4th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have to inform the Senate that I have received a letter from Mr. Charles E. Russell, a son of the late Senator William Russell, on behalf of Mrs Russell and her family, thanking the Senate for its expression of sympathy with them in their recent bereavement.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904-1911 - ‘
Regulations, amendments, &c. (Provisional) -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 93.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 153.
Defence : Naval Forces. - Report of the Minister for Defence on the Progress of Universal Training to 30th June, 1912.
Defence Act 1903-1911 - Regulations, amendments, &c. (Provisional) -
Universal Training -
Statutory - Rules 1912, No. 145.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. . 148.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 151.
Military Forces -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 144.
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 149.
Financial and Allowance Regulations -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 150.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906 - Return of land disposed of at Canberra, Federal Territory. Patents Act -
Regulations - Statutory Rules1912, No. 76.
Regulation (Provisional)- Statutory Rules 191a, No. 119.
– Has the Minister of Defence received any official information about a wholesale resignation of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men in the Australian Garrison Artillery, and, if so, what course does he intend to take in regard to manning the forts at Sydney ?
– I have called for a report, which is expected to arrive by today’s mail.
– Can the VicePresident of the Executive Council tell me whether certain papers which I called for can be laid upon the table to-day, or, if not, when they will be produced?
– They will be laid on the table this afternoon.
– Will the Minister of Defence consider the advisability of withdrawing the prosecutions against defaulting cadets until the Defence Bill becomes law ?
– The Bill now before Parliament is not retrospective, and therefore will only affect cases which occurred after the 30th June last. The prosecutions now taking place relate to non- performance of statutory parades for the year ending 30th June last. I am in consultation with the Attorney-General as to the course of action to be taken regarding the cases before the Court. It is obvious that in some instances an injustice is being inflicted because of the minimum fine being fixed at £5 by the previous Act. I shall have a statement to make in the course of a few days. It is not proposed in the present Bill to deal with cases before the Courts.
Appointment of Mr. H. Chinn.
– I have received from Senator de Largie a notice that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate to call attention to an urgent matter of public importance, namely, “ the appointment of Mr. H. Chinn as an officer in the employ of the Commonwealth.”
Four honorable senators having risen in their places,
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 12 o’clock noon.
The justification for taking this course is the fact that serious charges have been made against an officer of the Commonwealth, and ought to be refuted at the earliest opportunity that is presented. I think that all the members of the Senate will agree that when the character of a man is attacked, especially when he is in the employ of the Government, and is to some extent prevented from defending himself, it is the duty of those who know that he is innocent to take advantage of the first opportunity to refute statements which have been made freely in.another place. I think that there has been no appointment made by this Government which calls for less outcry than does this appointment. Never, so far as I know, has there been a case in connexion with the Commonwealth where there has been such a tremendous outcry - in my opinion most unwarranted. I hold that the record of Mr. Chinn is such that the appointment will justify itself if it is dispassionately considered on its merits. I think that very good reasons, indeed, can be advanced in favour of the appointment. The charges of which I complain, and which I heard made in another place, are - first, that the appointment was not justified by the efficiency of the officer ; second, that Mr. Chinn’s private character is such as may be termed unsatisfactory; and, third, that it was a political appointment.
– Are we at liberty to discuss what has taken place elsewhere?
– I do not, as a rule, object to interjections, but when my time is limited I think it is only reasonable to request that it should not be taken up by interjections. These charges have been niade against a man who cannot very well reply, and I take it upon myself to defend him, because I know that the appointment can be justified on all the grounds I have indicated.
– Where were the statements made ?
– In the House of Representatives.
– Have we a right to debate what has taken place there?
– I think that we have a right to debate charges made elsewhere about an officer, and I shall be surprised if the honorable senator tries for one moment to prevent the defence of a man who has been shamefully traduced on such flimsy ground. I shall now make quotations. First -
As a matter of fact, Mr. Chinn is not qualified as an engineer.
– If these are charges made in another House, is the honorable senator entitled to answer them here?
– The second, charge is -
There is not a single proof that he was ever engaged in any of the works which he indicates in his letter of application.
– It is a pity that there is nobody in the other House to stand up in his defence.
– Evidently the honorable senator is trying to “ gag” me, and to prevent this man’s appointment being justified.
– I do not want to take a point of order, sir, but I do object to the honorable senator charging me with trying to “ gag “ him.
– ignore interjections, and you will get your time.
– On any other occasion I would -reply to honorable senators, but my time is so limited that I must refuse to recognise any interjections. The third charge is -
Mr. Deane did not favour Mr. Chinn’s appointment. I challenge the Minister to deny that statement.
Another charge was -
To start with, he was unknown to him, and he had no testimonial from an engineering authority.
– Where were these statements made?
– Is the honorable senator in order in quoting from statements made in the other House during the present session?
– I do not know that what the honorable senator was quoting was from a debate in the other House. Our Standing Orders do not permit an honorable senator to allude, to any debate in the current session in the Houseof Representatives on any measure pending therein.
– This is not a measure.
– Nor can an honorable senator quote from the Hansard report of a debate in another place.
– I am not saying where the statements were made.
– Oh, let him- go on.
– Yes, the honorable senator cannot block me. Another statement made was -
Further than that, he had never given any satisfaction wherever he had been employed.
That is a pretty mean sort of thing to say about a man.
I know that from several sources. I think it has been proved that Mr. Chinn’s appointment was not justified by his career as an engineer, that he has never won his spurs, and that those for whom he has worked have not a good word to say for him.
Another spiteful and vindictive statement.
– That is from page 1096 of Hansard, , I think.
– Is that so? Is it there too? The attacks were reported in the Argus and the Age, but apart from that I was present and heard them myself. Again -
I want to know whether the Minister made inquiries regarding Mr. Chinn’s general character. The character of a man counts _ for something. I trust, therefore, that the Minister will give us very satisfactory proofs that he has made inquiries regarding Mr. Chinn’s character, and that the replies are of a thoroughly satisfactory nature in all respects. I have no hesitation whatever in saying that the man is totally unfit to occupy this position.
This is the last quotation-
– Quotation ? From Hansard again?
Surely it would be better to appoint such men than to employ people of whom we know nothing, and for whom no one has a good word to say.
Now, in reply to these charges, I should like to read certain testimonials which were given to Mr. Chinn some years ago, and some of them at a more recent date. They bear out fully his professional character, and also show his private character to be in all senses satisfactory. The first testimonial which I shall quote is dated August 15th, 1885, and is signed by Mr. E. O. Moriarty, Engineer-in-Chief Harbor and Rivers Department, New South Wales. That gentleman ought to be an authority as to whether an engineer is competent or not, and this is what he says -
Harbors and Rivers Dept., Sydney, 15th August, 1885.
Mr. Henry Chinn, in severing his connexion with my Department, gives me the opportunity of testifying to his ability and zeal as a civil engineer and surveyor during the six years he was an officer under me.
For the whole of the above mentioned period he has been engaged in connexion with the new Sydney Water Supply scheme and Sydney Harbors and Rivers works under my immediate control, which brought him in direct contact with me, and it affords me the greatest satisfaction to place on record my appreciation of his abilities as a professional gentleman, and, at the same time, my regret at losing an officer whose services I greatly .value, and who has always been a distinct gain to the Department over which I preside.
The next testimonial which I shall quote is signed by Mr. J. F’alkingham, a wellknown railway contractor in Victoria, who built some of the biggest works in this State, as well as in other States. He built, for instance, the Korumburra line, which cost something like a million pounds. He says - “Warleigh” Brighton, Victoria, 23rd April, 1903.
Mr. Henry Chinn, civil engineer, has been employed by me during a great number of years as engineer in charge of construction, &c, on almost all the large contracts I have engaged in, and I can, without the slightest hesitation, speak of him in the very highest terms as a professional gentleman.
I have carried out some of the largest contracts in New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, under both the Governments and Harbor Boards of these States, also many of the underground contracts in connexion with the sewerage scheme of Melbourne, and I owe a deal of my success to the untiring energy and marked (ability displayed by Mr. Chinn as my engineer in all these works.
To hear of .his further success will give not only me great pleasure, but the great body of contractors, with whom he is deservedly popular, and it is due to him to state he is an engineer of exceptional ability, and that no more competent and popular gentleman in his profession is known to me.
The next testimonial which I shall quote is from Messrs. Garnsworthy and Smith, railway contractors, Victoria, who have built some of the most difficult lines in the Commonwealth. The Tasmanian senators may know some of the railways which this firm has constructed, and will be able to refer to them more intimately than I can. For instance, the North Mount Lyell line was built by this firm, and nearly all the scientific work for it was drawn up by Mr. Chinn. The firm wrote on the 14th August, 1898-
Collins-street West, Melbourne, 14th August, 1898.
Dear. Sir, -
At your request, we have much pleasure in committing to paper our appreciation of the valuable services rendered by you as our engineer in connexion with various contracts carried out by us under the Public Works and Railway Departments and Melbourne Harbor Trust.
The construction of the new entrance to the Gippsland Lakes was a work that necessitated more than the ordinary amount of foresight and skill, and we are confident the successful issue was only brought about by the untiring energy and exceptional ability displayed by you.
So much were we impressed with you on the above works that we determined to engage you on all future contracts, and, in every instance, for a period of about eleven years, your professional knowledge on all classes of works proved invaluable to us.
It would be hard to single out any particular branch of engineering to eulogize you on, for you are equally familiar with harbor and river works, sewerage, and railway construction, and as the sewerage works of Melbourne were some of the most difficult ever carried out ia
Australia, the successful issue you brought our contracts to demands the highest praise from us.
We trust your career will be a prosperous one, and feel confident, if the opportunities only present themselves, you will do full justice to your office and continue to earn further distinction in your profession.
Garnsworthy & Smith,
The next document which I shall quote is dated 1901, and is signed by a gentleman who was known to many of us. I challenge any of those who knew him to say w hether he was at all likely to give a testimonial unless he was perfectly sure of his man. The gentleman to whomI refer was no less a person that the late Senator Sir William Zeal, who signs himself “civil and consulting engineer.” In this letter, Sir William Zeal wrote -
St. James’ Buildings, Melbourne, 15th October,1901..
For sixteen years or over I have been closely connected with Mr. H. Chinn, civil engineer and licensed surveyor, during which time I have had every opportunity of gauging his abilities, through being associated with him professionally.
I consider he ranks amongst the foremost of his profession, and from my knowledge of the works undertaken and carried out by him (which include railway, sewerage, harbors and rivers, and water works), I am warranted in speaking of him in the highest terms, and I am sure that in whatever capacity he may be employed his energetic and painstaking abilities will be recognised as those belonging to a high standard of efficiency.
Civil and Consulting Engineer.
This is the last of these testimonials which I intend to read, though it does not by any means exhaust the list of such testimonials to which reference might, be made. I have here a testimonial from a gentleman occupying a very high position in Victoria. I allude to Sir John Madden, LieutenantGovernor and Chief Justice of the State. His word will not be challenged by any one who knows him. He writes -
Melbourne, 20th July, 1903.
Dear Mr. Chinn.
I send you herewith a testimonial which I hope is such as you desire and will prove in every way satisfactory.
John Madden. [Testimonial.]
Mr. Henry Chinn, civil engineer, has been personally known to me for many years in Melbourne as a gentleman of high integrity and good professional standing.
His ability as an engineer and surveyor is undoubted, and his large experience in that direction thoroughly qualifies him to hold the position of engineer, for which he is an applicant.
He is also of good address and well informed of business ways, and is held in high esteem by those who have been associated with him.
– Has the honorable senator a testimonial from Mr. Justice Hood?
– I have quoted sufficiently to prove the statement made at the beginning of my remarks, that I could submit testimony which would prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that, from a private and professional stand-point, Mr. Chinn possesses all the qualifications which might reasonably be expected of any man. In the face of these testimonials, it cannot be doubted for a moment that he is an engineer, and, in his private character, a gentleman. We have a gentleman of the standing of Mr. Moriarty testifying to Mr. Chinn’s abilities as a civil engineer and surveyor from an experience of six years of his work. That testimonial was written in 1885, and if Mr. Chinn was then a competent and able engineer, as Mr. Moriarty says he was, with the experience he has since gained he should be quite competent to fill a position of second in command in connexion with the construction of a railway in 1912. One of the charges made against Mr. Chinn was that no one who had employed him had a good word to say on his behalf, yet we find Messrs. Garnsworthy and Smith speaking of the exceptional ability he displayed as an engineer in their service for eleven years in connexion with all kinds of contracts, including railway contracts. Very few men possess a testimonial from employers equal to that. Then we have Mr. Bowden, the superintendent of the Metropolitan Water Supply of Melbourne, speaking of Mr. Chinn as a gentleman with whom he has been intimately acquainted for over twenty years, and testifying to his exceptional skill as an engineer. Then we have Mr. Pitt, Chairman of the Melbourne Harbor Trust, and a large contractor in Victoria, finding himself justified in stating that Mr. Chinn is a thoroughly qualified engineer. We, further, have Mr. Falkingham declaring that he employed Mr. Chinn for a number of years as an engineer in connexion with big contracts, and found his work and capacity satisfactory on every occasion. Last of all, we have the late Sir William Zeal’s testimony, which places it beyond any doubt whatever that Mr. Chinn is a man of some standing in the engineering world. As regards his private character, I should like, first of all, to say that it is about the meanest possible thing that a public man can do to attack the private character of another man so situated that he can make no direct reply to the charge.
– His general character.
– Yes, his general character includes his private character. It is these dirty insinuations and innuendoes, instead of straight-out charges, which make such attacks most contemptible. If he could have met on terms of equality, the persons who have made these charges, Mr. Chinn would probably have taken his two traducers and knocked their heads together. Let these men meet Mr. Chinn on terms of equality, and we shall see what the result will be. It is a lucky thing that these testimonials to which I have referred are at hand.
– At last.
– When Mr. Chinn made his application, I am in a position to say that, as a matter of fact, these testimonials were presented to the Minister of Home Affairs, but the Minister said, “Written testimonials in my country
– What country was that - America ?
– That is another dirty insinuation which it is unworthy of a public man to make.
– Order !
– I wish to state that the testimonials which I have made public were presented by Mr. Chinn when he made his application, and the Minister’s reply was, “ I take up this position. If you are able to prove yourself an efficient engineer, I shall regard that as far better testimony to your work than any written testimony could possibly be “-
– Nobody doubts now that Mr. Chinn is an engineer.
– He is an engineer of ability, as is proven by these testimonials. The honorable senator cannot prove otherwise. I have given the authority of men of undoubted standing in the engineering world as to the competency of Mr. Chinn. We have testimony as to his private character from Sir John Madden, who speaks of Mr. Chinn as a gentleman who has been personally known to him for many years, and as a man of high integrity and good professional standing.
– Has the honorable senator a testimonial from Mr. Justice Hood?
– That is the second time Senator Vardon has said that.
– If honorable senators opposite, who are prepared to make insinuations, are game to do so, let them stand on their feet like men and do so. They should not sit like so many cowards and make charges which they dare not rise and make in a straightforward way. It is a pity that when these testimonials were presented to the Minister, he did not take copies of them, that they might have been on record from the date of the application. But they are here now, and have been in existence for years. A remark was made in another place expressing surprise that Mr. Chinn did not think it necessary to put all his testimonials on record. That may have been due to his modesty. Though, it was suggested in another place that he had not such a thing about him as modesty, it is quite evident that Mr. Chinn had splendid documentary evidence to prove his capacity, and did not consider it necessary to produce it. Another statement made is that Mr. Deane did not approve of the appointment of Mr. Chinn, but a reference to the file of papers connected with the appointment will show that Mr. Deane recommended that Mr. Chinn, with other engineers, should be appointed.
– Will the honorable senator read that recommendation? .
– Yes. This is the letter and’ certificate, for it is both -
Memorandum to the Secretary, Department of Home Affairs.
The question of the selection of engineers in connexion with the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway has received my earnest consideration, and, after conference with the Minister, I recommend . the following appointments : - Messrs. G. A. Hobler, F. W. T. Saunders, and H. Chinn, each with a salary at the rate of£750 per annum.
Engineer-in-Chief for Railways.
– What is the date of that?
– That memorandum is dated 14th February, 1912.
– Read the memorandum of the 6th February.
– What I have read is sufficient. Mr. Deane did recommend the appointment of Mr. Chinn to the Minister, so that I have nailed another lie to the counter. I have now convincingly disproved all the cowardly innuendos which have been hurled against this gentleman. If I belonged to a party which made such charges, and which declined to withdraw them when they were shown to be absolutely false, I should feel thoroughly ashamed. All these accusations were made for political purposes. Their authors were ready to’ take away Mr. Chinn’s character and to cast any sort of aspersion upon it, merely for party purposes. They were prepared to indulge in all kinds of scandal for the sake of scoring a few political points. That is a mean and vindictive attitude for anybody to adopt.
– His appointment was a political job from beginning to end.
– Singularly enough, one of the two men who made these charges has notoriously practised political patronage all his life. He has never been known to appoint to a. position any person other than a “ pal.” Even in connexion with the appointment of justices of the peace in Western Australia, he showed, bis palpable bias.
– To whom does the honorable senator* refer ?
– The name of the gentleman is well known, and only the rules of debate prevent me from mentioning names, and thus making my exposure complete. Never in that gentleman’s history has he been known to appoint a Labour man to any position. The present Government have removed that “ boycott,” hence all this hue and cry. But, having removed it, I hope that in future men holding Labour views will receive a fair deal in connexion with all appointments which require to be made. Mr. Chinn is possessed of very high engineering ability. If the attack upon him had been confined to his professional qualifications, it would not have been qf so mean a nature as it is. But an attempt has been made to cast aspersions on his private character, and it is the duty of those who know him to defend him from such aspersions. I am pleased, indeed, to have this opportunity of placing upon record testimonials which cannot be challenged - testimonials which prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Mr. Chinn’s private character is good, and that his engineering skill is all that can be desired. I hope that, in future, before any attack is made upon an officer appointed by the Government to any position, their critics will have some ground for their attack. I have shown that, in this case,, they have none. Their only excuse is that Mr.
Chinn is a Labour man. That fact we admit. But surely he has as good a right to be a Labour man as has anybody elseWas it necessary for him to obtain the consent of our political opponents before hecould become a Labour man? I say that he has as much right to hold Labour views as others have to hold Fusion views. The Labour party can take credit to themselves for having freed the civil servants of the Commonwealth from the political thraldom to which they were subjected in the past. In the future I am glad to say that they will not be victimized in any shape or form because of their political views.
