4th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Senator VARDON presented three pe titions from twenty-three, thirty, and nineteen taxpayers, respectively, in the State of South Australia praying the Senate to reject the Land Tax Assessment Bill.
– Is the Minister of Defence aware that many experts in the manufacture of woollens have declared that, owing to its peculiar water and climate, Tasmania is better adapted than any part of Australia for the making of woollens, and will he, before deciding where the Commonwealth woollen factory is to be established, make full investigations as to whether there are better places in the other States ?
– I have heard this claim put forward for Tasmania and other localities. I shall have full inquiries made before a decision is arrived at.
– Arising out of the answer, I desire to ask whether, in considering the various localities in honorable senators’ constituencies, the Minister of Defence will also consider whether there is in the Federal Territory a suitable place for establishing the factory in question?
– Arising out of the answer, may I ask if the Minister will consider the advisability of placing all his orders for woollen fabrics with the splendid factory at Lobethal, in South Australia?
– Hitherto it has not been the practice of the factory to which the honorable senator has referred to tender for Commonwealth supplies. Knowing the splendid character which it bears, we recently despatched an officer to that factory and also to other factories in various parts of the Commonwealth to ask the proprietors to tender with a view to get more general tendering for our supplies. We invited all the factories to tender, and we believe that they will respond.
– Is the Minister of Defence aware of the existence, for many years, of a woollen mill at Ipswich, and, if so, will he inquire into its possibilities ?
– What I wish to bring before the Senate is a remark made the other evening by Senator McGregor, and which I denied. He said, “ At the present time in Queensland there are private railways on which Chinamen are working, and which are bounty-fed.” I asked the honorable senator yesterday to mention the lines, and he replied that it was taking place on a line from Ingham and Halifax to Lucinda Point. I know the line, and since yesterday I have made inquiries and also consulted Senator Givens, who lives somewhere in that locality. It is not a private railway line at all, so that the Senate was misled by the answer.
– I saw them working there.
– It is a private tramway line constructed on a 2 -ft. gauge for the cane-fields. I think that the statement and the answer to my question, so far as Queensland is concerned, are misleading, to say the very least.
– It is absolutely correct. We all saw Asiatics there.
– I hope that the honorable senator will not howl in this way, but will give me an opportunity to explain myself. Any person who read Senator McGregor’s statement that he knew of private railway lines bounty fed and employing Chinese labour would naturally.come to the conclusion that they were lines which were bounty fed or subsidized by the Government. In Queensland the Government have not clone such a thing. I’ want a proper definition of this line to goforth, and that is that it is a private tram line, which was constructed on a 2-ft. gauge, and which has nothing to do with the railway system of Queensland.
– I am very much obliged to the honorable senator for confirming my statement.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) pro posed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
.- I desire to protest against the passing of this Bill, and if a division is called for I shall vote against the motion. I think that the measure is unjust to the Commonwealth, because it hampers it in perpetuity with unreasonable and costly conditions. I voted for its second reading in the hope that there would be a sufficient number of senators who would fall in with the amendment of Senator Givens to exclude from the agreement those conditions to which so much exception has been taken. However, the Government carried the Bill by a very large majority, and therefore all we can do now is to enter a protest and to hope that in another place a more reasonable view will prevail and that the Commonwealth will be saved from such unjust provisions. I shall also vote against the third reading, because I do not think that the Government - I do not wish to be offensive - have acted quite straightly in regard to the route of the railway. They refused to allow us to put in the Bill an absolute statement as to where the railway is to go. That was not fair. The Bill has been carried to this stage by the support of honorable senators who hold different opinions. One section of them claims that the Bill safeguards’ the issues so far as South Australia is concerned,, that it absolutely secures to that State the running of the railway where she desires. The other section voted with the understanding in their minds that the measure allows a certain amount of latitude by which the railway can be run out of the Northern Territory into adjoining States. There is a conflict of opinion. What the result will be if the measure is passed one cannot say. One of the two sections will be sold, but which it will be it is impossible now to say.
– That is their business, not the honorable senator’s.
– No, it is the Commonwealth’s business. I think that it would have been more in accordance with fairness and straightforwardness if the Government had stated clearly where they consider that the railway will run.
– How could they do that without a survey?
– It could be provided that the railway should be constructed within certain limits. There are two very definite and decided points, and the Government ‘ could have pronounced themselves in favour of one or the other. Then I object to the third reading because the Government have declined to safeguard the rights of the Commonwealth and of future settlers by refusing to .put in a provision by which the increment of value would accrue to the Commonwealth instead of to those who held the lands.
– The honorable senator is a very late convert to that principle.
– No. In Australia - and I speak of all the States- land reformers have always been hampered because of the vested interests which have sprung up under the old Land Acts. If there is one thing of which I think we might be ashamed, it is the way in which we have dealt with the broad lands of this continent. I have been a Minister of Lands, and, therefore, know what I am talking about. It is deeply to be regretted that before the land was taken up wiser provisions were not made. In the Northern Territory the land is only held on lease, and we have an open’ field to make such provisions as we please for safeguarding the interests of the Commonwealth and the rights of future settlers, who ought not to be charged more for land than it is worth. I also object to the third reading, because of the unpatriotic spirit which has been shown by South Australia with regard to the measure. She has taken advantage of the desire of the people as a whole that we should endeavour to close the Northern Territory against intruders, to foist upon the Commonwealth an agreement which is unfair and unjust in every way. In fact, to save us from being despoiled by outsiders, South Australia is despoiling the Commonwealth. The bargain is unjust to the people of the present time, and will be still more unjust to the people of the future. How it has passed, and how honorable senators have shut their eyes to the position, I do not understand ; but I desire at the last moment to make a protest, and, if a division is taken, to vote against the third reading.
– I intend to vote against the third reading of this Bill, because I believe that an exceedingly bad bargain has been forced upon the Commonwealth owing to the unpatriotic attitude of South Australia.
– Do not say that.
– Unfortunately, it is only too true-. The arguments for and against the taking over of the Territory on the lines laid down by South -Australia have been traversed oyer and ‘over again. There is little need to repeat them now, but I wish to make an emphatic protest against this arrangement. It is one of the worst that could possibly have been made. South Australia has been governed by the most selfish motives in forcing this arrangement on the people of the Commonwealth. Whether we look at the matter from a developmental or from a strategic point of view, we must arrive at the conclusion that a wrong course has been taken. Take the developmental aspect. South Australia has admittedly failed to develop the Northern Territory. She has proved herself to be unequal to the task. She has practically given it up in despair. Yet, although she has failed herself, she is presumptuous enough to dictate to the Commonwealth what the policy of the development shall be. If South Australia had been animated by a desire to promote the welfare of the Commonwealth, we might have excused Her. But she has not evinced any such desire. Her sole concern is the advantage of South Australia and Adelaide. The railway is to come down through the centre of the Northern Territory and through the northern portion of South Australia, joining the Port Augusta line at Oodnadatta, the. intention evidently being that any trade which may be developed along the route shall come down to Adelaide. There is no consideration for the people who are living there ; no consideration for the Commonwealth as a whole; no thought of any place except Adelaide. That is an exceedingly unpatriotic attitude, and its acceptance shows lamentable weakness on the part of the Commonwealth. What precedent have we for an obligation being made with regard to railway construction in the case of new States which have been formed in Australia? When Queensland was separated from New South Wales, .that State did not attempt to dictate a railway policy. New South Wales did not say, “ You must construct a railway from the extreme northern part of Queensland, through the back part of that State, to Bourke, and thence to Sydney.” If she had said anything of the kind a perpetual burden would have been placed on the shoulders of Queensland, which would have delayed the profitable development of that State. No arrangement was made by New South Wales with Victoria in regard to railway building. If /New South Wales had persisted in hav ing all trade drawn to Sydney by means of a railway line, the people of Victoria would have been in a very much worse position in regard to development than they are to-day.
– Does not New South Wales try to draw all trade to Sydney ?
– I do not wish to listen to an interjection from an honorable senator whose only interest is that of South Australia, and who does not care two straws how the Commonwealth fares.
– That is an untrue statement.
– Order ! Senator Story must withdraw that remark.
– The honorable senator has made an absolutely untrue statement, but if it is offensive to the Senate I will withdraw it.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - A very qualified withdrawal. To repeat that the statement is untrue is no withdrawal at all.
– The facts are in Hansard, and the public can read them for themselves. If New South Wales had taken up the dog-in-the-manger attitude adopted by South Australia, and had said to Queensland, “ Before we consent to your separation you must bind yourselves to build a railway, say, from Normanton to Sydney,” what would have been the effect or. the development of Queensland? The first railway built in Queensland would have been through the most unprofitable portions of the State. It- would have cost millions of pounds, and the interest would have been a continual burden upon the people. Development in the coastal districts would have been delayed for a very long time by that one act. But, instead of doing anything of the kind, New South Wales left Queensland free to develop her territory as she pleased.
– The honorable senator has developed a sudden admiration for New South Wales.
– I am merely stating a fact. It does not appeal to the honorable senator, but it ought to do so. Those provincial ideas with which some honorable senators seem to be saturated prevent them from appreciating the argument. We are here to do our best for the people of Australia as a whole. If we are not capable of rising to the Australian level, we have no right to be here, and ought to get out.
– Why does not the honorable senator get out?
