5th Parliament · 1st Session
The Senate met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General .
The Clerk read the proclamation.
The Deputies appointed by His Excellency the Governor-General for the opening of Parliament, the Right Hon. Sir Edmund Barton, P.C., G.C.M.G., Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and the Hon. Isaac Alfred Isaacs, a Justice of the High Court of Australia, having been introduced by the Usher of the Black Rod, the Senior Deputy directed the Usher to desire the attendance of the members of the House of Representatives.
The members of the House of Representatives being come,
Commission read by the Clerk.
The SENIOR DEPUTY said-
Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
We have it in command from his Excellency the Governor-General to let you know that, as soon as the members of the Senate recently elected and the members of the House of Representatives shall have been sworn, the causes of His Excellency calling this Parliament will be declared to you by him in person at this place; and it being necessary that a President of the Senate and a Speaker of the House of Representatives should be first chosen, you, Gentlemen of the Senate, will proceed to choose some proper person to be your President; and you, Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, will repair to the place where you are to sit, and there proceed to the choice of some proper person to be your Speaker; and thereafter you will respectively present the persons whom you shall so choose to His Excellency at such time and place as he shall appoint. The Honorable Mr. Justice Isaacs will attend in the House of Representatives for the purpose of administering the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honorable members of that House.
The members of the House of Representatives, and Deputy Mr. Justice Isaacs, having withdrawn :
The SENIOR DEPUTY produced a commission appointing him a commissioner to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance.
Commission read by the Clerk.
The Clerk laid upon the table returns to the writs issued for the election of members to the Senate.
The following honorable senators made and subscribed the oath of allegiance: -
James Vincent O’Loghlin.
James Hiers McColl.
The following honorable senator made the affirmation of allegiance: -
The Senior Deputy then withdrew.
– I desire to remind the Senate that the time has now arrived to proceed to the election of a President.
– I move -
That Senator Givens do take the chair of this Senate as President.
– I second the motion.
– I am deeply sensible of the honour which it is proposed to confer on me, and I desire to submit myself to the will of the Senate.
Then the PRESIDENT-ELECT, being taken out of his place by Senator McGregor and Senator de Largie and conducted to the chair, standing on the upper step, said - I desire to thank honorable senators most sincerely and heartily for the great honour they have conferred upon me in electing me to this high and honorable position. I hope I shall prove worthy of the honour which has been conferred on me. I shall do my best within the limits of my capacity to do justice to the position and to carry out the duties attached to it as fairly, honorably, and impartially as I can. Very distinguished gentlemen have preceded me in the position, and have set a very high standard. I am aware that it is an exceedingly difficult task for me, or for any one, to maintain that high standard; but, having the confident assurance that I shall have the unfailing and cordial assistance of honorable senators on both sides, I am encouraged in undertaking the task. I hope that, during my term of office, no honorable senator on either side will have cause to regret that I have been called to preside over the deliberations of the Senate.
– I desire to tender you, sir, on behalf of honorable senators on this side, and, if I may venture to take the liberty, on behalf of the Senate generally, our hearty congratulations on the honour conferred upon you by the unanimous invitation of this Chamber to preside over its deliberations. You have for many years been a member of the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia, and during that time those who have been privileged to work with you, and who have therefore been in a position to judge, will join with me in saying that you have demonstrated the capacity necessary for the task you are now called upon to perform. As you have remarked, the position to which you have been called is undoubtedly one of difficulty, more particularly in view of the peculiar composition of this Senate. That you will approach your task with a full determination to discharge it in the way you have indicated we all readily believe. I agree with you in saying that the task can only be satisfactorily performed with the hearty and sincere cooperation of honorable senators on whichever side they may sit. I believe that that assistance will be readily given you. So far as honorable senators on this side are concerned, they will endeavour to do what they can to assist you in the performance of the difficult duties which undoubtedly confront you or any one occupying your present position. I desire now only to add my personal congratulations to you upon the distinguished position which you have been called upon to fill.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) desire to offer you, sir, my hearty congratulations. I am sure that your wellknown ability will carry you successfully through all the trials and tribulations that may assail you in your exalted position. With the composition of the Senate, to which allusion was made by the Minister of Defence, I am thoroughly satisfied, and I know that you will receive all the assistance that is necessary to enable you to carry out your duties satisfactorily.
– I desire, sir, to inform you, and, through you, the Senate, that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral has expressed his willingness to receive you, presented by the Senate, in the Library, at 2.20 o’clock this afternoon.
– In view of the announcement made by the Minister of Defence, I desire to intimate that I shall proceed, with as many honorable senators as can conveniently find the opportunity of accompanying me, to be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General at the hour named.
Sitting suspended from 11.7 a.m. to 2.80 p.m.
The Senate having re-assembled,
– I have to report that, accompanied by members of the Senate, I this day presented myself to His Excellency the Governor-General, who was pleased to congratulate me upon my appointment as President.
