3rd Parliament · 3rd Session
The Senate met at 2.30 p.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.
The Clerk read the proclamation.
NOR-GENERAL entered the chamber and took the chair. A message was forwarded to the House of Representatives, intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber, who, being come with their Speaker,
HIS EXCELLENCY was pleased to deliver the following speech : -
Immigration ; together with Bills federalizing the law relating to Public Companies, Bankruptcy, Marine Insurance, Bills of Exchange, and Bills authorizing amendments of the Electoral Law, the Public Service Act, Penny Postage, and certain administrative measures, will be placed before you.
His Excellency the GovernorGeneral having retired,
The President took the chair and read prayers.
– I have to inform the Senate of the retirement, on the 30th June last, of Mr. E. G. Blackmore, C.M.G., Clerk of the Parliaments. I ask the Clerk to read his letter of resignation.
Letter read by the Clerk as follows - “ Lansdown,” Wattamondara,
New SouthWales, 1 8th June, 1908.
To the Honorable Lt.-Col. A. J. Gould, V.D., President of the Senate, in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Dear Mr. President, -
I beg, most respectfully, to place in your hands the office I was appointed to, as Clerk of the Senate and Clerk of the Parliaments, the resignation to take effect on 30th June, 1908, as notified to me by letter by the President, on conference between the President and the Prime Minister.
In closing my official life, which commenced in 1864, uninterrupted except by ordinary absence from office for the usual holiday leave, I would ask to be allowed here to record how very highly I have felt and appreciated the very high distinction I have ever regarded my selection to my office in the staff of the Commonwealth, and especially to those chiefs under whom I have served. And you will pardon my saying that no ties are stronger than my latest in the Commonwealth Parliament, which the President did so much to render a thoroughly desirable time and experience to me.
Ever yours truly,
Edwin Gordon Blackmore.
– I cannot allow the opportunity to pass without paying a tribute to the ability, the zeal, and the urbanity of an old and faithful public servant, who may be fairly designated as the May of the Australian Parliaments. His parliamentary experience dates from his return from New Zealand, where he served with distinction in the war of 1863-4. He was then appointed to the position of Librarian of the South Australian Parliament, and after holding that position for a few years, he became Clerk Assistant of the House of Assembly. Following that, he was appointed Clerk of the Assembly, and in 1887 he was appointed Clerk of the Legislative Council, and Clerk of the Parliaments of South Australia. That position he retained until 1 90 1, when he was appointed to the position which, owing to ill-health, he has now vacated. Apart from those years of experience, he was not only distinguished as an earnest student of constitutional history, and of the practice of the House of Commons, but was also the author of several works dealing with the practice of Parliament, which became, and still are recognised, as works of authority, and works that are of very material assistance to the members of the various State Legislatures. To his great parliamentary knowledge and ability is added a kindly and most courteous disposition, so that, at all times, members could rely upon his assistance and advice on any subject connected with their parliamentary duties. The appointment of Mr. Blackmore to the position of Clerk of Parliaments of the Commonwealth in 1901 brought a man of ripe experience, mature judgment, and urbane character to assist with his ability and advice in the formation of the practice of this Senate. That ill-health should have necessitated his retirement is a matter which I am sure we all deplore, and I feel confident that honorable senators join with me in the earnest hope that, notwithstanding the ill-health which thus deprived us of his services, he may still have years of ease and comfort spared to him.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
- Mr. Blackmore was such a distinguished public servant that I felt that it would be ill-becoming the presiding officer of this House if, in conveying his resignation, he did not pay a tribute to the power and ability which he always displayed in the discharge of his very important duties and the zeal and urbanity which he always manifested to honorable senators. I should be neglecting my duty were I not to recognise those qualities, apart from the strong feeling of personal friendship and admiration which I entertain for that gentleman. I understand that at a
Hater period it is proposed by the Government to submit a motion, with the concurrence of the Senate, recognising Mr. Blackmore’ s work here. I have now to inform the Senate that Mr. C. B. Boydell, Clerk Assistant, has, on my recommendation, been appointed Clerk of the Senatein succession to Mr. E. G. Blackmore.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
– In referenceto this appointment, I desire to say that the holder of the position has formerly been designated Clerk of the Parliaments, but in view of the fact that the Public Service Act - the only statutory authority for such an appointment - defines the position as that of Clerk of the Senate, I have, at the suggestion of the Government, approved of such alteration in the designation of the Clerk of this House.
– It is my intention later on to ask the Senate to place on record its high sense of appreciation of the services of Mr. Blackmore, which have been so eloquently referred to by the President.
– I rise to ask the Senate to entertain a motion which I am sure will be very acceptable, and will be received with unanimity by honorable senators.
– I rise to order. I hold that it is not competent at this stage for the Minister to submit a motion without the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– I understood that the Vice-President of the Executive Council was going to ask the concurrence of the Senate in submitting a motion which would have the effect of suspending for the time being the Standing Orders. Perhaps it would be well if he would just briefly state the nature of the motion that he intends to submit, and I would ask honorable members to concur in its submission.
– If we know what it is.
– I was proceeding to indicate exactly what I desire to move when Senator Neild interrupted me. By leave of the Senate, I wish to move that an Address be presented to the Right Honorable Henry Stafford, Lord Northcote.
– Is it the pleasure of honorable senators that the Vice-Presi dent of the Executive Council have leave to submit the motion which he has indicated?
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
– I move-
That the following Address be agreed to : -
To the Right Honorable Henry Stafford, Lord Northcote.
We, the members of the Senate, in Parliament assembled, desire to express to your Lordship our grateful recognition of the judgment and ability, zeal and courtesy, with which, as Governor-General of Australia, you devoted yourself unremittingly to the duties and opportunities of your exalted office. In your intimate association with both Houses of Parliament your relations have been at all times cordial, constitutional, and considerate of their great responsibilities. You have brought to bear in the exercise of your duties an exceptional knowledge of the vast territory and scattered population of the Commonwealth; in gaining which no considerations of personal convenience have been permitted to enter.
The unsparing kindness and generosity on the part of Her Excellency and yourself in promoting all movements for charity or culture, the encouragement of local aptitudes, and the development of a patriotic spirit, are universally acknowledged.
We desire to add a further assurance to those already so freely and widely bestowed, of the high value and permanent influence of your and Lady Northcote’s many activities, and of the abiding affection, esteem, and gratitude of the people of Australia.