– I am pointing out that if New South Wales had laid a dead hand upon Queensland in the way I have described, and as South Australia is doing upon the Commonwealth, development would have been delayed and obstructed for a considerable time. That is what is going to happen in regard to the Northern Territory. The Commonwealth must build the railway right through from Pine Creek to Oodnadatta; and if it is not built straight we come to the most remarkable position. lt will have to be a sort of half-moon line, beginning at Port Darwin and ending at some point on the Port Augusta railway. The whole proposal is nothing but a tissue of follies. Why did not South Australia act the patriot, show her love for the Commonwealth, and say, “ Here is the Territory.; take over its obligations and develop it as the people of Australia see fit” ? That would have been the correct attitude. I have no patience with selfish, self-seeking men like these. I have no time for people and for a State which acts in this fashion. The interests of Australia should be paramount, and the State or a man who does not put that interest above petty parochial interests is unworthy to be a citizen of this great continent. Honorable senators who support this Bill cheer that statement in their ironical fashion. J do not care two straws for their opinion, or for anything which emanates from them. They are unworthy citizens of this great Commonwealth. Men who put their own little private, petty, pecuniary interests above the interests of the Commonwealth are people whom I have no time for, and the Commonwealth ought to have no time for them.
– Is the honorable senator in order in accusing South Australian senators of putting their own petty private interests above the interests of the Commonwealth ?
– If .the honorable senator imputed such conduct to members of the Senate, he is distinctly out of order.
– I did not mean the charge to be taken personally.
– If tthe honorable senator alleged such conduct concerning members of the Senate, he is out of order, and must withdraw the statement.
– I withdraw the statement, Mr. President; but I do nothink tthat honorable senators need be so touchy about their conduct. In any case there is-the position. South Australia has successfully laid the dead hand upon the development of the Northern Territory. No matter what future inquiry may indicate as the proper line of development, this railway must be built according to the agreement. It may be found after exploring the Territory that this line will be the very worst line that could possibly be constructed. Yet, according to the bond, it must be built. The other States of the Commonwealth have hitherto mostly constructed their railways along the coast, and from east to west, according as their development seemed to require. But the Commonwealth will have to follow the lines laid down by South Australia. In all probability that policy will operate very much’ against the development of that portion of Australia. No doubt the Commonwealth is stronger than the people of any single State. Probably it has more money to throw away in this foolish fashion. But we should not have been asked to do this work by any one State of the Union. In my opinion, it is a policy that is going to operate in a most injurious fashion. I regret that this arrangement has been carried through under the guidance and at the instigation of the Labour party. That is one of the worst features in connexion with it. I had always understood the Labour party to be a patriotic party, to bc above localism, to be a national party. But now I find it to be more saturated with provincialism than any other party in the Commonwealth. Let us now look at the matter from a strategic point of view. We are told that this railway is necessary for defence. I would ask honorable senators to turn their eyes to the badly-drawn map hanging in the Senate chamber, which gives some idea of what is going to happen when a railway is built. According to the agreement, the railway will start from Port Darwin, come right down through the heart of the continent to Port Augusta, and from Port Augusta will go on ‘ to Adelaide. Unless the eastern States build lines right out to the borders of the Northern Territory, and unless the Commonwealth builds spur lines to join those extensions of State railways, that line will be of absolutely no use for strategic purposes. Unless this course is adopted, should an enemy land at Port Darwin, troops would have to be sent round through Adelaide, via Port Augusta, and through” the heart of the continent, taking Heaven knows how long to reach the point required. From a strategic point of view I submit that the proposed railway is the worst that could be constructed-. The bulk of the population of Australia is to be found in the eastern portion of the continent. South Australia has about only 400,000 of the 4,500,000 people in the Commonwealth. I do not say where the railway should be, but, looking at the map, I do say that a line taken straight down the centre of the continent would be of no use whatever for strategic purposes. Another line is shown on the map which might be easily reached from the railways of Queensland and New South Wales, and honorable senators can easily see what a difference from a strategic point of view it would make to have that line constructed. New South Wales and Queensland have between them more than half of the people of the Commonwealth, and if the line to which I am now referring were constructed they could rush troops to Port Darwin, or to any point in the Northern Territory where they were required, without any loss of time and without the trouble, time, and expense that would be involved if they had to be taken through Adelaide, Port Augusta, and Oodnadatta into the Territory. But if that course were followed Adelaide would not have the benefit of the spending of money in taking troops through that city.
– That is patriotism.
– It is the South Australian brand - of patriotism, a brand that ought to be put to the burning. South Australia is doubly convicted of selfishness in this matter. Her troubles about whether the Commonwealth is invaded or not ! If she can bring twopence half-penny to Adelaide she is going to do so no matter in what danger her action may involve the Commonwealth. I do not say that the proposed railway would be the worst that could be constructed from a development point of view, because I do not know, nor does any one else, but from a strategic point of view it is absolutely the worst proposal that could be made.
-Colonel Cameron. - Hear, hear.
– I am glad to hear Senator Cameron, who is a military authority, echoing my sentiments. We all profess to believe in securing the safety of Australia. We profess to be patriots to the toes. of our boots, but if our professions are of any value we should decide in this matter upon the construction of a line which will enable troops to be transported to any point required in the Northern Territory with the least possible delay. Those who will vote for the third reading of this Bill will,, in my opinion, stand convicted of a lack of patriotism. I have said that the bulk of the population of the Commonwealth is to be found in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.
– There is no parochial ring about the honorable senator’s speech.
– That is so. I am anxious that in the event of an invasion of the Northern Territory our troops, the majority of whom will be provided by Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, should be able to get to the scene of action with the least possible loss of time. Senator McGregor, as Vice-President of the Executive Council and a member of the Government of the Commonwealth, ought to be interested in its effective defence. He must agree with what I have said, and if he does not I can only come to the conclusion that he places the interests of South Australia before the interests of the Commonwealth. I may go further and say that he deliberately sacrifices the interests of the Commonwealth to forward those of South Australia.
– Is Senator McGregor forwarding the interests of South Australia in this matter?
– The honorable senator thinks that he is, and that is quite sufficient for him. From whatever point of view this proposal is considered, the result can only be disappointment to any one who has Australia’s welfare at heart. We have, in the first place, the exceedingly un-Federal attitude of South Australia, and, to a certain extent, I regret to. say, of Western Australia also. It is proposed that the Commonwealth shall take up the debt upon the Territory, shall undertake its future development, and recoup South Australia the millions she has spent upon it. We must pour many millions more into this sink before anything can be taken out. But, while the Commonwealth is asked to take all this obligation upon herself, the policy of development is, to a certain extent, to be dictated by South Australia. This is a condition which the Commonwealth ought never to accept, and which South Australia should not try to impose on the rest of the people of the Commonwealth. For the
reasons I have given I shall vote against the third reading of the Bill. I believe in taking over the Northern Territory. 1 think it ought to be developed, if its development is possible. South Australia cannot do the work, and I believe that Australia must do it. But, that being the case, it is highly improper that South Australia, who has miserably failed in the work, should be allowed to lay down the policy for the future development of the Territory.
– After the eloquent speech delivered by Senator Stewart, what I have to say will probably sound very tame. But I wish to give the reasons why I have paired against the third reading of this Bill. Throughout I have objected to our having to go into South Australia at all under the agreement. Railway construction in South Australia is, in my opinion, the business of that State. I recognise that, under the agreement, the proposed railway must be constructed within the Northern Territory to the northern boundary of South Australia. I protest against this, because I contend that if the line is to be of any use for defence purposes it will be necessary for the Commonwealth to connect some point on that line with Camooweal, and a much better railway for strategic purposes might then be constructed. Lord Kitchener recently paid a visit to the Commonwealth, and apparently he favoured the idea of railway construction from the centre of population towards Port Darwin. One reason why I should like to see the land-grant system adopted in the construction of the proposed railway to the Northern Territory is that we might devote Commonwealth expenditure to the development of the Territory, and to meet the loss on the line from Port Augusta. There is one feature of the Bill which I like, and that is the agreement of South Australia not to offer any opposition to the construction of ‘the Western Australian line. There is one matter* which I think has not yet been mentioned, and that is that the Bill involves our taking over a Railway Department. I take it that we shall become responsible for the working of the line from Port Augusta right up to Port Darwin. I think we should have a report from some competent authority on the best means of working the line. I notice that Mr. Tait intends shortly to resign his position as Chief Commissioner of the railways of Victoria. He has had great experience of railways__constructed . in Canada ‘ on the land-grant principle, and I think that before he leaves Australia it would be good business for the Government to consult him as to how land-grant railways are worked, and whether, in his opinion, it would be possible to have a railway constructed through the Northern Territory on the land-grant principle. I agree with what Senator Stewart has said about the proposed railway from a strategic point of view. -If we take over the Northern Territory, and the proposed railway is constructed, it will be the duty of the Federal Government to have a line constructed from some point on that line to Camooweal, to enable troops to be transported to Port Darwin much more rapidly than they could be taken there via Adelaide. My impression is that the taking over of the Territory will be a very great relief to South Australia. I am not sorry on that account, because 1 consider ‘that South Australia was very patriotic in taking upon herself the responsibility of the control of the Territory. It would not surprise me if, when it is made known that the Royal Assent has been given to this measure, the people of South Australia hold a thanksgiving clay for the great financial relief it will afford them.