His EXCELLENCY the GOVERNORGENERAL entered the chamber and took the chair. A message was forwarded to the House of Representatives intimating that His Excellency desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith, who being come with their Speaker,
His EXCELLENCY was pleased to deliver the following speech: -
Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of REPRESENTAtives :
His Excellency the Governor General having retired,
The President took the chair at 2.51 p.m. and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether the attention of the Government has been called to the following extract from a paragraph appearing in yesterday’s Age, and headed “ The Fruit Commission. Labour majority’s report. Commonwealth Line of Steamers. Government Depots in Europe. Liberal minority’s scheme of reforms.” -
The Labour members seemed bent on building up the case for the Government’s Commonwealth steamers policy, and had mental visions of injurious combines and rings, which were victimizing the producers at nearly every port of shipment, and particularly in Tasmania. B’ 4en therefore, the Chairman’s first draft was circulated, with most sweeping condemnations of existing conditions, it was only to be expected that the Liberal members should intimate that they could not assent to it, and must prepare a minority report. The Commission accordingly has for some weeks been a divided body. The
Labour members, through Mr. Finlayson, the Acting Chairman, have presented to the GovernorGeneral a majority report signed by Messrs. F. Foster, Finlayson, Lynch, and Ready. The Liberal members are now completing a minority report, which will be signed by Messrs. Sampson, Thomson, and Gordon, on Wednesday or Thursday, and presented to His Excellency the same day. Until the minority report has been handed to Lord Denman, the’ Prime Minister withholds the Labour Commissioners’ report from publication.
The two reports are not mutually destructive documents except as regards certain principles of policy. The Liberal Commissioners dissent from the recommendations of their colleagues which support the Labour party’s scheme of Commonwealth-owned steamers and Federal depots in London on the ground that the evidence does not warrant such desperate remedies for the grievances under which the producers suffer with respect to theInter-State and foreign fruit trade. They intend doing much more, however, than dissent. They will submit a carefullydrafted scheme of their own.
– Order ! I think that the honorable senator is going outside the limits of the rule in reading such a very long extract from a newspaper report.
– Can the Minister indicate who is responsible for this inspired comment appearing in the Fusion newspaper as to what, up to the present, are confidential reports?
– I conceive that I am under no obligation to answer a question of that kind.
Assent to the following Bills of last session reported : -
Beer Excise Bill.
Bills of Exchange Bill.
Commonwealth Workmen’s Compensation Bill.
Further Supplementary Appropriation Bill 1910-11.
Further Supplementary Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill 1910-11.
Inscribed Stock Bill.
Inter-State Commission Bill.
Invalid and Old-age Pensions Bill.
Lands Acquisition Bill.
Land Tax Assessment Bill.
Manufactures Encouragement Bill.
Naval Defence Bill.
Officers’ Compensation Bill.
Post and Telegraph Bill.
Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Bill, No. 2.
Sugar Bounty Abolition Bill.
Sugar Excise Repeal Bill.
Wood Pulp and Rock Phosphates Bounties Bill.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the GovernorGeneral, intimating that the Navigation Bill passed in the last session of Parliament had been reserved for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure thereon.
– I should like to ask the representative of the Prime Minister in this Chamber whether any intimation has been received from the Imperial authorities in connexion with the Navigation Bill? A good many months have passed since the Bill was sent to the Old Country, and I understand from press reports that negotiations have been taking place. I shall be glad if the Minister of Defence can enlighten me.
– The time for asking questions has passed, and the honorable senator’s question can only be answered by courtesy.
– Will the Minister, as an act of courtesy, answer my question ?.
– I desire to make a short statement. Although the facts are known to honorable senators, it is necessary that I should make a de finite announcement for the purpose of the records. I have to announce that on the resignation of his late advisers, His Excellency the Governor-General commissioned the Honorable Joseph Cook to form a new Administration, and has been pleased to make the following appointments: - Prime Minister and Minister of State for Home Affairs, the Honorable Joseph Cook; Treasurer, the Right Honorable Sir John Forrest; AttorneyGeneral, Mr. W. H. Irvine; Minister of Defence, Senator Millen ; Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Glynn; Minister of Trade and Customs, Mr. Groom ; Postmaster-General, Mr. Agar Wynne; Vice-President of the Executive Council, Senator McColl ; Honorary Ministers, Mr. Kelly and Senator Clemons. I desire also for the convenience of honorable senators to intimate that matters arising in this Chamber affecting the Government Departments will be in charge of Ministers respectively as follow: - The Minister of Defence will have charge of matters arising in connexion with the Defence
Department, the Prime Minister’s Department and matters dealing generally with the policy of the Government. The Vice-President of the Executive Council will have charge of matters relating to the Department of Trade and Customs, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Postmaster-General’s Department. The Honorary Minister will have charge of matters relating to the Attorney-General’s Department, the Department of External Affairs, and the Treasury.
The PRESIDENT laid upon the table the following papers -
Audit Act 1901-1912. - Postmaster-General’s Department : Special Report of the Auditor-General .
MINISTERS laid upon the table-
Audit Act -
Treasury Regulation (Provisional) - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 119.
London Account Regulations - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 59.
Transfers of amounts approved by the GovernorGeneral in Council - Financial year 1912-13, dated11th and 20th January ; 5th February (two) ; 21st February ; 19th and 28th March;11th April (two) and 23rd April (two) ; 15th and 30th May (two), 191 3.
Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 233.
Statutory Rules1913, Nos. 15, 145.
Commonwealth Bank Act 191 1. -
Provisional Regulations - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 13.
True copy of balance-sheet of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, made up to 31st December, 1912.
Commonwealth Workmen’s Compensation Act 1912. - Provisional Regulations - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 39.
Contract Immigrants Act - Return for 1912, respecting contract immigrants admitted or refused admission into the Commonwealth, &c.
Copyright Act 1912 - Regulations amended, &c.-
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 96,172.
Customs Act -
Proclamation prohibiting export from the Commonwealth of certain descriptions of butter.
Proclamation prohibiting export from the Commonwealth of fruit affected by San Jose Scale.
Proclamation prohibiting export from the Commonwealth of certain descriptions of leather.
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 14. 16, 55, 102.
Defence Act - Regulations amended, &c. -
Military College - Report on the third entrance examination, 1912. Report, 1911-12.
