ways, so that not only would the employer be compelled to observe it, but that the employe should also do so. In the United States the conditions of industry are, to a large extent, settled by trade agreements made between the leaders of the employers and the employes. I believe from what I learnt when I was in America, and from what I have read that those agreements are hardly ever broken. Any workman who refused to accept such an agreement would be turned out of his’ association. I should like to see that sort of thing done here so as to insure that the law shall be kept on both sides.
– I see nothing objectionable in the proposed new clause. When under our Tariff we make arrangements which enable persons to create monopolies, it is about time that proceedings were taken to compel the persons who benefit from those monopolies to disgorge something for the benefit of their employes, who must be protected when they give truthful evidence. As the set of proposed new clauses of which this is one may be called disgorgement of monopolists’ clauses, I shall not vote against them.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– I move
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 8c. No employee shall cease to work in the service of an employer on account of the employer having appearedas a witness or on account of any evidence given by him on an application or on account of any award or declaration made in respect of any application.
Penalty : Ten pounds.
In any proceeding for any contravention of this section, it shall lie upon the employee who has ceased to work in the service of the employer tn show that he ceased so to work for some reason other than those mentioned in this section.”
It will be recognised that this clause is consequent upon that which we have just agreed to. Although I agree with Senator McColl, that there are difficulties in carrying out the intention, still I think it will be wise to embody in the Bill some provision in this direction for the protection of both employes and employers who give evidence. It would be rather awkward if three or four employers gave evidence that was objected to by one or more of the employes, and if they therefore left off work and induced others to do the same to the injury of the employers.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m.
– In new clause 8b, the maximum penalty against the employer is fixed at £50. I first circulated this clause with a’ provision for the same maximum penalty against the employe, but while a fine . up to£50 might be a reasonable amount for an employer to pay, it would not be a reasonable penalty to inflict upon an employed I think a maximum penalty of one-fifth of that amount would be sufficient. I have therefore altered this clause by substituting£10 for the£50 which I first included.
Proposed new clause agreed to.
– It is very necessary that something should be done to prevent the intimidation of witnesses. I therefore move -
That the following new clause be inserted : - “ 8d. No person shall by any threat or detriment or disadvantage of any kind whatsoever, orbyany offer or promise or reward or advantage of any kind whatsoever, induce or attempt to induce any other person to refrain from giving evidence on any application.
Penalty : Fifty pounds.”
Proposed new clause agreed, to.
Clauses 9 to 11 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Debate resumed from 9th October (vide page 4410), on motion by Senator Keating -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
SenatorCHATAWAY (Queensland) [2.6]. - It was quite time that the Government introduced this Bill, which the people generally expected to be one of the first measures brought forward after the accomplishment of Federation. Now that it has been introduced, I hope that it will become law as soon as possible; but there are one or two points to which I wish to refer. The Minister, in moving the second reading, quoted the opinions of a Conference of medical men, and at the same time, with perfect fairness, drew attention to the fact that the Government proposed to go outside the recommendations of that Conference, and take certain powers to deal with matters of internal quarantine, relating to plants and animals inside the States. If the Government intended to include any such provisions in the Bill, they should have called a Conference of the pathologists and entomologists of Australia, many of whom are very able men, and obtained their opinions as to how the internal quarantining of animals and plants should be dealt with. Instead of that, the Government seem to have . deliberately gone beyond the recommendations of the Conference of medical experts, and also beyond the request of the Premier’ Conference recently held in Brisbane. They have introduced into this Bill, not a full and complete scheme by which they can undertake all quarantining of animals and plants, but a. sort of hermaphrodite system, which means neither one thing nor the other. The Minister says that in that regard the Bill gives them a power in reserve, but I believe that those provisions are simply included because friction already exists between certain States, and the Government wish at the first opportunity to be able to step in and remove it by taking control. We have read recently in the press the report of an interview between the Minister of Agriculture of Victoria and a deputation of fruit-growers representing practically the whole of Australia, where the relations between Victoria and the other States in the matter of fruit diseases and fruit pests were dealt with. It is also known that friction has arisen between South Australia and Western Australia over the importation of camels. As any one who has read the report of the Premiers’ Conference at Brisbane will know, the South Australians accused the Western Australians’ of introducing with camels from abroad the germs of very serious diseases, without proper safeguards. The Western Australians, on the other hand, contend that the safeguards are ample; and attribute the action of South Australia in prohibiting the importation of their camels to the influence of certain camel-owners in that State, who want to corner the camel market. I do not- know whether that is correct or not. I merely give it as an illustration of a serious dispute between two States, which, so far as I know, is not yet settled.
– I am not discussing the rights or wrongs of the dispute. There are also disputes between New South Wales and Victoria about fruit pests, and others might arise at a moment’s notice. If, as the Minister of Home Affairs said,’ these are to be powers in reserve, which “ will only be put into effect in a time of great national emergency,” then we want fuller and clearer provisions than are in the Bill. If thesepowers are to be used simply to stop friction between the States, then we already have instances where the Government can put them into force straight away. Consequently, they can hardly be called “reserve powers,” and there is very good reason why the States Governments should look with a certain amount of suspicion upon the introduction of clauses of that sort, without adequate machinery to give them effect, in a Bill of which the main object is to codify the States quarantine laws relating to importations of human beings, animals, and plants. When the Minister was speaking on this point in his second-reading speech he said -
It is not always possible to trace a disease ; it may break out a long while after a person’s arrival in the country-
– In the meantime, is it proposed to leave to the States the quarantining of animals and plants?
– I am just coming to that point. The Commonwealth will not wait until a disease comes right upto the very border and say, “ Now the time has arrived to exercise our Inter-State powers, and we intend to exercise them, and to slop the disease on the State borderline.” But if there is reasonable ground for believing that a disease may spread from one portion of a State into another State or other States, then it will be the duty of the Commonwealth to protect the whole of its territory.
– The Minister assumes that the Commonwealth will know more about the matter than a State.
– No ; but the Commonwealth has a larger responsibility than has a State. At the same time, we do not expect that a State will regard itself as irresponsible, and neglect its duties with regard to local sanitation.