In submitting this motion as I do, by leave, I think it would be somewhat unfitting to unduly amplify the sentiments which are contained in it as expressive of the feeling of this Senate. Lord Northcote, we recognise at once, has, by a rigid adherence to those well-known fundamental principles in regard to constitutional matters, established himself and the relationship between himself and this Parliament most completely. He has, moreover, by reason of personal association with honorable members of both Chambers, enabled us to know and understand him. Further, by his determination to ascertain the inward life and aspirations of the Commonwealth, he has managed to acquire a knowledge and experience which qualified him highly for the discharge of the duties of so responsible an office as’ that which he has just vacated. This, perhaps, has been most eloquently testified by the spontaneous feeling exhibited in the capitals throughout the Commonwealth, but it has likewise been shown enthusiastically in every portion of the Commonwealth which Lord Northcote has visited. Under these circumstances, we cannot be at all surprised that his regime was so eminently successful and that he became one of the most popular Governors-General whom it has been our privilege to have presiding over our deliberations in this Commonwealth. Under these circumstances, I realize that I am expressing the feelings of honorable senators when I say that when the late GovernorGeneral departs from our shores - as he will do finally to-morrow, when he leaves Thursday Island - he will carry with him, not only the personal regard and attachment of those with whom he has been associated, but also an earnest wish of the whole community for every prosperity and happiness in his future career. I have very much pleasure in moving that the Address as read be adopted.
– I am sure it will be recognised that the words of this motion, supplemented by those which have just been addressed to us, require nothing from any one to insure its full acceptance at the hands of the Senate. The motion itself seems to me to set out all that must be in our hearts at the present moment, and therefore I shall not occupy the time of the Senate, except very briefly. It clearly sets out that Lord Northcote, in the discharge of his official duties, displayed ability of a very marked character. The popular idea that a Governor or a Governor-General lias little to do is, to those who come in touch with him, quite a mistaken one. I venture to say’ that there is no member of this Chamber who will not indorse the statement that amongst the hard-working men of the Commonwealth was Lord Northcote. The paragraph in this Address to which I desire to draw particular attention is the last one. I feel convinced that Lord Northcote will take from Australia as one of his chiefest treasures the knowledge that he carries with hi’m.the good wishes of every citizen of the Commonwealth. Not only in his official relations did he win commendation from all sides, but both he as a: man, and Lady Northcote as a woman, won their way into the hearts of the people. It is gratifying to know that, although they have terminated their official connexion with the Commonwealth, we can still regard them as good friends and spokesmen for Australia when they return to the Motherland. I am perfectly convinced that they carry with them the hearty good wishes of every member of this Chamber.
– In supporting the motion, I am certain that every member of the Senate will agree with me when I say that ‘ 1 judg ment and ability, zeal and courtesy,” are not even ample terms to express the feelings of the people of Australia towards both Lord and Lady Northcote, because every one must recognise that no visitors to our shores - no matter what position they have occupied either in the States or in the Commonwealth - have done more to create and encourage an Australian sentiment than they have. I am sure that on that account the people of Australia will at least recognise that their sojourn amongst us has been for the benefit of the Commonwealth. I am sure also that the very best feelings exist at the present time between the people of the Commonwealth and Lord and Lady Northcote”. Therefore, in supporting the motion, I - on behalf of the party which I represent - wish them every prosperity and happiness in the future.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– By leave of the Senate, I move -
That this Senate desires to place on record its appreciation of the valuable services rendered to the Commonwealth Parliament by Edwin Gordon Blackmore, C.M.G., as Clerk of the Parliaments, and its regret that illhealth should have been the immediate cause of the termination of a career which has been distinguished by long and eminent service, during which he has contributed much constitutional learning, and a store of precedents which have been availed of by all the Australasian Parliaments.
I am certain that honorable senators genuinely regret the retirement of Mr.” Blackmore from the high office which he filled with such distinction and ability from the commencement of the Commonwealth. His retirement has been a distinct loss to this Chamber, and, indeed’, to the Parliaments of the whole of Australia. The lengthy experience to which you, Mr. President, have referred, extending over a period of something like forty-four years, together with the studious character and intellectuality of Mr. Blackmore, all went ‘to qualify him most highly for the position which he occupied as Clerk of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth. We have lost his services under the painful circumstances which have already been mentioned ; and it is but fitting that we should place on record our high esteem and regard for him as a public officer and the personal attachment towards him which I am sure we all feel. Under these circumstances, honor- able senators will join with me in the earnest hope that, although Mr. Blackmore has been seriously debilitated by reason of his illness, he may rapidly recuperate, and that the rest of his career may be, even yet, one of usefulness and of joy and happiness. I have very much pleasure in submitting the motion.
Senator Colonel NEILD (New South Wales) [3.3]. - As a. personal friend for upwards of twenty years of the very able and distinguished gentleman in respect of whom the present motion is moved, I rise to second the proposition of the VicePresident of the Executive Council with a great deal of pleasure; though necessarily with some feelings of regret that circumstances should have demanded the retirement of one who has proved himself so entirely worthy of the regard and high esteem of every member of the Senate. All that is expressed in the motion, all that has fallen from the lips of the Minister who has moved it, is entirely worthy of the subject. It is therefore needless to continue the repetition of eulogy in respect of a gentleman who is so well known, not only in this Chamber, but in the State which he served so faithfully and for so long - a gentleman who had, and who retains, the entire respect and regard of all who knew him. ‘But, at least, I may be permitted to add the expression of my own hope to that which has been expressed by the Vice-President of the Executive Council - that in the retirement which is now Mr. Blackmore’s lot, he may regain such a measure of health and strength as to have the enjoyment for many years of pleasant companionship of his friends, who are to be found from one end of Australia to the other.
– Under ordinary circumstances I might have looked for the privilege of seconding the motion which has been submitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. As it is, I simply join, on behalf of those who are associated with me in the Senate, in saying that it carries our hearty indorsement. I also join with the Vice-President of the Executive Council in expressing the hope that the distinguished public servant to whom the motion has reference may have before him many years of pleasant life. Concerning his official experience, although I have very little to add to what has been said, I should like to remark that, long before many of us knew Mr. Blackmore personally, we were indebted to him for advice given privately in regard to many knotty points of parliamentary practice. I, myself, frequently communicated with him by post, and obtained the value of his ripe and mature judgment upon the matters submitted to him. May I add to what you, sir, have said, that the public, as a whole, have no idea of the very great and valuable services which may be rendered by a competent Clerk of Parliament, but which services, nevertheless, are just as great and important as are those rendered by many who live more openly in the public eye. We all trust that Mr. Blackmore may live long in his retirement and in the enjoyment of the companionship of his friends, amongst whom we all number ourselves.