Statutory Rules 1912, Nos. 234, 235, 236, 244, 246, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 40, 41, 42, 46, 47, 48, 49,50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 64, 65, 66, 67, 71, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 98, 99, 101, 104, 105, 106, 107,110, 111,112,113,114,115,129, 130,131, 132,133,134,138, 142, 144, 146,147,
158, 159,160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168.
Designs Act - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 43.
Electoral Act - Provisional Regulation relating to Electoral Pamphlet - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 45.
Excise Act - Regulation amended - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 89.
Immigration Restriction Act - Return showing for 1912 - (a) Persons refused admission to the Commonwealth; (b) Persons who passed the dictation test ;(c) Persons admitted without being asked to pass the dictation test ; (d) Departures of coloured persons from the Commonwealth.
Lands Acquisition Act -
Land acquired under -
Abbotsford, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Adamstown, New South Wales - for Defence purposes, dated 1st February, 1913; 17th June, 1913.
Amungula, Federal Territory - for Federal Capital purposes.
Ariah Park, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Ashfield, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Balmain, New South Wales-for Defence purposes.
Bellata, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Bherwerre and Currambene, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Brisbane, Queensland - for Postal purposes, dated 23rd January, 1913; 28th March,1913.
Broome, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Burwood, New South Wales-forPostal purposes.
Camperdown, Victoria - fordefence purposes.
Campsie, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Chatswood, New South . Wales - for Postal purposes.
Chiltern, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Colac, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Drummoyne, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Dumbleyung, Western Australia - for Defence purposes.
Dwellingupp, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
East Melbourne, Victoria - for Commonwealth purposes.
East Perth, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Elsternwick, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Forbes, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Gawler, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Geraldton, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Ginninderra, Federal Territory - For Federal Capital purposes.
Gordon, New South Wales- for Postal purposes.
Guyra, New South Wales- for Postal purposes.
Hamilton, New South Wales- for Postal purposes.
Hobart, Tasmania - for Postal purposes.
Hobart, Tasmania- for Defence purposes.
Kadina, South Australia- for Defence purposes.
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia - for Railway purposes.
Kilcoy, Queensland- for Postal purposes.
Kogarah, New South Wales- for Postal purposes.
Kurri Kurri, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Leederville, Western Australia- for Defence purposes.
Liverpool, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Manly, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Many Peaks, Queensland, for Postal purposes.
Marrickville, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Maryborough, Queensland - for Postal purposes.
Mathoura, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Melbourne, Victoria- for Postal purposes.
Mirboo North, Victoria - for Postal purposes.
Mount Gambier, South Australia - for Postal purposes.
Noarlunga, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Northcote, Victoria - for Postal purposes.
North Kensington, SouthAustralia - for Defence purposes.
Perth, Western Australia - for Postal purposes.
Port Adelaide, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Port Augusta, South Australia - for Railway purposes - dated 21st February, 1913 ; 28th March, 1913 (three).
Port Lincoln, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Port Melbourne, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Port Stephens, Victoria - for Defence purposes.
Queanbeyan, Federal Capital Territory - for Federal Capital purposes - dated 1 2th December, 1912; 23rd January, 1913-
Rockhampton, Queensland - for Postal purposes.
Roebourne, Western Australia - for Customs purposes; for Postal purposes.
Rookwood, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Ryde, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Smithton, Tasmania - for Postal purposes.
Southwark, South Australia - for Defence purposes.
Tidbinbilla, Urayarra, Congwarra, Federal Capital Territory - for Federal Capital purposes.
Toowoomba, Queensland - for Defence purposes.
Waratah, Tasmania - for Defence purposes.
Waverley, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Winchelsea, Victoria - for Postal purposes.
Yerong Creek, New South Wales - for Postal purposes.
Young, New South Wales- for Defence purposes.
Meteorology Act 1906. - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 245.
Patents Act1903-1909-Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 171.
Land Tax Assessment Act 1910-1912 - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 69 and120.
Maternity Allowance Act 1912 - Provisional Regulation - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 58.
Naturalization Act - Return of number of persons to whom certificates of naturalization were granted during 1912.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910, and Stock Diseases Act 1888 of South Australia - Regulation relating to dogs on vessels.
Northern Territory -
Ordinances of1913 -
No. 1 - Mineral Oil.
No. 2 - Birds’ Protection.
No. 3 - Registration of Births.
No. 4. - Encouragement of Mining.
No. 5. Advances to Settlers.
No.6. - Public Service.
Naval Defence Act 1910-1911-
Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1912, No. 241.
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 44, 72, 73, 97.143. 169.
Ordinances of 1912 -
No. 13 - Post and Telegraph.
No. 17- Small Debts.
No. 18- Sale of Stolen Cattle Prevention.
No. 19 - Writs of Dedimus.
No. 20 - Distillation.
No. 21 - Fire Prevention.
No. 22 - Deserted Wives and Children.
No. 23 - Animal Protection.
No. 24 - Apprentices.
No. 25 - Pawnbrokers.
No. 26- Gaming.
No. 27 - Inclosed Lands Protection.
No. 28 - Justices.
No. 29 - Companies.
No. 30 - Butchers.
No. 31 - Fencing.
No. 32 - Married Women’s Property.
No. 33 - Employers’ Liability.
No. 34 - Seamen (Foreign).
No. 35 - Justices (Fees).
No. 36- Oaths.
No. 37 - Liens on Crops and Wool, and Slock Mortgages.
No. 38 - Mercantile.
No. 39 - Partnership.
No. 40 - Life Policies Protection.
No. 41 - Bread.
No. 42 - Food and Drugs.
No. 43 - Vagrancy.
No. 44 - Police Offences.