In using that expression, the Minister very palpably- I will not say deliberately - diverted the attention of the Senate from the point raised about the quarantining of animals and plants inside the Commonwealth, to the question of whether the health authorities of the States would continue to look after ordinary matters of sanitation. Of course they will. I do not suppose that the States health authorities will in any way relax their efforts in that direction, but that does not affect the question of whether it is advisable in the general interests of the Commonwealth for the Government to introduce- half-hearted provisions which are liable only to interfere and irritate without doing any real good. In view of the resolution passed by the Premiers’ Conference at Brisbane, the Government would be wise to omit that part, of the Bill, and then later on, if they so desire, introduce a separate measure dealing with the entire question of quarantine, inside as well as outside the States. That matter should not be imported into a Bill, nearly the whole machinery of which is intended to enforce quarantine at the various seaports of the Commonwealth. It is open to serious question whether it is wise that the Government should at the present time assume the power to interfere in the matter of quarantine with the internal arrangements of the States. The extract I have made from the Minister’s speech shows that it is not proposed that the Federal authorities should interfere in this matter only when a disease has reached the border of a State, but that they should, if necessary, ‘ take action in western Queensland, for instance, or in any part of any State, and attempt to regulate local diseases or pests. If the Government expect to be able to make use of the scientific staffs at present employed by the States for this work, it would be better that they should leave them to carry it on as they are doing at the present time. If the intention is to establish a Commonwealth scientific staff for the purpose, it will be admitted that that is hardly consistent with the statement made that the Government propose to administer this Bill with a comparatively small staff. Judging by the comparatively small number of people in the Commonwealth, I should say that we are not at present in a position to establish a complete scientific staff in the service of the Commonwealth, and at the same time maintain similar staffs in the various States.
In this respect, either the Bill will entail very considerable expense or the Government must avail themselves of the services of the very men whose work they propose to supersede. I feel that until they are in a position to deal with the matter comprehensively, the Government would be wise not to proceed with that portion of the Bill. It is now recognised, practically by scientists all over the world, that diseases of plants and animals can be best dealt with by people having local knowledge, guided by scientific investigation. We have in the treatment of the tick pest in Queensland a very good illustration of the successful results attending the application of this system. I am not prepared to say that equally good work is not being done in the other States. We have, from time to time, heard a great deal about the tick pest in Queensland, and it has been frequently suggested that the Queensland authorities have very much neglected their duty in the matter. During the year prior to the passing of the Queensland Diseases in Stock Act, I think, in 1895, the tick pest advanced south and east in that State for between 400 and 500 miles, and it has not advanced a similar, distance south during the eleven years since that Act came into operation. I know of one district in Queensland, containing about 500,000 cattle, where the people have themselves erected some 500 dips, at a cost of no less than ^50,000. Every effort has been made, and a large amount of fencing has been erected, by private people to prevent the spread of ticks. Our critics outside, who have no knowledge of what is being done in the State, complain that the ticks are still advancing, that their stock are in danger, and that some .one must interfere to make the Queensland authorities carry out their work properly. The New South Wales authorities at one time had before them an extraordinary suggestion to prevent the introduction of the pest into that State. It was, first of all, to quarantine cattle at the Queensland border, and prevent them crossing into New South Wales, and then to prevent the importation of frozen meat from Queensland to New South Wales. Fortunately, they did not carry out that idea, because it was found possible to convince the authorities that ticks do not live on slaughtered meat, and were not likely to continue to live in frozen chambers.
– In that very instance, the honorable senator places his finger on the objectionable spot in connexion with the State administration of quarantine’ laws.
– What I am trying to do is to emphasize the objection there is to people outside a State dictating to people with local knowledge and responsibility how they should deal with a matter which the outside critic is not in a position to understand. In connexion with the quarantine at the ports, I have no doubt that the Federal Government will be able to command the necessary machinery, and to carry out the work better than it can be carried out by a State authority. But in interfering with internal quarantine to control diseases and pests of animals and plants, the Federal Government would not have the necessary machinery, and must fall back upon that provided by the States. I think that the Federal authority would find it very much more expensive, as well as unsatisfactory, to attempt to control internal quarantine. At the present time, the various States Governments have staffs accustomed to deal with these matters. The police in the various States, for instance, are employed in checking the movements of stock to prevent the spread of anthrax, the tick pest, and diseases of stock generally. No doubt the Federal Government could provide the necessary machinery for the purpose, but, for the present, I believe it would be wise to leave such matters1 to the States authorities.
– Why not prepare the way?
– I am willing, when I think the time is ripe, to agree to the Federal Government taking over the whole of the scientific staffs, and managing the business of quarantine completely. But, nt present, it is proposed merely to assume the power to interfere, and I think that is likely to create friction with the States and, what is of more importance, it is very likely to discourage private efforts, and to interfere with, and hamper the efforts of the States authorities to deal with these matters. In north Queensland, for instance, considerable trouble has been experienced in connexion with various pests, and diseases of plants, such as the grub pest in the cane-fields. But the local people have formed their own funds, have offered rewards, which the Government have subsidized, and have to a very large extent been successful in eradicating the pest. There has recently been some recrudescence of the evil, which is now being grappled with. I fear that such praiseworthy local efforts and Government encouragement are likely to be discouraged if they are hampered in any way by action taken by the Federal Government. It is possible that on the advice of a scientist in South’ Australia or in New South Wales, or of both, the Federal authority may be induced to insist that a policy which the people in northern Queensland believe to be successful for dealing with a particular disease is all wrong, and that they should do something else. That would be likely to have a very bad effect. I shall support the .second reading of- the Bill, and am glad that it has been introduced; but I hope that in Committee an opportunity will be afforded to discuss at length clauses which I think may lead to friction between the Commonwealth and States authorities.