– In seconding the motion, I venture to say that Senator de Largie has rendered a service to the community, and1 to one citizen in particular. During the past fortnight we have heard a great deal regarding a certain appointment which has been made by the Government in connexion with the construction of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway. That appointment has been discussed in the press and in this Parliament, and, like Senator de Largie, I was privileged to listen to the attack which was made upon the Government inthat connexion in another place. I would not object to that attack so much as I do, if those responsible for it had been just in their conclusions. Had they any idea of equity, they would not have been so splenetic in their accusations. The genesis of the whole trouble is that the Government dared to place an important public work under the control of a man who holds views consonant with those held by the Ministry. The method of the attack which has been made on Mr. Chinn, not only in this Parliament, but in a certain section of the press, has been cowardly in the extreme. That gentleman has been arraigned, as it were, not only at the bar of Parliament, but at the bar of public opinion. So far as the bar of Parliament is concerned, he cannot appear there to defend himself, and; as an officer of the Commonwealth, he cannot very well reply to the criticism which has been levelled against him through that section of the public press which has as*sisted in the attack upon his professional qualifications and his private character. When a man has been appointed by a Government to a responsible position every member of this Parliament has the right to see the file in which all the correspondence relating to the appointment is contained. Therefore, when a member of
Parliament has the file before him, he has all the particulars relating to an appointment, but I venture to say that on this occasion a gentleman, who is a member of another place, was not fair.
– Order ! The honorable senator must not allude to a member of another place, as it is distinctly against the Standing Orders.
– When a member of Parliament has the file before him, sir, and is investigating a certain appointment, it is only fair that he should view both sides of the question. As far as this investigation has gone there have been quoted only references which emanated from public men who held Labour views - Ministers of the Crown and members of the State Parliamentary Labour party in Western Australia. I venture to say that, these opportunities being given, it would have been only fair to quote other men who hold entirely different political views from those of the man whom this gentleman was attacking. But it was convenient, evidently, not to quote their opinions, and I heard him say : “ We will turn this down,” in order that it might be proved according to his own mind that it was a political job. I should not mind the attack on the professional qualifications of Mr. Chinn were it not for the fact that aspersions have been cast upon his private character. I know Mr. Chinn, and any one who knows him is aware that !he is a respectable, energetic citizen of Australia. Still, he has been maligned under cover of privilege. Had he been attacked outside-
– Outside where?
– If the attack had been made outside another place, he would have had a remedy.
– Then the attack was made inside another place?
– Yes, it was.
– Are you replying to that attack?
– Order !
– I am replying to the attack.
- Senator Needham has only fifteen minutes in which he can speak to the motion, and I think it is unfair that heshould be interrupted.
– I am only allowed a quarter of an hour. I usually reply to the insane interjections of my honorable friend opposite, but on this occasion I have not the time.
– You dare not answer my question.
– The attack was made on Mr. Chinn, not only in Parliament, but outside it. That is why I stand here as a member of this Senate to defend a citizen of Australia. His ability as a professional man is in question. I notice that after all the spleen which has been vented in various quarters there is a suggestion now that a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the abilities of Mr. Chinn. Is it fair first to arraign a man before the bar of public opinion, condemn him, malign him, vilify him, and, after that attack has failed, to ask for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the matter? To my mind that does not savour of British justice. Had that course been taken in the first instance, it would have met with my ready assent, because a Select Committee would have taken evidence from both sides, and not ex parte statements. I would have been prepared to stand or fall by its verdict. But once a man has been arraigned at the bar of public opinion, vilified, and condemned, it is useless to ask any body of men possessing a shred of common sense to hold an inquiry. The opposition to Mr. Chinn has come from a party who failed to do anything which had even the semblance of an attempt to secure the construction of the transAustralian railway. So soon as this Parliament determined to build the railway, so soon is this opposition brought forward to delay its construction in every sense of the term. It is a case of sour grapes. Because they lacked the ability to do anything, and because the line is now to be constructed, they are acting in opposition to its construction. With regard to the attack made on Mr. Chirm’s professional ability, I desire to read two testimonials’ which have been supplied to me. The first is from the Melbourne Water Supply, and reads as follows -
Melbourne Water Supply,
Melbourne, October 9th, 1902.
I am in receipt of your letter asking me to bear testimony to your ability and qualifications as a civil engineer and licensed surveyor.
I have been personally and intimately acquainted with you for a period of over twenty years, and therefore consider I am fully justified in stating that during our long intimacy nothing has ever occurred in connexion with either your personal or professional career but what redounds greatly to your credit.
In my position of superintending engineer, I have had every opportunity of estimating your worth, and it gives me great pleasure to state you have always shown exceptional skill as an engineer, and thatyou are highly valued as such by both. your brother professionals and contractors.
Your very large experience in the different classes of works carried out and completed by you must prove invaluable, and I am sure the further opportunity of displaying your ability will add to your prestige and earn you the distinction in your profession you are entitled to.
Believe me, faithfully yours,
The second testimonial is from the Town
Hall, Brisbane -
Municipal Council Chambers,
Town Hall, Brisbane.
City Engineer’s Office.
This is to certify I have known Mr. H. Chinn, C.E., for a considerable time, whose qualifications as a civil engineer and licensed surveyor I have verified.
From the testimonials he has received from engineers and others, and from my personal knowledge of his abilities and work carried out by him, I am confident in speaking of him in the highest terms, and am satisfied he ranks amongst the foremost in his profession, and I have no hesitation in strongly recommending him for the position of engineer, for which I ‘understand he is an applicant.
I have very much pleasure in seconding the motion, and I trust that such an attack on a man’s private or professional character will never again be made in an Australian Parliament.
– I think that Senator de Largie has only done his duty as a public man in disclosing to the public some of the methods which are occasionally employed to kill a man. Mr. Chinn is not the first person upon whom an attack of this character has been made. I think that we must all recollect a case which was nearly successful. I do not propose to deal with the character of Mr. Chinn, because, as far as I know him, he can very well look after his own reputation. I have undoubted evidence of his capability, but I think that Senator de Largie has produced sufficient evidence that those who have attacked Mr. Chinn in so dastardly and so cowardly a way ought, if they have any manhood in their composition, to go in sackcloth and ashes for the next four or five years.
– For the rest of their lives.
– I think so, too. The animosity displayed in the attack, as well as its object, must be apparent to the merest school-boy. When it is charged that this is a political appointment, one would almost think that a political appointment was something new in the history of politics. My candid opinion is that the present Government are not half doing the thing as they ought to do, I think that those who have been familiar with Australian politics for the last quarter of a century are aware that every appointment of this character has been made with political ends in view. I do not see the slightest harm in appointing a good man to a good position, even though he is carrying the stain of being a member of the Labour party. Even a member of that party may possess ability ; in fact, some of them have very nearly demonstrated that they do.
– They have no ability at all, if we are to judge by the appointments made by the other side, because they have not appointed one Labour man yet.
– Never to my knowledge has a Labour man been appointed to any position by the other side. I do not think that any crime is chargeable against Mr. Chinn other than that he holds political views that are not shared by those who would not only govern Western Australia, but would be kings of the universe if they possibly could. That is precisely the position. Mr. Chinn has the courage of his convictions. He holds sensible political views. He expresses them in an intelligent, sensible manner, andhe uses his franchise with the fortitude of a man who knows exactly what he is doing. The only mistake that I think has been made in connexion with this matter - though it may not be a mistake - is of a different kind. I have sometimes wondered, since the discussion on this subject began, and since the evidence became so clear, whether it was not a mistake that Mr. Chinn was not given absolute control over the railway. Taking the evidence of his ability to handle a work of this kind, I question whether any man on the job has credentials equal to his. Therefore 1 say that if a mistake has been made, it may have been made in that direction. Those who have brought this discussion about - the traducers of this man - those who abused their position to traduce him, knowing that he was helpless to defend himself - are out for his blood. They are out for the blood of all Labour men if they can get it. But I do not think they are likely to get it in this or any other case.
– They have been sucking it long enough !
– That is exactly the remark I was about to make. They have sucked the blood of Labour men long enough,and those who carry Labour principles in their souls to-day know exactly where their friends are. I trust that the present Government will always weigh well the capabilities of any man whom they appoint to any position. I could find fault with one or two appointments which they have made. I could find fault with them not because the persons appointed were Fusionists, but because it would have been much better if more capable men had been chosen. However, I am not going to make any charge against anybody. I am simply going to read another piece of evidence that has come to hand in regard to the abilities of Mr. Chinn. It is the evidence of honest men - of men who, I think, no one in this Senate will doubt. I am sure that no candid man will think that they put this testimony on paper for the mere sake of doing so. I have before me a letter dated -
Pitt’s Building, Collins-stieet,
Melbourne, 15th November, 1902. it is addressed to “Mr. H. Chinn, C.E.” I suppose that means “civil engineer.”
– Which he is not.
– Which he is.
– Honorable senators opposite cannot prove that he is not a civil engineer.
– I will quote the letter.
Mr. H. Chinn, C.E., I have intimately known for a considerable number of years. He has been engaged on a great many pi our most important engineering works in this State, also in Tasmania, New South Wales, and Queensland. I am in a position to state that he is a thoroughly competent and qualified engineer, and will, I am sure, give every satisfaction in whatever capacity he may be engaged. He carries with him the goodwill and respect of all those with whom he has been associated both for his professional ability and private character.
That is marvellous ! He must have a private character after all ! The letter is signed -
Chairman, Melbourne Harbor Trust.
This gentleman is also, I believe, an architect and a contractor.
– Does the honorable senator think that Mr. Chinn has any right to live at all ?
– I wonder!
– Is Mr. Pitt a Labour man?
– No; he was a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, and was beaten by a Labour man two or three years ago.
– It appears from this letter that Mr. Chinn has a private character as well as a public reputation. He is known amongst those who have been associated with him to be a gentleman as well as a skilled engineer. Another document which I wish to quote is addressed from the State which Senator St. Ledger represents -
Central Buildings, Edward-street,
Brisbane, 22nd November, 1902.
To the Chairman, Auckland Harbor Board,
Dear Sir, - I have known Mr. H. Chinn, C.E.-
Once more he is styled a “C.E.” - for a considerable number of years, and am acquainted with his relatives and friends, and it is within my knowledge that Mr. Chinn has a high reputation in his profession, and has had large experience in many important public and private engineering works in the different States. Understanding that he is an applicant for the position of engineer to your Board, I beg to state it gives me much pleasure to recommend his candidature, and I am confident, should he be successful, no more competent gentleman could be found to fill the position.
Does Senator St. Ledger know anything about him ?
– The trouble is that Mr. Chinn has too many testimonials.
– Too many for the Opposition.
– It is a very strange position for those who are opposed to us in politics that we have to summon to the bar of justice their own people to testify against them. These people have declared that this man, although he does possess a political faith that is different from theirs, is nevertheless worthy of our confidence because of the high attainments that he possesses, and of which he has given evidence in his professional career. When we come in face of testimony of this kind, it must emphasize the fact that honorable senators opposite and their associates have set themselves with double-dyed purpose to get this man’s blood at any cost.
.- I should not have considered it necessary to intervene in this debate, if it can be called a debate - because the discussion has been carried on from one side only - except for the fact that a piece of engineering work has been mentioned of which I have some knowledge.
– Honorable senators opposite are making Out a splendid case for us.
– The Opposition want it, because they cannot make out a case for themselves.
– Order ! I remind the Senate that the speaker has only fifteen minutes.
– That will be plenty of time for me. I know absolutely nothihg about Mr. Chinn. I believe that I met him once, but I should not know him again if I saw him here or elsewhere. I know absolutely nothing personally either of his professional ability or his private character.
– Does the honon able senator know Judge Moule?
– No I do not know, that gentleman either. Senator de Largie in the course of his remarks stated - and I put upon him the onus for the correctness or otherwiseof the statementthat Mr., Chinn, in addition to his other quaiifications, drew up the plans for the railway in Tasmania which connects the Great Silver-Copper field of Mount Lyell with Kelly Basin on the West Coast. Assuming that statement to be correct-
– It is correct.
– If it be correct, it is quite sufficient evidence for me. If I were asked to give a vote as to whether this gentleman possessed the engineering capacity and ability necessary for the position in which he has been placed, I should have no doubt whatever, after being assured of the fact mentioned by Senator de Largie. I noticeSenator Cameron sitting opposite tome with his usual bright smile on his face. I am going to call him as a witness also, because I think he has been over the line to which I refer. I ask him whether a man who could draw the plans for that line, and couldsuccessfully superintend its construction, does not, in that very fact, possess a high recommendation for his ability in railway construction? Although I have not been over the route, of the proposed railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, I have carefully read all the papers that have been presented to Parliament in connexion with it, and am quite certain that no portion of the route presents engineering difficulties in any respect approaching those which had to be overcome on the line from Kelly Basin to Mount Lyell. On the evidence of Mr. Chinn ‘s work in connexion with that line alone, I should have no doubt of his professional capacity and engineering ability justifying his appointment to hispresent position.
.-Isthat railway running now?
– The railway is riot running now. But I am surprised that a gentleman like Sehatdr Cameron, whom I always took to be a fair-mindedman, should make such an interjection. He has made it with one object only. He wishes’ to make the Senate and the country beiieve that the railway is hot running now because of imperfections ih its construction.
– Is it running now, or is it not ?
– I have already said that it is not now in use. But the closing of the railway had nothing whatever to do with the engineering skill displayed in its construction, and does not affect the question of whether it is a good line or not. As a matter of fact - and Senator Cameron knows this perfectly well- the railwaj was abandoned because the Mount Lyell Company became amalgamated with the North Lyell Company, and the whole of the amalgamated company’s work was done in the other direction, over the old Mount Lyell Company’s line. Consequently, there is no use for the line between Mount Lyell and Kelly Basin now. But that is not the fault of Mr. Chinn. It is due to want of foresight on the part of the directors of the North Mount Lyell Company, who did not foresee that they were likely to amalgamate with the Mount Lyell Company. The professional ability of this gentleman has ‘been questioned, not only by public men, but by the powerful newspaper press of Australia. He is stated to be absolutely unfit for the position in which he has been placed. But the fact that he was sufficient of ah engineer to be employed by so eminent a firm of railway contractors as Messrs. Garnworthy and Smith- in the construction of this line, is quite enough to prove that Mr. Chinn then had sufficient engineering ability, despite the smiles of my honorable friend opposite, who tries to question his ability, and fails miserably.
– I forgive the honorable senator.
– I forgive Senator Cameron; I do not ask his forgiveness. I know nothing whatever as to the correctness of the statement that Mr. Chinn was given his position because he was a supporter of the Labour party at the recent elections in Western Australia, and has been known for years to possess Labour views. I do not know whether he possesses Labour views or not, but I am satisfied that the reason urged had nothing to do with the appointment. The fact that that aspect of the matter has been made so much of in another place, and by a section of the press in Australia, justified Senator de Largie in the stand he took today in making his vigorous defence of Mr. Chinn. However, I shall, in common with Senator Henderson, express my view of this matter. If the political sympathies of persons ought to be taken into account in making appointments, it is clear that the present Government have not given many of these important positions to men of their own political colour during the last two and a half years. I believe that on the contrary they have in many instances turned down applicants for positions possessing Labour views, because of a little timidity that if a person appointed to a Government position were well-known to to a supporter of the Labour party his appointment might be questioned. Appointments should in every case be made on the merits of the applicants, and if that principle had been followed by other Governments in the past there would be many more men possessing Labour views holding important positions in the Public Service to-day than there are. In all the circumstances this charge comes with a very bad grace from the quarter from which it has been made. It is a fact which cannot be disputed that for years political appointments were made from one side in Federal and State politics, and it was not from the side of the Labour party.
– I should hardly feel contented if I allowed the debate to close without directing attention to the extraordinary position which has developed this afternoon. Perhaps I should congratulate Senator de Largie upon the skill with which this matter has been handled. There is not an honorable senator present who could give his word of honour that the quotations made by Senator de Largie as to attacks upon Mr. Chinn had not reference to a debate in another branch of this Parliament. That being so, although the matter was handled so skilfully as to apparently escape your notice, sir, every honorable senator opposite knew that Senator de Largie was violating the Standing Orders of the Senate.
– Is that the cry?
– Is that a capital offence?
– Order ! Senator de Largie asked to be allowed to make his speech without interjection. He had thirty minutes in which to speak, while Senator Millen has only fifteen minutes.
– I felt it to be my duty to direct attention to this, because if by subterfuge we are enabled to evade our own Standing Orders, honorable senators must agree that sooneror later we shall get into inextricable difficulties in debate. I listened carefully during the debate for something which would . justify the assumption . with which the motion was evidently brought forward, and I say that the disclosures, for I call them disclosures, which have been made here to-day do not helpthe position of honorable senators opposite. First of all, let me say that, so far as I am aware, no attack whatever was made on Mr. Chinn in another place, but upon the Government who appointed him. I have listened to hear something which would meet the seriousness of that accusation. The statement was made that Mr. Chinn had been appointed to a certain position, not because he possessed qualifications, but because there were recommendations from supporters of the Labour party that he should be given the appointment because of his Labour sympathies.
– Had those persons no right to send recommendations?
– They had a perfectright to do so, but it becomes a public crime if a Government will make an appointment irrespective of necessary qualifications, and merely because of political partisanship. When this accusation was first launched, it was in the presence of the Minister responsible for the appointment, and in reply he never suggested that the file of papers placed on the table, and covering the appointment, contained any such references as those which have been read here to-day, and which for all I know may or may not be genuine.
– Oh, oh !
– The honorable senator who moved the motion absolutely failed in the first courtesy hitherto extended from honorable senators on one side to those on the other. When a motion for the adjournment of the Senate is to be moved, it has been the invariable practice to give notice to the Government, because such a motion is usually taken advantage of to attack the Government for something they have done or have failed to do. In this case the motion was submitted for quite another purpose, and in the circumstances it would only have been courteous if Senator de Largie had informed members of the party he proposed to attack of the course he intended, to follow.
– Did the honorable senator not see a reference to the matter in the press?
– I did not. The first intimation I had of it was from an incidental remark by Senator McGregor, prior to the meeting of the Senate, when we were discussing the business on the paper. The papers submitted in connexion with the appointment of Mr. Chinn disclose letters referring to his party sympathies, but nothing to prove that he has the necessary professional qualifications. If Mr. Chinn possessed the testimonials as to his qualifications which are now produced, why were they not put in when the file of papers was laid before another place?
– They are on the file.
– They are not on the file.
– -Those read to-day are not on the file, but others of a similar character are on the file.