No. 45 - Bills of Sale.
No. 47 - Marriage.
No. 49 - Arbitration.
No. 50 - Stallions Licensing.
No. 51 - Supply (No. 1), 1912-13.
Ordinances of1913 -
No.1-Supplementary Appropriation (No. 2), 1912-13.
No. 2 - Land.
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 171.
Post and Telegraph Act -
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules1912, Nos. 242, 243, 247; Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 17, 56, 57, 68, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94,103,117,118, 127, 128, 135, 136,155.
Public Service Act - Appointments, Promotions, &c. -
External Affairs Department -
Home Affairs Department -
William Henderson - Appointment as Clerk of Works, Class E, Public Works Branch, New South Wales.
Postmaster-General’s Department -
Promotion as Cashier, Accounts Branch (Cashier’s Branch), Western Australia.
Prime Minister’s Department -
A. P. Jeffery - Promotion to 4th Class, Auditor-General’s Office.
Trade and Customs Department -
Treasury Department -
Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act -
Provisional Regulations - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 31.
Regul ations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 7, 11, 12, 34,
35, 36, 37, 38, 60, 61, 62, 63, 70, 78, 79, 80, 95, 108, 109, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 137, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153,170.
Report( No. 8) on the Public Service by the Commissioner.
Seat of Government. - Ordinance of 1913 -
No. 1. - Animals and Birds Protection.
Report of Conference of the Director of Commonwealth Lands and Surveys, the Surveyor-General and the Government Astronomer of New Zealand, and the Surveyors-General of the States of the Commonwealth, at Melbourne, 20th to 25th May, 1912.
Wireless Telegraph Act -
Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1912, No. 211 ; Statutory Rules 1913, Nos. 18, 116.
Wood Pulp and Rock Phosphate Bounties Act1912 -
Regulations - Statutory Rules 1913, No. 100.
– I have to report that I have received a copy of the Speech with which His Excellency the GovernorGeneral was pleased to open this Parliament to-day. Copies have been distributed amongst honorable senators, and consequently I do not propose to read it.
– I beg to move -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General.
May it Pleaseyour Excellency :
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
As a recruit to the legislative phalanx of which you, Mr. President, are the head, I wish to congratulate you upon having been elevated to the high and dignified position in which you are now placed. You will never find me lacking in deference to your rulings, or failing in a proper recognition of the very high privileges attaching to the responsible office which you so worthily fill. You will find in me, sir, a zealous - indeed, I may say, a jealous - supporter of any assertion you may think it wise to make of the constitutional rights and privileges of this honorable Chamber. If at present I lack anything in regard to a sense of the responsibility devolving upon me through having been deputed to assist in regulating the political affairs of one of the world’s continents, I hope, nevertheless, that I shall soon acquire that proper sense of responsibility in the atmosphere of this Chamber.I suppose that no amount of talent for political affairs, no volume of knowledge, and no endowment of natural capacity could be too great to enable the possessor thereof to exercise his energies worthily in relation to the government of this great Commonwealth of ours. To address myself to the matters referred to in the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General, I may remark that it is chiefly an indication of great things to come. It has been quite openly and properly intimated that the present sitting of Parliament is being held for a specific purpose, namely, to enable the Government to be supplied with the necessary financial means to continue in an orderly fashion those great national services which are collectively known as the King’s government. I understand that that is the sole purpose for which Parliament has been called together on this occasion. No reasonable being would expect that any Administration could, so soon after having been called upon to assume the responsibilities of office, satisfactorily mature measures for presentation to Parliament. The task of so doing would have been impossible of accomplishment within so short a space of time. The responsibilities of the position are great. The needs of the situation are great. The obligation of careful consideration is great. I understand that Ministers intend at the present stage to ask Parliament to grant them the necessary time in which to mature those great measures the existence of which has been indicated. I hope that those measures when they are brought before Parliament will be found to be fraught with benefit to the people of the Commonwealth in general, and, may I say, to the State of Tasmania in particular; because, Mr. President, it is the State of Tasmania that I have been particularly deputed to assist in representing in the Senate. Honorable senators are quite well aware of the specific purpose for which Parliament has been called together. They appreciate the situation. A preliminary debate upon matters of policy would at this stage be out of place. Controversy would be inopportune. It is an open secret that it is the desire of Ministers that this very necessary session of Parliament should be brought to a speedy conclusion, in order that the paladins of debate may be enabled in the interim to prepare themselves for the discussion of those great issues which will shortly occupy our attention. Such being the case, I shall on the present occasion content myself by moving the adoption of the Address-in-Reply in this formal manner, and shall reserve for a future occasion the exposition of those stores of political wisdom which I have accumulated.
– I have very much pleasure in seconding the motion; and in doing so I shall be quite as brief as my honorable friend Senator Bakhap has been. I think that honorable senators will readily agree with me that, in view of the peculiar circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is necessary that Parliament should afford Ministers time in which to prepare the measures which they will have to bring before Parliament. Under the circumstances, in seconding the motion in this brief form, I rely on the good sense of the Senate, and merely remind honorable senators that in passing it they will not be depriving themselves in any shape or form of the full right to discuss later on any matters which they may desire to ventilate in Parliament.
Debate (on motion by Senator McGregor) adjourned.
– With your concurrence, sir, and for the convenience of the Senate, I suggest that you might be pleased to suspend the sitting of the Senate until, say, 5 o’clock, to enable the Supply Bill, which it is anticipated we shall receive from another place, to reach the Senate.
Sitting suspended from 3.2 to 5 p.m.
– I have to acquaint the Senate that I have received from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral a commission empowering me to administer the oath or affirmation of allegiance to honorable senators.