– I shall not occupy more than ten minutes in what I have .to say on the second reading of .this Bill. I wish to refer to only one point in connexion with it, and that is as to whether the States or the Federal authority can better deal with internal quarantine. I can give a simple illustration which I think will show that whilst we may make use of State machinery, as Senator Chataway has pointed out, it will be of advantage to the State in which quarantine is necessary that the control should be in the hands of the Federal authority. Recently some camels supposed to be infected with the disease known as “surra” were landed in the northwest of Western Australia. What happened under State control- of internal quarantine? The South Australian Government decided to shut out the whole of the stock of Western Australia, and not merely stock from the district that was supposed to be infected. Between the district of Onslow and the southern portions of Western Australia the distance is as great as that between Queensland and Victoria, and yet South Australia and all the eastern States are in a position at the present time, because of a disease in the district of Onslow, to prevent the importation of stock from any part of Western Australia. If the Federal authority had control a local quarantine might be proclaimed, and, as Senator Chataway has pointed out, that is all that would be necessary. The Federal authority, making use of State machinery, would be able to declare the Onslow district quarantined, and so leave the southern districts of Western Australia and the great balance of the north-west of that State free, because it has been conclusively proved that the disease exists in only one mob of camels, confined practically only to one spot, and separated by miles of unstocked country from the other portions of the State.
– Does the honorable senator mean to say that the Western Australian Government acted in error?
-No: the Western Australian Government took no action in the matter.
– Did not the honorable senator notice that at the Premiers’ Conference in Brisbane the Premier of South Australia claimed that the South Australian Government were treating- the Western Australian camels exactly as they were being treated by the Western Australian Government?
– I direct the attention of the honorable senator to the fact that at the time the Brisbane Conference was held these camels had not been landed in Western Australia, at all.
– There was a long discussion at the Brisbane Conference on the subject.
– The fact remains that the camels that are said to be infected with ‘ 1 surra ‘ ‘ were landed after the holding of the Brisbane Conference, and the action of the South Australian Government to which I have referred was taken subsequently to it. There are in South Australia some districts where the apples grown are infected with the codlin moth, and there- are other districts where the codlin moth does not exist. The whole of Western Australia was free from the codlin moth, and the Government of that State, acting under their quarantine laws,proclaimed a quarantine in this matter against the whole of the eastern States, because the codlin moth was found in some portions of those States. Under this Bill the Federal authority might have effectually done what was aimed at by proclaiming the quarantine of the infected district, and permitting the free exportation of apples from clean districts.
– Could not the State Government of Western Australia have done the same thing?
– No. The honorable senator must see that the State Government of Western Australia could not interfere with the internal affairs of another State. Western Australia has no jurisdiction over any portion of a neighbouring State.
– But the Western Australian Government could have done it.
– How could the Government of Western Australia say what should or should not enter South Australia?
– Could they not have quarantined that district in their own State ?
– Certainly they could have prohibited any camels from leaving that district, but the trouble is that even if they had that would not have prevented South Australia from declaring the whole of Western Australia to be infected. That is one of the most valuable provisions of the Bill, and for the reasons I have given, I support its second reading.
– I recognise that the Bill, although it is receiving generous support here as well as elsewhere, is meeting with very serious opposition from some States. I have been requested by the Government of Western Australia to try to get its application to oversea traffic, and as I doubt the wisdom of so doing, it -is very necessary that I should state my reasons for the views .1 hold. In the first place, the States are necessarily jealous of their authority. They do not like any undue interference with them by the Federal Authority. If they consider that internal quarantine can be more effectively administered by the States than by- the Commonwealth their objection to that part of the Bil] is a sound one. But if it is based upon sheer jealousy of the Federal Authority, as I fear is sometimes the case”, their opposition is not warranted. The local authorities have shown great proficiency in dealing with local health matters. The most striking example of inability on their part in that regard was supplied when the bubonic plague ‘ reached Australia. Although Sydney was provided with an excellent staff for keeping in check all forms of infectious diseases, yet when that disease reached the principal port in the Commonwealth the City Council proved quite unequal to the task of coping with it ; in fact, so much was their inability revealed that the State Parliament had to intervene and grapple with the problem. The Lyne Government superseded the City Council and exposed a condition of things which was a positive disgrace to the local authority. I recognise that in the future there may be similar experiences as between the Federation and the States.
Sydney was found by the Lyne Government to be in a terrible condition notwithstanding the scrutiny of the Health Department. If this Bill is confined to oversea intercourse with ‘and between the States it will be entirely inoperative, and will not achieve the purpose which the framers of the Constitution had in view when they empowered this Parliament to legislate on the subject of quarantine. In the States different opinions are held as to what constitutes a proper term of quarantine after which persons or animals may safely be liberated. Tasmania holds a different opinion from South Australia, while Western Australia holds a different opinion from both Tasmania and South Australia.
– Tasmania’s objection has been largely, removed by the action of another place.
– Yes, but in Tasmania persons or animals have to pass 160 days in quarantine before they can be liberated/
– No, 182 days for persons, and 160 days for stock.
– I am quoting from the remarks of Tasmania’s representative at the Brisbane Conference. South Australia considers that a period of ninety days is sufficient, whereas Western Australia regards forty days as ample time to cleanse persons or animals from any infectious disease. It will be seen that the quarantine laws of the States are at “ sixes and sevens.” It is very necessary that there should be a uniform law of quarantine as regards oversea shipping. I have been asked by the Government of Western Australia to oppose the Bill so far as it interferes with traffic or intercourse! between the States. While I am inclined to pay every respect to their views on the subject, still I feel that it would pot be in the interests of the whole of Australia to limit its operations in that way, and still less would it be in the interests of Western Australia so far as later developments are concerned. Since I received that request Western Australia has suffered .severely by the mistaken view which its Government expressed. Senator Pearce has referred to the importation of some infected camels from India, and complained of the unfairness of South Australia in proclaiming the whole of Western Australia an infected area in respect of stock because of the introduction of those animals. On the face of it and with all respect to the Government of South Australia, it was a ridicu lous proceeding on their part to practically quarantine such a large area as is comprised in Western Australia. It was as ridiculous as it would be to prohibit the importation of certain products from the South of Europe because there happened to be an outbreak of disease affecting those products in the North.
– They had to quarantine the whole or hone. .