– As a South Australian, I am sure that I should be failing in my duty to ourselves, that is to say, to the public of South Australia, if I did not rise in my place to support the motion.
– The honorable senator is not a South Australian here, but an Australian.
– On this occasion I may be permitted to be both. From the first time that I became acquainted with Mr. Blackmore in the Legislative Council of South Australia, I was struck with his kindly feeling towards young members of Parliament. He was always prepared to assist them, and to do all that he possibly could to make their parliamentary work easy to them; and he lost no opportunity of leading them to believe that in every respect he was their friend. He did all that was possible to make their work in Parliament as easy and as agreeable as it could possibly be made. I speak from’ my experience of Mr. Blackmore when I first came to know him in South Australia until he crime to the Senate of Australia. Here, I, in common with those who were not previously acquainted with him, experienced from him the same kindness as I had .received in the South Australian Legislative Council. I do not think there is a member of the Senate who has not the very best of feeling for Mr. Blackmore; and all of us hope that he will live long and enjoy great happiness in this world.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I think I voice the feelings of honorable senators when I offer the hearty congratulations of the Chamber to the new Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Boydell. His career in this chamber has been so successful, and his discharge of the duties of the position which he now permanently occupies, when filling that position temporarily, so marked by distinction and ability, that I have not the slightest doubt that the best traditions of the high office he has assumed will be upheld by him to the complete satisfaction of yourself, Mr. President, and of honorable senators. Mr. Boydell enters on his office with the good-will of honorable senators and their best wishes for his success.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear.
Assent to the following Bills reported : -
Customs Tariff Bill 1908.
Excise Tariff Bill 1908.
Additional Appropriation Bill 1905-6, 1906-7.
Additional Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1905-6, 1906-7.
Additional Appropriation Bill 1907-8.
Additional Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1907-8.
Customs Tariff Amendment Bill 1908.
Excise Tariff (Starch) Bill 1908.
Surplus Revenue Bill 1908.
Parliamentary Papers Bill 1908.
Invalid and Old-age Pensions Bill 1908.
Old-age Pensions (Appropriation) Bill 1908.
Coast Defence (Appropriation) Bill 1908.
Election Expenses Reimbursement Bill 1908.
Supply Bill 1908-9.
– I have the honour to inform the Senate that, onthe 3rd March last, Iforwarded through the GovernorGeneral the resolution of sympathy passed to Lady Linlithgow, on the occasion of the death of Lord Linlithgow, the first GovernorGeneral of the Commonwealth, and that I have received from Lady Linlithgow the following letter in acknowledgment thereof : -
Will you kindly convey to the Senate of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia my most sincere thanks for the kind message they have sent me. The kindness and sympathy expressed by them and by so many kind friends in Australia have been the greatest comfort to me in my great sorrow, and it has done much to help me to bear the terrible loss sustained by the death of my dear husband. The knowledge of how he was loved by all who knew him has deeply touched me. Believe me, my children and I are truly grateful.
I am, dear Mr. President,
Yours very faithfully,
– I have to lay upon the table of the Senate a copy of an address of welcome to Admiral Sperry presented on behalf of the Commonwealth Parliament on the occasion of the visit of the United States Atlantic Fleet, together with the remarks of the President and Speaker on making such presentation, and Admiral Sperry ‘s reply thereto. They areas follow : -
Address from Commonwealth Parliament to Rear-Admiral Charles S. Sperry, CommanderinChief of the United States Atlantic Fleet, 31st August, 1908.
On behalf of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia we desire to offer the most hearty welcome to yourself and to every member of your fleet.
Your visit would be a matter of great interest to any community, and especially so to any British community; but to Australians, who have so lately started under a Federal system which in many ways resembles that of your own Republic, the presence of this magnificent representative of the powerful and successful federation which occupies such a prominent position in the social and commercial progress of the world is an occasion of exceptional rejoicing. We feel sure fromthe widespread interest that has been taken in your visit by every one of our citizens, that you will receive a’ most cordial welcome from all classes in this Commonwealth.
Many bonds of sympathy already exist between your great nation and the British Empire, your intercourse with us will, we are confident, increase and strengthen those bonds. The friendly relations existing between the United States and Great Britain constitute an important factor in the peace of the world’. We are certain that this meeting between your people and the Australians, short as it is, will add to their mutual friendly feeling and respect. We hope that every member of your fleet will feel that he has come amongst friends, and that he will be able to take away a happy recollection of his visit to Australia. (Signed) A. J. gould,
President of the Senate.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The President of the Senate (Senator LieutCol. Gould), addressing Admiral Sperry, said : -
The privilege of presenting an Address to you as representative of the Government of the United States of America from the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Federated Australia, has devolved upon Mr. Speaker and myself ; but, before presenting the Address, I desire to say that, although the Governor-General and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, and the Governors and representatives of the States of New South Wales and Victoria, have already had an opportunity of welcoming you and your fleet to our shores, and although you have had evidences of the great interest taken by the people of this country in your visit, and of the friendly feeling shown towards the United States by the demonstrations that have awaited you in New Zealand, and in the States of New South Wales and Victoria, still it has been thought but fitting that the representatives of the Commonwealth Parliament should join in that welcome. It was felt that the Commonwealth Parliament, representing as it did the people, and elected upon a franchise so free and so wide as to be truly a reflex of the feelings of the people of this country, should not be behind in expressing its congratulations upon your arrival, and the good-will felt by the people of this country towards the people of the United States. We desire to thank the Government of the United States for affording Australians the opportunity of becoming better acquainted with the people of America. The late Lord Tennyson, in writing of the events that occurred between America and England more than100 years ago, had said- “ O thou, that sendest out the man
To rule by land and sea,
Strong mother of a Lion-line,
Be proud of those strong sons of thine
Who wrench’ d their rights from thee !”
When we look at the great fleet lying in these peaceful waters, and remember the great achievements of the nation you represent, we feel proud of those “ strong sons “ who have sprung from the same Motherland as have we.