Commission read by the Clerk.
Arbitration Award : Electricians - Medical Attendance at Jervis Bay - Tasmanian Mail Service.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
– I wish to assure the Government that, so far -as the Opposition in the Senate is concerned, we have no desire to block the passage of Supply. But we should like some assurance from the representative of the Government in this Chamber that when we meet again we shall have a Ministerial statement of the policy of the Government in the interests of the people of Australia. That is all I have any desire to say. I hope the Supply Bill will be passed as speedily as possible, because our friends of the House of Representatives are waiting for us to carry out that part of our duty.
– Before the motion is passed, there is one matter which I should like to ask Ministers to look into. I refer to the Arbitration Act and the provisions under which public servants are given an opportunity to approach the Court. An award has recently been given in connexion with the electricians. I understand that one section of the Act provides that an award of the Court, when given, shall, if Parliament is sitting, be laid on the table in both Houses, and if Parliament be not sitting, then within fourteen days of the assembling of Parliament. I learn that the award to which I refer was not among the papers laid upon the table of the Senate to-day, and the question arises whether the fourteen days after the assembling of Parliament within which such awards must be laid on the table in both Houses, will expire within the adjournment, which I understand is to be agreed upon at the termination of this day’s proceedings. I wish to know whether it will be possible to comply with the law in this matter, and have the award laid on the table after Parliament re-assembles upon the conclusion of the adjournment.
– I desire to call the attention of Ministers to a matter which ought to be dealt with at once in view of the probability of some considerable adjournment, and to have some assurance that it will be inquired into. I ask for nothing more. It has reference to provision for medical attendance, and, if possible, resident medical attendance, for the benefit of those employed in the construction of the Naval College at Jervis Bay. Complaints are frequently sent in in connexion with the matter, and I have myself made many representations upon it at different times. I understand that what is asked for has’ been blocked by departmental officers. I should like Ministers to undertake to inquire whether the matter may not receive attention at as early a date as possible, and even before the Senate reassembles after the proposed adjournment.
– Before the motion is agreed to, I should like to draw the attention of the Minister in charge of the Bill to the fact, which he will doubtless remember, that last winter a united deputation of members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives from Tasmania, waited upon one of his predecessors in office, the then Acting Postmaster-General. We pointed out then the way in which the present contractors for the mail service between Tasmania and the mainland were fulfilling the obligations of their contract during the winter months. We confidently hoped that, as the result of our representation, there would be no recurrence this year of the very unsatisfactory provision made, to alternate during certain months of the year with the steamship Loongana. This year, however, we have found that we have been doomed to disappointment, and that the Rotomahana is again replacing the Loongana for half her trips. She is no more satisfactory this year than she was last year. I had a little experience of her recently, and am inclined to say that, if anything, she has deteriorated in value and efficiency during the twelve months.
– She does not get any better as she grows older.
– No. I understand that it is intended at a very early date to overhaul the Loongana, and for that purpose to dock her for a period considerably longer than that for which she is accustomed to be docked annually. During this period another vessel is to be placed in the trade in conjunction with the unsatisfactory Rotomahana. We may not have an opportunity to ventilate any grievance in connexion with the contract for some time, in view of the contem plated adjournment, and I wish, therefore, to impress upon Ministers the desirability of taking some steps, such as the Honorary Minister desired his predecessors in office to take, during the period of adjournment, to ensure that the contractors for this service shall fulfil in the spirit and to the letter the obligations of their contract; and that, so far as mail and passenger traffic between Tasmania and the mainland are concerned, every facility shall be granted that is reasonable, and that the contract requires the contractors to pro- vide. I think the matter needs only to be mentioned; but I should like some assurance from the Honorary Minister, or from one of his colleagues in the Government, that no time whatever will be lost in giving attention. to this subject, which is very important to the people of Tasmania, and to all on this side of Bass Strait who have any relations with that State.
.- Replying, first of all, to the remarks and inquiry of the Leader of the Opposition, I may say that I was very pleased to hear, and appreciate the full effect of the announcement made, that the Opposition purpose assisting the Government in the passage of the Supply Bill. As to the specific inquiry the honorable senator submitted, I have to inform honorable senators that it is the intention of the Government that, at the close of this debate, I should move the adjournment of the Senate to the 13th August, or five weeks from to-day. On resuming then, it is intended that a full statement of the Ministerial programme for the session proper shall be submitted to honorable senators. As the debate on the Address-in-Reply has been adjourned, it will be competent for honorable senators, on resuming that debate, to take full cognisance of so much of the Government programme as attracts their attention. With regard to the inquiry by Senator Pearce in connexion with the Arbitration Act, I think I am correct in saying that the obligation upon the Government in respect to the paper to which he referred is to lay it upon the table within fourteen sitting days of the assembling of Parliament. It has been decided that the fourteen days refer to fourteen sitting days, and, acting on that assumption, I can assure the honorable senator that the section referred to will be carried out. Senator Rae raised a point in connexion with the operations at Jervis Bay. I am unable to speak definitely from my own knowledge upon the subject; but I can promise the honorable senator that before twenty-four hours have passed over I shall have an inquiry made to see how the matter to which he directs attention can be dealt with. Senator Keating has spoken of a matter which I leave Senator Clemons to deal with, as it is one to which he has directed his personal attention.