– What the State Parliament could have done was to draw a quarantine line, so to speak, round a portion of Western Australia, and even then it is hard to say what developments might have resulted. The infected camels from India were landed in a part of Western Australia which is distant four hundred or five hundred miles, from the chief cattle, producing centres, and the same remark applies to the southern areas where cattle are produced. Port Hedland is a kind of half-way place which is separated by a great distance from the cattle, producing districts, and consequently there was no possibility of any form of- infection spreading to other portions of the State where stock exist. So that the action of South Australia can only be viewed by Western Australia as positively dangerous and injurious to future intercourse between the two States. Now in what position would Western Australia be if in the future it became necessary to send cattle from that State to the eastern States? Already stock have been sent from Western Australia to Queensland, great as we are led to believe the stock-raising capabilities of the latter State are. Even last year or at the end of the previous ):ear a mob of cattle were sent overland from Western Australia and arrived in Charleville, one of Queensland’s great cattle-raising centres. If South Australia should persist in its present action it would be a positive bar to intercourse between Western Australia, where no tick or infectious disease exists, and Queensland, where . no tick exists, or it would interfere with the introduction of tick-infested cattle from the Kimberley area to parts of Queensland, where cattle are infested with that disease. So far as sheep are concerned, it would seem that the best experts in the eastern States complain that intense friction has existed between the several States. At the Premiers’ Conference in Sydney Mr. Ashton, Minister of Lands in New South Wales, bore ‘strong testimony to that fact. He gave the Conference the advantage of his Ministerial experience with regard to the attitude of Victoria towards the introduction of stock from New South Wales. The report on which he relied was one by the Chief Inspector of Stock for New South Wales. He said -
During the last few years we have received a number of telegrams representing that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction in regard to the regulations on the Victorian border in regard to stock, for which a certificate of freedom” from anthrax is required by the Victorian authorities, and the official returns that I have in my hand go to show that ever since the stock-tax imposed by Victoria was abolished Victoria has enforced anthrax regulations of a more or less arbitrary nature to govern the introduction of stock into that State from New South Wales.
Then after referring to a memorandum by Mr. Stewart, Acting Chief Inspector of Stock, who stated that the anthrax regulations were, in force in winter time and that anthrax existed “ relatively to the same extent as in New South Wales.” Mr. Ashton concluded his speech with this statement -
I submit to the representatives of this Conference that we are getting within a dangerous distance of antagonistic methods being adopted as between State and State.
Mr. Ashton, as a Minister of the Crown, acknowledges that the States are getting into a position which renders it very necessary that the Federal Authority should be invoked. Let us consider the matter of Federal interference in regard to fruits and plants. South Australia, wisely or unwisely, has prohibited the importation of citrus fruits from, I believe, any part of the world. It was quite indiscriminate in its action, for it did not single out a particular State for special treatment. The question arises, Is any State justified in imposing such a restriction when there is no warrant for it? It is well enough to adopt a reasonable degree of caution in keeping out, from an adjacent State, infected fruit, which may have the effect of injuring vineyards and’ orchards; but when a State goes- to the length of prohibiting the importation of clean fruit, it adopts a parochial attitude, which the Federal Government should step in to prevent. As the States have adopted this attitude in the past, it is reasonable to assume that they will continue to do so, and if that should be the case free intercourse and exchange of commodities between States will be prevented. Therefore, there is every ‘ warrant for removing the restrictive regulations which the States show a tendency to enact. There is a provision in this Bill setting forth that when a veterinary surgeon’s certificate accompanies any imported animals, it, in conjunction with an examination by a Federal officer, shall be sufficient to allow those animals to be llanded. But I direct attention to the folly of relying upon certificates given by foreign officers. A case in point has been referred to. It relates to camels introduced into Western Australia. They were brought from Kurrachee,iin India, and were accompanied by the certificate of a Government veterinary surgeon. Yet, when they landed in Western Australia, they were undoubtedly diseased. Already two of them have been destroyed, and the Western Australian Bacteriologist is making inquiries as to the balance of the shipment. In my opinion, we should totally ignore certificates accompanying animals brought from abroad.. I notice that one disease is omitted from the infectious diseases mentioned in the Bill, although it is, perhaps, causing more serious injury to the human race than any other of which we have knowledge. I allude to consumption. When we are passing a Bill to regulate the entry of persons, or to inquire into their physical condition on landing, I feel satisfied that we should make provision to exclude those suffering from consumption, so as to prevent that disease being spread in our midst. I fail to see why Australia, should be open to the consumptives of the wide world. I intend to move, when we get into Committee, that consumption be regarded as one of the diseases coming under the operation of this measure. The United States specially prohibits consumptives- from landing. Mr. Robert De C. Ward, writing in the North American Review for July, states that the new American Immigration Act - is weak in that this excellent “Poor physique” clause is largely nullified by giving the Secretary of Commerce and Labour authority to admit physically defective aliens under bonds (except in case of tuberculosis or loathsome and dangerous contagious diseases).
So that the great Republic of the West, which can afford to be more lax in regard to its restrictions than we can, because ours is a land with a sparse population, shuts down severely upon the introduction of unfortunate persons suffering from this dread disease. There is a perfect gulf stream of immigration into the United States, and that country has much less- cause to be careful about the type of immigrants it receives than we have. Yet the American Government are most particular to exclude persons suffering from consumption. They make no exception, and leave no discretionary power in the hands of the officials. The mere fact of a person suffering from the disease absolutely precludes his admission.
– Many consumptives who have come to Australia have become sound and healthy people.
– I am prepared to admit consumptives provided they enter into bonds to go into a sanatorium for the special purpose of undergoing treatment, but I would afford no loophole for consumptives coming to Australia and mixing with our population.
– Would the honorable senator allow them to travel from one State to another?
– Not if we had power to prevent them.
– Suppose there were plague in a State; would not the honorable senator place the district infected in quarantine ?
– Certainly I would, and, as this measure provides, I would keep under surveillance the movements of those who lived in the plague-infested area. I would also keep under surveillance those who were in the advanced stages of consumption. As to the ravages wrought by consumption, I may quote the opinion of Professor Koch, the eminent German scientist, who shows that it is” more to be dreaded than any other disease that afflicts humanity. I quote from The War against Consumption, by Dr. Vinrace. who says that Professor Koch - after referring to the introduction of tubercle bacilli into the lungs by inhalation, went on to say : - “ As to the question where the inhaled tubercle bacilli have come from there is no doubt. On the contrary, we know with certainty that they get into the air with the sputum of consumptive patients. This sputum, especially in advanced cases of the disease, almost always contains tubercle bacilli, sometimes in incredible quantities. Bv coughing, and even Speaking, it is flung into the air in little .drops, that is, in a moist condition, and can at once infect persons who happen to be near the cougher. But then it may also be pulverized when dried, in the linen or on the floor, for instance, and get into the air in the form of dust. In this manner a complete circle, a so-called circulus vitiosus, has been formed for the process of infection, from the diseased lung, which produces phlegm and pus containing tubercle bacilli, to the formation of moist and dry particles (which, in virtue of their smallness, can keep floating a good while in the air) and, finally, to new infection, if particles penetrate, with the air, into a healthy lung, and originate the disease anew. But the tubercle bacilli may get to other organs in the body in the same way, and thus originate other forms of tuberculosis, but this is a considerable rarer case. The sputum of consumptive people, then, is to be regarded as the main source of the infection of tuberculosis.