– Not a single letter was placed before another place to show that Mr. Chinn possessed professional qualifications. If these recommendations were in existence, why were they not presented to the Minister? The fact that they were not presented justified the statement that Mr. Chinn was appointed, not because of these qualifications, which were not known, but because of his political sympathies, which were known. There is the whole position in a nut-shell. If Mr. Chinn had been relying upon his qualifications for his appointment, he would have put in the testimonials which have been produced this afternoon. He evidently thought - and Senator de Largie has demonstrated the clearness of his vision - that what was wanting was not proof of his professional capacity, for he did not put that in, he kept that behind until it might be called for-
– No, he did not.
– He did not put ia these testimonials at all.
– They were not put on the file, but they were presented when he made his application.
– Did Mr. Chinn, have the selection of the papers which were to go on the file? Does he run the Home Affairs Department as well as the job- he has in Western Australia?
– I do not say that the testimonials were put on the file, but they were presented to the Minister.
– The Minister himself said that he had nothing to do with) testimonials ; he did not make the appointment because of any testimonials. What did he make it for? I point out that it is. a very curious thing, if these papers werein the possession of the Department of Home Affairs at any time, that they werenot put forward with the papers which appear on the file.
– They were not ina the possession of the Department but they were presented to the Minister.
– When ?
– When Mr. China made his application.
– Whether it offends; or does not, I take the liberty of expressing., the opinion that when this charge was. made, and the Minister of Home Affairswas on his defence in connexion with it, if he had known of the existence of thesetestimonials, he would have produced them,, in the hope of refuting the charges which were made. I say again that the fact that these papers did not count in the appointment justifies the statement that Mr. Chinn was appointed, not because of the qualifications he is now said to possess, but becauseof his political sympathies which wereamply testified to in the papers which doappear on the file. Senator de Largie hassaid that Mr. Deane recommended the appointment of Mr. Chinn, and he quoted1 a memorandum from Mr. Deane dated I 41:n February last. All I have to say in answer to that is that on the 6th February,, eight days before, Mr. Deane wrote in a, minute which is included in the file -
The Minister having already decided to appoint Mr. Chinn -
– He said nothing of; the sort. Why did he recommend the appointment on the 14th February?
– When Senator Needham says that Mr. Deane did not say anything of the kind, I have to quote the exact words. They were -
The Minister having decided to appoint Mr. Chinn as supervising engineer to take charge of the Western end of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway -
That minute is dated 6th February, 19 12.
– What about the memorandum of the 14th February.
– It was all over then. The Minister having already decided on the appointment of Mr. Chinn, the matter was finished. The Minister of Home Affairs has assured this country, and the whole world, that he is not a “ rubber stamp,” and having decided prior to the 6th February to appoint Mr. Chinn, it did not matter what happened on the 14th February.
– The honorable senator is making out a very poor case for Mr. Deane.
– I am quoting from the papers. With regard to the testimonials, I do not know whether honorable senators opposite have recognised the fact that Senator de Largie did not produce any proof that Mr. Chinn was a civil engineer.
– That is good.
– Are honorable senators aware that before a man can call himself a civil engineer in this country, or in any other country, so far as I am aware, he must have obtained a diploma. If I am asked to say how I would prove a statement that Mr. Chinn is not a civil engineer, my answer is that I cannot prove a negative; but it is competent for those who speak on behalf of Mr. Chinn, if he is a properly qualified civil engineer, to produce his diploma, and mention the University from which, he obtained it.
– The honorable senators opposite made the assertion, and it is for them to prove it.
– It would not be possible for me to prove that Mr. Chinn has not obtained a diploma unless I applied for information to every University in the world; but if he is a civil engineer, let him give the name of the University which granted him his diploma. In one of the letters, which was read by Senator de Largie this .afternoon, reference was made to the skill displayed by Mr. Chinn in connexion with underground engineering contracts. I am quite prepared to admit the accuracy of that portion of the testimonial.
– The honorable senator is quite qualified to judge.
– Senator Rae is quite right. I have not been politically associated with him for a number of years without having been afforded an opportunity of forming an opinion of what constitutes a first-class engineer in connexion with underground contracts. I would be a much bigger fool than my enemies accuse me of being if I had not learned a little. However, I have said all that I desire to say upon this matter. In conclusion, I merely wish to express the sincere hope that in future, when it is desired to bring under review in this Chamber any matter which has formed the subject of debate elsewhere, the proper and orderly course will be followed. Senator de Largie laughs, but he knows perfectly well that this afternoon he practically placed our Standing Orders at defiance. He will not pretend for a moment that during the course of his speech he was not quoting from the Hansard report of a debate in another place.
– The honorable senator himself quoted from Hansard.
– Senator Millen must recognise that Senator de Largie assured me that the statements which he was quoting had appeared in the press. While he was speaking the Leader of the Opposition himself held a copy of Hansard in his hand, but I did not prevent him from quoting from it, because he declared that he was quoting language which is on record in the file of papers which was laid upon the Library table.
– Of course, Senators de Largie, O’Keefe, and Henderson will not pretend for a moment that they did not quote from Hansard, any more than I will pretend that I did not.
– If they committed a wrong, their action does not justify the honorable senator in doing likewise.
– In future, when an attempt is made to bring under review in this Chamber anything which has transpired in another place, I hope that, with a view to obviating trouble, that attempt will be made in a proper way under our Standing Orders.
– From what has been said by the Leader of the Opposition, it is quite evident that there was abundant justification for Senator de Largie’s action this afternoon. Senator Millen has stated that that action clearly proved that Mr. Chinn was appointed to the position of Supervising Engineer of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway without any regard to his professional qualifications. Seeing that he has listened all the afternoon to this debate, and that he has had an opportunity of perusing the file of papers relating to this appointment, he must be wilfully blind to he facts. I have known Mr. Chinn for a considerable time in Western Australia as a keen critic of railway matters in that State. There is one phase of this question which should be closely studied, but which has not received any attention - whatever. At the present time we have in power a Government which is backed up by a substantial majority, and which is intent upon building this transcontinental railway in accordance with a policy by which it has steadfastly stood in the past. I refer to the policy of railway construction under departmental supervision - a policy which has been stubbornly opposed by the authors of these cowardly attacks upon Mr. Chirn:. If honorable senators opposite could forget for a moment that they are steeped in political partisanship, and if they could imagine themselves - I admit that it would be an effort of the imagination - impartial-minded citizens, they would recognise that the first duty of the Government in undertaking a work of this magnitude is to select men to control its construction who thoroughly believe in that policy. Will any fair-minded individual urge that the Government have any other duty cast upon their shoulders? In the past the Labour party have stood solidly for the policy of construction which they propose to adopt in connexion with this gigantic undertaking, and that policy has been consistently opposed by honorable senators opposite.
– The honorable senator means the policy of day labour in preference to contract? He has not made it clear.
– Yes. This transcontinental railway is about to be constructed under Ministerial control, without the intervention or the presence of a contractor, and that policy has not recommended itself to our critics. Does anybody seriously suggest that it is not obligatory upon the Government to ransack the whole of this island continent in order to secure the best men to carry out this undertaking in accordance with that policy? Yet the . insinuation has been made that the Ministry have wilfully ignored the qualifications, or lack of quali fications, possessed by Mr. Chinn, and have fixed their eyes upon one thing only - his alleged loyalty to, or the service which he has rendered to, the Labour party. But unless Ministers are worse than lunatics, it is obviously their first duty to appoint to these leading positions the very best men in sympathy with their policy who are procurable. Now, there are three officers who are chiefly concerned in this undertaking. First, there is the Chief Engineer, upon whose shoulders will rest the duty of supervising the whole of the work in a general way. His lieutenants will be two in number, and upon them will depend the supervision which is exercised upon those portions of the work which are intrusted to their control. Mr. Saunders, at Port Augusta, must see that he acts loyally to the Government, who desire to demonstrate to the world that the daylabour system is a more economical and a better system than that of contract, from the taxpayer’s point of view. The same remark is applicable to Mr. Chinn, who will be stationed at the other end of the line. He will have to accept his share of the responsibility in that connexion. Honorable senators opposite would have the electors of this country believe that the Government deliberately shut their eyes to Mr. Chinn’s qualifications, and selected a partisan to carry out this important work. Is such an idea feasible to anybody who is not hopelessly steeped in partisanship? Looking at this question broadly, I say that the Ministry would be acting blindly, that they would be unworthy of the trust which has been reposed in them, and that they would be taking the first step towards political suicide, if they placed in charge of this undertaking men who did not possess the very first qualification of their profession. We have been told over and over again that Mr. Chinn’s only qualification is that he has rendered casual service to the Labour party. But I would point out that incompetency on his part, or on the part of Mr. Saunders, must inevitably mean undermining the popularity of the Labour party throughout Australia. It must mean want of economy in the construction of this important line of railway, and consequently the putting of the Ministry before the country in an unpopular light. For honorable senators opposite to urge that Mr. Chinn was appointed because of some casual service which he has rendered to the Labour party is to admit that they are bereft of all argument. I hold in my hand a number of credentials relating to Mr. Chinn. I have some from members of the Liberal party in Western Australia.
– Not the “ Liberal “ party ?
– I am not going to bandy words with the honorable senator for the sake of giving that party a better description. For a long time in Western Australia a very keen discussion was waged over the railway system of that State, and the opinion was held by both political parties that bad management was clearly in evidence. It remained for Mr. Chinn, in a series of articles published in the West Australian and other newspapers, to point out that there was something radically wrong with that management. So convincing were the arguments which he advanced that men in the Liberal ranks of politics at length recognised their cogency, with the result that they placed their opinions upon record. Unfortunately, I have not time to read the whole of those opinions.
– We have heard them all before in the other Chamber.
– The first statement which I propose to quote is that of Mr. Moss, who was Attorney-General in a Liberal Administration, and who was associated with Sir John Forrest in Western Australian politics. He put upon record his most unstinted admiration of Mr. Chinn as a critic of the administration of the railways of that State. He said -
But I have no hesitation in saying that the country is under a deep debt of gratitude to Mr. Chinn for the enormous amount of labour he must have put in to make the analysis which have appeared. Evidently the Government recognise it, because - I do not know whether it was in His Excellency’s Speech or in the policy speech delivered at Bunbury - there is a statement made that the comparison made between Western Australia and Queensland was sufficiently serious to justify a careful examination, and that these various charges would have to be reduced. The Premier has not given Mr. Chinn the credit for it, but I think it is obvious to any fair-minded person that as the statement was made shortly after the second contribution appeared, Mr. Chinn is deserving of credit. I hope he will get something more than credit, because the task involved a considerable amount of labour and time.
I come now to Mr. Pennefather, who for years was a member of the Forrest Government. He held the portfolio of AttorneyGeneral in that Ministry, and his opinion of Mr. Chinn, who has been so violently assailed by my honorable friends opposite, as expressed during the course of a debate in the Western Australian Parliament, is thus recorded -
Having read in the press not so very long ago some cogent, trenchant, and lucid articles written by Mr. Chinn, members will, I feel sure, realize that these representations have borne fruit. There has been extravagance of an unchecked order, and the sooner it is checked the better for the community. Had the railways been properly and efficiently managed there would have been no necessity to bring down measures for the taxation of land or commodities.
In the same debate, Mr. Sommers, Minister of Lands in another Liberal Administration, placed on record his opinion of Mr. Chinn’s ability -
The Railway Department has been brought very prominently before us, at least, the great cost of running the concern has; and those able articles written by Mr. Chinn, referred to by Mr. Moss, have set people thinking.
That I should read these extracts, sir, after all you have heard about the qualifications .of Mr. Chinn, must look like an attempt on my part to paint the lily, or to add another hue tothe rainbow. As regards qualifications, notwithstanding the statement which has: been made elsewhere that Mr. Chinn had not won his spurs, that he had no credentials to offer, save the fact that he had worked for a short time for the Labour party, the Senate has heard an account of what he has done and where he has worked. He enjoys a Queensland reputation, a New South Wales reputation, a Victorian reputation, and a Tasmanian reputation, while in Western Australia he has received unstinted eulogies from men who belong to the political, camp whence this wholesale, unmerited, and contemptible condemnation comes. This is an unworthy, a mean, and a mud-like attempt on the part of honorable gentlemen opposite and elsewhere to slander a man who has no chance to defend himself.
– Order ! I understood the honorable senator to say that this is some sort of an attempt by honorable senators opposite to do something which is unworthy and mean.
– That is nothing, sir; it is too little to take notice of.
– It has been mentioned in the press, sir, that this appointment was merely a reward to a political helot; that it was a job; and unless we adopt this course I fail to see how we can put the other side of the story before the electors. The credentials as to Mr. Chinn’s qualifications have come, not particularly from men on our side in politics, but from men who mainly or entirely support the party opposite.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- I approach the consideration of this matter without any feeling, because I do not know Mr. Chinn. I only know what I have heard about him here and in another place. We have heard that he has done a great amount of engineering work in various parts of Australia; that he is a noted engineer; but no evidence has been brought forward in support of that, statement from any person who has employed him. We have merely had a list of names read - AttorneysGeneral and all sorts of men - but not one of them is an engineer. What effect would a recommendation coming from either of the Ministers opposite have upon a person who intended to employ an engineer ?
– Was not Sir William Zeal an engineer?
– I should like to know what the Vice-President of the Executive Council knows about engineering?
– I know very nearly as much as you do, and that is very little.
– It is very little, indeed. I do not suppose that the Minister of Defence or the Honorary Minister knows much about engineering. Recommendations can always be brought forward to show that some man is a great engineer. That is all we have got to-day in the case of Mr. Chinn. Senator Lynch has just arrived from Western Australia, and has read statements which have been read before and published in the press. I think that if a man were applying for the position of engineer, the first question he would be asked by any reasonable person who was thinking of employing him would be, “ You tell me that you have been in Australia for forty years, but where did you work before ? “ I do not want to hear a recommendation of an engineer by an Attorney-General, no matter on which side of politics he may be. I want to hear recommendations of Mr. Chinn from his employers, who, I submit, are the only persons entitled to certify to the work which he has done. Have such recommendations been submitted ?
– I have not heard any. I heard challenges made to produce recommendations when the matter was discussed in the first instance. Those who defended Mr. Chinn on that occasion brought nothing forward in his favour, and I have heard nothing since, although I have heard the matter discussed outside.
– You have no right to refer to the debate in the other House.
– The honorable senator got through a very nice thing this afternoon. I do not object to it in the slightest, but I hope that the same thing will be allowed later. Where is a single recommendation from an employer of Mr. Chinn? Where are the great works which he has carried out?
– They are here; they were all read this afternoon.
– I do not know whether anything has been raked up during the last eight or ten days, but when this matter was last under consideration the Minister in another place did not bring forward any evidence that Mr. Chinn had a qualification as an engineer. He read extracts and recommendations from AttorneysGeneral, ex-Ministers, storekeepers, and others. If an honorable senator were going to build a house he would not accept from an architect a reference from a member of the Senate who knew nothing about his qualifications; on the contrary, he would say, “ Show me some samples of your work. Get me a recommendation from a previous employer showing that you are qualified.” I do not know whether Mr. Chinn is qualified as an engineer or not. He was appointed, no doubt, for services rendered. I should not find any fault with the appointment if he were qualified to fill the position. We have heard that he was an engineer in Melbourne; but have we found one person here ready to vouch for him?
– Yes. Sir William Zeal.
– Have we found any engineers in Queensland willing to vouch for Mr. Chinn’s qualifications?
– We have heard a man vouch that Mr. Chinn was a good traffic manager.
– Do not show your ignorance.
– It is all very well for honorable senators to interject ; but there has been no recommendation put before this or any other House of Mr. Chinn as a qualified engineer.
– Yes, plenty of them.
– I say distinctly no. I notice that Mr. Deane, who, I understand, is a leading engineer, is very qualified in his references to Mr. Chinn. He did not recommend him.
– He did.
– If any man can say that there is a letter from an engineer in favour of Mr. Chinn, it is a very weak and poor one, indeed. If I were going to select a manager for a mine, I would not act upon letters of recommendation received from politicians who know nothing about mining ; but I would ask every applicant to prove to me that he was qualified to look after the mine. That is what any reasonable man would do. I leave it to the plain-thinking people of this country w ho read Hansard, to say if they would select Mr. Chinn for this position on the recommendations which have been quoted. He may be the best man in the world, but in my opinion his references are not of the right sort. All that I have heard so far has been that he would make a good traffic manager or a Railway Commissioner. According to some of the letters which have appeared in the press, he was recommended as a Railway Commissioner for Tasmania, hut he did not receive the appointment. In Queensland we have a Railway Commissioner who is, I believe, one of the best in Australia, but he is not an engineer. He employs an engineer to carry out the engineering work. A man may know all the details of railway management from A to Z, but that does not make him an engineer. According to the testimonials I have heard, Mr. Chinn is a very good man with his pen. I have known men to apply for a position who could produce a report which would make one’s hair stand on end, but for practical work they were of no use. I hope that that is not the case with Mr. Chinn. The adjournment of the Senate has been moved to-day to try to whitewash this gentleman. If he is the man he is reckoned to be, he needs no whitewashing. I ask the people to say whether they will accept the recommendations which have been produced in support of Mr. Chinn’s appointment. I have known men to come along with a bundle of references, which emanated from persons who knew nothing about the work required to be done. It is a notorious fact that some persons can always get references by some means or other. It is necessary to find out the capability of; the man who gives a reference to another man. What, for instance, does the
Attorney-General of Western Australia know about engineering ? Does any one of the gentlemen whose names have been quoted know anything about engineering ?
– What did Sir William Zeal know?
– What did he know about practical engineering? A man may be a civil engineer, but he may know nothing about the practical part of the work. You will get a mine manager with half-a-dozen letters to his name quoted as an authority. He may be reckoned an “expert,” although he may know nothing more about working a mine than does the wheel of a coach.
– The honorable senator was only a braceman himself.
– The honorable senator is very insulting, and 1 mustsay thai if he makes such remarks about me, I shall publicly insult hiin in this chamber, and tell him that he cannot tell the truth. It is impossible for him to tell the truth. He now makes a statement that is a glaring and a wilful lie.
– Order ! The honorable senator must withdraw that remark. If Senator de Largie made any statement that was offensive to the honorable senator, and complaint had been made about it, I should have insisted upon its withdrawal.
– I say now that the statement by Senator de Largie was a deliberate lie, and it can be proved to be such. If I have to say that it was true, it is very peculiar.
– Senator de Largie wanted to insult Senator Sayers.
– Deliberately. I say that when a man makes a statement of that kind he knows that it is not true.
– I must ask the honorable senator to withdraw that remark, or I shall have to take other action.