– I think it is a pity that a certain amount of bitterness should have been imported into the discussion of this measure. South Australians have been roundly abused as unpatriotic, narrow-minded, and selfish. I dc not think that that condemnation is deserved. So far as I’ am concerned, as a representative of South Australia, I have supported this measure from an Australian point of view. It is because I have realized the importance and urgency of an early settlement of the question that I have so far refrained from taking part in the debate. Some honorable senators have occupied hours of our time in the endeavour to belittle the great Northern Territory and to prove that it is an absolutely worthless area of country - that it is not worth developing, that it is a burden on South Australia, and that that State should be compelled to hand it over to the Common. wealth unconditionally. Now the position is that an agreement was arrived at between South Australia and the Commonwealth upon the suggestion of the Commonwealth Government.
– What about the offer which was made bv the late Sir Frederick Holder?
– The Commonwealth suggested that South Australia should transfer the Territory to it. South Australia agreed to negotiate with that end in view, and, as a result, consented to hand over the Territory to the Commonwealth subject to certain conditions. The Government of South Australia were bound to protect the interests of that State to some extent. I admit that they might have driven a harder bargain with the Commonwealth.
– When the honorable senator says that South Australia might have driven a harder bargain with the Commonwealth, does he admit that this is a hard bargain?
– No. Honorable senators opposite have accused South Australia of attempting to drive a hard bargain with the Commonwealth, and I am merely endeavouring to show that this is not a hard bargain. The late Premier of South Australia, Mr. Price, stipulated that if the Northern Territory were taken over by the Commonwealth, certain existing railways which were being run at a loss merely because they have not been carried far enough north should also be taken over, and that in the interests of Australia - not of South Australia - a transcontinental railway should be built through that country.
– Why should South Australia be concerned with what the Commonwealth may choose to do?
– Quite a number of South Australians who are not members of the Senate take an interest in the welfare of Australia. I repeat that the late Mr. Price stipulated that the transcontinental railway should be constructed through the Northern Territory. Otherwise how can that country be developed? Can it be developed by building a line of railway through Queensland?
– When once the Territory has been ceded to the Commonwealth, what authority but the Commonwealth will be responsible for its development ?
– South Australia is perfectly justified in saying to the Commonwealth, “ We consent to transfer the Northern Territory to you subject to certain conditions which to some’ extent safe guard our own interests, but which to a larger extent safeguard the interests of Australia.” But from the way in which some honorable senators have spoken, one might be led to believe that this Parliament was about to make an agreement with South Australia.
– Who is making the agreement ?
– The agreement was made .years ago, and the object of this Bill is merely to ratify it. Some honorable senators close their eyes to the fact that if the agreement be not adopted in its present form, the Northern Territory will continue in its undeveloped condition for ten or fifteen years.
– Why? Cannot we get another agreement?
– Certainly not. I would remind the honorable* senator that in South Australia there are two Houses of Parliament. In the House of Assembly there is a majority of Labour members, who are, generally speaking, more liberal and broadminded than are the members of the Legislative Council. The latter in many respects are like my honorable friend Senator Stewart in that they are very conservative. There is no hope of the Legislative Council of South Australia agreeing to the Commonwealth taking over the Northern Territory.
– Therefore we must let the Legislative Council of South Australia dominate the Commonwealth?
– The domination of the Commonwealth by the Parliament of South Australia is not in question. I repeat that the ex-Prime Minister, Mr. Deakin, and the late Premier of South Australia, Mr. Price, arrived at what they regarded as a fair compromise in respect of the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth. Both wanted more than they got. But finally a compromise was determined upon, which is embodied in the agreement that we are now asked to ratify. Had the Commonwealth Parliament been about to enter into an agreement with South Australia, I most certainly would have supported the amendment submitted by Senator Symon yesterday for the purpose of making its conditions absolutely clear. I did not vote for that amendment, because I felt that its adoption would delay the settlement of this important question. At the same time, I believe that it would have given effect to the idea- which was in the mind of the Premier of South Australia when the agreement was framed.
-Colonel Cameron. - Then the honorable senator hopes that a deviation may be made in the route of the proposed railway.
– I am perfectly satisfied to leave the route of the line to be determined by the Commonwealth Parliament. I do not believe that any Australian Parliament will agree to the construction of a line through Queensland and New South Wales to develop the Northern Territory.
– If the Commonwealth Parliament has a free hand in that matter, may it not decide to develop the Territory by the construction, of lines running east and west?
– A line running right through the Territory can easily, be linked up with existing lines. At the present time there are railways running from various Queensland ports almost to the border of the Territory. So that no difficulty will be experienced in linking them up with the proposed transcontinental line.
– But if existing railways east of the Territory are continued, where is the need to run a line through it north and south?
– We must have a trunk line.
– Senator Millen is forgetting Adelaide.
– It is Senator Story who is forgetting it.
– Honorable senators appear inclined to be a little frivolous.
– The honorable senator’s exhibition of nationalism is responsible for that.
– The linking up of the lines to which I have referred with the proposed transcontinental railway would permit of Port Augusta and certain Queensland ports becoming natural outlets for the trade of the Territory.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The honorable senator must not forget that all these railways will have to te p’aid for.
– Of course they will. And if the country which they would traverse is half as good as our Queensland friends represent, the linking up of those railways would prove remunerative to that State. My point is that the proposed transcontinental railway must be built, and I be lieve that the Commonwealth Parliament will decide that it will be wise to construct it through the Northern Territory, which, when this Bill becomes law, will be Federal territory.
– Queensland might refuse to allow the Commonwealth to build a railway through her territory.
– I do not wish to impute motives. I have no desire to say as hard things about honorable senators who hail from Queensland as they have said about honorable senators who represent other States. But I do say that the wonderful unanimity which is exhibited upon this Bill by the representatives of Queensland, who, upon other matters, are at daggers drawn, is remarkable. It almost looks as if some Queensland interest were going to be served by a deviation of the proposed line through that State.
– We are not Hungering for the Northern Territory.
– The agreement which is embodied in this Bill is the best which could be made. It is about to be ratified by this branch of the Commonwealth Parliament. I hope that the other branch of the Legislature will ratify it speedily, in order that the Commonwealth Government may at once take steps to develop the Territory. In its present undeveloped condition it is a menace to Australia. Even a delay of one or two years may make an enormous difference in the cost of that country to Australia. We know perfectly well that in about five years a certain treaty, which at the present time insures the safety of this continent, will terminate. It is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to make the most rapid progress possible in developing it, even if by so doing a large expenditure has to be incurred. To insure the safety of Australia from outside aggression, it is necessary to construct the proposed transcontinental railway at the earliest possible moment, to erect defences at Port Darwin, and to settle the great empty space to the north of South Australia.
– I merely desire to utter a parting malediction upon this Bill in its passage through the Senate to another place. The measure has a political pedigree. It is by Barter out of the well known Commonwealth mare Folly, and the name which might fitly be given to it is Goldbrick.
– U will win ths St. Ledger when we start it.
– The discussion of the Bill has revealed an absolute ambiguity in the agreement which it seeks to ratify. It is almost inconceivable that when the measure reaches another place the Government will permit that ambiguity to remain in it. After the explanation which was given last night by the Minister of Defence, it was clearer still that ambiguity existed. He said that if they touched the ambiguity it might interfere with the agreement, or with that part of the Bill which ratifies it. He displayed the dangerous subtlety of a layman, when dealing with high points of law. I wish to point out this view, which must be patent to every layman, that to remove an ambiguity is not to touch one tittle of the agreement, or of the Bill ratifying it. It is simply to clear up the well-known or wellunderstood terms of the agreement. The ambiguity is a blot on the Bill, and on the policy of the Government. I hope that both the blot and the policy will be wiped out.
– I should have been very much more satisfied with the Bill had it not been for the tactics of the Ministry, and the way in which it has been carried through. First of all there was circulated what I look upon as a vote-catching opinion from the Attorney-General. It was adopted by the Ministry simply to facilitate the passage of the Bill through the Senate. It was opposed to the opinions of eminent men like Senator Symon, Mr. Dashwood, who is Crown Solicitor of South Australia, and Mr. Mitchell, K.C., of Melbourne. The opinions of those gentlemen ought to have been respected. If the intention of the agreement is as they clearly stated it to be, that intention ought to be made just as clear in the Bill. What I am afraid of is that the refusal of the Government to make the route of the railway clear will be used in time to come against the agreement. People can say then - “There was a proposal made in the Senate to clearly define the route of the railway, but the Government refused to adopt it,” and, therefore, it will give colour to the idea that the railway may be deviated outside the Northern Territory, either east or west, if that is so decided. That is not the intention of the agreement, and we ought to have made that abundantly clear when we had the opportunity. I am aware that the Ministry have the numbers to carry the third reading, whether I vote for it or not. Since the passing of the Bill through Committee last night, I have carefully considered the position. I rely upon the opinions of the legal gentlemen I have named, with regard to the intention of the agreement.
– But the Commonwealth has also an Attorney-General, and I am backing his opinion every time.
– I am backing the number as well as the intellect that there is in the other side of this question. Moreover, I want to rely on the good sense and the fair play of this Parliament in time to come. I know that if the State Parliament is not satisfied with the Bill as it is passed here, they will have an opportunity of complying with a number of petitions, which have been presented, asking them to cancel this arrangement.
– There is no hope of them doing that.
– Not much show.
– They will say, “ We have the gold brick now.”