The Speaker (Sir Frederick Holder), addressing the Admiral, said
Many years ago your forefathers and ours dwelt together in the Motherland. Yours went westward, and founded a great nation. Ours moved eastward, and also founded a nation. To-day the eastern and the western paths meet, and we rejoice at the opportunity thus afforded us of offering to you a hearty greeting. Representing, as I do, the House of Representatives, elected directly on the broad franchise of all the manhood and womanhood of the Commonwealth, in its name, and on behalf of the people it represents’, I offer you a cordial greeting to this Australia of ours; and I hope, as the President has said, that the events transpiring here now, like those in another State the other day, will tend as the years pass to draw together the two great nations, not only that there may be peace between them, but that through their influence the peace of the world may be preserved.
Admiral Sperry, in reply, said : -
Nothing could confer higher pleasure than the welcome of the Parliament of this great Commonwealth, representing in a concrete form the union of the six States’ of the Australian Commonwealth. We have watched the federation of these great States, and the development of their resources, with the keenest interest. I must express, as the immediate head of a military organization and as the representative of 15,000 active, patriotic sons of the American Republic, sincere acknowledgment of the generous welcome that has been given. I cannot but feel that those for whom I speak, and the people who have received them so warmly, will work together for the peace of the world.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Audit Acts 1901-1906 - Provisional London Account Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 89.
Bounties Act 1907. - Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 69.
Customs Act1901. - Cancellation of Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 82.
Excise Act1901. - Drawback Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 68.
Papua. - Land Ordinance of 1908.
Bounties Act 1907. - Repeal of Regulation 16, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 94.
Audit Acts 1901-1906. - Provisional Treasury Regulation relating to the payment of public moneys. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 79.
Papua. - Report by the Hon. Staniforth Smith, Commissioner for Lands, &c, on the Progress of the Territory for the month of April, 1908.
Papua. - Report by the Hon. Staniforth Smith, Commissioner for Lands, &c, on the Progress of the Territory for the month of May,1908.
Papua. - Report by the Hon. Staniforth Smith, Commissioner for Lands, &c, on the Progress of the Territory for the month of June, 1908.
Public Service Act 1902 -
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 64.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 65.
Repeal of Regulation 168, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. Statutory Rules 1908, No. 67.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 75.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 77.
Amendment of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 78.
Repeal of Regulations 172 and 182, and substitution of new Regulations in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 80.
Repeal of Regulations 96, 100, 103, and 104, and substitution of a new Regulation in lieu of Regulation 104. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 83.
Repeal of Regulations 5, 24, 27, 29, 38, 43, 46, 50,51, 52, 61, 62, 73, 77, 78, 79, 86,98,111, 116, 118,11 9, 121, 134, 159 to 161, and 163 to 166, and substitution of new Regulations in lieu thereof ; Repeal of Regulation 147, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu of Regulation 148; and Repeal of Regulation 97. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 90.
Repeal of Regulations 30, 57, 89, 89A, and 268, and substitution of new Regulations in lieu thereof ; and new Regulation 90. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 91.
Repeal of Regulations 264 and 276A, and substitution of new Regulations in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 92.
Amendment of Regulation 267A. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 93.
Repeal of Regulation 168, and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 100.
Return of Temporary Employes in the Commonwealth Public Service during Financial Year 1907-8.
Census and Statistics Act 1905 -
Provisional Regulation - Additional matters in respect of which Statistics are to be collected. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 66.
Regulation - Declaration by officer under Section 7. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 76.
Regulation - Additional matters in respect of which Statistics are to be collected. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 95.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906 -
Notification of the Acquisition of land at Cessnock, New South Wales, as a site for a Post Office.
Notification of the Acquisition of land at Bellingen, New South Wales, as a site for a Post Office.
Return showing land at Langwarrin Military Reserve leased for Grazing Purposes.
Notification of the Acquisition of land at Maribyrnong, Victoria, for Defence Purposes.
Notification of the Acquisition of land at Windsor, Victoria, as a site for a Telephone Exchange.
Notification of the Acquisition of land at Enoggera, Queensland, for Defence Purposes.
Defence Acts 1903-1904 -
Defence Acts 1903-1904, Regulations (Statutory Rules 1908, No. 60), and Standing Orders for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth.
Financial and, Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the CommonwealthAmendment of Regulation 93. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 70.
Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 2. - Statutory Rules1908, No. 71.
Regulations for the Commonwealth Military Cadet Corps - Amendment of Regulation 2, Section I. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 72.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Naval Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 51. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 81.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 77. - Statutory Rules 1908, No.88.
Financial and Allowance Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 105. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 97.
Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 199. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 98.
Regulations for the Military Forces of the Commonwealth - Amendment of Regulation 2. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 99.
Post and Telegraph Act 1901 -
Telephone Regulations : Amendment of Regulation 12, Part I.; and Repeal of Regulations 81 and 82, Part XIII., and substitution of new Regulations in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 62.
Telephone Regulations : Amendment of Regulation 7, Part I.; and Repeal of Regulation 55, Part VI., and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof. - Statutory Rules 1908, No. 63.
Postal Regulations : Amendment of Regulation 7 : Telephone Regulations : Repeal of Regulation 80 (1), Part XII., and substitution of new Regulation in lieu thereof : and amendment of Regulation 117, Part XVII.- Statutory Rules 1908, No. 73.
Telephone Regulations : New Regulation. 126A, Part 19. - Statutory Rules 1908, No.87.
The Clerk, laid upon the table the following paper : -
Return to Order of the Senate of 3rd June, 1908 -
Printing Office : Machines, Type, &c., owned by the Federal Government.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether he is in a position to inform the Senate what negotiations, if any, have been carried on for the acquisition of a site in London for Commonwealth offices ?
– So far as the Strand site is concerned, there has been no further development. As to the site at “Trafalgar Square, certain negotiations have been going on, which, at present, are of a confidential character, but nothing of a definite nature has yet been arrived at.
– I ask the honorable senator to be good enough to give notice of the question.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, without notice, whether it is the intention of the Government to abolish the sinecure office of Usher of the Black Rod, or, failing that, to appoint Mr. Upward, who has. hitherto acted in that capacity, as Usher of the Black Rod, in addition to the office of Clerk Assistant of the Senate?
– I may be permitted to say, with reference to the matter to which the honorable senator referred, that such appointments are made upon the recommendationof the President, and not upon that of the Government. The question of who shall be appointed to these positions has received full consideration, and will be dealt with in due course. Recommendations are made by the President.
– Who makes the appointment ?
– The GovernorGeneral in Council.
– That means the Government.