– What remark?
– That a statement made by Senator de Largie was “ a deliberate lie.”
– What can I say? Tell me. Surely I am not expected to acknowledge that the statement was true.
– It is not my duty to tell the honorable senator what to say. Will he withdraw the statement which he made?
– In deference to your ruling, I withdraw. But Senator de Largie has made a statement, that, as I have said, was not true. He made that statement for the purpose of insulting me.
– If the honorable senator had mentioned at the time that a statement that he thought unfair to himself was made, I should have called upon Senator de Largie to withdraw it.
– Well, sir, I must say this in my own defence - that if an honorable senator is allowed to fling such accusations across the chamber, trouble must arise.
– I did not hear any accusation thrown across the floor. The honorable senator did not say that any accusation was made against him, or request that any remark that he considered offensive should be withdrawn.
– It is useless for me to say any more.
– The remark made by Senator de Largie - I heard it distinctly - was that Senator Sayers was “only a braceman.”
– And what is that?
– That is just the point.
– Is that an insult?
– Does Senator St. Ledger rise to a point of order?
– My point is that Senator de Largie, in hurling that remark at Senator Sayers, was not in order. What does it matter whether Senator Sayers was a braceman or not?
– There is no point of order.
– I should like to speak on the point of order.
- Senator St. Ledger rose to a point of order, but has not stated one.
– Of course, you, Mr. President, may not see the point, but any man who has been a miner would see it. 1 was speaking of mining, and of engaging men for a mine. While I was doing so, Senator de Largie, with his usual sneer, made an offensive remark. I will not say what I know about Senator de Largie. I will not make a statement about him on the floor of the chamber.
– I was a hod-carrier once, and the honorable senator can say it any day if he likes.
- Senator Sayers’ time has expired.
.- After the exhibition of heat which we have had from the Opposition benches, perhaps
I may be permitted to say a word upon the question before the Senate. I think that out of this debate a large amount of good will come. Our Western Australian colleagues deserve our thanks for having brought this matter forward, not so much for Mr. Chinn’s sake, because I believe that that official is well able to look after himself, but because it will show to the general public outside that the party on the Opposition benches are so gravelled for argument this session that they are anxious to take advantage of any peg on which to hang a case against the Ministry. The attitude of the Opposition in regard to the appointment of Mr. Chinn has been a deliberate attempt - only one of many - to make political capital.
– The honorable senator should not be so severe on Senator de Largie.
– I am referring to honorable senators opposite.
– The honorable senator said that this was an attempt to make political capital.
– So it is; and what has occurred with reference to this case shows the tactics with which we shall have to contend at the elections next year. Nothing will be said about the big projects which we have placed upon the statutebook when honorable senators go before the actors
– Order ! The honorable senator must confine himself to the question on which the adjournment of the Senate was moved.
– I was pointing out that while our opponents will refrain from criticising our great questions of policy, such as the land tax, they will go forth to the country and denounce us in connexion with matters of this kind. We had an exhibition of that sort of thing at the recent State elections in Tasmania, when the arguments used against our party had relation to preference to unionists and Mr. Fisher’s travelling allowances, whilst our policy was hardly referred to at all. This matter will come in handy for the purpose of attacks on Ministers, and that is why the Opposition have brought it forward. Their tactics remind me of a balloon ascent which I witnessed in South Australia recently. A man went up in a balloon, and while he was hanging on to a trapeze spinning round and round like a tee-totum in mid-air
– But a tee-totum could not spin in mid-air.
– I shall have to give my honorable friend a lesson in dynamics. Whilst we and the crowd were watching the man on the trapeze, two pick-pockets “ went through “ about fifty people, and took all their worldly wealth.
– Does Senator Ready say that there were two in his party?
– I did not happen to be one of the pick-pockets. At the next election we shall have the political pickpockets of the Opposition pursuing the same tactics, and this will be one of the balloons that they will send up. They will fly one balloon labelled “Chinn,” another labelled “preference to unionists,” and a third labelled “’ Socialism.”
– I must ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the subject-matter of the motion.
– I will confine my remarks to the Chinn balloon. While the people are watching it, honorable senators opposite will be picking their pockets. That is why this matter was brought forward in another branch of the Legislature ; and Senator de Largie and his Western Australian colleagues have done the country good service in so thoroughly exposing the tactics of the Opposition. Why have these accusations been made with reference to Mr. Chinn’s capabilities? We have heard many statements made about the gentleman by honorable senators opposite. Senator St. Ledger said that he was not a graduate.
– I did not say anything of the kind. I asked whether he was a graduate.
– The inference was itoo obvious. Senator St. Ledger was trying to pourdiscredit upon Mr. Chinn because he was nota graduate of any university.
– No, because he was posing as one.
– I do not think that he has made any pretentions in that regard. Judging from the testimonials that have been read to-day, Mr. Chinn has graduated in a school of experience, which is worth a hundred universities.
– Senator. St. Ledger lias graduated as a lawyer.
– With peculiar results, judging from what we know of him in the Senate. The testimonials that have been read to-day concerning Mr. Chinn furnish abundant evidence of his practical ability. When we hear testimony of that kind, we do not want to know whether a man has graduated in any university. As to the value of university training, we have only to look to the Ministerial benches to-day. One Minister has told us that he was once a hod-carrier, and now he occupies one of the highest positions in the country. I do not think that there is one member of the present Ministry who has had a university training. Yet I claim that in administrative ability this Government can challenge comparison with any Government that has occupied the Treasurybenches of the Commonwealth Parliament. Ministers have been criticised on various grounds. Sneers have been uttered with reference to the nationality of one Minister. Surely the party opposite must be gravelled for lack of matter when such means are employed.
– Order ! The honorable senator is not dealing with the subjectmatter of the motion before the Senate.
– You will exhaust the honorable senator, sir, if you keep him to one subject.
- Senator Millen is measuring other people’s corn by his own bushel again - a frequent habit of his. I believe this debate will have the effect of showing the people of Australia that this appointment was not only justified, but was absolutely the best one which the Government could have made in the whole of the circumstances.
– If the honorable senator can make the people believe that, he will be clever.
– When the public read this debate, and the evidence brought forward by the Western Australian senators, they can arrive at only one conclusion. I do not think that asingle appointment has been made by this Government upon which any doubt can be thrown ; and, as far as Mr. Chinn’s appointment is concerned, no political suspicion can be cast upon it.
– Is the honorable senator sincere ?
– I am quite sincere.
– As sincere as he can be.
– This Government appointed a defeated Liberal candidate as one of the land valuators in Tasmania.
– Order 1 The motion has nothing to do with the appointment of land valuators, but only with the appointment of Mr. H. Chinn as an officer of the Commonwealth.
– I was going to connect my remarks with reference to the appointment of a land valuator with this subject by observing that nothing was said against the appointment of a gentleman who was a defeated Liberal candidate.
– He was not recommended on the ground of his political sympathies.
– I believe he was. But leaving that question on one side, I think that when such statements are made publicly the best thing that honorable senators on my own side can do is to place the facts fully before the Senate and leave the great public outside to judge for themselves.
– The discussion arising out of the motion of adjournment submitted by Senator de Largie has had something to do with an engineer, and indirectly with engineering. Apart from that, we have had another manifestation of the attitude of an engineer in engineering other things than railway works. I am reminded of a remark attributed to Daniel O’Connell, who said on one occasion that he never saw an Act of Parliament through which he could not drive a coach-and-four. It is somewhat extraordinary that this discussion should have arisen under our Standing Orders. It may be a matter for compliment or perhaps regret that Senator de Largie has found a way through the Standing Orders which we thought was absolutely closed, and has driven, not only a coach-and-four, but a whole locomotive through them. It is possible that honorable senators on this side, or, for that matter, any member of the Senate, may better the construction Senator de Largie has been able to place upon the’ Standing Orders, or it may be necessary that they should be reféred to the Standing Orders Committee for further consideration.
– The honorable senator is reflecting upon the conduct of the Chair.
– The Chair should be in a position to protect itself when any honorable senator reflects upon its conduct.
– On a point of order, I shall take your opinion, sir, as to whether the language just now used by Senator St. Ledger was not a distinct and direct reflection upon the conduct of the Chair. The honorable senator stated clearly that Senator de Largie had been allowed to drive a coach-and-four through the Standing Orders. You, sir, are the custodian of the: rights of honorable senators under theStanding Orders, and I shall take your ruling as to whether Senator St. Ledger did not reflect upon your conduct of the business of the Senate.
- Senator St. Ledger said that Senator de Largie had discovered a method whereby he could get round theStanding Orders. Beyond that. I do not. think the honorable senator reflected upon the Chair. If he does so, I shall be prepared to take the necessary action.
– Honorablesenators on this side have been charged with/ referring to this matter.
– The honorable senator’s party.
– No; it hasbeen stated over and over again that honorable senators on this side raised the question. The President has himself directed attention to the fact that it was not we whoraised it at all. I do not make these remarks for the purpose of either attacking, or defending Mr. Chinn. Whatever may be said or done in this matter, honorablesenators opposite and the Government areentirely responsible for. But I may be allowed to say that, if there is a man who> has reason to ask that he may for Heaven’ssake be spared from, his friends, it is Mr. Chinn on this occasion. On the papers in the possession of the Government, it would appear that Mr. Chinn is described as st. civil engineer.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould… - He never so described himself, I think.
– I do not know whether he has done so, but he is certainly described on the papers as a civil engineer. I have not looked through the papers soclosely as fo be able to say that he is or is not a civil engineer in the sense in which theterm is understood in the engineering world. When a person is described in official papers as a civil engineer, or when he so describes himself, it is understood by engineers the world over that he has a diploma from some engineering institute or some university. It would appear that the Ministerof Home Affairs, in permitting Mr. Chinn’ to be styled on official papers as a civil engineer, is responsible for giving currency towhat I believe is an absolute falsehood. If the officials of the Home Affairs Department have permitted Mr. Chinn to be described” as a civil engineer upon official papers, they have given currency to what, speaking from an engineering point of view, is an absolute falsehood. If by any paper or letter written by himself Mr. Chinn has led the officials of the Department or the Minister of Home Affairs to regard him as a civil engineer, he is guilty of issuing false currency so far as regards the ordinary meaning conveyed by the term civil engineer, as understood by universities and engineering institutes. If a person describes himself as a civil engineer, or writes the letters “C.E.” after his name, it is generally understood that he is a graduate of some university, or is in possession of a diploma from some engineering institute.
– Why is Mr. Chinn challenged now with using the letters C.E. after his name?
– I have not challenged him. I repeat that this question has been raised by honorable senators opposite. It is only, from the papers which have been submitted in connexion with the case, that, in my capacity as a member of the Senate, I know that, by himself or by the Department of Home Affairs, Mr. Chinn is referred to as a civil engineer. It appears to be unchallengeable that, in the ordinary sense in which the term is used, Mr. Chinn is not a civil engineer. If he has not so described himself, he is not to blame, but the Minister of Home Affairs is to blame for permitting him to be so described in official papers without any explanation. I take now the extraordinary statement made by Senator Lynch that Mr. Chinn “ stands alone.” From one point of view he certainly does stand alone, but it is an absolute absurdity to say of Mr. Chinn that, amongst engineers, he stands alone. That is the greatest humbug that could be uttered. If Senator Lynch wishes us to understand that in the Commonwealth, or out of it, there is not a better engineer, and that, in that sense, Mr. Chinn stands alone, the statement has only to be made to disclose its absurdity. But if it is intended to suggest that, in the particular circumstances of this case, the relation of the present Government to the construction of the Kalgoorlie- Port Augusta railway, and the manner in which Mr. Chinn secured his appointment he stands alone, the remark is amply justified. The professional officer responsible for the construction of the railway is Mr. Deane. His views upon the railway were discussed at length upon a previous occasion in the Senate. This Parliament approved of his report, and of his appointment as the re sponsible engineer in charge of the work. He should be saddled with the responsibility of saying who should be appointed to assist him in the work. Did Mr. Deane appoint Mr. Chinn? Even the Minister of Defence, with all his dexterity, is unable to dispute the statement that there is a memorandum from Mr. Deane, dated 6th February, in which he says that the Minister had already decided to appoint Mr. Chinn, and that he recommended certain other officers to work at the other end of the railway. Why did Mr. Deane make this distinction between the appointments he recommended and the appointment of Mr. Chinn by the Minister? We have so far had no explanation of that, and I do not believe that any explanation of it is possible. I do not think that Ministers will attempt to explain this most damning ambiguous statement by Mr. Deane. It would not have been unreasonable if Mr. Deane had said that he appointed Mr. So-and-so to take charge of the work at one end of the railway, and some other person to take charge of the work at the other end, as his subordinate constructing engineers. But, in his memorandum of the 6th February, he refers to the appointment of Mr. Chinn as one which the Minister of Home Affairs had determined to make. There is a further significance in this memorandum. It must be remembered that the Minister of Home Affairs, and Mr. Deane also, knew that he was not controlled by the Public Service Act in making these appointmentsHe had an absolutely free hand, and, at the time Mr. Deane’s memorandum waswritten, he had already approved of the appointment of Mr. Chinn. Mr. Deane directs marked attention to that fact.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired. At this stage it seems opportune to remind honorable senators that when an honorable senator has only fifteen minutes in which to make his speech it is not fair to him that his time should be wasted by interjections.
– I congratulate Senator de Largie upon having brought this matter forward, not, as Senator Sayers has suggested, for the purpose of whitewashing Mr. Chinn, but rather for the purpose of insuring that one of our Commonwealth officers shall receive that justice which he has neither the opportunity nor the power to obtain for himself. During the past few weeks the press of Australia has had: a good deal to say in connexion with Mr. Chinn’s appointment, and complaints have also been made, principally by opponents of the Government. The charge has been laid at the door of the Ministry that Mr. Chinn was appointed to his present office on account, not of his professional abilities, but of _ his Labour principles. I was surprised and disappointed this afternoon to hear the Leader of the Opposition - finding that he had no argument to advance in refutation of the material which had been submitted by Senator de Largie - sink so low as to say, regarding certain statements, “ They may be true, or they may not be true.” I regret that any honorable senator should speak in such a manner concerning another honorable senator, or that he should insinuate-
– I did not make the insinuation against Senator de Largie at all.
– I am sorry if I am misinterpreting the honorable senator. I understood him to make the charge against Senator de Largie, and if he did so I sincerely regret it. When I entered the Senate I held a very high opinion of this Parliament, and one which I should be reluctant to sacrifice.
– Without wishing to curtail the honorable senator’s time, will he allow me to say that I intended no reflection upon Senator de Largie, or upon any honorable senator who used documents here this afternoon.
– The Leader of the Opposition condemned the Government for not having appointed these engineers, and declared that Mr. Deane appointed them. I claim that the Government should have appointed the engineers “of this railway. They are responsible to the people for the carrying out of that work, and next year they will have to answer to the electors for these appointments. It is manifest, therefore, that the Ministry should have appointed Mr. Chinn. The Leader of the Opposition also stated that the only papers which appeared on the file in reference to Mr. Chinn’s appointment were testimonials from Labour Ministers in Western Australia. May I direct his attention to the fact that on that file there also appears a reference from the Honorable J. G. Foulkes, ex-M.L.A., for Claremont, who is not a Labour Minister.
– And never will’ (be.
– In that reference, Mr. Foulkes states that Mr. Chinn brought about reforms in the railway service of Western Australia which saved that State at least ,£100,000 per annum. The Honorable W. J. Butcher, another ex-M.L.A., and a hide-bound Con:servative, makes a similar statement. The file also contains references from the Honorable W. T. Loton, and Mr. Randall, exSpeaker of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, both of whom are strong opponents of the Labour party. If the Fusion party affirm that Mr. Chinn’s appointment is a political job, they must admit that they had more to do with it than had the Labour party, because that gentleman has more references from the former than. he has from the latter. He has only three testimonials from members of the Labour party, whereas he holds about fifteen references from members of the Conservative party. The papers submitted by Senator de Largie this afternoon will, I am pleased to know, be circulated throughout Australia per medium of Hansard, so that the public will have aft opportunity of learning that the charge which has been levelled against Mr. Chinn is absolutely groundless - that as an engineer he possesses high qualifications, and that as a man the utmost reliance can be placed in him. Regarding the objection which has been taken to the appointment of men who hold Labour views, I hope that in future the Government will give preference - all other things being equalto such men. Other Governments have adopted this rule, and the present Ministry should follow their example. I should like to know why consideration should not be extended to Labour sympathizers by a Labour Government in the same way that consideration has been extended by the Fusion party to men who sympathize with their views? I am very pleased that this matter has been brought forward, and1 I am certain that this debate will be productive of a great deal of good.
– If there is one thing which is more diverting than ¬her, it is the facility with which honorable senators opposite, during the present session, have seized upon points which they thought good from their stand-point, and the alacrity with which they have dropped them when they have proved otherwise.
– We are not dropping this matter.
– The keen opposition shown to the motion submitted by Senator de Largie this afternoon emphasizes the point which I am endeavouring to make.
– We are breaking the Standing Orders. That was my objection.
– I should have thought that honorable senators opposite would have welcomed the discussion of this question anywhere, under any conditions, and at any time ; but, apparently, they will welcome its discussion only if one side can be stated. They desire to prevent any evidence being brought forward to justify the action of the Government.
– Show me where such a debate can be initiated ?
– It is a proper debate to initiate here.
– And for only one side to be heard ?
– As soon as the opportunity is given to both sides to state their case, honorable senators opposite want to run away. As Senator Henderson has already pointed out when Mr. Chinn’s appointment was first attacked, only certain portions of the file Of papers relating to it were made public. The other portions were suppressed. It was thus made to appear in the public press that Mr. Chinn had no qualifications whatever. It is the duty of those who are responsible for his appointment to let the public know what are his qualifications. To-day we haVe been told what they are, and I venture to say that they cannot be attacked. Senator Sayers clamoured for the recommendations of men who had employed Mr. Chinn. Well, those of us who knew the late Sir William Zeal know that’ the whole of his business life, until he entered politics, was devoted to civil engineering. We also know that he was very sparing in his friendships, and in dealing out compliments to anybody. I was surprised to learn that he had paid such a fulsome compliment to Mr. Chinn, because - as everybody knows - he was particularly chary about giving a recommendation to anybody. He was a recluse practically, and had very little to say about anybody. But he was a practical man, a civil engineer of high repute, and one who made his money in railway contracts. Senator Sayers may hold any opinion that he chooses, but I venture to say that no honorable senator opposite will urge that the late Sir William Zeal gave that recommendation to Mr. Chinn without ‘Knowing the man to whom he was giving it. In addition, three other recommendations were read by Senator de Largie from persons for whom Mr. Chinn had worked - I refer to Mr. Garnsworthy, Mr. Moriarty, and Mr. Falkingham.