– Honorable senators who interject, do not know the feeling, which has been growing strongly in the State during the last year or two, in favour of repealing the Act, and allowing the State to manage the Northern Territory herself.
– The honorable senator’s speech is an invitation to those who have supported the Bill to vote against its third reading.
– I do not care very much whether they do or not.
– Yes, the honorable senator does.
– The refusal of the Government to allow the route of the railway to be made absolutely clear takes away a lot of my interest in the Bill. Nor do I think that it ought to be said, as was said by Senator Stewart, that South Australia is forcing the hands of this Parliament, that it is dictating a policy. Here is an agreement which was drawn up between two contracting parties, the Commonwealth being represented on the one side, and the State on the other. The State Parliament passed an Act ratifying the agreement. Then the Commonwealth Government introduced this measure, and asked this Parliament to ratify the agreement. Where does the dictation or the forcing of the hands of this Parliament come in? Is it not at liberty, if it thinks that the agreement is not fair, to throw it out and to say, “ We will . have nothing to do with it”? The mere fact that it has accepted the agreement is an evidence that it believes it to be fair. I am afraid that, in consequence of the Government refusing to accept Senator Symon’s amendment, those who may oppose the route which we believe ought to be taken under the agreement will use that fact to say, “ Here is an evidence that the Parliament did not pledge itself to a route through the Territory, but decided that, if necessary, the railway might go somewhere else.”
– We are assured of that by the Vice-President of the Executive Council-
– That, to my mind, is an unsatisfactory position. I believe that it will be unsatisfactory to a great many persons in South Australia. It makes me somewhat dissatisfied with the Bill, and certainly if it were not for the opinions of the eminent lawyers I have named that there is no doubt as to the meaning of the agreement, I should have voted against its third reading.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [11.40]. - I have listened to the various speeches which have been made on this motion. Senator Vardon has complained that the Government did not assent to an amendment which he considers would Have made more abundantly clear the intention of the agreement as to the route of the railway. He has also taken considerable exception to the action of the Government in opposing thatamendment, but he has not given sufficient consideration to the fact tHat a Government generally adopts the opinions expressed by its Attorney-General on legal points arising in connexion with Bills.
– I think that a Government generally relies on its Crown Law Officers, and not on its Attorney-General.
.- The Commonwealth has its Crown Law Officers, and if the AttorneyGeneral is in doubt with regard to an opinion which he is about to give on an important matter, he has the opportunity of consulting them and ascertaining their views. U is quite right, I take _it; for a Government to adhere to an opinion expressed for its benefit by its own AttorneyGeneral. No Government could be expected to belittle the opinion of its own legal advisers, by accepting an opinion expressed by persons who are outside the Department, and who only advise on cases as submitted. I know that very often cases indicate to counsel the direction in which an opinion would probably be acceptable, and certain facts may not be brought prominently, as they ought to be, under the notice of counsel in order to make them fully cognisant of all the peculiarities of the situation.
– There was the Bill itself to place before counsel.
– I offer no opinion as to the construction of the agreement. In his opinion the Attorney-General points out to the Government, and Senator McGregor has pointed out to the Senate, that it will be possible to deviate the railway if that is considered for the advantage of the Commonwealth and of the Territory itself. I take it that if the present Government should remain in power, and the AttorneyGeneral should see no reason to depart from his opinion, they can. if they should consider it a proper thing to do, deviate the railway over to Camooweal, in Queensland, and thence along the border. When the Commissioner for Crown Lands of South Australia submitted the agreement to the House of Assembly, he said that it had been agreed by Mr. Deakin that the railway should go either directly through the Northern Territory, or should deviate by what was considered by many persons a much better route, namely, towards Camooweal, and thence along the Queensland border. I do not see how Senator Vardon could expect the Government to depart from the opinion of the Attorney-General, who, with a full knowledge of the conflict of opinions, decided to adhere to his original view. The honorable senator has said tHat he is doubtful whether the people of South Australia will care to continue the agreement. That may be so. There mav be men so far ill-advised as to attempt to get away from the agreement because, in their opinion, it is not so satisfactory as it might have been. They may think that the State is in a position to develop the Territory much more advantageously than the Commonwealth, and much more in the interests of the State and possibly of the Commonwealth as a whole. When South Australia determined to build her railway and she had the Territory, one can realize how very naturally the people of the State would say, “ If we are to find the whole of the money and to be responsible for the payment of the debt and the management of the country, we shall do so not for the purpose of developing or assisting other States, but in our own interests.” That, of course, is a reasonable idea. If the people of a State build a railway with their own money they are entitled to build it in such a way as will best develop their own territory But once a matter of this kind passes out of the hands of a State and into the hands of the Commonwealth we cannot regard that one State as pre-eminently entitled to reap a benefit as against all the others. The position becomes absolutely different. I can conceive of South Australia desiring a particular line of route to be adopted. But once South Australia allows another body - of which she herself is a constituent part - to undertake the work and find the money, the interests of the whole Commonwealth must be considered. If it be a good strategic move on the part of the Commonwealth to take control of this great Territory, is it not our duty to consider the best route to be chosen for a railway line from the defence point of view ? It is arguable that no route that could be selected would be of very great value strategically, but if something must be done in that direction we should certainly build the railway that will be most useful in conveying troops from one part of Australia to another. Is it not absurd to say that if troops are to be conveyed from the eastern sea-board to the north of Australia they must first be taken to Adelaide and then carried over an enormous railway journey to Port Darwin? The map shows that the shortest route is not via Adelaide, but straight away from the eastern coast. I have already pointed out, and now reiterate, that the Territory can most advantageously be developed from the Queensland side. Queensland has already carried her railways a long distance westward, and can easily strike the borders of the Northern Territory. The population that the Territory may expect to receive will flow into it along that route. We have also to remember that Port Darwin is a very important harbor, and the probability is that before many years are over it will have a considerable import and export trade. Is it to be supposed that the products prepared for export at Port Darwin would be carried down a railway to Adelaide to be shipped from that port? No one imagines that if a man living in Port Darwin wanted to export goods or himself to go to Europe he would, if he could avoid it, travel down to Adelaide by train and there take ship. We shall not develop the country by building the railway indicated by the supporters of this scheme. If it were found by the Government, after further inquiry, that the Territory could be better developed by building a railway towards Camooweal, that policy would be justified in the interests of the Commonwealth, and we should be warranted in building that railway only. If we are going to pay what I regard as a fancy price for the right to take over the enormous responsibility which South Australia has not been able to cope with, we ought to have a free hand, and ought not to be compelled to build a line which will not pay interest on the cost of construction for, perhaps, halfacentury or a century. We do not want our developmental policy to be thwarted by the fact that we already have placed upon our shoulders unnecessarily the great burden of supporting an unremunerative railway. 1 do not suppose that there is a single member of either branch of the Legislature who is opposed to taking over the Northern Territory as long as it is assumed by the Commonwealth on fair and reasonable conditions. It has been stated that the endeavours which South Australia has made to develop the Territory should be taken into consideration. I quite agree that those efforts should be considered in a generous way. But that admission does not necessitate the acceptance of burdensome conditions which will seriously hamper future development. The first steps taken in the direction of inducing the Commonwealth to take over the Northern Territory were made in the first year of the Commonwealth’s existence. At that time no stipulation as to railway construction was made. It was simply required that South Australia should be indemnified against the expenditure incurred during her control of the Territory. That offer was withdrawn. Why? Not because South Australia considered she had made too good an offer to the Commonwealth, but because she thought she could manage to secure better advantages for herself by means of a land grant railway. When that land grant railway scheme failed South Australia came to ‘the Commonwealth again with a request that the Territory should be taken under our control.
– Two offers were made to construct the railway on the land grant principle, but both were turned down.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - But the offers, I believe, were made on conditions which could not be accepted on account of the laws of the Commonwealth.
– They were made absolutely without any conditions whatever.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - The honorable senator is more intimate with the particulars than I am, but I am judging from the correspondence which I saw in1906 or 1907, in which it was stated that difficulties were experienced in connexion with the labour that would be required, and the duty that would be charged on the importation of railway material. When the Commonwealth was approached again, the offer was burdened with conditions that were not thought of in the first instance. If South Australia considers that she can develop the Territory, I shall have no objection to her taking it in hand, although I think that the work can best be done by the Commonwealth. But after forty-seven years of experience, having found herself involved in deficit after deficit, she must surely recognise the fact that she is unable to cope with the task. To say so much is not to cast any reflection on South Australia. The case is like that of a man full of enterprise who endeavours to carry out a large task with insufficient capital. He meets with failure, not because he has not done his best, but because the work has been too much for his energy and his means. Many of us sometimes take in hand a little more than we ought to have attempted. Senator Walker has pointed out what a fortunate thing it would be for South Australia if the Commonwealth took over the Territory, and has said that he is satisfied that when this Act was passed there would be a day of thanksgiving in Adelaide. One can imagine that the joybells will be rung, and that there will be a jubilation. If Parliament determines to do this work we must submit. I have no desire to pronounce a malediction on the Bill. I should rather pronounce a benediction on the. State of South Australia, because she has been successful in finding such a nice, confiding, innocent body as the Commonwealth Parliament to lift such a responsibility from her shoulders. The burden must have been an almost in tolerable one to her, and would have continued to be so for many years to come if she had not secured relief from this wealthy and complacent body known as the Commonwealth.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) . - The very picturesque language we have heard from Senator Gould was very entertaining, but both he and Senator Walker are entirely mistaken in their attempts to gauge the sentiments of South Australia with regard to this matter. It will be a very fortunate thing for the entire Commonwealth, and in the national interest, if, on proper terms and a clear understanding, the Northern Territory - which, it should not be forgotten, is a part of the Commonwealth - is placed in a position in which it. may begin perhaps to ascend to the much more satisfactory, more dignified, and stronger position of a State. I am sure that we all hope that before many years are over that position will be achieved. But the sentiment of South Australia at the present moment is not so favorably disposed to this proposal, particularly as recently expounded, as the two New South Wales representatives to whom I have referred would have us believe. At present there are being presented to the Parliament of South Australia influential and numerous petitions, not only from individual citizens of the State in great numbers, but from corporate bodies, seeking the intervention of the State Legislature and the rescission of what has already been done there. I am not going to pass anopinion upon that. These irresponsible - and, I venture to say, foolish - statements may be considered interesting if made playfully, but, if made seriously, they are entirely without foundation. Honorable senators may take it from me that in the present state of feeling in South Australia there will be no joybells rung on the passing of this measure - at any rate, not just immediately.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Not until the Bill is assented to.