On this point, I suppose, all are agreed. As to the deadly effects of ‘the disease, the writer of this book refers to Dr. Van Ryn, of the Belgium National League against Tuberculosis. This doctor - estimated, in a paper contributed to the State Section, that throughout the world 3,000,000 persons die yearly from the different forms of this disease, and that the total number of individuals suffering from it reaches the enormous figure of 15,000,000. Yet, terrible as this estimate is, it is a good deal lower than that formed by many other competent authorities. Thus Dr. Bezly Thorne, in a contribution to the -same Section, computed that one-seventh of the human race falls victims to tuberculosis. Professor Brouardel, in a paper to’ which I have already made allusions, credited the different varieties of the disease with a proportion of the total mortality of not less than one-sixth, and rising in the case of some countries to a fourth. ..
The author proceeds to show that -
In France over 150,000 persons die annually of tuberculosis, and this figure, he tells us, is constantly increasing. In the town of Lille alone, with a population of 220,000, the sufferers from the disease, among the poorer classes only, average 6,000 a year, of whom, according to Dr. A. Calmette from whose paper these figures are taken, 1,000 to I,200 die yearly. In Germany, from statistics given by Professor- Koch, it appears that there are 226,000 persons over fifteen years of age who are so far gone in consumption that hospital treatment is necessary. I have not at hand figures relating to the other European countries, but it may be taken that, in the majority of them, the prevalence of the disease is at least not less than in France and Germany.,
Seeing the effect of this disease iri other countries, and the precautions that are being taken by the United States authorities to prohibit consumptive immigrants from landing there, it is our duty in Australia to prevent them from landing here, and spreading the disease with the disastrous results which are anticipated in the places to which I have referred.
– Is there a sanatorium for consumptives in Western Australia ?
– There is one at Coolgardie.
– It is rather hard on the poor consumptives that on going from one part of the world to the other they should find no rest.
– It does seem hard, but when we have the greater purpose to effect of preventing the disease from spreading amongst our own people the Government have ample warrant for taking; action. A person is not allowed to land in the United States of America if it is known that he suffers from consumption, although the officer is allowed to use his discretion with regard to any other physical weakness on the. part. of. the immigrant. We can ill. afford to allow a dreadful disease like this to get a greater hold than it has at present in our country.
– Sometimes a change of climate hasa good effect.
– I should not be prepared to go to the length of prohibiting consumptives landing here, provided that, they were admitted on their bond that they were only comingfor a change of climate and were going direct into a retreat or sanatorium. We ought at least to prevent advanced cases being admitted and spreading the disease. There is no provision in the Bill for requiring shipping companies to take back to the port of embarkation those who are found after landing here to be suffering from contagious diseases. If a leper embarks at Colombo, or at any port in the Red Sea,andlands in Australia, I fail to see why the taxpayers of Australia should be saddled with the expense of maintaining him in a retreat. In a case of that sort the duty should be cast upon the shipping master or the shipping company to. take back the passenger, to the port of embarkation. Otherwise the Bill has my indorsement as a measure which is intended to deal with over-sea intercourse between Australia and other countries, and to. apply effectivelyto intercourse between, the States by sea and. overland. Without. Federal intervention and control we shall not have that easy and satisfactory movement of commerce between the States which is so desirable. That can be only achieved by an. Act framed on the lines of this measure..
– It is refreshing to come back to a measure which one knows to be strictly within the boundaries of the Constitution, and. to discharge functions which have been specifically deputed to this Parliament. I welcome the. introduction of a Bill of this character,, which seeks only to do what it ought to do, and is not an attempt to accomplish by a side wind objects which are not deputed to us at all. There is no occasion for a long secondreading discussion. The Bill is more a matter for Committee. Butthere are some differences of opinion in the States as to the scope which a Federal Quarantine
Act- should have. The popular idea of quarantine generally is that it is a means to prevent the spread of diseases dangerous to human life.. That is a very narrow interpretation of the term. It is quite right that we should prevent thespread of contagious and infectious diseases- by providing every safeguard possible between State and. State:, and even between locality and locality within a State.
SenatorTrenwith. - And between street and street.
– And between street and street if necessary. It is equally right that we should try to preserve property in the various States in the shape of sheep and cattle, fruit, or any other product which is likely to be attacked by diseases imported from other places. Although there has been a little local agitation raised in Tasmania, I believe in giving the fullest powers to the Commonwealth Government and Parliament in dealing with quarantine. Whenever we begin to legislate, we shall naturally create some little friction in localities where things have been managed remarkably well up to the present, and where the people may think that they will continue to do equally well in the future. People do not wish to be disturbed, especially in a place like Tasmania - and one can plead guilty to the feeling of rest which comes over one when entering that little State- but our relations to one another are too serious to allow any sleepiness to interfere with them. I am quite at one with the Commonwealth in taking control over all diseases - animal, vegetable, or human - and instituting such measures as will tend to prevent their spread. Up to- the present we have frequently, as between State and State, put ourselves to needless inconvenience. As soon as disease broke out in a certain locality, our past practice was to proclaim the. whole State a prohibited area. Fancy proclaiming the whole of Queensland or Western Australia, with their enormous territories, to be infected because a disease has broken out in a comparatively restricted area ! We have had experience of that in Tasmania, where, unfortunately, we recently had. an epidemic of small-pox. The outbreak was very severe, as it nearly always is in new districts, but it was strictly confined to one town. Yet people going to the other States from any part of Tasmania were subjected to quarantine examinations and restrictions, which were exceedingly inconvenient. That is one of those matters which can certainly be much better dealt with by a general than by a local authority or law. I hope, however, that the Government when the Bill is in Committee will facilitate the passage of any amendment which has for its purpose the paying of due respect to local authorities who have local experience, who have done good work in the past, arid who, by their local knowledge, may be able to give .advice which should be treated with respect.