– And the Mr Lyell rail- . way is not paralleled in any part of Australia from the stand-point of engineering difficulties.
– Senator St. Ledger usually discovers points which everybody else fails to discover, but when they are inquired into, they almost invariably prove to be myths. This afternoon, he argued as if Mr. Chinn’s appointment should have been ma’de by Mr. Deane - indeed, as if all these appointments should have been made by that gentleman. As a matter of fact, none of them were made by him. They were made by the Government, who are expressly authorized by the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Act to make them.
– That is the point which I was making.
– It never dawned on anybody that that was the point which the honorable senator endeavoured to make. As a matter of fact, he kept inquiring, “Did Mr. Deane appoint Mr. Chinn?” He even drew the attention of the President to the fact that he was guilty of tedious repetition in asking the question. Section 16 of the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway Act, which we passed last year, reads - .
The Minister may appoint, for any period not extending six months beyond the date on which the line shall be declared open for traffic, all such officers as he thinks necessary for the purposes of the construction or working of the railway, and may authorize the employment of any persons for those purposes.
The Minister appointed Mr. Deane, and he also appointed Mr. Chinn, and the other ‘ engineers. In view of all these circumstances, I can understand that the Opposition are very anxious that this matter should be lost sight of, at least whilst Parliament is in session and the facts can be placed before the public. But if Parliament closed, we should have the country flooded with literature of the same class as that in which this attack originated. My honorable friends having originated the attack now desire to call a truce till the parliamentary shutters are up, because whilst Parliament is sitting, the public have an opportunity of hearing both sides of the case. And we are quite content to let the public judge cm the evidence submitted here this afternoon, as well as the evidence brought forward by the Opposition previously, both in the press and in Parliament.. We have no reason to doubt what the verdict will be.
– What about the “ C.E.” business?
– The honorable senator means that Mr. Chinn does not possess a diploma of civil engineering from a university.
– And the file which the Minister placed on the table of the Library said he had one.
– The honorable senator cannot produce any paper in which Mr. Chinn referred to himself as a civil engineer.
– No; but there is abundant evidence that he allowed others to call him a civil engineer.
– There is evidence in one file, compiled by a clerk, that the letters C.E. were placed after Mr. Chinn’s name, but the Opposition cannot find an instance where Mr. Chinn claimed that distinction for himself, or where the Minister put that title to Mr. Chinn’s name.
– This afternoon there was read a letter addressed to Mr. Chinn, C.E. He sent that letter on, and never put his correspondent right ; he sent a falsehood into circulation.
- Mr. Chinn has never claimed this distinction, and, moreover, where he has signed his name, he has never added the letters C.E.
– He has allowed other people to do that for him.
- Mr. Chinn cannot prevent that being done. This is the’ third attempt to damage the Government. First, we had the Brisbane strike; second, the political appointments in the Northern Territory ; and now, Mr. Chinn’s appointment. The condemnation of the Brisbane strike was going to ring in the ears of the people up to the time of the elections, but the Opposition never mention it now. The condemnation of the political appointments in the Northern Territory was going to be kept alive, but the Opposition never mention them now. Now the matter of Mr. Chinn’s appointment is brought forward, and honorable senators opposite complain that it should not be discussed, and that Senator de Largie has driven a “ locomotive” through the Standing Orders. When -the public see that, on the Government side, so far from there being a desire to hide anything, there is a desire to drag the whole business before the country, and when they hear that the Opposition object to the discussion, they will be able to draw their own conclusion as to which party is in the right.
– I rise to direct the attention of Senator Sayers to the fact that, in the early part of this debate, there were references read from practical men who had employed Mr. Chinn. One reference was from Mr. E. O. Moriarty, EngineerinChief for Water Supply, in Sydney, and it was to the effect that Mr. Chinn had done work in his department for six years. It is a very high-class recommendation, indeed. Another reference was quoted from Garnsworthy and Smith, to testify that Mr. Chinn was engaged by them as an engineer for eleven years, and they praised highly the work which he did. Mr. Chinn also received references from Mr. Falkingham, a railway contractor in Victoria, and Sir William Zeal, a civil engineer. I feel quite sure that when Senator Sayers made the statement he did he was not aware that Mr. Chinn had received these splendid recommendations from practical men. I rose chiefly to thank Senator de Largie for putting me in possession of facts which I never dreamt were in existence.
– The honorable senator will see that nobody else had the facts brought forward before this afternoon.
– I recognise that many honorable senators may have been in the same position as I have been in for a fortnight. They’ may have really believed that there were some slight grounds for the statements made in another place, which gave rise to considerable discussion in the press throughout the Commonwealth, and which would lead plenty of persons to believe that Mr. Chinn was appointed, not because of his ability as an engineer, but simply because he had succeeded in obtaining recommendations from two or three Labour men. Until I heard Senator de Largie this afternoon, it never entered my mind that Mr. Chinn was so highly recommended, and that he was so competent and capable a man in his profession as his references prove him to be. These are not mere professional recommendations, which would be tossed to any person, but recommendations from men who understand and appreciate the value of his services. It will come well from those who have attacked the appointment to do tardy justice to Mr.
Chinn by recognising that, owing to the absence of papers, they were placed in a false position. The Leader of the Opposition certainly will not take that attitude. The only thing I regretted when 1 was listening to his speech was that he was not playing with the Australian cricketers in England, because; if ever there was a man who could make the best of a bad wicket, it is he.
– I could make a century off this bowling.
– I have no doubt that the honorable senator will score under any conditions. For a fortnight at least the press has been spreading the story not only in Australia, but abroad, that a man had been appointed to a high position whose one qualification is that he has a friend at court in the Labour movement. To-day, when references which cannot be questioned are submitted, the position is altered.
– These references were not in at the time the appointment was made.
– I do not know whether they were in or not.
– The file discloses that they were not in.
– These references, which show that Mr. Chinn occupies a very high position in his profession, cannot be glanced at or passed by by any one who is fair-minded. I do not object to criticism from the Opposition side, because it is their duty to keenly criticise the actions of the Government. This discussion will not be reported in the press. The facts will be smothered up, and onlythose persons who get Hansard, will realize how great an injustice has been done to Mr. Chinn. I hope that ultimately every justice will be done to this gentleman, seeing that his references have emanated from responsible men. One reference was written after eleven years’ experience of Mr. Chinn, and another inference after six years’ experience of his work.
SenatorMillen. - He was not appointed because of these references; they were not in when he was appointed.
– Instead of the honorable senator recognising that his party have made a mistake in attacking this appointment in the press; instead of coming forward in a manly way and admitting that in the absence of information the party made an error, he, as well as Senator St. Ledger, has tried to raise a discussion as to whether Mr. Chinn is entitled to use the letters C.E. after his name. If I were writing a letter about Senator Millen I would have no hesitation in putting C.E. after his name.
– To indicate what?
– Clever, Elusive ! I might write C.E. after the name of Senator St. Ledger- Chief Egotist ! These letters may mean much, but what has the whole quibble been about here to-day ? Merely that the letters chave slipped into some communications from gentlemen, and that Mr. Chinn did not draw their attention to the fact that they had been used.
– Which he circulated with good effect.
– That is the honorable senator’s statement, not mine. I agree with Senator Sayers about the desirability of always getting a recommendation from a man who has had some experience of an applicant’s work. Any one who reads or hears read the recommendations of Mr. Chinn must admit that apart altogether from quibbling as to whether or not he is entitled to use the letters C.E. after his name, the recommendations are of a character which justified the Government in appointing him. In my opinion, no other applicant possessed the experience and ability which he did, and there is no man in Australia to-day who can claim to take that position over his head. It was only fair to the country that Senator de Largie should have taken this course, and I thank him for placing before me facts which I never dreamt were in existence. I cannot imagine that a party would, merely for the sake of getting a passing political advantage, direct a serious attack upon the Government. If we are to judge by the space which has been devoted by the press to the discussion of Mr. Chinn, this is the worst appointment which the Labour Government have made.
– Perhaps you have not heard the last of ityet.
– I hope that we have not. I agree with the Minister of Defence that the more the matter is thrashed out the better it will be for the party and the Government.
– Is that why they have refused the appointment of a Select Committee ?
– By whom was it refused ?
– In the other House.
– I do not know anything about that. If we are to judge by the space which has been devoted by the press to Mr. Chinn’s appointment, it is considered by the Opposition to be the worst appointment which the Labour Government have made. Although, during their period of office, they have made hundreds of appointments, yet from one end of Australia to the other, this is held up as absolutely the greatest instance of political favoritism on record. When the facts are gone into, every fair-minded man must admit that this so-called bad appointment is justified on the ground that Mr. Chinn holds the highest possible credentials which any man in the engineering profession could possess. If the Opposition are honest, they will admit that the Government were fully justified in making it, having regard to the ability, the experience, the character, and the capacity of the gentleman whom they appointed.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [5.53].- It has, I think, been rather ‘a mistake on the part of the friends of Mr. Chinn to bring this matter up in the peculiar circumstances existing in the Senate. It is on record that a debate took place in the other Chamber with regard to the appointment of Mr. Chinn as supervising engineer for the western portion of the transcontinental railway, and although Senator de Largie and others have managed to get round the Standing Orders - I do not know any rule or law which it is not possible for an ingenious man to get round - we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that largely this debate has been due to the discussion in the other Chamber.
– And press criticism.
– And from that discussion has arisen press criticism. The place where this question was discussed, and the alleged attacks were made on Mr. Chinn, was the place where his character ought to have been vindicated, if it required vindicating. Moreover, if we are to have duels of this sort between the Houses, we do not know where the matter is going to end. It may be that to-morrow or next week a member of the other House may feel impelled to say something with regard to the debate that is taking place here in order to vindicate his action and conduct, and by that means we may bring the Houses into conflict with each other. If it were impossible to vindicate Mr. Chinn, except by bringing the matter up here, no doubt that would be a perfectly right course to pursue. But the point which I wish to make is this - that it is well to observe in spirit the intention of our Standing Orders, that we should not bring on a conflict between the two Houses of the Legislature. Senator de Largie made some very strong statements. He did not mention the names of those to whom he referred, but every one knew who they were. Suppose that those gentlemen felt called upon to reply to those statements? When would the trouble between the two Houses come to an end?
– Is the honorable senator referring to Sir John Forrest or Mr. Fowler?
– I am not mentioning names, but every one knows to whom Senator de Largie referred. It is deplorable that such incidents should happen in the relations between the two Houses. All the papers that have been read to-day in regard to Mr. Chinn should have been laid upon the table in the other House, and should have been ordered to be printed. Then there would have been an opportunity for members of Parliament to refer to them. But they have been delayed until they were brought up here to-day. The whole gravamen of the charge against the Government is that the appointment was made for political and party reasons, and that the best man available for the position was not honestly chosen.
– Who was a better man ?
– I am not concerned with’ that. I am only pointing out what the gravamen of the charge is.
– Can the honorable senator allege that Mr. Chinn was not the best man, unless he knows of a better?
.- I do not know Mr. Chinn. I never heard of him until this question arose. 1 do not know whether as an engineer he is good, bad, or indifferent.
– Is it fair then to say that the appointment was a bad one?
– I do not say that it was, but I do say that the papers laid upon the Library table indicate that the great strength of this man’s application was the fact that he had assisted the Labour party in Western Australia.
– The Minister read statements to the contrary.
– This is one of the statements made in support of Mr. Chinn’s application by the Attorney-General of Western Australia -
All I desire is that if Mr. Chinn’s qualifications in all other respects are satisfactory -
– That is honest.
– I want to be quite fair, and therefore I have quoted that part of. the letter- then his services to our party in the recent elections should not be forgotten.
– Hear, hear; that is tip-top.
– Honorable senators opposite are faced with this dilemma. The gentleman who wrote that testimonial knew nothing about Mr. Chinn’s professional qualifications, but he urged his appointment as a matter of gratitude for party services rendered.
– Wise man I
– That is frank.
.- It is, indeed. Again, Mr. Collier wrote this -
He is, too, a member of our party, and rendered valuable assistance during the recent elections.
That is the great qualification. Once more,
Mr. McCallum wrote ;
His papers will demonstrate his previous record. I may also mention that Mr. Chinn materially assisted the party in the recent elections.
These papers make it abundantly evident why Mr. Chinn was appointed.
– In America they call that kind of thing “ graft.”
– The honorable senator is quite right - in America they; call it graft. Evidently the Government did not know that such testimonials were in existence as have been read here to-day. The Minister admitted that he did not know of Sir William Zeal’s testimonial. We are justified in concluding therefore that the Government made the appointment on the papers they had before them, and those papers made strong reference to the value of the services rendered by Mr. Chinn to the Labour party.
– They appointed him on the papers they had, and not on the papers which they had not.
– Exactly ; if the appointment was made honestly it must have been made in view of the facts of the case presented to the Government at the time. Therefore the appointment was made simply because of the services rendered to the Labour party, and not because Mr. Chinn’s professional qualifications were superior to those of any other applicant. If his professional qualifications were the best available he was, of course, entitled to the appointment, no matter what party he supported. But I draw attention to another feature of the case. On the 6th February, Mr. Deane said, “ I understand that the Minister intends to appoint Mr. Chinn,” and he went on to say what, in his opinion, Mr. Chinn should be instructed to do. On the 14th February, Mr. Chinn was appointed.
– By Mr. Deane.
– No, by the Minister of Home Affairs, who had the responsibility of appointing him. On the 22nd February, eight days later, appeared the advertisement from the Home Affairs Department asking for two engineers to take charge of the Kalgoorlie railway. The applications had to be sent in by the 22nd March, and on the 14th February one of these appointments was filled.
– On the 14th February Mr. Deane recommended Mr. Chinn.
– I do not care whether Mr. Deane recommended him or not j the Minister was responsible. Mr. Deane was the Minister’s official, and could not, of course; do anything against the wish of the Minister, who is allowed to exercise discretion in such matters. He could not dictate to the Minister, and it would be deplorable if be could. I want it to be noted strongly that the appointment was made on the 14th February, whilst on the the 22nd February an advertisement was published inviting applications for the positions to be filled. The public notification was, therefore, a sheer piece of bluff on the part of the Minister, and was merely intended to deceive the public as to what was being done. Any one who looks at the whole of the particulars of the case, and at the action of the Minister subsequently, must see that this was not an honest appointment, and that no attempt was made to obtain the services of the best man available: I do not attach much . weight to the point that Mr. Chinn has had the letters “ C.E.” placed after his name. A man may obtain a diploma from a university and be entitled to use those letters; but, at the same time, many a man who obtains valuable practical experience is called “ C.E.” by courtesy. Of course, if a man practises in the medical profession without having a diploma, and calls himself “ Doctor “ he is liable to prosecution, but, nevertheless, any individual who chooses may call him “ Doctor.” That appears to have been the sort of thing that occurred here.
– The time for the discussion of this motion has now elapsed.
– Have I not the privilege of a reply ?
– I am very sorry, because there are a few points which I should like to make. I now wish to withdraw the motion.
– Is it the pleasure of the Senate that the motion be withdrawn ?
– No, I object.
Question - That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till to-morrow, at 12 o’clock noon - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are : - 1 and 2. It is intended that Mr. Harrison shall brine; from England a practical steelplate transferrer and engraver, a steel-plate printer, and a blockmaker and electrotyper. All the remaining workmen will be obtained in Australia.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Senate contain the following clause : - “ Clause 48. Where a person fraudulently represents himself to be a depositor and presents the depositor’s pass-book and complies with the rules of the bank and thereby obtains any money belonging to the depositor deposited with the bank by way of Savings Bank deposit, the bank shall not be responsible for the loss sustained “ ?
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are: -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
Is the Government aware that during the year ending 30th June, 1912, in the Melbourne Police District, fourteen old-age pensioners were found dead, eleven were found to be utterly destitute, and twenty-one inquests were held at the Melbourne City Morgue on old-age pensioners?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is -
The Government were not aware of the facts as stated.
– Arising out of the answer, 1 should like to ask whether the Government will communicate with the various State Governments to endeavour to secure information on these lines, so far, at least, as the State Capitals are concerned.
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of his question, so that it may be put before the Department concerned in a formal way.
– I move -
That the Senate approves of the distribution of the State of Western Australia into Electoral Divisions as proposed by Messrs. E. G. Stenberg, H. F. Johnston, and A. W. Piesse, the Commissioners for the purpose of distributing the said State into divisions, in their report laid before Parliament on the 19th day of June, 1912; and that the divisions referred to in the report and indicated on the map as A, B, C, D, and E, be named as follows : -
This motion is not brought forward for the reasons for which I submitted a motion in connexion with the Victorian electoral division, because there is no necessity for a change in the number of members to represent Western Australia. In common with Tasmania, Western Australia is entitled to five members in the House of Representatives, irrespective of population. At present Western Australia has one member in the House of Representatives for every 56,423 electors, as compared with one member for every58,265 electors in the neighbouring State of South Australia. So that Western Australia is rapidly approaching the position of States in which the quota is based upon the population, and in perhaps another year it will be actually on a level with those States. With respect to the causes which have made an alteration in the distribution of Western Australia necessary, I may be allowed to quote from a memorandum, as it contains references to a number of figures -
An alteration in the number of members to which a State is entitled is not the only ground on which the redistribution of a State may be undertaken. Section 23 of the Electoral Act, which deals with the matter, provides, in addition, for two other cases in which the redistribution may be undertaken -
Whenever in one-fourth of the division in the State the number of electors differs from a quota ascertained in the manner provided in that part of the Act by a greater extent than one-fifth more or one-fifth less; and
Whenever the Governor-General thinks fit. The urgent need for redistribution of Western Australia has long been recognised.
The last approved redistribution was made in 1906, when the number of electors in each division was as under : -
I direct the special attention of honorable senators to these figures, because they show the urgency of the redistribution -
By 1909 considerable fluctuation of population had taken place between the various divisions, as the following table will show : -
As the variation in three out of the five divisions exceeded the margin allowed by the Act, the Government of the day, on 1st April, 1909, issued a proclamation directing that a new distribution of the State be made. That distribution was duly made, presented to Parliament on 15th October, 1909, and rejected by the House of Representatives on 23rd November, 1909, by 26 votes to18. The election for 1910 accordingly took place on the divisions laid down in the 1906 distribution.