– It does not necessarily mean the Government, because the Speaker of the other House and the President of the Senate occupy the positionof Public Service Commissioner in respect of the Departments under their respective control, and it is necessary to get the recommendation of one or the other, as the case may be, before an appointment can be made. The whole question as to the duties of the officers concerned has been fully considered, and I have no doubt that when the appointments eventuate the honorable senator will be satisfied that the best interests of the Senate have been fully considered.
– I am not so sure about that.
Motion (by Senator Best) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until to-morrow at half-past 2 p.m.
– I have to report that His Excellency the Governor-General attended in this Chamber to-day for the purpose of opening Parliament, and. was pleased to deliver a speech. I understand that copies have been delivered to honorable senators, so that I do not propose to have the speech read.
Senator Lt.-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [3.27]. - I move -
That the following Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General-
Mayit please Your Excellency :
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and tothank Your Excellency for the speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
I think that on this occasion a few remarks may not be out of place. I feel sure that the new Governor-General will follow the great traditions which have been established by his predecessors, and that his wide experience, both as a member of Parliament in the Mother Country and as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, will be put to excellent use, and will be a help to us in the work and the developments that lie before us. Brevity, I believe, is the soul of wit, and, if I may say so, the soul of wit is to be found in the short speech which the Ministry has presented to Parliament. The most important measures with which it deals are those relating to the Seat of Government and the defence of the Commonwealth. I am sorry, that I have had so little opportunity to make notes on a great question like that of defence. I have not given as much time and thought to. the matter as I should have liked, still I propose to make a few remarks on the subject. I think that we have to look outside our shores to realize why a complete and efficient system of defence is necessary. The question that should first command the earnest attention of the representatives of the people, as well as of the people themselves, is what kind of defence is necessary. There are two kinds of defence - one by sea power and one by land power. When we thoroughly grasp the fact that sea power can only be built up by a long process after the highest technical training, we must all realize that our basic purpose is to secure the integrity of our territory. That can only be secured in one way, and that is by means of an effective military force. No doubt the protection which we have long enjoyed under a great and powerful navy such as our Royal Navy is, has been apt to make many unthinking people forget that sow day it may be challenged and defeated. What is there behind it ? There is nothing in the shape of a defence force throughout the Empire to save it, after the destruction of the Navy. There is no force behind the Navy that can prevent such a cataclysm. That condition of things is apparent to our thinking and experienced military experts in the Motherland. If it applies to the Motherland, how much more does it apply to us in Australia, situated as we are close to a newly risen great power like Japan, and underneath - practically at the foot of - the great Empire of India, which is seething with sedition?
– One part of it.
– India is seething with a desire to get hold of the reins of power which we control. How much more, I ask, is it necessary for us in Australia to grasp the vital principle that our first act in the way of defence must be to establish a. sound and effective military policy ? No doubt it may be objected that our first line of defence is sufficient for all purposes; that we can go on living under the aegis pf the great and powerful navy of Great Britain. But I ask honorable senators to take into the.ir consideration for a moment the conditions that now prevail in Europe. So clearly is it a fact that there has arisen a great power which is ready to challenge, at the first opportunity, our naval supremacy, that the whole of our great naval power is now concentrated at the heart of the Empire. Could anything more clearly show the position of things which has sprung up within the last few years than the fact that the British Navy - which hitherto has been able to leave the seas in and around the Mother Country policed with a very small force - has now practically to concentrate the whole of its strength in the North Sea, so as to secure the heart of the Empire. But the fact is undeniable, and it speaks for itself.
– The facts are the same, but strategic methods have altered.
.- My honorable friend says that strategic methods have altered, The axiom which was laid down in the time of Nelson, and which has been observed from that period onwards - and I thank Senator Millen for his interjection - was that an enemy’s fleet wherever it might be should be sought out and destroyed. But is that the sort of strategy which is now adopted? Strategic considerations at the present moment compel Great Britain to concentrate her fleet round the heart of the Empire, and practically to leave its outposts undefended.
– Is not the heart the vital organ which most needs protecting?
.- Undoubtedly, it is. But we have had thrust upon us the obligation of protecting the territory that we occupy. I. hold that the British Fleet - great as is its power - is not sufficiently strong to defend the Empire unaided. No one can tell what will be the outcome of the first great naval battle which the Empire may have to fight. At the present moment the smaller Powers of the world, such as the South American States, are building vessels of the Dreadnought class. Three of these vessels have been laid down for Brazil, and the presumption is that they will be completed in 191 1. At that period these three vessels, if thrown into the balance in the case of the German or French navies, or of the navies of other Powers,’ which might be hostile to Great Britain, would seriously jeopardize our position at the heart of the Empire. These are factors which are patent to all. These are the conditions which face us, and which compel us to boldly recognise that we Australians have to defend the territory that we occupy. There must be no half-hearted measures. There must be no feeling that the mere passing of a Defence Act1 will be sufficient. This question of defence must be taken up and dealt with with a simple determination to effect our purpose, and that purpose primarily is to secure this country for all time for the benefit of our own people, and, secondly, to enable us to fulfil our obligations wherever the needs of the Empire may call our people to defend it.
– We want more people, do not we?
.- The honorable senator can have as many people as he likes. I do not know what family he has. I hope that the few remarks which I have made have shown that, so far as the question of strategy is concerned, our weakness upon land has necessitated the concentrating of the British Fleet at a particular point, when, as a matter of fact, it ought to be free to go wherever danger may threaten. That is the vital weakness of our present position. The British Fleet should be free to go wherever danger may threaten.
– So it is.
.- At the present moment it is confined’ to the particular duty of protecting the Motherland.
– To watching a hostile navy.
-Colonel CAMERON.- We cannot tell when France may become hostile to the United Kingdom.
– The British Fleet is concentrated in the North Seas watching other fleets.
– The Mediterranean fleet has been withdrawn.
– From where?
.- From the Mediterranean. What would be the position if the French Navy came here? How about the French Possession of New Caledonia ?
– Will the honorable senator please address the Chair?
.- What I desire to clearly emphasize is that the con- ditions of naval warfare have entirely altered, and that British naval defence is not sufficient for the security of the Empire, nor for the security of England in the case of an accident to that navy. The British Navy does not provide more than a nominal security at the present time, whilst in the event of disaster it would leave the colonial Possessions practically at the mercy of whatever power chose to attack them. What I desire to go out clearly from this Senate to-day is the fact that the manhood of the Common- wealth is now to be afforded an opportunity to prepare itself to defend our hearths and homes - that the Government have at last realized that the working classes of this’ country are eager- to do their best to support Australia against invasion.