– For years past I have been looking forward to the introduction of this Bill as one of first importance. I have been greatly surprised that various Governments have not introduced it earlier, and I congratulate the present Government on having tackled a very difficult question. I’ believe that the second reading will be carried without opposition. With ‘Senator Mulcahy, I regard it much more as a Committee Bill. I do not propose to discuss it at great length now. Doubtless other honorable senators have read Mr. Garran’s interesting report upon the report of Dr. Ashburton Thompson, the President of the Board of Health of New South Wales. Mr. Garran’s report was read in the other House by Sir William Lyne, and may be found in Mansard. There is a great deal in it with which one cannot but coincide. The Government, in administering this measure, should avoid needlessly hurting the susceptibilities of State authorities, and endeavour as far as possible to work with them. Australia is such an enormous country that what may be applicable to a comparatively small area like that of Great Britain is not altogether applicable here. A number of clauses, particularly clauses 1.2, 13, and 20, appear to require some discussion in Committee. I propose to end my short speech by reading to the Senate a” report upon this* Bill by the Under-Secretary of .the Department of Agriculture and ‘ Stock, Queensland, dated 9th August last. It was sent to me with the endorsement of the late Premier of New South Wales, and reads as follows -
Commonwealth Quarantine Bill.
In accordance with the noting of the Honorable the Premier, I -have the honour, by direction, to submit that, from a Departmental .pointof view, any power taken by -the Commonwealth towards administration of matters relating to animals and plants within a .State, would be entirely against proper control of such diseases, excepting, perhaps, in the State in which is .the se.it of the Federal Government. Diseases, whether in animals or plants, are often influenced by local conditions, requiring prompt treatment, and so there might be a great danger in having to obtain authority from a source which might not appreciate the conditions, and it -would seem that it is essential for the State to retain administrative power over diseases.; oth.erw.ise il is feared that the results will show that a ;great mistake has been made. Assuming that the Commonwealth takes the power sought, it will have to use the State officers for administrative purposes, and a position will be set up similar to that of the inspection sections of the Commerce Act, which in reality is worked by the States, or, in other words, another instance of doublebanking will have been established. A central authority in the matter rf diseases for a continent like Australia, with its diversity, of climates, cannot deal satisfactorily with the needs of the different States on a uniform basis, because What may apply to one place may not apply to another ; for instance, a disease virulent in the Tropics mav not be of any .account, though present in the colder parts, but the Commonwealth law of uniformity would apply to both places -with similar intensity. The Queensland laws governing diseases in stock and in plants are quite equal to the necessities in connexion with diseases, and are not improved upon by the Federal Bill. Indeed, the latter does not contain any powers not covered bv the Queensland laws. The objections raised bv New South Wales apply to this State, so that there is jio necessity to deal seriatim with the different clauses of the Bill, but attention is drawn to the last four paragraphs of the minute of the Minister of Agriculture of New South Wales, which contain important points in connexion -with th’is matter, whether relating to plants -or animals.
I hope to have that information to give to honorable senators when the Bill is being considered in Committee -
In addition to the points raised by New South Wales, there would appear to be no definition of the word “ quarantine.”
Clause 50 provides for the landing of animals or plants at a declared port, but does not provide that this port shall be in the State to which, they are consigned. For instance, Sydney or Melbourne might be the quarantine port for a ship that first touches Australia at either of those places. If this be so, tropical plants consigned to Cairns might have to undergo quarantine there, with small chance of reaching their destination alive. Again, animals coming by the Torres Straits route might have to ‘go to Sydney ‘ for quarantine, to the great expense of the owner and delay in time.
In conclusion, it is submitted that administration by the Commonwealth of diseases within the State might open the door from want of knowledge of considerations to restrictions that would not be warranted, and thus seriously interfere with trade.
I believe that honorable senators are .unanimous in , their desire to treat this Bill on broad principles, and with every possible consideration for the rights of the States.
I have much pleasure in saying that I shall support the second reading of the Bill.
– I also say that I think it highly desirable that the Commonwealth Parliament and Government should begin to exercise the powers with respect to quarantine conferred on them by the Constitution. Probably the only difference of opinion that is likely tq arise in connexion with the Bill will be as to the possibility of interference with the powers of the States Governments and as to the constitutional aspect of that interference. I propose to direct attention to some ‘of the constitutional questions which suggest themselves. The legislation now proposed depends mainly on paragraph1. of section 51, paragraph ix. of the same section, and section 69 of the Constitution. These sections bear directly on the matter, and I propose to read them. Under paragraph 1. of section 51 it is provided that -
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to -
Trade and commerce with other countries and among the States.
That is taken from the American Constitution, where the Federal authority under a similar power has assumed to control quarantine. In paragraph ix. of section 51 we have the bare word “ Quarantine.” In the Convention a good deal of discussion centred round what would be the effect of the use of this term in paragraph ix. The next reference to the matter is to be found in section 69, which has a rather important bearing upon it, as I think I shall be able to show. The section provides that -
On a date ordates to be proclaimed by the Governor-General after the establishment of the Commonwealth, the following Departments of the Public Service in each State shall become transferred to the Commonwealth -
Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones ;
Naval and Military Defence;
Lighthouses, Lightships, Beacons, and Buoys;
Then there is a reference in the section to the Departments of Customs and Excise, which were to become transferred to the Commonwealth on its establishment. There are two other sections bearing upon the question indirectly. I submit that section 92 has a rather important bearing on the matter. It provides that-
On the imposition of uniform duties of Customs, trade, commerce and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.
So that the Commonwealth is bound to respect the rights of the citizens of the States to freedom of trade with one another. There is a limitation in the section,, which I think has scarcely any direct bearing on the question, and the main object of the section is to provide for trade being absolutely free between the several States. The only other section of the Constitution which I think has a direct bearing on this question is section 109, which provides that -
When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the. latter shall prevail, and the former shall to the extent of the inconsistency be invalid.