So that, at the time of the 1910 election, there was that disproportion in the number of electors in the various divisions. The responsibility for that state of affairs rested with the Government of the day, because, when the redistribution was submitted, we had the singular spectacle of the Minister moving the adoption of a scheme entirely deserted by his fellow Ministers, who crossed the Chamber to vote against him.
– What is going to happen to-day?
– Nothing of that kind is going to happen to-day; and nothing of that kind happened in another place when the motion for the adoption of the scheme now submitted was proposed. Ministers will vote for this motion.
– Knowing that the numbers are right,
– Knowing nothing of the kind. The honorable senator may know something about the matter; but I say advisedly that I do not know whether there is a majority of the members of the Senate opposed to this motion. I think the majority will be in favour of it, and I hope that that will be found to be the case. At any rate, so far as this Government are concerned, they accept responsibility as a whole for the divisions proposed, and do not leave the responsibility to any individual Minister.
In November last the present Government issued a proclamation directing a fresh distribution of the State to be made. The state of the rolls on the 19th December last disclosed the following state of affairs : -
This will show how necessary it is that there should be a redistribution of Western Australia before the next election. To honorable senators who attach any importance to the principle of onevoteonevalue these figures disclose a disparity that is almost grotesque. If this proposed redistribution is rejected, and another is not made and accepted before Parliament rises, it is upon these figures that the next election will have to be contested. That is a point I ask honorable senators to consider.
– Does the honorable senator think that a good reason for accepting a bad distribution?
– The decision may lie between two evils. Honorable senators may have to decide whether the figures quoted represent a worse state of affairs in the distribution of Western Australia than is presented by the scheme submitted for approval.
– Does the Minister contend that there is no time for the amendment of this scheme?
– No, I have not contended that ; but I have mentioned a contingency which must be taken into consideration. I wish to put the case fairly before honorable senators, in order that they may vote for or against the motion with a knowledge of the facts.
The limit of variation from the quota allowed by the Act being 6,078, it will be seen that in three out of the five divisions that limit was exceeded.
The Commissioners, who were appointed in November last, have now proposed a fresh distribution, as follows : -
– Does the honorable senator think that any redistribution woum compel Sir John Forrest to forsake the sacred place of his birth?
– I think that the electors will very probably make the right honorable gentleman forsake his birth-place at the next election. It may be remarked here that the reason for the inclusion of the name “ Dampier “ is that the town of Coolgardie, from which the existing electorate of Coolgardie took its name, is, under the distribution now proposed, included in the Kalgoorlie electorate. Coolgardie would not, therefore, be a suitable name for the new electorate now proposed, and the name “ Dampier “ has been adopted because it has historic association with Australia generally, and particularly with Western Australia, and with the particular part of the coast line of that State included in the new division. After this redistribution was made, in compliance with the law, copies of it were posted at the various post-offices throughout Western Australia, and objections to it were invited. The following objection was lodged by the Australian Labour Federation -
Trades Hall, Beaufort-street,
Perth, 9th April, 1912,
I have instructions from the State Executive of the Australian Labour Federation to submit the following comments on your suggestions for the redistribution of the Federal electorates : -
My executive cannot understand why the Mount Magnet and Cue electorates have been placed in the same division as the Eastern Gold-fields. These districts have never in any way been associated with that portion of the State. All their means of communication and interests, both commercial and otherwise, have been with the Geraldton districts. Further, both the Mount Magnet and Cue divisions have a fairly large percentage of persons engaged in the pastoral industry within their borders, and their number is increasing, and must in the future comprise a greater proportion, consequently it is all the more difficult to understand why they should be cut off from their immediate surrounding districts, and grouped with others some hundreds of miles distant.
We are given to understand that the reasons which prompted the Commissioners to arrive at their conclusions were that the agricultural industry is growing while the mining is decreasing. I am instructed to respectfully submit that the law or the instructions given to the Commissioners does not give them power to take this into account at all. The instructions were to frame boundaries for the next Federal elections, and no more.
My executive desire me to submit that the Commissioners have no power or right to assume what may be the position four or five years hence. As a matter of fact, this State may be entitled to another representative by that period, and where would be the fairness of the Commissioners’ proposals then ?
In protesting against the extraordinary number over the quota given to the new Kalgoorlie Division, I have instructions to point out that by the date of the next Federal elections approximately 1,000 men will be employed in that division on the Trans-Australian railway, and that their employment will last fully threeyears. This will add to the already overplus which the Commissioners have allotted this district. It is idle to argue that they will come from within the district, because any person who knows our gold- fields knows full well that they cannot carry any large number of unemployed.
My executive suggest that the electorates of Cue and Mount Magnet be taken from Kalgoorlie and added to “ E.”
The figures would be -
“A” - 29,320; “B “-29,563; “C” -29,800; “D “-29,833; “E”33,417.
These are only a few of the objections which my executive put forward, and in order to more fully explain their attitude, I am instructed to respectfully suggest that the Commissioners meet a deputation of my executive to discuss the matter.
I would be glad to have your reply at an early date.
That protest was taken into consideration by the Commissioners, who dealt with the various objections raised in it. In reply to them they say -
In connexion with the objections and suggestions therein made, the Commissioners offer the following remarks, viz. : -
The considerations which actuated the Commissioners in including the Cue and Mr Magnet State Electoral Districts in the proposed Division “ D “ are already set out in full in paragraph 23 of this Report, and, therefore, require no further amplification.
Before proceeding further, I would like to read paragraph 23 of their report, which is as follows -
It will be observed that the division, as now proposed, includes all the Eastern Gold-fields’ and most of the Murchison Gold-fields’ State Electoral Districts; in fact, the only such district excluded from Ihe division is the Murchison Stale Electoral District. By this combination, a division has been created which contained on the 19th of December, 191 1, an electoral enrolment of 34,031 based upon the Commonwealth Electoral Department’s official figures. The apparent electoral strength of the division on that date is, therefore, as already staled, 3,640 in excess of quota. The Commissioners fully appreciated the nature of the “ community of interest “ existing between the Murchison Gold-fields and the coastal districts round Geraldton, and have given due consideration to these before including the Cue and Mr Magnet Electoral Districts in the proposed Division “D.” It has also been noted that no means of communication by rail exist between the Eastern and Murchison Gold-fields, and that presumably, therefore, these arguments might be used in favour of including theMutchison Goldfields with Division “ E “ principally on account of what may be alleged to be “ community of interest.” The Commissioners, however, are of the opinion that “ communitv of interest,” when applied to a large industry like the gold-mining industry of Western Australia, would not be. correctly interpreted if based upon geographical considerations only. Whilst admitting that the geographical position should be given all the consideration which is due to it, the Commissioners hold the view that a much wider interpretation should be given to the term.
There are many interests of paramount importance to all gold-fields, such as the general trend of mining legislation governing the conduct of mining operations, the statutory regulation of labour on mines, the inspection of machinery, the railway rates for gold-fields’ supplies, and other important items of consideration which the Commissioners claim should receive prior consideration to purely geographical pointl of advantage or disadvantage. This view, no doubt, has also in the past actuated Commissioners when defining the boundaries of goldfields’ divisions, as it will be observed that under the present distribution the “ Kalgoorlie “ Division includes also the “ Phillips River “ goldfield, which latter does not appear to the Commissioners to have any more “ community of interest “ with the “ Kalgoorlie “ gold-field than have the Murchison gold-fields. Turning again to the existing “ Coolgardie “ Division, it will be observed that the “Coolgardie” and “Yilgarn “ Gold-fields are included in this division, together with the “ Murchison “ gold-fields, and it, therefore, appears that even under present distribution the “ Murchison “ fields are included in a division containing the “ Coolgardie “ and “ Yilgarn “ gold-fields, which distribution has been suggested and approved under statutory obligation on the part of previous Commissioners to consider “ community of interest.” On these grounds, the Commissioners considered it their duty to include in Division “ D “ also the larger portion of the “ Murchison “ gold-fields, and indeed no option was open to them, as the present “Kalgoorlie” Division was short of the quota to the extent of 10,136 electors on the 19th December, 191 1, and, therefore, an increase was compulsory under the provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. The only direction in which such increase could reasonably be effected was by adding to that area further gold-fields in which . 1 sufficient number of electors were included to satisfy the views of the Commissioners that the intention of the Legislature had been given due effect to.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended, I had just quoted the paragraph of the Commissioners’ report, in which they dealt with objection (a) as set forth in the letter of objection by the Australian Labour Federation. They then’ proceed to deal with the second objection, which relates to the geographical difficulties experienced under the new redistribution scheme. They refer to them in these terms -
Legislature of giving to all votes,so far as possible, an equal value, an object that, in the opinion of the Commissioners, can only be effectively achieved by securing to each division at the time of an impending election an enrolment as near to the quota as is practicable, after due consideration has been given to the provisions of section 16 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
Labour Federation’s letter, the Commissioners are not aware of having in. their present redistribution proposals attempted anything beyond providing for the exigencies connected with the next general election.
– Does the Minister think they are justified in anticipating population?
– They are justified in taking the figures as they find them, and in considering those figures they should attach due importance to the trend of population which the figures between 1906 and 1 9 10 have disclosed.
-Colonel Cameron. - There is no certainty that that trend will continue.
– They have to take into consideration not merely the probabilities, but all the circumstances.
– The present rush to Kurnalpi will serve to send up the population of the Kalgoorlie division.
– It may, or it may not. I was in a rush to Kurnalpi. I was one of a thousand who rushed there, and we were very glad to rush back.
– Because these men have been appointed Commissioners, does that circumstance constitute them prophets?
– Let us look at paragraph 31 of their report, with a view to seeing how far they have entered into the region of prophecy. In that paragraph they say -
Looking at the recent population statistics of this State, it will be observed that in the year 1910 the population increased numerically by 11,496, and in the year1911 by 17,301. For the first three months of 1912, for which preliminary returns are available, the population of the State increased by 3,095, the rate per month by which the population increased in 1910 being 950, in rgn, by 1,450, as against 1,032 during the first three months of 1912. At the time when the new Commonwealth rolls are likely to be put into practical use, viz., about April, 1912, the population of this State must have considerably increased, and in order not to over-estimate such growth, the Commissioners have calculated on an average monthly increase in the total population of about 1,000, which would mean a monthly increase in the enrolment of about 500. During the fifteen months, therefore, between the iqth December, igii, for which the Commonwealth Electoral Department’s figures have been used in this Report, and the time of the next general election, there will be an estimated increased enrolment of, approximately, 7,500, which will raise the present quota by 1,500, bringing that figure up to 31,891.
Up to that point no exception can be taken to their conclusions, because they have not differentiated between one division and another. They have taken into consideration the general increase in the population of the State in order to ascertain what would be the quota at the time of the elections. The contentious part of their case is contained in the subsequent portion of that paragraph, which reads -
The increasing enrolment, however, is not expected to materially affect Division “ D,” where for the last few yeaTs, as already stated, a constant decrease in enrolment has been recorded, and in the opinion of the Commissioners such enrolment will at best remain stationary for the next twelve months. The reason why the Commissioners expect such comparative improvement in the conditions of electoral enrolment in Division “ D “ is based upon the assumption that the steady decrease recently experienced may possibly get a check on account of the fact that the commencement of the construction of the Trans-Australian railway will prevent further depletion of electors. It is, of course, impossible for the Commissioners to give an estimate of the proportion of the increase that will be attracted to each of the four Divisions “ A,” “B,” “C,” and “E,” but it is considered probable that the figures which will be available showing the actual enrolment for the forthcoming elections next year will prove that in no case will there be more than a slight variation from the quota, either above or below.
In the closing part of that paragraph, therefore, it will be seen that they did actually take into consideration the point raised by the Australian Labour Federation before it was raised.
– But they gave no effect to it.
– Oh, yes. They say that the tendency is towards a general decrease, but that, taking into consideration the construction of the railway from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta, they have estimated that that general increase may be checked. They had already considered the point which was raised as to the probable increase of population in the Kalgoorlie division.
– But they did not allow for it in their figures.
– Paragraph (c) of their reply to the objections raised by the Australian Labour Federation reads -
The effect of such transfer would, therefore, be to fix a diminishing division at only 372 enrolments in excess of present quota, whilst one of the divisions rapidly increasing, already a year and a half prior to the general election, would be allotted an enrolment of 2,116 in excess of quota. The result of such arrangements wou’d not, in the opinion of the Commissioners, give a satisfactory result at the time of the election.
They also add -
In conclusion, the Commissioners desire to state that they have given some weight to their special personal knowledge of the general condition of the electoral rolls at periods between elections, and it is on that account that thev have proposed the formation of Division “ D f’ in such manner as to contain, on the19th of December last, an apparent excess of quota of 3,640.
Although ft would appear on the figures available, and on the basis of the estimates made, that the enrolment in the proposed Division “ D “ will at the time of the election be about 2,100 in excess of the then existing quota, the Commissioners are satisfied that, unless some entirely unforeseen circumstances arise, Division “ D “ as proposed will show no excess of the new quota.
That report is signed by the three Commissioners.
– It is the unexpected that happens.
– In conclusion, I have merely to add that the Government gave consideration to the Commissioners’ report, and thought that the circumstances would not justify them in asking Parliament to reject the scheme.
– Does the Minister think it is a really good redistribution?
– The Government are prepared to ask Parliament to indorse the scheme. We take up the attitude that, whilst it may not be an entirely satisfactory one, there is not sufficient reason to justify us in asking Parliament to reject it. This is, of course, and I think should be, a non-party question. In my opinion,it would be a bad thing if the distribution of a State into electoral divisions were made a party question. Those who usually support the Government are quite free to take whatever attitude they think fit, and to vote in accordance with their judgment.
– We will take it whether we are free or not.
– Furthermore - and this is an answer to those who say that the Caucus binds members of the Labour party - the division in another place has shown that on this question the Caucus has neither bound the Government nor the members of the party.
– But it has bound the Opposition, apparently.
– I am not in the confidence of the Opposition.
– The Minister will see that it will bind his party.
– In view of all the circumstances, the Government ask the Senate to accept the distribution as put forward by the Commissioners.
– I move -
That all the words after the word “That” be left out with the view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - “ in accordance with section 22 of the Electoral Act, the distribution be disapproved of and referred back to the Commissioners with an intimation that due consideration does not appear to have been given to the diversity of interest and the absence of means of communication between the districts of Mount Magnet and Cue and the other portions of the proposed Division D, and that the Commissioners be requested to make the distribution on the basis of existing enrolment and not by way of anticipation, so as to give each division as nearly as is practicable an equal number of electors.”
Section 22 of the Electoral Act reads -
If either House of Parliament passes a resolution disapproving of any proposed distribution, or negatives a motion for the approval of any proposed distribution, the Minister may direct the Commissioners to propose a fresh distribution of the State into divisions.
The amendment clearly expresses a very patent fact when it states that it does not appear evident that the Commissioners have taken into consideration diversity of interest, particularly when applied to Cue and Mount Magnet, in connexion with the Kalgoorlie electorate. ‘I shall deal with that point at a later stage. In my opinion, the failure of the Commissioners has been entirely due to the fact that they overlooked several very apparent points of evidence which they ‘might have taken into consideration. They gave the Kalgoorlie electorate 3,640 voters above the quota, and they did that, as the Minister of Defence has pointed out, because of the trend of a shifting population for a considerable number of months. They gave Kalgoorlie this excess of the quota eighteen months prior to the date of the election anyhow. They assumed the right to prophesy. They claimed to know what is going to happen for Kalgoorlie. No matter how wise or clever he may be, I do not see how any man could candidly say that he could for one month tell the future of a district like Kalgoorlie, apart altogether from the possibility of the transcontinental railway taking a very large number of persons to the electorate. It is quite true, as Senator Lynch has interjected, that Kurnalpi has shown signs of a revival, and no honorable senator, not even the Commissioners, dare say that it is not going to be a very large and prosperous field ; and this is in the Kalgoorlie electorate, for which there was no provision made by the Commissioners, inasmuch as the revival has taken place since they made their report. Then Ora Banda is in precisely the same position. Again, the railway will of necessity add a very large number of voters to the Kalgoorlie electorate. Moreover, the Commissioners did not give the slightest consideration to the policy of the Government of Western Australia. Had they done so they would have realized that the State Government have already taken the preliminary step in an undertaking that will very largely increase the population of the Kalgoorlie electorate, and that is by deciding to build a railway between Norseman and Esperance. There is going to be a fairly large agricultural population catered for by the railway. It will open up a very large area of land on which settlers will be found in the very near future. The Commissioners did not take this fact into consideration at all. I have the same right to make a prophecy as they had ; in fact, I do not know that I have not a little more right to do so, because, notwithstanding all their wisdom and knowledge of Western Australia, probably some of us here have had a considerably wider experience, and possess a better knowledge of its industrial conditions, than do some of the men who took upon themselves this kind of work. I might as well prophesy that before polling day there will be 9,000 or 10,000 electors above the quota in the Kalgoorlie electorate, instead of the 3,640 electors credited by the Commissioners’. I come now to the question of diversity of interest. If I could only take honorable senators with me from Cue to Mount Magnet, and then to Kalgoorlie, they would be rather astounded when they read in the report of the Commissioners that diversity of interest had been taken into consideration by them. If any sane man will tell me that there is the remotest semblance of a connexion between the interests of the people of Cue and Mount Magnet and those of the people of Kalgoorlie,’ I shall withdraw the amendment and everything I have said. But I want honorable senators to understand that the Cue and Magnet people have always been connected with the Coolgardie electorate. They have always been connected in every way with the Port of Geraldton. All their business transactions are there centred. There is not the slightest connexion between them and the people of Kalgoorlie. Therefore, how any one can for a moment imagine that the principle of community of interest has been taken into consideration is more than I can fathom. Certainly in putting the Magnet and Cue people into the Kalgoorlie electorate, the Commissioners have succeeded in considering diversity rather than community of interest, to this extent - that it would be impossible to travel the whole world, and find any two communities of people more diverse in their interests than is the case with Cue and Magnet and Kalgoorlie. In order to establish community of interest between those places, you have to come down to Perth from Cue or Magnet, and then go from Perth to Kalgoorlie. That is the only mode of transit that brings those communities into relation with each other, I have .no desire to prolong the discussion. I am more inclined to take a vote than to talk about, the matter. If I talked for a week, I could not add very much more to what I have said, and it can undoubtedly be borne out by every Western Australian senator. The realm of prophecy to which the Commissioners have flown is as ridiculous as the idea that they have established community of interest. It is quite possible that before the election takes place, the difference in regard to the quota will be more than double that which the Commissioners have placed before us. I submit this amendment in order that the Commissioners may have an opportunity of soundly reviewing the position.