– I am very glad of the opportunity to assure Senator Keating that, in connexion with the matter of the Tasmanian mail contract, to which he has referred, what I desired as a private member of the Senate I desire still more strongly, if possible, in the position I now hold. I am very glad to assure him that no time in dealing with the matter can be lost, because I have already brought it before my colleagues in the Ministry.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Clemons) agreed to-
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through all its stages forthwith.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The circumstances under which the Bill has been introduced are well known to every member of the Senate. It is a Bill to provide for the services of the current year. The total amount involved is £1,687,967. The term for which such grant is deemed sufficient is six weeks. I recognise that the Bill has been in honorable senators’ hands only within the last few minutes, and I assure them that, so far as its details are concerned, they are based carefully on the Estimates of last year, and should, therefore, be above suspicion and criticism. But if it is necessary for me to anticipate any one item in the Bill about which possibly questions may be asked or some criticism offered, I gladly, in advance, direct the attention of members of the Senate to that one item which, I think, is possibly likely to provoke question. That is the item “ Advance to Treasurer, £400,000”; and this is what I would like to say in anticipation : On the occasion that Senator McGregor, three years ago, first introduced a Supply Bill in this Chamber, the amount involved in the Bill was just a trifle under £750,000; but the amount for which Senator McGregor then asked as an advance to the Treasurer was £250,000. I further remind honorable senators that on that occasion Senator McGregor asked for Supply for one month only, and if members care to do a rapid sum in arithmetic, they will see that the amount Senator McGregor then asked for in respect to Treasurer’s Advance was one-third of the total. I submit that on this occasion we are probably removed from any likelihood of harsh criticism because the £400,000 does not come to one-third of the total amount we are asking for to-day. We ask for a Treasurer’s Advance of £400,000 in respect of a total of £1,687,000. If any honorable senator wishes to have details in regard to this Treasurer’s Advance, I shall be glad to supply them in Committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
– Seeing that it now becomes necessary to appoint a Chairman of Committees, I have pleasure in moving -
That Senator O’Keefe be appointed Chairman of Committees.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I thank the Senate for this renewal of confidence passed in me by re-electing me to the position of Chairman of Committees. I can only say it will be my endeavour, as it has been for the past three years, to discharge the duties pertaining to the office to the satisfaction of the Senate, with credit to myself, and with that impartiality which should always characterize the member who holds the position of Chairman of Committees in this Senate.
Advertising Resources of Commonwealth - Immigration and Land Settlement - Small Arms, Cordite and Clothing Factories - Governor- General’s Residences - Postage Stamp Designs - Portable Telephones for Mail Contractors.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clauses 2 and 3 postponed.
Clause 4 agreed to.
– I would draw the attention of the Committee to a sum of £3,000 provided for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth. Every one who knows anything about Australia knows perfectly well that the resources of this continent are unbounded; but if honorable senators were willing to tell the truth exactly as they know it, they would also be willing to admit that, while our resources are so great, they are, to a comparatively large extent, tied up. We have had a number of good seasons in Australia recently, trade has been good and the community has been prosperous; but, at the same time, the various State Governments have been borrowing largely, and, in some cases, spending lavishly, and we must recognise that that sort of thing cannot last for ever. We may have droughts. I think it almost inevitable that the State Governments will not be able to continue their borrowing-spending policy, and in a comparatively short period we may be up against a period of bad times. I have no objection to the Government spending money to advertise Australia; but I have objection, and a very strong objection, to bringing people here without being able to provide work for them or land for them. I understand that the number of unemployed is increasing in almost every portion of Australia. We have them in Melbourne, we have them in Sydney, we have them in every large city of the Commonwealth, and that is a state of affairs that is not to be contemplated without serious misgivings. If when everything is booming there is such a large number of unemployed as we are assured by some people exists in the various capitals of the Commonwealth and elsewhere, what is going to be the case later on when borrowing is stopped, and when, probably, we have a bad season or two? Then, with regard to land, I understand that out of about 20,000 immigrants who have come to Victoria within the last few years, ostensibly to settle on the land, only two or three hundred have done so. There is no doubt it is exceedingly difficult, not only for people from the Old Country, but, unfortunately, for people who live in Australia, to get land to settle upon. I need only refer to three instances which took place in the mother State within the last few months. In one case fifty-six Crown areas were thrown open for selection, and there were 1,322 applicants. I think it will be admitted that this fact discloses a most unsatisfactory state of affairs with regard to our land. Then, again,nineteen portions were thrown open for selection afterwards, and there were 637 applicants; while within the last few days four portions were submitted by the Government, and there were 350 applicants. In the last case, I believe, 250 applicants were allowed to go to the ballot.
– How many of the applicants were speculators?
– In the case of the nineteen areas, the land agent at Blayney declared that the unsuccessful applicants had over £200,000 among them which they were prepared to invest in land, not for speculative purposes, but for use, if the land were available. The only conclusion that can be arrived at when one considers these facts is that there is a land famine in Australia; that we are in want in the midst of plenty; and the reason for that is apparent to any one who cares to face the facts as they exist. I see that the Leader of the Senate - I do not know whether he is the Leader of the Senate or what he is; but if he is not the Leader, at least he is the nominal Leader - is smiling.
– Do you not think I am justified ?
– I do not think the honorable senator is justified ; but I can tell him, and members of his party, that they will smile on the other side of their faces before this question is thoroughly settled. Is any man in his senses prepared to say that any of those 1,322 applicants were mere speculators? Are there no residence conditions or improvement conditions ?
– Do you not wantany one to be applying for the land !
– It isnot the fact that people are applying for land that I am objecting to. It is the fact that they cannot get on it even when they apply. I do not wish to detain the Committee, because an arrangement has been come to between the Government and the Opposition that this Bill is to go through with as little discussion as possible. I merely draw attention to the fact that we are advertising the resources of Australia in Great Britain with the intention of inducing people to come out here as workmen or as settlers on the land. I have no objection to that, if work is provided, and if laud is available for them when they arrive; but if there is neither work nor land, then I say there is something very rotten with our administration. I wish to impress upon every member of the Committee the necessity for launching out into some policy which will not only provide employment for persons who desire to earn wages here, but also give every man who likes to come to this country, and every man who lives here, the opportunity of getting land without difficulty.