It cannot be denied that the States have power to deal with internal quarantine, and at any time a conflict may arise between the Federal and States authorities in this matter. We must therefore do our best to frame this legislation in such a way as to avoid such conflict between the States and Federal powers. I think it is conceded that, with regard to the general purpose of the Bill, which is to prevent the introduction of disease from oversea, there is not likely to be any difference of opinion in the Senate. A sound measure to enable the Federal Authority to deal with oversea quarantine will, I think, be welcomed by the whole of the States. . Any difficulty that is likely to arise will, I suppose, depend on the way in which we, as representatives of the States, regard the provisions of the Bill, as in any respect involving an improper intrusion upon the powers of the States. We shall have to consider what power must be assumed by the Commonwealth to regulate the States administration of quarantine in such a way that the interests of one may not be endangered by the action of another. We must recognise also that should the Government of a State be wilfully negligent in their administration of the internal affairs of the State with respect to the prevention of the spread of disease, we must have power to call upon that Government to so administer the laws affecting public health and quarantine that their actions shall no longer continue to be a menace to the health of their own people or of those of a neighbouring State. Keeping these ideas carefully before our minds, I think we shall be able to frame a measure acceptable to the whole of the people of Australia. With all respect for the opinion of the Minister of HomeAffairs, I am inclined to believe that he was disposed to claim for this Parliament greater powers than we are given under the Constitution. In substance, the honorable and learned senator has said that under paragraph ix. of section 51 - and he referred to the Convention debates on the subject - the Commonwealth Government has greater powers in the matter of quarantine than are possessed by the United States Congress. The honorable senator’s remarks on the subject will be found at page 2946 of No. 20 of Hansard for the present session. I do not quite agree with the opinion he has expressed. It is said that lawyers never do agree until. they are paid to do so, and then their agreement is the result of what they call a consultation. I hope that the Minister will take any criticism I offer kindly, and as no disparagement .of his opinion. I propose to quote authorities to show that under the Trade and Commerce section of the United States Constitution, the Congress of the United States has ample powers to deal with quarantine. I quote from Story on the Constitution, 5th edition. I may preface by saying that Justice Story, of the Supreme Court of the United States, is one of the most celebrated of American jurists, and is regarded as one of the greatest lawyers in the world. Dealing with the powers of the United States Congress under the Trade and Commerce sections of the Constitution, he says, at page 23, paragraph 1074 -
In the next place, to what extent and for what objects and purposes the power to regulate commerce mav be constitutionally applied? 1075. And first among the States. It is not doubted that it extends to the region of navigation and to the coasting trade and fisheries within as well as without any State, whether it is connected with the commerce or intercourse with any other State or with foreign nations.
He quotes a whole page of authorities, with comments upon that dictum of the law, and he adds -
It extends to the region and government of seamen on board of American ships; and to conferring privileges upon ships built and owned in the United States in domestic as well as foreign trade.
He quotes his authorities .for that statement, and says further -
It extends to quarantine laws and pilotage laws and wrecks of the sea.
I, therefore, believe that the Minister of Home Affairs assumed too much when he said that we have greater powers in this matter than the United States Congress has.
– What I contended was that we have the powers ‘ which the honorable senator has just quoted, under our trade and commerce section, and that if there are any additional powers necessary, we have them under the specific delegation of quarantine given us in paragraph ix. of section 51. In the United States they have powers under trade and commerce only, whilst we have powers with respect to trade and commerce and also with respect to quarantine. We cannot have less ; we may have more.
– I agree that we cannot have less, but I doubt whether we have more, and whether it would be well to legislate on the assumption that’ we have more.
– We are not going beyond their legislation.
– I think we” are proposing to go a little further, and it may be necessary to carefully consider two or three clauses of the Bill to see that we do not intrude on the powers of the States. Referring to the powers with - respect to quarantine laws, pilotage laws, and wrecks of the sea, Mr. Justice Story, in a subparagraph, makes the comment -
But upon these subjects the power is not exclusive.
My contention, supported by this very able authority, is that inasmuch as it” is clear that we cannot have exclusive authority in the matter of quarantine laws, since the States have their own jurisdiction-
– The United States has only the trade and commerce power, and under that power it has not exclusive jurisdiction as to quarantine.
– I understand the Minister to “be contending that by the use of the word “ Quarantine,” in paragraph ix. of section 51 of the Constitution, and the special mention of that word in section 69, we can enact exclusive legislation.
– I go further than that. I hold that on the interpretation of section 69, and paragraph ii. of section 52, we have exclusive jurisdiction in regard to quarantine.
– Section 52 reads-
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have exclusive power to make laws for the peace and order and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to - (ii.) Matters relating to any Department of the Public Service, the control of which is by this Constitution transferred to the Executive Government of the Commonwealth.
– Will the honorable senator now look at section 69, which deals with the transfer of certain Departments?
– Under that section the Commonwealth can take over the quarantine Departments of the States.
– The Departments will have to De transferred, and Mr. Justice Clark says that we have exclusive jurisdiction.
– The power to deal with quarantine is mentioned more specifically in our Constitution than in the American Constitution.
– Is not the honorable senator convinced now that we have exclusive power?
– No ; I do not think that the combined effect of the two sections is to give to the Commonwealth Government exclusive power.
– I call attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.’]
– I do not think much excuse or apology is needed for dwelling on the subject. The next authority, and a very important authority, too, that I shall quote, for the doubt I have expressed, is Federal Restraints on State Action, by Patterson. At page 117 he says -
Marshall, C. J., in his judgment in Gibbons v. Ogden, enumerates “ quarantine laws “ and “‘health laws of every description” as “component parts of that immense mass of legislation, which embraces everything within the territory of a State, not surrendered to the general Government; all which can be most advantageously exercised by the States themselves,” and he adds “ the Acts of Congress, passed in 1796 and 1799, empowering and directing the officers of the general Government to conform to and assist in the execution of the quarantine and health laws of- a State, proceed, it is said, upon the idea that these laws are constitutional. It is, undoubtedly, true that they do proceed upon that id$a; and the constitutionality of such laws has never, so far as we are informed, been denied. But they do not imply an acknowledgment that a State may rightfully regulate commerce with foreign nations, or among the States; for they do not imply that such laws are an exercise of that power, or enacted with a view to it. On the contrary, they are treated as quarantine and health laws, are so denominated in the Acts of Congress, and are considered as flowing from the acknowledged power of a State to provide for the health of its citizens. But, as it was apparent that some of the provisions made for this purpose, and in virtue. of this power, might interfere with, and be affected by, the laws of the United States, made for the regulation of commerce, Congress, in that spirit of harmony and conciliation which ought always to. characterise the conduct of Governments standing in the relation which that of the Union and those of the States bear to each other, has directed its officers to aid in the execution of these laws”;, and has, in some measure, adapted its own legislation to this object by making provisions in aid of those States.”