– In seconding the amendment I have much pleasure in pointing out that in addition to the reasons which have been given by the mover of it, attention should be paid to the danger, in indorsing a report of this kind, of setting up, a very undesirable precedent. It is plainly admitted by the Commissioners, in the course of their report, that they have based the proposed distribution mainly upon a condition of things which they imagine may happen in a few years’ time. If the Senate indorsed a position of that kind, we should be treading upon a very dangerous path. In this respect, the report is not in keeping with the express instructions given to the Commissioners in the electoral law of this country. Senator Henderson did not sufficiently emphasize the fact that the population in the district is increasing. The Commissioners take the view that it will decline. But we must have regard to the policy of the State Government, who are going to connect by railway the important port of Esperance with the gold-fields. It is quite plain that by doing so an important seaport will arise there which will be another factor in increasing the population in the division. It is plain to any person who looks at the map that when this railway is built - a line to which the Western Australian Government are committed by a statement in the Governor-General’s Speech - not only shall we have a vast area of agricultural land brought into a condition of cultivation, but also a seaport town of very great importance indeed, which will be the means of increasing the number of voters in the division.
– It will add a new province to Western Australia.
– That is so. In regard to land settlement alone, the Commission which lately inquired into the prospects of that particular locality found that within the reliable rainfall belt there was no less than a million acres available for settlement.
– A million acres available for settlement? I am glad to hear it.
– We are all glad to hear it.
– It was only lately discovered then.
– The honorable senator’s knowledge is so limited that a tit-bit like that must be refreshing to him. He has never been beyond his own State, and knows nothing of the possibilities of the Western State.
– It is an admission that Western Australian senators are very tardy in making ; that is all.
– Our State has provided many homes for a number of people from the honorable senator’s State, any way. As to the prospects in the immediate future, the Commission to which I am referring set it down as a conservative calculation that this unoccupied agricultural land is capable of settling no less than 500 families within a very few years. A country that is capable of providing homes for so many will probably be the means of establishing a couple of towns in the neighbourhood. That development, combined with the seaport to which I have already referred, points to the possibility of an increase of population. Then there is the railway connexion to be tit ken into account. All these factors go to show that an enormous calculation has been made by the Electoral Commissioners. They imagine that the population will decline whereas the factors which have been mentioned by Senator Henderson and myself go to show that a large increase in population will take place within these verydivisions. Then there is the broader ground o;> which the Commissioners ought to take their stand, namely, the condition of things as they are, and not as they are likely to be in the course of a few years. I know the country very well, and know what is capable of happening there. There is first the mining centre referred to by Senator Henderson, Kurnalpi. Senator Pearce was out there as one of the early prospectors, and is aware that the district has since absorbed a much larger population. That mining centre to-day* is attracting hundreds of gold-seekers. Some of them are on verygood gold indeed. The Yarraberidi district floated in London lately a couple of mines, which, on the most modest calculation, are capable of giving employment to at least 300 or 400 men. These developments are taking place in what was regarded in the past as being an abandoned gold-field. These so-called abandoned gold-fields are within the boundary lines of the division where the Commissioners say the population is on the decline. What warrant is there in these facts - the development of goldmining on’ the one hand, and the development of agriculture on the other - for supposing that the population is likely to decline? On the top of these considerations comes the transcontinental railway, which no one can deny will attract population. When honorable senators recollect these facts, they will, I think, quickly come to the conclusion that it would be wrong in practice, and would establish an undesirable precedent to adopt the recommendations of the Commissioners. I venture to say that an error of judgment has been committed which we should take the present opportunity of rectifying.
– I rise for the sake of submitting the question whether Senator Henderson’s amendment is in order. It asks the Senate to affirm that the report should, be sent back to the Commissioners with a more or less definite direction to them. I tried to raise this point by interjection when Senator Henderson was speaking, but I was repulsed in such a manner that I regret that I have to call attention to the point now. First, I direct attention to the Act.
– What has the Act to do with the point of order?
– I submit that the Senate is bound by the Act of Parliament under which the Commissioners have furnished this report. If that contention be correct, we must see what the Act lays down. Section 16 of the Electoral Act prescribes that in making a distribution of a State into divisions, the Commissioners must give due consideration to community or diversity of interest, means of communication, physical feature, and existing boundaries of divisions ; and, subject thereto, it is provided that - the quota of electors shall be the basis for the distribution, and the Commissioner may adopt a margin of allowance, to be used whenever it is necessary, but in no case shall such quota be departed from to a greater extent than onefifth more or one-fifth less.
We must assume that the Commissioners in this case have- performed their duty under that section. . I admit that there is room for argument in that connexion on the merits and on the point of order. Section 22 of the Act is the section relied on for sending a scheme of distribution back to the Commissioners with, in this instance, an intimation.
– Does section 22 say that there shall be no intimation to the Commissioners ?
– I shall read it, so that there may be no dispute as to what it provides. I cannot see that under section 22 we have any power to give any intimation to the Commissioners. That is the whole point. If you, sir, support my contention, the amendment must be ruled out of order. Section 22 provides that -
If either House of Parliament passes a resolution disapproving of any proposed distribution, or negatives a . motion for the approval of any proposed distribution, the Minister may direct the Commissioner to propose a fresh distribution of the State into divisions.
If we negative the motion submitted by the Minister of Defence, the next step is for the Minister to direct the Commissioners to propose a fresh distribution of the States into divisions. The amendment proposes more than that, and my point is as to whether we can give an intimation to the Commissioners in any form. The Commissioners are supposed to know the Act, and we must assume that they have acted under section 16, and have carried out its provisions. Section 22 gives us the power to accept or to negative a proposed distribution, but the question I raise is whether it gives us the power to intimate to the Commissioners that they have not properly interpreted section 16 of the Act. The question arises, also, as to who are to be the judges as to whether the Commissioners have taken into consideration all the provisions of section 16.
– We are.
– No ; the Act is distinctly against that contention.
– We shall rule the honorable senator out.
– That may be ; but the point of order I raise is certainly arguable. I invite honorable senators to con sider the alternative. Suppose the Minister accepts the amendment with its intimation, and sends that on to the Commissioners, they will be in a position to say, “ Under section 16 of the Act we took all . that into consideration.”
– They might ignore our intimation, that is all.
– Senator Lynch ad mits that they may ignore our intimation, and again submit the same scheme for the distribution of the State into electoral divisions. We might, in such circumstances, have a kind of shuttlecock business between the Commissioners and the Government for the time being. I contend that we have not the powers claimed for us by the amendment. The Commissioners are, under the Act, untrammelled in their distribution of a State into divisions; they have sent on to us a scheme which we can either approve or negative, but neither House of this Parliament can, in my opinion, negative a motion for the adoption of any proposed scheme with an intimation to the Commissioners. If that were not so, either House might coerce or force a particular division upon the Commissioners.
– If section 16 nega tives section 22, and the Commissioners negative both, and the Senate negatives the Commissioners, what would the point be then?
– I may retort by saying that any fool can ask a question which it would require a very wise man to answer. We must be guided in matters of doubt by a strict interpretation of the Act of Parliament in question, and in view of the clear terms of section 22, I say that we can accept a proposed distribution or negative it, in which latter case the Minister may direct the Commissioners to propose a fresh distribution, and we can do no more. It may be out of place for senators from other States to interfere in a dispute as to the distribution of Western Australia into divisions; but, in the circumstances, I ask your ruling, sir, as to whether the amendment is in order.
– Senator St. Ledger has put an extraordinary position before the Senate. He has asked you, sir, to rule that the Senate cannot do something on which the Act of Parliament to which he referred is silent. That represents the greatest strength of the point of order which the honorable senator has submitted. The Electoral Act says that in certain cases we are to do something, and it goes no further. Senator St. Ledger takes up the extraordinary position that, because the Senate is not commanded to do something by an Act of Parliament, it therefore cannot do it. Let me remind the Senate of the attitude which at least one of your predecessors in the chair took up . when asked to decide points of this kind. Sir Richard Chaffey Baker, when President of the Senate, always took up the attitude that it was no part of his business to interpret the Constitution or any Act of Parliament. It was his business to interpret and enforce the Standing Orders, and no more. I quote from the Rulings of the President of the Senate, Sir Richard Chaffey Baker, 1903-6, Vol. 1, page 17-
It does not seem to me that I should from the Chair undertake the responsibility of interpreting all the provisions of the Constitution. The Constitution itself has provided for’ a tribunal - the High Court - which, after argument and consideration, such, as would be impossible and undesirable’ in the Senate, is. empowered to finally determine its meaning.
He goes on to elaborate that, but I need not quote further. I direct your attention, sir, to the fact that Sir Richard Baker, when President of the Senate, refused to take into consideration the terms of the Constitution under which the Senate exists. How much less would he have entered upon an interpretation of the Acts of this Parliament, which are the creation of the Senate in conjunction with another branch of the Legislature ? It is ridiculous that the Senate should be bound, as Senator St. Ledger desires, not to do something which it is not forbidden to do by any law in existence. It was only common sense on the part of Senator Henderson to propose that, in sending the proposed distribution back to the Commissioners, we should go a little further and give them an intimation of the reason why the Senate has taken this action. I hope that your ruling will not be such as to prevent the Senate from giving an expression of opinion, when, by doing so, it is not acting contrary to any law on the statutebook, Senator St. Ledger notwithstanding.
– I think that the point of order raised is not so deep as suggested by Senator Givens. It seems to me that the question before the Chair is whether this amendment can be moved upon the motion. If the Electoral Act has any bearing upon the question, it clearly is an amendment which can be moved on the motion. Section 22 provides that -
If either House of Parliament passes a resolution disapproving of any proposed distribution, or negatives a motion for the approval of any proposed distribution, the Minister may direct the Commissioner to propose a fresh distribution of the State into divisions.
Let us assume that the amendment is carried. The resolution- then adopted would be, in compliance with section 22, a resolution disapproving of> the proposed distribution. Though it would also contain a reason for the disapproval that would not make it any less a resolution disapproving of the proposed distribution. Whether the Commissioners will take any notice of the reason assigned for our action, or whether that reason will come before them officially, is altogether beside the question of whether the amendment is in order. Clearly, if it be carried, it will express disapproval of the redistribution scheme, and, therefore, it must be in order, even if it be judged from the stand-point of the Act itself. I wish to say, further, that the question of what procedure will be adopted should the amendment be carried is one which does not arise here, and upon which the President is not called upon to rule.
– I have already indicated that.
– But the honorablesenator raised that question as part of hispoint of order. It is a question for the Executive, who, of course, are responsible to Parliament. They may merely call’ upon the Commissioners to prepare a fresh redistribution scheme, although there is nodoubt that the Commissioners would take cognisance of the fact that the Senate had assigned no reason for its disapproval of this scheme.
– In another place a> scheme was rejected. Was that rejection* accompanied by reasons?
– No. But whether thescheme is referred back to the Commissioners, either with or without reasons for its rejection, has nothing whatever to dc* with the point of order which the honorable senator has raised.
– It appears to me that thereis nothing in the argument which has been, advanced by Senator St. Ledger that sections 16 and 22 of the Electoral Act are in? conflict. The former defines the conditionsunder which the Commissioners shall act, and? the latter sets forth what the Minister anc? Parliament may do with their report after they have so acted. The question as towhat the Commissioners may further do if we assign reasons for our disapproval of this scheme is not involved at all. Suppose that the motion for its adoption werenegatived. It would then be referred back to the Commissioners, who might make the same redistribution again. It appears tome that we have a right to do whatever we are not forbidden to do by law, provided’ that any action we may so take is not inconsistent with any part of that law. Tosay that we cannot do anything which the law does not expressly empower us to do isto reverse the position that we ought to take up if we wish to preserve the liberty which, we already enjoy. Senator St. Ledger hasargued that because the Act does not specifically empower us to assign reasons for our action in rejecting this scheme, therefore wecannot assign reasons. I hold that if our reasons are not inconsistent with the general terms of the Act, it is absurd to supposethat we shall in any way invalidate our conclusions by adding our reasons thereto.
– It is an attempt to im-pose fetters on the Senate.
– It is. Whilst Senator St. Ledger may not object to these fetters, because he probably recognises that he is coming to an early political grave, certainly those who hope to be here for some years have no desire to fetter themselves in the way that he suggests.
- Senator St. Ledger lias raised the point as to whether the amendment is in order, and has quoted the Statute which empowers the Government to appoint Commissioners, which sets out their duties, and also the way in which the proposed electoral divisions of the States may be dealt with by the Senate. Now, in the first place, it is not usual for. the Chair to interpret the law, and no President, I suppose, will ever take upon himself the duty of attempting to define exactly what the Statutes mean, so far as matters which come before this Chamber are concerned. His principal duty is to be guided by the Standing Orders which govern our procedure, and standing order 135 reads -
Every amendment must be relevant to the question to which it is proposed to be made.
Now, the proposal of the Minister of Defence is that the report of the Commissioners be adopted, to which it is competent for any honorable senator to move an amendment disagreeing with it. Senator Henderson’s amendment seeks to affirm, in accordance with section 22 of the Electoral Act, that the distribution be disapproved and referred back to the Commissioners. In addition, he asks the Senate to say that certain things which should have been done 4>y the Commissioners have not been done by them. Therefore, I must rule that the amendment is strictly in order.
Senator VARDON (South Australia) £9.5]. - I confess that I have no knowledge of the conditions which prevail in Western Australia, and, therefore, I cannot controvert the report which has been presented *by the Commissioners, nor can I verify anything that Professor Henderson has said in regard to this matter.
– Professor Henderson?
– Yes. He professes a very great deal, and quite right, too. But if Senator Needham objects to that term, I will say Senator Henderson. I am not prepared to admit that the statements of Senator Henderson upon this matter are justified. The Minister of Defence, in reply to an interjection, stated that the redistribution scheme which is now under consideration is not altogether a satisfactory one. But he gave no reason why it is unsatisfactory. He did, however, say that he did not think the unsatisfactory portion of it warranted the Government in turning it down. Three Commissioners were appointed for the purpose, of redistributing the electoral divisions of Western Australia. They know the country well. I suppose that Mr. Stenberg knows it as well as does anybody. They have gone carefully over it with a view to securing an equal quota for each division.
– There are other men who know the country just as well as they do.
– I do not deny that. But it has been said that this ought not to be a party question, and with that view I entirely agree. I do not view it from a party stand-point. I confess my ignorance of the electoral divisions which are proposed. But the Commissioners were appointed for the purpose of going into this matter, and, so far, I have not heard anything which would warrant me in turning down their report and referring it back to them.
– Must their reports always be accepted as satisfactory?
– I do not say that. But the honorable senator has not proved that their report is unsatisfactory. Before I vote for the rejection of the scheme I require evidence that the Commissioners have made a serious mistake, and that in the divisions which they have proposed they have not. considered the principles laid down for their guidance. In their report they state that they have conformed to the Act, that they have taken into account the duties which they have to perform-
– And their ability as prophets.
– I do not know that Senator Henderson is any better prophet.
– I may be quite as good.
– Senator Henderson has not convinced me that the Commissioners have made a mistake.
– I never hoped to do so.
– That is a tribute to the unsatisfactory mental condition which the honorable senator has reached, because I am at all times prepared to fairly consider any argument which may be advanced. I have considered the statements made by tha honorable senator, but he has utterly failed to show that we are justified in saying to the
Commissioners, “ Take back this report and go over your work again.” Before we refer their report back to them, we ought to know why it is unsatisfactory.
– So we do.
– Then the honorable senator has hot told us why it is unsatisfactory.
– Because it is based upon such an unreliable quantity as the ability of the Commissioners as prophets.
– The prophecy does not suit one gentleman; perhaps it does not suit his party. I do not know.
– Anyhow, this party is split over the matter, and that is more than the honorable senator can say of his party.
– I do not know how a single senator on this side intends to vote on this motion, nor do I care.
– You will have to come to the rescue of the Government, and give them a vote for once.
– I intend to vote with the Government, because, so far, no honorable senator has given me a sufficient reason for voting against the motion. There is no reason why I should discount the report of the Commissioners. I have no evidence that they do not possess the necessary ability to do the work. This report, it seems to me, was compiled very carefully. I think that the Commissioners did their work conscientiously, and with a desire to carry out faithfully the duties laid upon them. I am not prepared to send back their report unless I am shown that that course is absolutely necessary.
– I am in very much the same position as the last speaker. I feel very great reluctance in recording a vote which, perhaps, might be interpreted by some persons as an evidence of dissatisfaction with the work of a very conscientious commission. On the other hand, having heard the statement of facts made by Senators Henderson and Lynch, I should be very reluctant indeed not to. take their guidance in a matter affecting Western Australia. I am generally inclined to deal with these questions fairly. I think that, on this occasion, the balance will go down in favour of my colleagues here.
– Which colleagues?
– Had the Minister of Defence put up an argument in favour of the motion as strong as that given by Senator Henderson for sending the report back, I think I should be found voting behind the Government, as I generally am when I am wanted. I have another reason for sending the report back. We are up* against another grievance, and that is that the country constituencies are getting altogether too large for individuals to represent. There is a means of giving the country districts better representation. If this scheme be referred back to the Commissioners, the Government may take advantage of the interval to find a means of reducing the size of country constituencies by adding to the number of the senators, as the Constitution empowers the Parliament to do. Take, for instance, the State which I have the honour to represent in common with others. It is almost impossible for individuals to represent the huge constituencies which are to be found in that State, and the time is rapidly approaching when some steps must be taken to do what can be done to limit the size of country constituencies. I hope that the Government will give some consideration to the fact that the Constitution empowers Parliament tr> decrease the size of constituencies, and toincrease the number of senators.
– Do you mean with advantage ?
– I feel sure that it would be an advantage to the Leader of the Opposition if he had half-a-dozen more supporters here.
– We shall get them without an alteration of the electoral law.
– I think that every honorable senator must realize that questions do not receive that full debate here which they ought to get. The number, of senators is too small for the Senate tobe an effective deliberative assembly. I think that if its strength were increased tofortyeight senators, great advantages would” accrue.
– Order. I hopethat the honorable senator will not continue that line of argument.
– A proposal is submitted, sir, and I am putting before the Senate a better way out of the difficulty. I am quite reluctant to vote against the report of the Commissioners. I am perhaps more reluctant to vote against the expressed opinions of my colleagues Senators Henderson and Lynch.
– I am sure that Senator Gardiner will have the sympathy of every honorable senator in the very painful circumstance ir* which he finds himself placed this evening. But I have no doubt that the result of this debate will console him very much, and help him to survive one of the ordeals of political life. This discussion serves once more to illustrate and bring home the fact that Parliament is not a satisfactory place in which to enter final judgment in regard to the distribution of a State into electoral divisions.