– Have not they been always willing to do that?
-Colonel CAMERON. - It is not a question of whether they have not possessed, the spirit to do it - they are now to be afforded an opportunity of being trained to efficiently discharge that duty, which is a very different thing. I have heard people sing “God Save the King “ at the street corners who were utterly useless in the field. Now, however, Australians are to be afforded an opportunity of becoming trained in the use of arms, and I sincerely hope that they will live up to it. I trust that the Bill will permit of no exemptions. I hope that the women of Australia, at all events, will treat with scant consideration any individual who fails to qualify himself to defend our hearths and homes. I should like to make one or two remarks upon the subject of training for the higher commands. I think that the opportunity which has been given to some of our officers to visit the Mother Country for the purpose of studying at the military colleges there, and on the general staff, is one which is calculated in every way to render more efficient those who will have the control of our Defence Forces in the future. I can quite understand how difficult it is-and it will be difficult for many years to come - for our officers to acquire the wider experience that is requisite for the higher commands. This knowledge can be acquired only in the school of experience. In one of the newspapers to-day I noticed the statement that a young officer from Australia had been enabled to pass through the Staff College in England, but that upon his return to Australia no work could be found for him. I am very glad, however, to learn that this officer has now been given an opportunity of re-visiting the
Mother Country for the purpose of being taken upon the General Staff of the Army, and of obtaining that higher training which will eventually be of immense value to this country.
– That is a lot of encouragement to offer the colonial soldiers.
-Colonel CAMERON. - To be unable to provide them with anything ‘ to do when they return to the Commonwealth is a lot of encouragement to offer them. That is the reason why I desire to further the development of national defence. I wish to allow of the best brains of our Defence Force being utilized for the benefit of the country. I have already touched upon the question of our insecurity in the event of British naval supremacy being challenged, and upon the necessity of preparing to effectively hold this land against all comers. Now I should like for a. moment to touchupon a question which lies a little nearer home - I refer to India. India, as we know, is situated very close to us, and we also know that the British Empire contains a * large number of different races. That Empire comprises a population of -400,000,000, but those 400,000,000 are held together by a small white ‘ population of ‘approximately 50,000,000. That is to say one-eighth of the British Empire is white and the remaining seven-eighths is coloured. It must be clear to everybody, therefore, that an immense responsibility rests upon each one of us. We Tie just below the .great Empire of India which possesses a population of some 300,000,000. The conditions which have arisen in Asia since I addressed this Senate upon the defence question a short time ago are very serious. India, as I said, is seething with discontent. How that discontent arose is a matter of history. How it is going to be allayed is a matter of experiment. There has been a tendency towards, and there is going to be an actual experiment in, new methods of government as regards a great part of India; and I may be permitted to read a few words from a statement by the Secretary of State for India, Lord Morley, on the 12th June of this year. They were addressed to Indian civil servants assembled in London. Lord Morley said -
It would be idle to deny that there is at this moment a living movement, and very likely there will be for some time a living movement, for objects which we ourselves have taught the natives of India to think desirable objects; and, unless we somehow or other can reconcile order with the satisfaction of those ideals and aspirations, the fault will not be theirs.
Those words are weighty, and indicate a departure from the hitherto understood conditions under which India has been held by the British. We have always maintained that India was held by the sword - that it was the power of the British arm that held the country. The natives of India recognised that. But we have educated a large class of Indians, and we have given them, as stated by Lord Morley, ideals which they have derived from our teaching. We are, therefore, about to give India a larger measure of selfgovernment than the country has hitherto had. That this departure is looked upon as a very serious matter, . the statements both of those who have to deal with the civil side of Indian Government, and those who have to deal with the military side of it, are sufficient to show. They look upon the situation with serious misgivings. I have the highest military authority for the statement that this new policy is a mistake, and that it will lead us into serious trouble. My authority is Lord Roberts.
– Trust the people ? Surely not !
.- Trust the people? Would the honorable senator trustthe natives of India? I guarantee that with his conservative nature he would be the first to declare himself against such a policy.
– Trust them in their own country.
– If this new policy be carried out as it is about to be, an enormous responsibility will be thrown upon us in Australia. Can we in this country look at this Indian question without feeling that in the event of trouble arising there, the first brunt of it must of necessity fall upon, us? We cannot get away from that position. If trouble should arise in India, as the result of the new policy that is about to be adopted, and we are not able to help the Mother Country in her difficulty, or her extremity - if we cannot come to her assistance with trained and efficient troops - what must inevitably happen to us in Australia? Do honorable senators think that we shall be able to maintain our White Australia policy? Do they think we can maintain our institutions if the Mother Country fails to maintain her power in
India? I say that we here are part of an Imperial people. We must think imperially, and we must act imperially. This problem of India is indissolubly mixed up with the question of our defence. It is part of the question of the defence of our own hearths and homes. The holding of India as part of the Empire is indissolubly mixed up with the very question of our military ability to exist. Not only have we this great and serious problem before us in India, but also within the last eighteen months we have seen an increased difficulty arising on the North-west frontier. The condition of things in Persia has altered. We have handed over a sphere of influence thatwas hitherto disputed with Russia, practically to the Russian Government; and by so doing we have enlarged and increased the pressure of Russia upon our North-west frontier. That is a factor in the Indian situation that is very serious for us. These considerations necessitate the concentration of our efforts, as an Imperial people, on the Indian question. We cannot get away from it. If India be lost to the British, how can we hope to maintain the policy - the exclusive policy - of Protection and of a White Australia? I am glad that the Government have realized the seriousness of the position - and they have my absolute support in consequence - and are determined to pursue the question of defence until they have given to Australia the very best defence in, the form of a land force that it is possible for her to have. As regards the question that is sometimes a burning one of the officering of this force, I say unhesitatingly from the floor of this Senate - let the best men in the community, whoever they may be and wherever they come from, rise to the highest positions. But at the same time let me tell the Senate this once and for all : that if people think that simply because a man has been through the ranks that is sufficient to enable him to be an officer, that idea is an utter absurdity. To have efficient officers we must find the means to train them, and fit them for their positions.
– And not keep them idle when we have trained them.
– We must not throw them over when we have trained them. With these remarks, I move the motion which I have read.
– I have very much pleasure in seconding the motion that has been moved by
Senator Cameron. The Governor General’s speech upon this occasion is an extremely brief one.