– I do not propose to follow Senator Gould over the well-trodden paths which he has trodden once again with regard to subjects which have been so fully discussed. The honorable senator has been industriously flogging a dead horse. He has gone over much of the old ground with respect to the development of the Territory, and has alluded once again to the strategical advantage of the proposed direct railway as com- pared with the advantage of sending troops into the Northern Territory from the eastern States. I would ask the honorable senator if he is aware that it is possible that a proposal may be submitted to the Senate for a railway from Port Augusta to Western Australia, and that a good deal of. the argument in support of it will be found to rest upon its presumed strategical advantages. When the honorable senator talks of the distance over which troops would have to be transported from the populous eastern parts of Australia, I should like to remind him that the position in respect of the other railway to which I have referred will be infinitely worse than the position with respect to the direct railway to the Northern Territory. How are we to provide for the defence of Western Australia by sending troops from the populous east, from Brisbane, and Sydney - that home of patriotism? How far does the honorable senator think it is from Melbourne to Perth? Is it not a great deal further than from Melbourne via Port Augusta to Pine Creek or Port Darwin? The honorable senator seems to forget that the difficulty which he suggests of sending troops from our populous centres to Port Darwin to resist invasion - a difficulty which I do not admit exists at all - must exist to a greater extent in sending reinforcements to Western Australia. It is questionable whether, in the event of the invasion of Western Australia or Port Darwin, the eastern populous centres would not find that they would have .plenty to do in looking after their own defence, and might therefore be unable, in the present state of our development, to spare a sufficient number of troops to be of any use in resisting invasion at the other point.
– The honorable senator will admit that there would be more traffic between east and west than between north and south?
– Not at all ; but I am not now discussing the question of traffic. I am discussing the matter from the strategical point of view presented by a very high military expert like Senator Gould, and I am pointing out to him that he had better apply his mind to the great difficulties in the way of succouring the people of Perth and Fremantle in the event of invasion. I suggest that they would be greater than the problematical difficulties he has presented of transporting troops to the benighted Northern Territory, which, according to some honorable senators, is not worth defending at all.
– Has Kitchener been superseded by Senator Gould?
– I am quite sure that if Senator Gould, with his military knowledge and experience, were placed in the same position as Lord Kit’chener, he would do his best. I do not wish it to be considered that the difficulties of transporting troops in the one case would not exist in the other. Perhaps Senator Gould would say where troops sent to Port Darwin would come from. If they came from Sydney, the most populous; city of the Commonwealth, what distancewould they have to go, and how would they get to Port Darwin? We know that there is a railway to Brisbane, which, I believe, is now extended to Rockhampton.
– And which is extended from there to Longreach, which might be linked up with a transcontinental line.
– No Field-Marshal, however eminent, would endeavour to march his troops from Longreach to Port Darwin, especially if we are to believe a thousandth part of what we have heard of the waste and waterless wilderness which they would have to pass through. When statements of this kind are made., as, I think, without due consideration, they are very apt to mislead. It is perfectly legitimate, of course, to use arguments, I was going to say, of any sort. Any stick is good enough to beat a dog with, and, apparently, any argument may be used to denounce a proposal to which one is opposed. Even from such a map as we haveexhibited here, it is easy to see that the distance from Longreach to Port Darwin would be immense, nearly as far as from: Oodnadatta to Port Darwin.
– It would not be necessary to send troops from Sydney via Brisbane to Longreach if a proper transcontinental railway were constructed. They could be sent via Bourke.
– The population of Queensland is very little greater than the population of South Australia, and possibly very few troops could be spared from Brisbane. We might expect that some troops could be spared from New South Wales, and then I say that the distance from Sydney to Port Darwin is, at least, as great as the distance from Adelaide, or from Melbourne, to Port Darwin.
– Not within 1,000 miles as great.
– My honorable friend is entirely mistaken. What is proposed as an alternative to the direct line is not a direct line. The proposal is to link up existing lines constructed for different purposes, and not a direct line such as we should have from Port Augusta under this proposal.
– But, under this proposal, troops would have to be taken round from the eastern States to Port Augusta, in the first place.
– I am referring to the nearest populous centres, Sydney and Melbourne, and I say that all these arguments, which should hardly be dignified with the name, all these representations, are merely beating the air.
– The honorable senator is referring to the arguments he is using ?
– No; to the arguments about which I am offering a few observations, and such, for instance, as I heard from the honorable senator yesterday. Speaking on the matter in the plainest way, I do not see how any one can deny that a direct line, bisecting the continent by the shortest possible route, is the national railway - the line that ought to be constructed. No one can deny that some time or other, and that soon, a railway line ought to be run from the north to the south to bisect the continent.
– What about a line from the east to the west?
– Senator Lynch’s pet line is a line which would run along the coast. I am talking of a line bisecting the continent.
– Where is the population?
– It is a question of getting the population there and opening up the country. When Senator Fraser, who has shown strong opposition to this proposal, was speaking, I ventured to ask him whether he did not think that, sooner or later, a line must be constructed from north to south bisecting the continent. The honorable senator said he did think that such a line should be constructed. Why should it not be sooner than later? What would be the object of taking the line out of the direct route, supposing its construction were authorized at all?
– What is the object of running a line through bad country when it might be taken through good country?
– I enjoy the honorable senator’s interjections very much, but I shall not deal with them any further. I did not intend to address a single word to the subjects which have been so well threshed out during this debate. For myself and my own attitude towards this Bill, I have only two things to say. One is, that in view of the recent development on this question, and the declarations made by the Government, which I think will- be extremely unsatisfactory in South Australia, I am not disposed to support the third reading of a Bill which may be attempted to be interpreted or used, or which invites interpretation and use, in order not to fulfil, but, as I think, to violate, the plain agreement which has been made with South Australia, and I will not say to betray, but to defeat her just hopes and claims. I think it is a great pity - whatever may have been the unfitting motive - that the Government have taken the course which they have taken. South Australia would be better satisfied if the route of the proposed line had been made perfectly plain. I have done all I can to avoid the possibility of trouble being created as the result of any suggested ambiguity in the Bill. However, other opportunities will present themselves for enforcing a recognition of the rights of South Australia in this matter, and of insuring that the basis upon which she entered into this arrangement with the Commonwealth shall be respected. It has been intimated that next session a Bill will be introduced for the purpose of authorizing the construction of a railway from Port Augusta, in South Australia, to Kalgoorlie, in Western Australia. I wish to say quite plainly that I shall give that measure my strenuous and undeviating opposition until the rights of South Australia in respect of the Bill which we are now considering have been recognised, and until that State has received the fullest assurance from the Commonwealth that the railway line for which she stipulated will be built wholly within the Northern Territory.
– Which of the two transcontinental railways does the honorable senator think ought to be constructed first ?
– Unless they can be simultaneously constructed, I am of opinion that the line from north to south is the more important and urgent of the two. Whatever view other honorable senators may take, I will not allow an arrangement with South Australia to be made a mere stepping stone to enable another railway to be built, and for South Australia then to be left out in the cold. These are my views, and, so far as I can, I shall seek to give effect to them. I shall endeavour to maintain the right of South Australia to have the condition for which she clearly stipulated fulfilled, and without undue delay.
-Colonel CAMERON (Tasmania) [12.20]. - Throughout the discussion of this Bill one matter has been overlooked, namely, that in the event of any action having to be taken by the military authorities of the Commonwealth for the defence of the Northern Territory this Bill presupposes the loss of the command of the seas. That must be distinctly borne in mind. If Great Britain lost her sea supremacy, then our whole coast-line from Port Darwin round the most important, most populous, and most wealthy parts of Australia, would be open to attack in a way which might fairly be described as “ a bolt from the blue,” because we should never know where it would fall. With due deference to the knowledge of so distinguished a gentleman as Senator Symon in respect of military as well as of legal matters, I wish to point out that if the direct railway from Port Augusta to Port Darwin were constructed and troops had to be withdrawn from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia to defend the Northern Territory, those States would necessarily be weakened. In other words, our most vulnerable points of attack would be more open to the enemy, because the troops would have been withdrawn from one side of an isosceles triangle and taken up to its apex. Surely it must occur to everybody that the shortest route would be the best one. A railway which would link up the lines from the coast and which run inland would not only benefit Port Darwin, to which point troops could be despatched with the least possible delay, but would also be of great value in preventing an effective blow being struck at any point on the eastern coast of Australia. It must be clear to everybody that the first essential is the linking up of the existing railway lines which run inland from the coast. The proposed transcontinental railway to Western Australia stands by itself. If anything has been made clear during the course of this debate it is that practically the whole of the country from Oodnadatta to a point only a very few miles distant from the coast in the Northern Territory is almost an uninhabitable desert. It is not at all likely that we shall be threatened with danger from that quarter. Consequently, it behoves us to protect our more vulnerable points before we pay attention to other points which are secure, defence being our first consideration at the present juncture. I say that we ought not so to distribute our troops as to leave our most vital interests absolutely undefended. Yet that is exactly what we shall do if the proposed transcontinental railway be absolutely confined to the Northern Territory.