– It never is, unless you get things your own way.
– I have asked the honorable senator several times to make at least one effort to be serious. I do think that if honorable senators will forget for a moment the particular distribution under consideration, and recall situations in which we have been placed before, they must recognise, for reasons with which we are all familiar, that Parliament is not a satisfactory place in which final judgment can be entered up in regard to the work of Electoral Commissioners.
– I think it is.
– I do not want to suggest for a moment that Parliament should not be consulted in the matter, beause I think it should have the fullest opportunity it can secure to make its views known to the Commissioners. At the same time, I hold that there should be somebody to finally determine whether a scheme should be adopted or rejected. Otherwise, it must be quite obvious that it is possible to reject any scheme which is submitted, and by so doing to retain one which would lend itself to very questionable methods.
– Why not have equal electorates?
– I want them. I am trying to show that by rejecting this scheme, and also another scheme, it is possible to force the next election to be held on the present basis, which would mean a distribution more unequal, or with less pretence to equality than that now before the Senate.
– Were they nearly equal in the case of Victoria? There was no difference of opinion about that scheme.
– There were reasons other than equality which kept my honorable friend quiet then. The result of rejecting scheme after scheme would be that we should have to fall back on the electoral divisions as they exist to-day.
– Sir John Forrest, would still have his birthplace.
– Some persons seem to have Sir John Forrest on the brain. As we stand to-day, the difference in voting strength ranges from 18,000 voters in excess to 10,000 deficiency. In other words, there is a difference of 28,000 between the voting strength of one electorate and that of another. Senator Russell’s expressed desire for equality justifies me in pointing out to him that when he votes to reject this proposal, as I am entitled to assume he intends to do, he has to bear in mind that one of the consequences will be the maintenance of a scheme with variations from 18,000 minus to 10,000 plus.
– Not necessarily.
– That is one of the possible consequences. There ought to be, I hold, some machinery by which finality can be assured somewhere and somehow.
– By better judgment on the part of the Commissioners.
– Suppose that the Commissioners did exercise the best judgment which they possess, and that the Senate, for reasons which may seem good to it - either good in the interests of the country, or good in the interests of somebody else - should decide to turn down the distribution, the next election must be taken on the present divisions. Every honorable senator will, I think, admit in private conversation that there should be some means of arriving at finality. In my opinion, circumstances will sooner or later force Parliament to de-. vise some machinery by which, after it has made its views known, perhaps two or three times, an effective distribution can be secured prior to an election being held. I do not think that anybody can dispute that contention.
– I do. I disagree absolutely with the honorable senator.
– I ought to have said “ anybody except Senator Rae.” I noticed in their report, the Commissioners express views as to the method of distribution. I am not at all certain that they are called upon to do that. I remember that some few years ago the Commissioners for New South Wales took it upon themselves to allot a larger representation, in proportion to numbers, to country districts than they did to town electorates. I am not going to argue whether that is right or wrong, but I deny that the Commissioners had a right to bring their personal views to bear in shaping our electoral law in that way.
– I agree with you.
– The question as to whether country districts should have more representation or not is a matter which I do not propose to discuss now, but a matter which ought to be determined in Parliament, and not left to Commissioners to give effect to in a distribution scheme. It seems to me that the Commissioners for Western Australia have not only committed somewhat the same error, but have also made the mistake of expressing their reasons. On that point I should like to quote one sentence from a paragraph to show how far they assumed that they were entitled to do that which I think the law does not allow them to do. They say -
The provision of allowing for enrolment above and below the quota has been deliberately made by the Commissioners.
That is an extraordinary thing to say. What would have been correct for them to say was that -
The provision allowing for enrolment above and below the quota has been deliberately availed of by the Commissioners.
– That is what they must have meant to say.
– They are men who ought to have known the meaning of words. I thought at first that they had ,fallen into an error in the selection of terms, but, after looking through other portions of their report, I am led to think that they accepted it as a duty to shape the policy in this regard, and sought to give effect to it. To that extent, I might be inclined to sympathize with some of the views expressed by honorable senators opposite. But we cannot shut our eyes to this fact - that the Commissioners have, in making these divisions, acted entirely in conformity with the Act as it stands. If they had not put in their report any reasons for what they have proposed, I doubt very much whether any one would have found fault with them. They have observed the requirements of the law, as far as the numerical strength of electorates is concerned. The Commissioners propose that the largest electorate shall have 34,030 electors, which is 3,640 above the quota. The alternative suggested by the Australian Labour Federation would give 3,026 in excess of the quota. That is to say, the objection to the present proposal rests mainly upon the fact that the Commissioners propose a district with 3,640 in excess of the quota, whilst the alternative presents us with an excess nearly as large. There must be some other reason than that of mere numbers, and I listened carefully to Senator Henderson to try to learn what it was. Whilst I cannot speak from personal knowledge as to what would be- the best scheme, I have not heard any argument which disposes of the statements made in this report. One of the chief objections is on the ground of numbers, and a second is the consideration! of equality of electoral strength in order that one vote should have the same value as any other. The alternative method does not meet either objection which may be’ urged against the report. The next point is community of interest. There is a paragraph in the report, on pages 10 and n, which reads as follows : -
It will be observed that under the present distribution the Kalgoorlie division includesalso the Phillips River gold-field, which latter does not appear to the Commissioners to haveany more “ community of interest “ with theKalgoorlie gold-fields than have the Murchison gold-fields.
They appear to be within reasonable distance of one another.
– Reasonable ! What does the honorable senator call reasonable?
– The honorable senator is quite out of his reckoning when he says that.
– It is of no use for the honorable senators to talk like that, for this reason. When you speak of distance in a State like Western Australia, having an enormous area and a comparatively small population, you must remember that there must be always some point in one electorate which will be nearer to another electorate than it is to the centre of the electorate in which it is placed.
– How long would it take to get from Cue to Kalgoorlie?
– That has nothing to do with the matter. I might ask the same question with regard to any other large State. How long would it take to . get from the north-west corner of New South Wales to the Darling? There must be large electoral districts to secure the necessary quota. Reading further on in the same paragraph of the report, I find! the following : -
The only direction in which such increasecould reasonably be effected was by adding tothat area further gold-fields in which a sufficient number of electors were included to satisfy the views of the Commissioners that the intention of the Legislature had been given due effect to.
I should like to ask the Western Australiansenators, who understand the local conditions, whether the areas which have beer* n (thrown into this new electorate are goldfield areas?
– They are gold-fields with some pastoral districts.
– The pastoral industry was there before the gold-field started.
– So was the pastoral industry in existence in Western New South Wales before Broken Hill and Cobar started. These Commissioners say that they have taken gold-field areas, and in order to give the necessary numbers, have added them to other gold-field areas.
– To give a surplus, the honorable senator means.
– They have gone beyond the quota; I admit that. But what they have put into this area has community of interest with it. I have shown that the alternative position is as far from “ -equality as the Commissioners’ proposal. Now I am dealing with the mere matter of community of interest. Here is the answer to the statement that community of interest lias not been considered. These gentlemen put it in a few words - that to a gold-fields electorate they have added more goldfields.
– That does not necessarily prove community of interest. It may be quite the reverse.
– Oh, I see ! To add one gold-field’ on to another is to bring about diversity of interest?
– That may be so. What are the interests?
– I do not hope to convince Senator Henderson, but I am giving the reasons which induce me to cast the vote which I am required to give. The -statement made by the Commissioners is a very strong one, and is not to be brushed lightly on one side by merely saying that by adding one gold-field to another goldfield is to bring about diversity of interest.
– It takes three days to go from one part of the proposed electorate to another.
– It might take four days to go from one part of an electorate in New South Wales to another. A place may be so far from the centre of an electorate that it may be nearer to another electorate. These divisions may be nearer “to the electorate from which they are taken than to the centre of the electorate to which they are to be added. That is quite pos.sible; but does not that apply to dozens of -electorates ?
– Community of interest does not mean similarity of industries only.
– It may mean that. It may mean anything; but I do venture to say that similarity of industry does represent what the average man will regard as community of interests. When you say that a gOld-field is added to a gold-field, there is much more community of interest than was the case when it was proposed, for instance, to put in the settlers to which Senator Lynch referred just now. Let me remind honorable senators of circumstances which I am sure, as they will acknowledge, exist in every State. Take Broken Hill, in my own State. Within a few miles of it a portion of an electorate has to go right away to the chief centre - either Bourke or Cobar, I forget which. The people there might say, “Look at the distance; we have no community of interest with Bourke or Cobar; our community of interest is with Broken Hill.” But the requirement of our law - which requires equality of numbers, as far as possible - simply shows that they cannot get to the town to which they feel attached. For these two reasons - the fact that the alternative suggested is only a little better from the stand-point of numbers than the proposal of the Commissioners ; and secondly, that the Commissioners show that all that they have done is to add one goldfield to others - it seems to me that unless some stronger reason can be given than any that has yet been adduced, we ought not to depart from the report of the Commissioners. If a further reason is required, we have it in the action of the Government itself. Senator Pearce may be supposed to understand the conditions of his own State as well as any senator from Western Australia. He may also be supposed to be quite as anxious as they are that the interests of Western Australia shall be conserved. Having looked at the objections which we have heard to-day - and probably having had to meet others which we have not heard - the honorable senator is quite. satisfied to adopt the report.
– It is the Cabinet Caucus that is forcing him to do that.
– Senator Pearce, in spite of all that, tells us that he does not think it desirable to dissent from the Commissioners’ recommendation. Under those circumstances, I do say that we cannot ,do better than act on the report and support the motion. Some jocularity was indulged in just now in regard to the idea that the
Commissioners had followed up their recommendations by prophesying. I do not know that they have done anything of the kind. They have conformed with the law in the first place. They have not gone outside the law in any way.
– Mr. Duffy, K.C., does not say so.
– I do not know what Mr. Duffy, K.C., has to do with the matter at all. If he has had anything to say concerning this matter, I do not know why his observations were not presented to the Senate in time for us to consider them.
– Is he a prophet?
– No; he is a lawyer who makes profit.
– The fact is that the Commissioners have conformed to the law, and have not exceeded the legal percentage above or below which the number of an electorate is permitted to go. But the curious thing about this matter of prophecy is that those who have taken such strong exception to what they say the Commissioners have done, have indulged in the practice themselves. Both Senator Henderson and Senator Lynch, while speaking on this matter and finding fault with the Commissioners for looking ahead, treated us to prophecies of their own. Senator Lynch painted in rosy colours a. picture of the great population which is about to gather in certain districts in Western Australia.
– Be careful and be correct. What I said was that I was quite as justified in entering into the realms of prophecy as the Commissioners, to show our side of the picture.
– We have to take the two sets of prophecies and see which is the more reasonable. We have two schemes before us, one showing an excess above the quota of 3,600, and the other 3,000. Both of these are in excess of the quota, but not in excess of the legal margin.
– Of two evils, choose the lesser.
– -Would not honorable senators rather accept a scheme which, based upon experience, shows that the population in this district is likely to come down, rather than take a scheme which, disregarding the facts of the past and of the present, shows that the population is likely to go up?
– Senator Gardiner has stated his reluctance to vote against the amendment put forward by Senator Henderson anc? Senator Lynch. I think that if he had. waited until he heard me, his reluctancewould have been even greater.
– He might have waited? for his leader.
– He might. I entirely dissent from Senator Millen’s opinion in. regard to the fitness or otherwise of Parliament to deal with a matter of this kindHe says that he would not deprive Parliament of the right to express its opinion ; but he thinks that some other method should be adopted rather than that Parliament should have the final decision in itshands.
– To secure finality;, that is what I said. What is to stop honorable senators opposite from putting thisoff till after the next election?
– Of course, Senator Millen did not say anything about putting thematter off till after the next election; but he was in favour of some other method of” arriving at finality rather than risk a condition of affairs which might lead people,, not merely in this instance, but in other instances, to endeavour to secure a redistribution to their own advantage, by continually rejecting schemes which werebrought forward, lt appears to me that in putting forward that opinion SenatorMil len was expressing a want of confidence-; in the integrity of Parliament.
– I always said that thehonorable senator was an incurable joker.
– I am not joking when* I say that we have no reason whatever tosuppose that any section in Parliament will’ arrange an organized opposition to defeat a proposed scheme of distribution in orderthat the electorates of a State may begerrymandered to suit its own political interests. If a scheme is obviously fair, and* the reasons in support of it submitted by the Commissioners - should they be foolishenough to give reasons - are evidently just, there will never be found any large number of members of Parliament who will* endeavour to defeat it. Senator Millen was unjust and ungenerous, as usual, by innuendo, in making out that theacceptance of the Victorian scheme was*due to the fact that it suited the politics of this party. The opposition to theadoption of the proposed scheme of distribution for Western Australia is based” on logical and sound reasons. First of’ all, we object to the Commissioners basing; their distribution on mere anticipations^ which, in a country like Australia, may be proved, in a very short period of time, to be- entirely wrong. The movements of population in a sparsely settled country, particularly if it be a gold-bearing country, are likely to be sudden and extensive. They may not in some instances be permanent, but in other instances the effect produced may continue for a generation. When Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie were discovered, no one dreamt that there would be so large a population settled at each place for so long a time. The same may be said of Broken Hill and of Wyalong. At Wyalong there were but a few persons at first, then there were some thousands of miners settled at the place, and as mining declined agriculture took its place. We are justified in view of such facts in objecting to a distribution based on anticipations of the future. In the next place, a careful perusal of the report of the Commissioners discloses the fact that they have ignored the paramount considerations of community or diversity of interest, physical features, and means of communication. This was a very serious error of judgment 011 their part. There may be difficulty in arriving at anything like evenlybalanced electorates, and in order to justify any serious departure from equality of numbers the Commissioners must show that one or all of the paramount considerations referred to will be served by such a departure. It should be shown that in order to accomplish the greater good it is necessary to commit the lesser evil, but in this case the Commissioners propose a departure from equality, and also from community of interest. They justify one wrong by doing another. They submit a departure from equality as a reason for separating communities which should be connected. They give as a reason for departing from the principle of conserving community of interest the fact that they desire to put more than the quota into one electorate to meet a declining population which they anticipate will continue to decline. A decline in the population of a mining district may continue for years up to a certain point, and then, apart from the possibility of the discovery of new finds, a gradual increase of population may take place through land in a mining district being brought under cultivation. There are many places in this continent which were looked upon merely as mining fields, where, after the mining population commenced to decline, a steady influx of people has occurred, gradually building up, not a sensational, but a permanently prosperous condition of affairs. The districts of Cue and Mount Magnet are so far separated from the centre with which they are associated in the proposed scheme of distribution that to go from those places to what might be described as the capital of the division in which they are included would involve a railway journey which it would take as long to make as it would take to go across New South Wales. A person going from Mount Magnet or Cue to Kalgoorlie would have to go first to the capital of the State, and then in quite another direction for some hundreds of miles.
– Not in connexion with the business of voting.
– Senator Millen cannot support his argument in this connexion that we, as senators, have to travel very lo:ig distances in New South Wales, because we are dealing here with electorates for the House of Representatives. I consider that it would be a dangerous precedent to adopt a distribution of Commissioners founded on their ideas as to the probable movements of population in the future. It seems fairly obvious that the construction ot a railway to Esperance by the State Government, and the opening up of lands on either side of it, will lead to an accession of population in that part of the division which will quite make up for any reduction in the population of the gold-fields. The Commissioners should have taken the figures supplied by the census, and should have kept in view the paramount considerations of community of interest, physical features, and means of communication. As they have departed from these, not to conserve an equality of electors in the different divisions, but in order to excuse a gross inequality of electors, I am compelled to accept the reasonable and forcible arguments put forward by honorable senators from Western Australia, and I shall vote for the amendment.
.- - I said during the discussion of the point of order that without very grave reasons honorable senators from States other than Western Australia should hesitate to oppose a motion of this kind. I meant to convey that we should in the circumstances be guided very much by the reports received from the Electoral Commissioners, and the action taken by the Government upon these reports.- It is a very delicate matter for an honorable senator from another State to record a negative vote upon this motion for the adoption of the proposed scheme of distribution for Western Australia. I cannot help directing attention to the fact that the Minister of Defence in submitting his motion for the approval of the scheme almost invited the Senate to defeat it. I could not but contrast his attitude on this motion with the pertinacity he displays when submitting a motion or a Bill dealing with defence matters, or with a part of the Government policy which he indorses. There is clearly a conflict in this matter between the Government and their supporters.
– The conflict is not very sharp.
– I should like to follow up that suggestion if I might do so without contravening the Standing Orders. Possibly no one would welcome more the defeat of his motion than the Minister who has moved it.
– Order ! I think the honorable senator should withdraw that statement. The Minister when introducing the motion said that he intended to vote for it. The honorable senator now says that, in his opinion, the Minister would be very pleased if it were defeated. It seems to ine that that is hardly in accord with our Standing Orders.
– Very well. May I qualify the statement by saying that the Minister will not shed any tears if his motion is defeated.
– Order ! I called upon the honorable senator to withdraw the first statement he made.
– I withdraw it under the Standing Orders. If I am at liberty to say so without transgressing the Standing Orders, I am of opinion that neither the Minister of Defence nor the Government will shed many tears if this proposed redistribution scheme be defeated.
– I rise to a point of order. I ask that the honorable senator be compelled to withdraw his previous statement without qualification. He is now qualifying his withdrawal.
- Senator St. Ledger withdrew his statement without qualification.
– I beg your pardon, sir, he did not.
– Order ! Senator St. Ledger withdrew his statement without qualification, and then observed that if he would not be transgressing the Standing Orders he would make another statement.
– The Commissioners have shown, in their report, that they have observed the Electoral Act in making this redistribution of the electoral divisions of Western Australia. I know that honorable senators are divided upon this matter. The Minister of Defence has advanced reasons why we should support his proposal. But upon those reasons it is extremely difficult for us to decide this question. Though the Commissioners have perhaps gone a little beyond the Act by anticipating population, yet I feel that, on the whole, their report is a sound one, and I intend to support it, believing that by so doing I shall be upholding . the law, the Ministry, and constituted authority.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator McGregor) read a first time.
– I beg to lay on the table the following paper: -
Federal Capital City : Additional Reproductions of Designs in connexion with the
Report of the Board appointed to investigate and report to the Minister for Home Affairs in regard to Competitive Designs.
By way of explanation, may I be allowed to say that the Federal Capital designs are now being printed at the Government Printing Office, and it is desired that these should be included amongst the general designs? Therefore I move -
That the paper be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 31 July 1912, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1912/19120731_senate_4_64/>.