– Brief as to words.
– It is brief as to the number of words in it, and the area of paper that it occupies, but it seems to me to be pregnant with matters of very great importance and urgency. Perhaps the point that most immediately strikes one is that dealt with in paragraph 2, in which the Governor-General tells us that - in order to complete the pressing work of the session before the close of the year you will be invited to deal promptly with a full programme of business. 11 think that is an announcement that should give us all cause for serious consideration. The matters enumerated in the speech are of immense importance, and most of them are of intense emergency. Therefore, at the start, I purpose occupying very little time indeed in seconding the* motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. But 1 think that we should not pass to other business without noticing the reference made to the successful, cordial, and brilliant welcome that was recently given to our’ American cousins, as we have been in the habit of calling them; though I think we might more appropriately and correctly call them our brethren, descending as they have done in the most complete way from exactly the same stock as that from which we have sprung. Their visit to Australia was a very important event, and a .matter for great congratulation. From whatever source the suggestion emanated in the first instance, the Government, and the Prime Minister particularly, are to be congratulated on the hearty manner in which they gave effect to it. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the visit in itself ; and, in addition to the friendly relations that it indicates, and the_ continuance of the friendly relations which we may reasonably assume will arise out of it, there are to be derived from it lessons of immense importance to Australia. The importance of the question to which my honorable friend, who has just resumed his seat, has mainly; - indeed almost entirely - directed his attention, is emphasized most strikingly by the visit of our friends from America. Those people who know the history of the American nation, at any rate since the federation of the ‘ States, know that the desires, the declarations and the actions of the American people show thai as long as it was possible for them to mind their own business, to avoid war, and to declare and act as if they had no desire or intention to be militant or belligerent, they did so. But we see, notwithstanding this fact, the American nation sending to us a fleet of considerable magnitude and power which has been built npt because the American people want war, not because they desire to equip themselves for war, but because the circumstances of the world to-day are such that they have been compelled to place themselves in a position to meet contingencies that may arise. That lesson the visit of our American friends ought to emphasize and impress upon the minds of the people of Australia. We are continually saying, and most of us feel, that war ought by every means to be deprecated and suppressed. We all feel and hope for the time when disputes between nations will be settled, as we endeavour to settle disputes between individuals, by means of some properly, constituted tribunal - by the arbitrament of reason, rather than by the arbitrament of force. But experience teaches us that even in the area within which we proceed by judicial procedure we must still have the policeman. The fact is indisputable, and all our relations in life prove it, that behind all authority there must be force. So that if we arrive at a time, as I at any rate earnestly hope that we may, when the nations will agree to create an international council that will have the right of adjudicating upon disputes between them, there will still have to be armies and navies, or, at least, an army and a navy under the control of this central authority, in order that its decrees, when not observed, may be enforced. Even in those peaceful times, whenever they arrive, we must have an army and a navy of some sort as an international policeman, if I may so express it. The very interesting, able, and, of course, naturally technical speech that we have heard from Senator Cameron dealt rather with the method 01 manner of defence than with the necessity of it, although the honorable senator was very emphatic also on the latter point. Necessarily, because of his knowledge, he gave most attention to the, to him, importance of the method ; but it seems to me that we are to be congratulated upon the fact that, without regard to the method to be proposed, we shall have presented to us soon an opportunity of deciding upon a system of defence that will commend itself to Parliament, because the necessity is very urgent.
I regret that there are some people who still think thai we do not require soldiers or battleships, and that if we do it is only the duty of a very few people to provide them, because only a very few of the people have any interest in the matter. It has been recently declared, for instance, that the worker’s of Australia have no need to equip themselves to fight, because they have nothing to defend. I say there can be no more pernicious doctrine than that. That the workers of Australia, the freest workers under the sun to-day, with all the legislation that they have, and properly have, and we hope will continue to have, in their interests, have nothing to defend; that the workers of Australia who have, as have not so far as I know the workers anywhere else in the world in the same degree, the Eight Hours movement, have nothing to defend ; that the workers of Australia, who have an equal power in the forces of government with the wealthiest men in the land, so far as the vote is concerned-
– In Australia everywhere.
– Not in South Australia.
– I am talking of the Commonwealth of Australia.I always thought that little South Australia. - little I mean in point of population compared with some of the other States, though large in area and great in possibilities - was in the van in connexion with democratic legislation.
– The Legislative Council of South Australia is not.
– South Australia is ahead of Victoria, no doubt.
– I do not purpose introducing the question of Victoria versus South Australia or any other part of this great Commonwealth. I speak of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I am dealing with what, to my mind, is an immensely important question, a question which I confess myself to be ill equipped to deal with effectively, but a question of the importance of which I am terribly impressed. I cannot realize how any Australian, and any Australian workman particularly, should say that there is no need for the Australian people to equip themselves to defend the land with the management of which they are intrusted.
– Have not the workers always been as ready to volunteer as have the members of any other class in the community ?
SenatorVardon. - Then why question their willingness?
– I am not doing, so. I am referring to a statement claiming to be in the interests of and made , with the authority of the workers.
– Only of a small section.
– I quite agree with the honorable senator, and I am endeavouring, as far as I can, to emphasize what I believe to be the feeling of the workers of this great Commonwealth. It is that, far as they are advanced, there is a great deal yet to do, and that legislators will never have completely fulfilled their function until all the advantages that are possible are conferred upon those who do the world’s work. While that is so, and while all has not been done even in Australia, there is still a great deal to fight for in Australia because of what has already been accomplished. There is a great deal to defend in Australia in what has already been accomplished. With our arbitration laws, our Factory Acts-
– Our new protection.
– Our new protection, that we have not yet been able to make as completely effective as wedesire, but that for years past has been in operation in some form or other, and is, therefore, not properly described as “ new protection,” being only a further accentuation, continuation, and extension of a principle that has long permeated the legislation of various parts of Australia. It seems to me that if there were no other item referred to in this speech, this “ bill of fare,” as I characterized such a document on a previous occasion-
– The honorable senator is becoming an expert at this business.
– The honorable senator is right. If there were no other items, and if we treat this question satisfactorily, it will be a fruitful and a good session. That, however, is not by any means the only immensely important issue that we are here asked to deal with -
Recent decisions of the High Court render necessary the submission of an amendment of the Constitution relating to the “ New Protection.”