. -Before this Bill passes its third reading I should like to say a few words. Outside of this Parliament the measure is called a political job by force of circumstances. That statement may be true or it may not.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that it is not true.
– It is a reflection on the dignity of Parliament.
- Senator Story has imputed motives to the representatives of Queensland. Indeed, motives have been assigned to them ever since this debate began, although the imputations cast upon them were without foundation. As a Queensland representative I am pledged to oppose the construction of this line, though I am not pledged to oppose the transfer of the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth. This morning I was sorry to note that Senator Symon did not appear to be in his usual happy frame of mind. He declared that the proposed railway through the Northern Territory ought to run direct from north to south. But in America we know that the railways run east and west. What is to prevent a line being run east and west from Cloncurry through the heart of the Northern Territory? I believe that eventually the eastern States and Western Australia will be linked together by means of railways, and that is the way in which the Northern Territory will be developed. We all know that speeches have been delivered in the South Australian Parliament in which complaint is made that that State ever touched the Territory, for the reason that the State and the Territory are totally dissimilar. There is in the Territory no growth which can assimilate with what is grown in South Australia. It is a pity that she ever had anything to do with the Territory, because the climatic conditions and everything else there are directly opposed to those which mark her thickly-populated parts. If a railway is run from east to west, there will be a similarity between what is grown in the Territory and what is grown in Western Australia and Queensland. From that point of view, that will be the best route to adopt. I am not advocating that the Government should do that, or should put a provision in the Bill in regard to such a railway, because I desire the Parliament to be left quite untrammelled. When the time comes to decide upon the route, I want the Parliament to be in possession of every information which can be collected, by means of surveys ordered by the Government. I am prepared to help to vote money to enable the fullest possible information on the subject to be procured. That is all that we have asked. I understand that Senator Symon is going to vote against the third reading of the Bill, because he considers that it is not good enough for South Australia as it stands. He may have his reasons for taking that course; but, in my opinion, that State is getting a very good bargain - indeed, one which is too much in her interests. Senator Story has interjected that if her people wanted more, they could have driven a harder bargain. His interjection means that they have driven a pretty fair bargain ; but that if they had so desired, they might have driven a harder bargain. I believe that if they had known the temper of the Senate they would have done so. South Australia has had ample opportunities to withdraw her offer of the Northern Territory, and to refuse to deal with the Commonwealth any more. I do not know by what means she is now before this Parliament with the same agreement. I suppose that she has found more pliable people to deal with. Senator Cameron has expressed a professional opinion - one which coincides with the opinion I formed from a layman’s point of view - that, from the military point of view, this is the most impossible scheme which we could possibly adopt. Suppose that we should want to get any assistance from Tasmania, shall we have to run the troops across to Melbourne, thence to Adelaide, and right up to Port Darwin? Surely that will not be the right thing to do ! Have honorable senators taken into consideration the cost of training 20,000 men by the circuit which we are asked to approve? Have they any idea of the extra cost which it will entail upon “the Treasury? But suppose that that point has not engaged their attention, what is this great and burning question about Port Darwin? Is that the only portion of the northern coast which is likely to be attacked ? Of what use will a fort at that point be to protect Thursday Island and the coast from Cape York round the Gulf of Carpentaria to Port Darwin? I suppose that there are 700 or 800 miles of coastline between Port Darwin and Cape York. Is that to be protected by a fort at Port Darwin? I do not anticipate that the Commonwealth will maintain an army there. Unless we keep the command of the sea, it can be attacked and captured within twenty-four hours.
– There is a fort on Thursday Island.
– The purpose of that fort is to protect the inner channel between the Barrier Reef and the mainland - not to protect Australia itself, but to block vessels from going through the narrow channel which it commands. But where is the command of the sea from ThursdayIsland to Port Darwin? Along that coastline of 700 or 800 miles, there are some ports - for instance, one at Normanton, with a railway to the Croydon gold- field, and another at Burketown. How is it intended to protect those places? Is it to be done by means of a railway to Port Darwin? I thought that it was Australia, and not a little portion of it, which we want to protect. It is admitted by everybody, even by the greatest advocates of this scheme, that, if an enemy landed at Port Darwin, they could not go south, but would probably make a little settlement there. If we should keep the command of the sea, even though the enemy should land 1,000 or 2,000 persons at Port. Darwin, they would be isolated. They could not go south, because there would be no railway and no water supply ; and, therefore, they would have to stay to starve, and, at our leisure, we should deal with them. To talk of protecting Port Darwin from invasion by an enemy is to suggest a bugbear. Senator Story said that at the. end of five years, a certain treaty will expire, and, of course, we all know what he hinted at. Does he think that a fort at Port Darwin will protect Australia from being invaded when there is an undefended coast-line of 700 or 800 miles, between Port Darwin and Cape York ? Again take the toast of Western Australia. Is it possible, with a fort at Port Darwin, to protect all that coast-line? The idea is really laughable. If, after surveys have been made, it should be found desirable to make provision for running troops to any one point, not to Port Darwin alone, what will there be to prevent the construction of a railway from Laverton to Cloncurry, and to intersect the Northern Territory in the centre by a railway which will not only open up the Territory itself, but open up communication between Queensland and Western Australia? A hundred possibilities may arise before we are called upon to decide the question of route. There may be a dozen routes found more suitable than the proposed one. We should be left absolutely free to choose whichever route is thought best; and that is all that the opponents of the Bill ask. We want South Australia to be patriotic.
– She is.
– No; she is the very reverse. Let this railway, which is to be constructed at a cost of some millions, be so laid down as to open up the Territory in the best interests of the Commonwealth as a whole, and not in the interests of a narrow-minded State.
– And not in the interests of Queensland, either.
– No ; in the interests of the Commonwealth as a whole. On other questions, the senators from South Australia seem to be fairly broadminded ; but on this question, the,y cannot look beyond what the adoption of the agreement may do for, or bring to, their State. One of them said that the railway, if constructed, may help to draw trade from Queensland. We are not at all afraid of that happening. We need not open up the country if we were of that opinion, but we shall have to take that course. Ours is the nearest State to the Northern Territory, but we say that this railway should not be built in Queensland if a better route can be found. So long as I am here I shall never be found advocating the construction of the railway through Queensland if it has not been proved by survey to be the best route. . From communications 1 have received and extracts i have read here, I know that the Premier of Queensland does not want this railway constructed through its territory, nor does the Leader of the Labour party, and according to an expression of opinion by another gentleman who has had a great deal to do with Queensland politics - I refer to
Mr. Philp ; he does not want it. They have already announced their intention to carry out their own policy independently of anything which the Commonwealth may do in the way of making railways through the Northern Territory, or anywhere else. Their policy is to link up their own lines - the line from Brisbane, the line ficm Rockhampton, and the line from Townsville - and to make two lines through Queensland, one from east to west, and the other from north to south, and that policy will be carried out independently of what this Parliament may do.
– They were going 10 do that twenty years ago.
– Considering that Queensland was not then thirty years old, I think that she has done wonders. At present she has the longest railway mileage
– On a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge.
– Of all the States Queensland has spent the most money per head on railway construction and has the greatest number of lines. She is opening up her territory without asking the Commonwealth to contribute a farthing, and is prepared to continue to do so. The sneers which are thrown at some of her representatives, that they are supporting the Labour party and the Opposition for a purpose, are unworthy of those from whom they come. Senator Story was the last to make that assertion to-day. He could only see with one eye. He forgot to mention that the senators from South Australia sitting on the Labour side, as well as on the Opposition side, have been unanimously in favour of this Bill all the time. He could see nothing wrong in that conduct, but he could see that it was wrong for the representatives of Queensland - the State which is practically the least interested - to take a stand in the interests of the whole Commonwealth if they should think fit, as they did without consultation, and without asking a single concession for their own State. I think it will be generally agreed that they have a perfect right to object to the Commonwealth’ taking so much money from their State to take over the Northern Territory, and to open it up under South Australian laws, instead of under its own laws. South Australia even has a provision in its Act which will prevent the Commonwealth from charging what it may think is a reasonable freight over its own lines.
If that is not dictating to the Commonwealth I do not know what is. If South Australia had said, “ Pay us all that we owe on the Northern Territory, and we will let you do what you like with it,” that would have been a generous act on her part But that is not what she has done. Some South Australian senators have made a sneering reference to the gauge of the Queensland railways. But what is their line but a line with a 3 ft. 6 in. gauge, and with a 40 lb. iron rail, which is quite obsolete.