I invite the attention of honorable senators to those very weighty words of Chief Justice Marshall in that celebrated case, and commend the spirit of them to the conside-ration of the Government when any amendments aTe suggested or proposed from this side of the chamber, even assuming that we have exclusive jurisdiction in this matter, asthe Minister contends. Outside the Senate there are some persons who talk about secession, and we hear the echo of their talk here. I remind those persons, both publicly and privately, that they cannot drive the mill with the water that has passed, and that it is futile on their part to disparage the existence and the authority of the Federal Government. At the same time, we are bound to respect the rights of the States, and I hope that our legislation or* the subject of quarantine will be framed in that spirit of loyalty to the States which we rightfully expect to be shown by them to us. Senator Keating, in proof of the contention >oi the Government, referred to the fact that in 1904 the Congress of the United States, under the authority of the trade and commerce power, passed am Act. to enable the Government to establish a quarantine station in a State. He argued from that fact that we could exercise the same power as the Congress had done, and that the American Government did interfere, by the proclamation of quarantine areas ir» the States. I do not think that a careful reading of its provisions will bear out the contention which the honorable senator, has placed on Act No. 1496. When it is looked into carefully, it will be found that every section dealing with the establishment of a quarantine station in a State directly relates to controlling transportation companies. It would be very interesting to peruse the debates which took place on the measure in the 58th Congress. My impression is that, from the repetition in every section of a reference to transportation companies, the Congress was exercising its trade and commerce power not to interfere with internal quarantine in the States, but to acquire certain control over the transportation companies, and in that way to prevent the spread of infection from State to State. If the Government rests entirely on the jurisdiction that it assumes that it possesses, it may be found that we are legislating beyond our powers.
– Under what authority was the American Act passed?
– It must have been passed under the trade and commerce power given by the United States Constitution.
– We have the same power.
– And others in addition.
– That is what I dispute. The Minister argues that we Shave, exclusive power under sections 52 and 69. At first sight that seems to be 50. But when we come to analyze the sections carefully, I think that it is doubtful whether we have those powers.
– This is a revelation. The honorable senator is startling us !
– Section 69 gives the Government power to take over posts, Telegraphs and telephones, naval and mililtary defence j lighthouses, lightships, “beacons and buoys ; and lastly quarantine. Does the Government think that under that -section they can deal with quarantine in the same way as they have dealt with posts and telegraphs or defence? It is undoubtedly the case that when we took over post and telegraphs or defence we took over ail the machinery of administration. The Departments are absolutely and exclusively ours. There is no such thing as divided authority there. But is it contended that when the Federation says that it will take over quarantine, it can take over the whole of the buildings and administration in the same way? I submit that the Government has not such powers. My reason is this : We must take the word “ Quarantine “ as used in section, 69 in relation to the context. The section says -
Lighthouses, Lightships, Beacons, and Buoys; Quarantine.
The word “ Quarantine “ is there related to the previous line.
– Surely the honorable senator does not make a serious contention of that kind. They are absolutely separate. There is no relation in the world.
– Why not relate Quarantine to Posts, Telegraphs, and Telephones ?
– The word Quarantine “ follows after the other lines in the section. The sequence seems to throw light on what, was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution. Just as it deals with lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys in one. breath, so it deals with quarantine in the next breath. It appears to me that the word “ Quarantine,” following immediately after the line. “ Lighthouses, Lightships, Beacons, and Buoys,” must refer almost entirely to oversea quarantine, I can quite understand why the States feel rather anxious in regard to this matter. Hitherto their Health Departments have been exceedingly well managed. It cannot he said that their duties have been neglected, so as to be a source of menace to the health of Australia generally. The States are jealous, and I think lightly so, of any Federal intrusion in this direction. But according to the contention of the Government the whole of the quarantine administration passes into the hands of the Federation as soon as a proclamation is issued. I do not intend now to go any further into the constitutional aspects of the case. I shall support the second reading of the Bill. But it is right that I should indicate the directions in which I think it ought to be amended. Although some of us may feel strongly as to States rights, no imputation ought to be cast upon our sincerity with reference to such a measure as this. I have been requested on behalf of the Government of Queensland to point out . that they are jealous of their administration, ‘ and hope that it will be interfered with as little as possible. They contend that their . jurisdiction ought not to be unduly limited. . Queensland has a coast-line of about 2,000 miles; and when honorable senators consider the amount of trade that comes down from the east by way of Queensland, and realize that the East is the breeding ground of the most infectious and dangerous diseases ‘ that affect mankind, it will be realized that the health authorities of that State have in their administration effectively safeguarded the-welfare of the people of this country. If we had been, neglectful in the administration of our health laws, Australia would have- been visited more than once. By infectious diseases. _ I know a case in which a ship left a British port with papers showing a clean bill of health. She came along the coast of Queensland, and as soon as she entered a port there a case of small-pox was detected. That one act of vigilance probably had the effect of saving Australia from serious disease. The fact that our health laws have been fairly successful constitutes a reason why the States should be left with a large measure of freedom. I shall refer only to one other provision in the Bill. I intend to move amendments upon paragraphs g, h, andi of clause 13. While the measure was passing through another place useful amendments were made which showed that the Government intend to respect the rights and susceptibilities of the State authorities. I wish to indicate that I shall suggest an amendment with a view to carrying out the very wise advice given by Chief Justice Marshall, and of indicating that while we are not foregoing any powers that we possess with regard to quarantine, we certainly have no wish to interfere with the legislation of the States. If the Government will accept the amendment which I intend to propose, I may be pardoned for sayingthat we shall secure a Bill which will be as nearly perfect as possible.
Debate (on motion by Senator Guthrie) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at3.59 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 October 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1907/19071025_senate_3_40/>.