Rightly or wrongly - and I know some of my honorable friends think wrongly - Parliament expressed the opinion in an Act that this Federal power, the Commonwealth Parliament, should legislate with reference to industrial matters. The High Court has decided that we had no constitutional power to do so. I do not quarrel with the Hi’gh Court. I think it would be a great mistake ever to quarrel with the High Court. We may say that we have constituted in Australia a final tribunal on constitutional issues, as powerful in its intellectual scope, and I believe as reliable in the integrity and honour of its members, as can be found in any part of the world. They “have decided that we have not the constitutional power. The Constitution was framed to do the things that were desirable in the interests of the Commonwealth. It was adopted by the electors of the Commonwealth, containing within it machinery for its own amendment. The reason for that, of course, was that the framers of the Constitution knew, as any thoughtful men must know, that human ingenuity could not devise an instrument of government sufficient for all time and for every situation. They therefore did what seemed to them best for the moment, and placed within the Constitution the power of the people to do at any future time what might seem to them best. The course we have to adopt, to test whether the people think as Parliament thinks on this question of industrial legislation, is to pass a Bill expressing the opinion of Parliament as to what ought to be its powers, ‘and to submit that Bill to those higher than Parliament, the people of Australia, to say whether they indorse it. I “think we are to be congratulated upon this proposal of the Government, and if I may be permitted to say so, that those who assert that we have nothing to fight for, and nothing to defend in Australia, are refuted by the simple fact that we are now going to exercise a power that we have already so completely, without let or hindrance in any way, to say how we shall be governed op this important issue. I do not intend dealing with the whole of the questions referred to in the speech, but another, to my mind,’ extremely important issue is the encouragement of immigration, and the taking over of the Northern Territory. It seems to me that these two questions arc inextricably united. As a Commonwealth we have no power materially to encourage, immigration unless we have some territory under our own control in connexion with which we can determine the conditions of settlement and habitation.
– Why not give that Territory -the status of a State if we can?
– I hope that when we take over the Northern Territory we will not inflict any injustice upon that State of Australia which, up to the present, has administered it, and which, up to the present, has incurred very considerable expenses and responsibility in connexion with it, but I feel that we must obtain it if we desire to effectively encourage immigration. Now, the facts which have been stated with reference to defence emphasize the necessity for a judicious and properly controlled encouragement of immigration, because we have a territory enormous in size, rich in possibilities, and as large as the United States, which has just been demonstrating to us its power and the necessity to defend itself. We have considerably less than 5,000,000 people, while the United States, with a population of 87,000,000, has found it necessary to take more than ordinary steps in. order to prove its effectiveness in case it should need to defend itself. With our present population we could not hope to rely upon our own resources in any circumstances. We stand, I am glad to say with a good deal of confidence, behind the protection that we can hope to get from the Mother portion of the great Empire to which we belong. But we have entailed, by our legislation, the possibility of trouble that we might not otherwise have anticipated. And here, again, I answer the inquiry : What have the workers to defend ? We as workers in Australia saw the unwisdom of the course that was adopted by our brothers in the United States - the unwisdom of importing coloured races as beasts of burden, as menial servants, as implements of production, as they have sometimes been called. We saw the danger, the misfortune that has befallen the United States, and we wisely demanded and insisted by legislation that our continent should be white now, and, we hope, for all time. But we cannot say that without hurting the susceptibilities or sensibilities of some people who are becoming increasingly powerful and active. If we are to have a White Australia- and we hope we always will - we must take the readiest and most effective means to be able to defend it, if ever the policy we are contending for is assailed, and therefore we must have population. Therefore, we ought to be glad that we arc to have submitted to us a scheme for advancing immigration. I do not mean that the Government or the Parliament of the Commonwealth is to raise immense sums and send them abroad to attract people of any character or class. But I do mean that if we are to be in a position to people this country we cannot do it without assistance from abroad. We cannot do it without importing white people from all parts of the world, and it is only by legislation that we can effectively do that. Before I conclude I wish to refer briefly to the proposal to establish the iron industry. I do. not think that either of the other questions’ T have referred to can be called more important than the proposal trial we should take effective steps to establish the iron industry, so that we may have that “great factor in production and extending civilization entirely at our own control, to enable us to create munitions of defence out of material dug from the heart of our own soil, and to develop further the industrial resources of the continent that we enjoy. Important as defence is,’a complete possession of a fully developed iron industry would render us, at least, less apprehensive of a siege. Every day of our life we are confronted with the necessity for the use of iron at every hand, “ and if from any cause the seas were rendered unsafe for mercantile navigation, we should at once feel, in our present conditions, the stress of a dearth of the ordinary necessaries of life which are constructed in so many different forms of iron and the products of iron. Therefore,- I think we are to be congratulated that we are to have this other important consideration presented to us during the session. The Speech refers to an amendment of the electoral law. Now, the people of Australia are not satisfied with the electoral law as it stands. We are all satisfied with the principle underlying it, and that is that every person of mature’ age should have a voice in making the law.
– And they should be made to vote.
– Unfortunately, we have not the machinery to give effect to that intention. The honorable senator sug-gests that, in order to completely fulfil that intention, we should compel those who have the privilege of a vote to exercise the obligation which is attached to that privilege. I am not sure that I do not agree with my honorable friend.
– What is the value of a vote cast under compulsion?
-That is just the point I am coming to.
– -It is not worth troubling about.
– I am very doubtful whether any effective means could be adopted to compel the careless, in any circumstances, to give an intelligent vote. But we do require legislative machinery - we ought to aim- at having it - that will render it possible for every elector to express his or her opinion on the legislation.
– If they have not the sense to go to vote, they have riot the sense to vote when they do go.
– I am not dealing with that aspect just now, but I quite agree with my honorable friend.
– The honorable senator cannot get the results which he desires from preferential voting. .
– I am- not now dealing with that question, but with the. necessity of an amendment of our electoral law that will give those results. I am not sure that preferential voting is going to achieve those objects. But I think that there ought to be a possibility of attaining them. We ought to give to every elector an equal chance at the ballot-box to have ,his or her voice’ expressed in the Legislature of the land. These important considerations ‘ we are told will be presented to us. Their importance is such that the discussion of them, however industriously undertaken, must entail the consumption of some time. I therefore agree that we ought to consider the importance of paragraph z of this Speech, that we should deal not hastily, not carelessly, but industriously and promptly, with the measures which are to be presented to us.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 4.32 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 September 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1908/19080916_senate_3_47/>.