– What authority has the honorable senator for making that statement ?
– I have the authority of an engineer.
– The honorable senator is wrong.
– I can read the opinion of the engineer for the construction of the line, Who certainly knows more about the matter than does the honorable senator.
– Oh, but that was given a long time ago.
– Look at the timetable. There is only one train per fortnight. It would be better for the Commonwealth to pay South Australia what the line has cost to build from Oodnadatta to Port Augusta, let her do what she likes with it, and retain a free hand to build a railway where desirable. I would sooner vote for such a proposition than for this scheme. My only hope is that another place will have at its disposal sufficient information to treat the Bill as it ought to be treated, and that in the result South Australia will be told, “ We will give you what is fair and reasonable, but insist upon being free to do what we think best with the Northern Territory.”
Question - That the Bill be now read a third time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. I wish to explain that when the division was taken on the third reading of the Northern Territory Acceptance Bill, I was reading in the Library, and the Senate division bell did not ring there. I make the explanation because, as a supporter of the Bill from the first, and one who has voted for it at every other stage of the measure, I naturally would have voted on the third reading had I known that the division was being taken. I think it is well also that I should direct attention to the fact that the Senate division bell did not ring in the Library.
– The fact that the Senate division bell did not ring in the Library has been inquired into, and the matter has been rectified.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) agreed to-
That this Bill be now read a first time.
– I should like to ask whether the Leader of the Opposition has any objection to the suspension of the Standing Orders so as to allow this Bill to pass through all its stages to-day? It is only a small Bill, and is a corollary to a measure with which we have already dealt. If there is any objection to the course which I suggest, I shall propose to make the second reading an Order of the Day for Tuesday.
– As the Vice-President of the Executive Council appeals to me personally, I may say that it would have been much better if he had given me private notice that he intended to take this course. Under the circumstances, he can hardly expect us to agree to what is proposed. I do not think that he can ask us to depart from our usual procedure, especially as he has made no statement concerning the Bill on the motion for the first reading.
– Seeing that there is a disinclination to suspend the
Standing Orders, I move -
That the second reading of the Bill be an Order of the Day for Tuesday next.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 31st August (vide page 2253), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [12.56]. - A good many years have elapsed since we first considered the subject Of navigation. In 1904 a Bill was introduced by Senator Drake, who at that time represented the Government in the Senate. He gave us a long history of navigation as affecting the Old Country and Other parts of the world. Every one realizes that the greatness of England depends in no small degree upon her navigation policy. The navigation laws of other countries have also had much to do with their progress. At one time the United States of America enjoyed a large portion of the carrying trade of the world. But eventually she lost much of that trade, and gradually reached the position which she occupies to-day,. Her oversea trade is now email in comparison with what it was years ago. We must legislate in the light of history, and must have close regard to what has happened in other countries. We are now asked to pass a Bill which may or may not land us in difficulties, and which may or may not be in accordance with the powers conferred upon us by our Constitution.
Sitting suspended from 1 te 2.30 p.m.
One would have assumed from that that our powers extended merely to vessels engaged in what is called the coasting trade. But I think it was contended that our powers were more extended under sections 51 and 98 of the Constitution. Section 98 provides that -
The power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to trade and commerce extends to navigation and shipping, and to railways the property of any State.
The question was submitted to the Imperial authorities, and a reply to the following effect was received in a despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated September, 1908 -
His Majesty’s Government regret that they are unable to agree with your Ministers as to the power of legislation in regard to navigation, which has been conferred upon the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia by the Imperial Act of 1900. . . . His Majesty’s Government obtained an opinion from the then Law Officers of the Crown and another distinguished constitutional lawyer, as to the powers of legislation in matters of navigation . conferred upon the Commonwealth Parliament. They are advised that the Parliament has only such powers of legislation so as to override the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894, as are given by sections 735 and 736 of that Act, and that the effect of section 51 (1) and section 98 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth is merely to confer upon the Commonwealth Parliament a power of legislation on navigation matters paramount to that of the State Parliaments, but that these sections do not in any way extend the legislative power of the Commonwealth beyond the powers previously exercised by the State Legislatures. . . His Majesty’s Government are advised that it is not open to the Commonwealth Parliament to enact any legislation which is repugnant to any provisions of the Imperial Shipping Acts which extend to the whole of His Majesty’s Dominions.
It is just as well that I should refer to the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, which are applicable to every part of the British Empire, to see what our powers in the matter are, and to what extent they are limited. I make these observations, because I think there has been a tendency on the part of the Government to go beyond the powers conferred upon the Commonwealth, in view of the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. Section 735 of that Act makes provision that -
The Legislature of any British Possession may by an Act or ordinance, confirmed by Her Majesty in Council, repeal, wholly or in part, any provisions of this Act (other than those of the third part thereof which relate to immigrant ships) relating to ships registered in that Possession; but any such Act or ordinance shall not take effect until the approval of Her Majesty has been proclaimed in the Possession.
From that it would appear that we have power to make alterations in the provisions of the Imperial Act to apply only to ships registered in the Commonwealth. That section deals with one class of ships, which may be oversea ships, and not confined merely to the coasting trade. In the following section - section 736 - provision is . made that -
The Legislature of a British Possession may, by any Act or ordinance, regulate the coasting trades of that British Possession, subject in every case to the following conditions.
The conditions are enumerated, and the section continues -
The Act or ordinance shall treat all British ships (including the ships of any other British Possession) in exactly the same manner as ships of the British Possession in which it is made.
Where by treaty made before the passing of the Merchant Shipping (Colonial) Act r86g (that is to say, before the 13th day of May, 1869) Her Majesty has agreed to grant to any ships of any foreign State any rights or privileges in respect of the coasting trade of any British Possession, those rights and privileges shall be enjoyed by those ships for so long as Her Ma- jesty has already agreed or may hereafter agree to grant the same, anything in the Act or ordinance to the contrary notwithstanding.
Honorable senators will realize from this that our powers are considerably limited. However, desirous we may be of taking action beyond our powers, any legislation we pass on the subject can have no validity until it has received the Imperial assent, and I doubt very much how far that would assist us, if the legislation went beyond our powers to contravene the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act. I believe that an attempt was made by a member of this Parliament to ascertain what treaties there were in existence which would be likely to affect our legislation in respect of navigation and shipping. We have not yet heard what treaties are in existence, and we may, therefore, to a certain extent, be legislating in the dark in dealing with this measure. We may legislate in such a way as to infringe the provisions of treaties made by the Imperial authorities with foreign powers, giving reciprocal rights and privileges in the matter of navigation and shipping. It will be a very serious mistake for us to attempt to deal with foreign ships in such a way as perhaps to lead the nations to which they belong to consider that they were not being fairly dealt with. Retaliation in such a matter might be of little concern to the Commonwealth, but it might be of very great importance to the merchant shipping of Great Britain. It would be impossible for Great Britain to plead that the law was passed by one of her Dependencies, as the foreign Power concerned would contend that it was the duty of Great Britain to take cognisance of laws passed in any of her Possessions, and that it was her duty to take steps to protect them against any interference with rights conceded to them in consideration of rights conceded to Great Britain.
Every space in a ship registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade, which is appropriated to the berthing accommodation of seamen or apprentices, shall -
Upon referring to the report of the Navigation Commission of 1904. I find that of the witnesses examined in respect of this matter, only three favoured the allocation of 140 cubic feet to each seaman, eleven favored 120 cubic feet, an equal number advocated 100 cubic feet, and six thought that 72 cubic feet would be sufficient. I assume that honorable senators will scarcely regard 72 cubic feet as being sufficient, nor will they be inclined to accept 100 cubic feet. But in this Bill, it is proposed to increase the accommodation of each sailor to 140 cubic feet. Whilst that may not be too much space to provide on the larger class of vessels, I think it is too much in the case of vessels of limited size, which are engaged in our - coastal trade, and which are often required to enter bar-bound harbors in order to carry on the trade of the country. This is a matter which has been brought under my notice by some of the coastal shipping people themselves. Under the Merchant Shipping Act of 1906, an exemption is granted to ships of less than 300 tons burden in respect of the quantity of space to be allocated to each seaman. It is further provided that the area occupied by the mess, bath, and washing rooms may be deducted from that space, but that not less than 72 cubic feet and 12 superficial feet shall be provided for each seaman or apprentice. Thus, while reserving thefull quantity of space, namely, 120 cubic feet upon smaller vessels, it is nevertheless possible for portion of that space to be occupied by the mess, bath, and washing rooms, I think it would be well for us to consider whether, in view of the number of small vessels which are engaged in our coastal trade, we should not be acting wisely if we framed a somewhat similar provision.
Britain to-day is entirely dependent on her sea power, which, in turn, is dependent upon the men who accept service in her ships of war. The mercantile marine is one of the best schools in which our young men may become qualified to enter the navy. Our navy should be placed in the position of being able to obtain seamen without difficulty, because so surely as the time of stress and trouble arrives, so surely must that navy be materially increased, not only in ships, but also in men.
The marginal note states that this provision has been taken from the New South Wales Act of 1901, and the New Zealand Act of 1903. I have referred to both those Statutes, and I find that the provision requiring vessels to have watertight false bottoms is not contained in either.
A ship shall be deemed to engage in the coasting trade if she takes on board passengers or cargo at any port in Australia to be carried to, ‘ and landed or delivered at, any other port in Australia.