– I desire to get some information in regard to the institutions which the Government control, such as the Small Arms, Cordite, and Clothing Factories. Regarding the item in which the vote for pay is so many times less than the vote for contingencies, do the contingencies include the material, or in what way is the larger amount accounted for?
– The material.
– Senator Pearce, by an interjection, has given the only answer which it is possible to give at present. There may be other minor amounts which are embraced in the item, but the bulk of it consists in the requisites for carrying out the work of the factories to which Senator Rae has referred.
– I desire to ask the Minister for information relative to the item of “ GovernorGeneral’s establishment, Melbourne Government House.” In view of recent happenings in New South Wales, is it the intention of the Government to make any future provision for the housing of His Excellency in that State ? For some time it has been the practice of the Commonwealth to provide a home for His Excellency while in Sydney, as well as to provide for the upkeep and maintenance of a
Government House in Melbourne. It is not necessary for me to relate what has occurred in New South Wales in connexion with the buildingwhich was recently occupied by the Governor-General, but I think it is desirable to know if it is the intention of the Government to take any steps to make provision for a GovernorGeneral’s establishment in New South Wales. Exception, of course, has been taken - I myself took it some years ago here - to the singling out of any particular State away from the Seat of Government for such a provision. It was then pointed out that New South Wales was generously giving the use of Government House, in Sydney, for the housing of His Excellency whenever he was in that State, but I think it is desirable that we should know what it is intended to do in regard to what has transpired there - whether it is intended to revert to the principle that prevailed since the establishment of the Commonwealth, and have two Government Houses, for the maintenance and upkeep of which the Federation is responsible, namely, one at the Seat of Government and one at Sydney, or to have only one Government House for the GovernorGeneral, and that at the Seat of Government.
– The amount on the Estimates is, of course, only required for expenses incurred at Melbourne Government House. The matter to which the honorable senator has referred has not been considered by the Cabinet, but if the honorable senator will ask a question on the reassembling of the Senate I shall endeavour to give him some information.
– Is it the intention of the Government, then, to contemplate a residence for the Governor-General in each State, or will they only contemplate one residence; and, if the latter, in which State will the residence be centred? I would like to have a reply to my inquiry.
– I have already answered the question. On the reassembling of the Senate after the proposed adjournment, I shall endeavour to give full information in regard to this matter. I have nothing further to say at present.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General if the design of the new stamp which is to be issued has been determined for all denominations ?
– The matter is at present under consideration.
– It has been represented to me that it is highly desirable to enable mail contractors to use portable telephones which would place them in communication with important centres when disaster overtakes mail conveyances, as is frequently the case in mountainous regions. I wonder whether a matter of that description could be provided for under the head of contingencies ?
– I shall bring the honorable senator’s suggestion under the notice of the Postmaster-General.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clauses 2 and 3, preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request, and passed through its remaining stages.
Motion (by Senator Millen) pro posed -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 13th August.
– I take advantage of this opportunity to congratulate the members of the Government upon the position which they occupy. It is fairly evident to most of the senators in oppositon that they are diffident about saying very much. In fact, they scarcely say “ aye “ to their own propositions. I have heard one or two “ noes “ on that side. They have been so much accustomed in the past to say “ no “ to every proposition that was put before the Senate that they can scarcely leave off the habit. Besides congratulating our esteemed friends on the Government benches I sympathize with them to a very considerable extent, their numbers are so small; but I believe that they are doughty representatives of the principles of Conservatism, as exhibited in this Chamber in the past. It was trumpeted all over Australia within the last two or three months that there was a policy of freedom, progress, and fair play to everybody to be brought before Parliament if the late Opposition went into office. They are in office now, yet even the outlines of that policy have not been presented.
– A blank sheet was presented by the Governor-General.
– It was an ice cream that the Governor-General presented, not a policy at all. I sincerely hope that when we reassemble, after a month’s adjournment, the promises of the Leader of the Government here will be given effect to, and that no grumbling or dissent will be given expression to when members of the Opposition, in fulfilling their duty to those they represent in the country, exhaustively deal in the debate on the Address-in-Reply with the provisions that the Government propose to introduce for the benefit of the people of Australia. We hope that full and free discussion will be allowed. We trust that, after a month’s adjournment, we will not be accused of wasting time either by the Government, by their supporters, or by the newspapers in Australia that have been so persistently and consistently backing them up. Because, if there were any intention after we resume of blocking fair discussion in any direction, it certainly would not be right for us as an Opposition to submit to the adjournment at all. We are freely giving the Government every opportunity to bring forth the best that is in them in the interests of the people of Australia; and we hope that when the time comes that they do bring forward measures, they will have no objection to our analyzing and criticising their policy in a fair and exhaustive manner. I trust that the motion will be carried, and hope that the Government will be in a position to fulfil their pledges to the country. I hope also that the prosperity of Australia will not be hampered in any degree by the policy of this Government.
– The Leader of the Opposition has made some reference to the fact that honorable senators sitting on your right, Mr. President, have so long been in the habit of saying “ no,” that he even detected them resorting to that expedient to-day. I wish to give my honorable friends my sincere assurance that I believe it to be an extremely bad habit. Looking back over the events of the last few years, I regret that we have been addicted to it. I sincerely trust that the honorable senator, having himself detected how often some of us have been led astray by the habit of saying “ no,” will not encourage it on the part of his friends who are surrounding him at the present moment.
– We have been saying “ yes “ to-day.
– I hope that the honorable senator will continue to say “yes.”
– The honorable senator need not get his back up.
– I do not intend to. do so. Senator McGregor also extended to us something that he called his sympathy. I am glad to receive it, or any such small mark of approval, but beg to state that I shall judge of the quality of his sympathy by following the division lists later on. Coming to more serious matters, Senator McGregor referred to the fact that while the Liberal party had for some weeks - months, I think he said - been putting before the people of the country a policy which I am glad to say they by ‘their votes have approved and indorsed, he was nevertheless somewhat surprised that the Government were not ready to submit that policy in legislative form for the consideration of Parliament.
– Oh, no; we know that the Government could not do it.
– The honorable senator merely wanted an outline of our policy in a Governor-General’s Speech. It has. been found necessary to obtain an adjournment in order to reduce that policy to legislative form, to bring it within the compass of Bills to be laid before Parliament.
– We could have gone on with the debate of the AddressinReply while the Government were doing that.
– I am sorry to restrain the honorable senator’s natural impatience to talk again, but I remind him that he has had a fair amount of talking lately, and I really thought that a little relaxation would not he amiss. I submit that the attitude of the Opposition is a recognition of the reasonableness of the request that has been made, and I can assure my honorable friends opposite that we shall avail ourselves of the opportunity of placing within the four corners of Bills the proposals which we intend to submit to Parliament - proposals I may add which will embody the policy submitted by us to the country.
– The Fisher Government, when it took office, was prepared to meet Parliament right away.
– The Fisher Government had an interval of three months. The election, three years ago, took place on the 13th April. Within a week, the Deakin-Cook Government resigned office, and only retained ‘charge of business pending the formation of a new Ministry. Then they handed over the control of the Departments to their successors. The Fisher Government did not meet Parliament until the 1st July. That was three months after they took office, and it was recognised at the time that they were entitled to that period for the purpose of preparing their Bills.
– How does the honorable senator make the period three months ?
– The honorable senator is quite right. The period was two months and a week. I thank him for correcting my arithmetic
– What is more, the Fisher Government took a good spell in the following year, when some Ministers attended the Imperial Conference.
– Under the circumstances we did not take exception to the course which they pursued.
– The quarrel with us was not on’ the ground that we did too little, but that we did too much.
– I quite agree, and hope that the honorable senator quite recognises the mistake that his Government made in that regard. Senator McGregor expressed the hope that there would be no grumbling if, after the resumption of business, there was a tendency on the part of the Opposition to criticise our proposals. Sir, I shall not only not grumble, but shall welcome that criticism, for this reason: The party to which I belong in this Senate have so long been accustomed to see the party under the leadership of Senator McGregor maintain silence when measures were presented, that it will be a little relief to us to find that at last they have rediscovered their tongues, and are prepared to discuss Bills. Previously they were only too ready to allow them to go without any comment at all.
– Does that augur that the Government will introduce the same class of measures’
– No, it does not : but what it does point to is this - that whilst when they were on this side of the House honorable senators opposite appeared - to be anxious not to discuss measures at all, we are now told that they will insist on discussing them. 1 welcome the fact and attitude which now marks honorable senators opposite. To put the matter in another way, I look upon the burden placed upon this party heretofore of discussing public measures as having been a heavy one, and am particularly pleased to see that honorable senators opposite now recognise how unfair it was, and are prepared to share the burden with us. I should like to say, in conclusion, that I quite recognise - as every one must - the very peculiar position that exists owing to the composition of the Senate. I recognise that fully. I am, however, hopeful, from the attitude which has marked the Leader of the Opposition “ this afternoon, that while recognising the composition of the Senate, and while adhering to the principles to which they are attached, and remaining faithful to the pledges which they have given to their constituents, honorable senators opposite will also recognise that the business of the Senate must be carried on, and will, as far as it is possible to do so, in accordance with our rules and procedure, assist the Government to get their business through in the most satisfactory way possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to draw the attention of the Minister of Defence to the following paragraph published in this evening’s Herald: -
Many Commonwealth Government employes at Cockatoo Island dockyards are wondering what object the authorities have in view in discharging men each day.
For several days past Boilermakers, many of them old bands, have been dismissed, 14 being discharged yesterday. In the face of this the dockyard authorities are advertising for 300 boilermakers.
It has been recently rumoured in Sydney that the officials at Cockatoo Dock are going to enforce what I call the silly regulation which obtains in the Government railway service, where employment is not given to men over forty years of age, or to men with one eye - although I worked at this trade myself for many years with one eye, and could always do my work - and where also men on attaining a certain age are discharged. That rule has never been enforced in the New South Wales Government shipbuilding yards at Cockatoo Island. There, as long as a man is able to do his work, no matter whether he has one eye or two, his services are retained. I quite recognise that it is essential that officials travelling in charge of a train should have their full powers of eyesight, but it is not at all necessary in the case of men engaged in shipbuilding or locomotive work. The rumour is that this rule is to be enforced at Cockatoo Dock, where shipbuilding for the Commonwealth is being carried on. I ask the Government to consider this matter, and to see that men who have been employed continuously for a great many years get a fair deal, and are not discharged simply because they show signs of becoming grey-headed.
– I have no knowledge concerning the matter raised by Senator McDougall, but I will make it my business before to-morrow has passed to cause inquiries to be made as to the statements to which he has referred. I should like to add that if anything of the nature described has taken place, it has not occurred in consequence of any instructions given by me.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 6 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 July 1913, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1913/19130709_SENATE_5_70/>.