The next clause read -
Until the railways of the State of Western Australia are connected with the railways of the State of South Australia, the carrying of passengers between Western Australia and South Australia by any British ship ordinarily carrying mails to or from the Commonwealth shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.
That provision was followed up later with the idea that persons who wish to travel between Western Australia and the southern or eastern coast should have a large choice of ships to travel in. But I understand that the provision was dropped when it was pointed out that it was doubtful whether it came within our legislative powers under the. Constitution. I refer to section 99, which reads -
The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade, commerce, or revenue, give preference to one State, or any part thereof, over another State, or any part thereof.
It did appear - and I believe it was recognised that it did appear - that a provision of that character would contravene the section, because it would give a preference in one State over other States in connexion with a matter of trade, or commerce, or navigation. It must be evident that if we gave to the residents of Western Australia an opportunity to travel by a particular class of ships which we denied to another portion of the Commonwealth the law would, undoubtedly, be more favorable to that State than to other States. Indeed, it might be an inducement to persons to reside in a State which was provided with special opportunities for travelling to and fro. It would be a great convenience in regard to ordinary trade and commerce to be in a State that enjoyed advantages which were denied to other States. This, it has always appeared to me, is a difficult question for a Government to deal with, if they want to make every ship which carries passengers on our coast conform to the provisions of an Act applicable to ships registered in our own ports. What are the Government trying to do at present? By a clause which corresponds with the one I quoted they are taking to themselves power to do practically the same thing, hut in a different way.
A ship shall be deemed to engage in the coasting trade if she takes on board ‘passengers or cargo at any port in Australia, or any territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, to be carried to, and landed or delivered at, any other port in Australia or in any such territory :
Unquestionably no oversea ships would be in a position to carry passengers from Western Australia to Adelaide, or Melbourne, or Sydney.
Provided that the carrying of passengers who hold through tickets to or from a port beyond Australia, or of cargo consigned on a through bill of lading to or from a port beyond Australia, or of mails, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade:
Whilst it is well to make that clear and specific in our law, still I do not see how we can interfere with the carriage of passengers in that way. Take the case of a ship which carries passengers from London to Sydney, and has to call in at Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne. That ship would be precluded from carrying her passengers for the whole distance for which they were booked, and she would have to disembark them at Perth and put them on board another vessel.
Provided further that the Governor-General may by order declare that the carrying of passengers between specified ports in Australia, by British ships, shall not be deemed engaging in the coasting trade.
The objection to this provision is that it is against the Constitution, in that it empowers the Governor-General to declare that as between certain States there shall be privileges and advantages given which shall not exist as between other States. In other words, the Governor-General could issue a proclamation which would enable British ships to carry passengers from Perth to Adelaide without being deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade. I am glad to see that there is no .attempt to distinguish between the different lines, so long as the ships are British.
Government are still attempting to deal with the matter similarly to the way in which it was dealt with in the Bill of 1904. My contention is that the moment the GovernorGeneral issued a proclamation that all British ships which called at Perth and carried passengers to Adelaide, or Melbourne, or Sydney, should not be deemed to be engaged in the coasting trade, it would give a specific advantage to two particular States or ports and deny it to ships carrying passengers from, say, Sydney to Hobart Vessels coming from England and calling at Hobart might also be precluded from carrying passengers. By this means, there would be discrimination, directly in violation of section 99 of the Constitution, which absolutely provides that we shall not do anything of the kind. The clause also provides for preference to one State over all the other States.
With regard to the Board of Trade notes on clause 369 (now clause 372) of the Navigation Bill, your Ministers appear to have overlooked the fact that this clause purported to repeal, as regards Australia, a definite provision of the Mercantile Shipping Act of 1894, the application of which to Australia is beyond question, as the power there conferred upon the Board of Trade has been duly exercised at various times by the Board of Trade. Had a request been made by your Government that the Board of Trade should abandon the power which is thus conferred upon them by the Imperial Shipping Act it would have been a matter for the most careful consideration as to whether the power should or should not be retained. It will be seen from the memorandum by the Board of Trade, commenting on certain points in the Navigation Bill, a copy of which I enclose, that the hypothetical case put by your Government is not one which could conceivably occur, and that the power at present given to the Board of Trade is a useful authority in cases where certificates have been cancelled by Marine Boards.
In such cases your Ministers will no doubt agree that the Board of Trade is as convenient and as impartial an authority as could possibly be found. But no such application was made by your Ministers, nor was the matter discussed at the Merchant Shipping Conference, and as no reasons were given for the proposal, which His Majesty’s Government are advised is certainly ultra vires, the Board of Trade could hardly be expected to reply to it further than by declining to concur in the proposals limiting their powers.
The matter was again referred to in a cablegram from the Secretary of State, dated 27th November, 1903, from which I take the following -
As regards clause 369 (now clause 372) His Majesty’s Government have no doubt that the clause as it stands is ultra vires, in so far as it is not limited to coasting trade, and registered vessels, but they will consent, with reluctance, that in the case of Australia the powers given by the Imperial Act shall not be used, even with regard to vessels not registered nor coasting, thus avoiding the legal difficulties. lt was contemplated to meet the Board of Trade to a certain extent, and further correspondence passed in connexion with the matter. Then there was a cablegram to the following effect, dated 9th January,
Referring to my telegram dated 27th November, Navigation Bill, His Majesty’s Government regret to state that on careful reconsideration of the whole question of the cancellation of certificate they have come to the conclusion that the method of dealing with the matter suggested in my telegram cannot legally be carried out. It would be improper that the Board of Trade should bind themselves in the matter of the exercise of the discretionary power expresslyconferred on them by section 474 of Merchant Shipping Act 1894. They, therefore, propose to accept clause 369 (now clause 372) of Navigation Bill as it stands in Bill as introduced into Senate, provided that in sub-clause 1, after the word “ ship,” the following words are inserted, namely, “ registered in Australia or engaged in the coasting trade,” and in sub-clause 2, after the word “ serve,” the following words, “ upon any such ship as aforesaid.” This agreement will concede substantially all that is desired by your late advisers, and is in harmony with the resolutions of the Navigation Conference, and I trust, therefore, that it will be acceptable to your present Government.
Lord Crewe, writing to the GovernorGeneral subsequently, under date 12th February, 1909, says -
In reply, I have to refer you to my telegram of the 9th January, from which it will be seen that His Majesty’s Government regret that it is not possible to carry out precisely the arrangements contemplated in mv telegram of the 27th November last. I trust, ‘however, that the compromise suggested in my telegram of the 9th January will commend itself to your Government as being in harmony with the resolutions of the Navigation Conference of 1907, and as conceding practically the whole measure of control desired by your Ministers.
This correspondence shows how the Imperial authorities were willing to meet us in the matter. But, notwithstanding that, we still have clause 369, now clause 372, of the Bill before us in the objectionable form in which it was proposed in the first instance, providing -
If the certificate of any master or officer, wherever issued, has been cancelled by a Court of Marine Inquiry in Australia, the fact that the certificate has been returned to him by the Board of Trade or the authority which originally granted the certificate, other than a Court of Appeal, shall not enable any such master or officer to serve in Australia on board any ship in the capacity specified in the certificate so cancelled.
The Government are determined, apparently, to refuse to accept what, after all, I think is a reasonable suggestion on the part of the Imperial authorities. We should realize that our power is really con- fined to ships registered in the Commonwealth, or engaged in our coasting trade, and that the Imperial authorities desire to retain their powers under the Merchant Shipping Act. I think that the suggestion which has been made should appeal to honorable senators as a reasonable one. -If they will consult a paper tabled some time ago by the Commonwealth Government, they will find a fairly succinct account of the correspondence which has taken place between the Imperial and Commonwealth authorities in this connexion, and a statement of the way in which it has been dealt with.
Australia were wrong, and return his certificate to the master?
The first important feature of the measure is that it docs not apply to ships of His Majesty:i Navy, and in this respect follows the Merchant Shipping Act, and the New Zealand Act.
When he made that statement I could net help recollecting that we have no power to deal with the ships of His Majesty’s Navy, so that they might well say to the Government, “ Thank you for nothing.” I shall approach the consideration of the Bill in Committee with a desire to make it as reasonably effective as possible. I wish to see a seafaring life made as attractive as possible to our own people, and, at the same time, to insure the protection of those who are interested in having their goods carried to market at reasonable freights and under fair conditions. I note that under this measure the punishments provided for offences have been materially lessened, as compared with the punishments which are provided ‘ for similar offences under the Imperial Act, and an attempt has been made to define “ desertion “ more strictly than it was previously defined.
The words “ with the intention of not returning thereto “ have been added .to this definition since the measure was last before this Chamber. Consequently, in order to prove desertion, it will be necessary for the master of a vessel to show not only that a’ seaman has left his ship without lawful cause or excuse, but, also, that he has left it with the intention of not returning thereto.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator McGregor) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
.- Will the Vice-President of the Executive Council inform me whether it is the intention of the Government to proceed first with the consideration of the Bank Note Tax Bill on Tuesday next?
– It is.
– Will the debate on the Navigation Bill be resumed afterwards, or will some other measure be dealt with?
– When the Bank Notes Tax Bill has been dealt with we shall proceed withthe debate on the Navigation Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.57 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 September 1910, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1910/19100923_senate_4_57/>.