6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 11 a:.m., and read prayers.
– I should like, sir, with the permission of the Senate, to withdraw from the notice-paper the question standing in my name for Wednesday next for the purpose of amendment.
– The honorable senator cannot touch anything on the notice-paper until it is called on in the usual way, but he can get over the difficulty by giving notice of the amended question now.
The. following papers were presented: -
Customs Act 1901-1910 -
Proclamation (dated24th June, 1914) prohibiting the exportation of margarine resembling butter. ‘
Proclamations). (2) (dated 7th September, 1914) prohibiting respectively the exportation of wheat and . flour, and meat, to places outside the United Kingdom.
Amended Proclamation (dated 8th Septem ber, 1914) prohibiting the exportation of meat to places outside the British Dominions.
Proclamations (8) (dated 23rd September, 1914) prohibiting respectively the exportation of meat, wheat, andflour and mares.
Proclamation (dated 18th September, 1914) prohibiting the exportation of sugar.
Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 101 and 117.
Defence : Report on the Royal. Military College of Australia, 1912-1913.
Defence Act 1903-1912- Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 78, 80, 81, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 109, 110, 125,. 127, 128, 130, 131, 132.
Excise Act 1901. - Regulation amended. - Statutory Rules 1914, No. 118.
Inter-State Commission Act 1912. - Rules of Practice.- Statutory Rules 1914, No. 129.
Naval Defence Act 1910-1912. - Regulations amended,&c.-
Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 79, 83, and 116: Post and Telegraph Act 19011913.Regulations amended, &c. - .
Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 38, 43,. 44,. 46, 47, 48, 49, 53, 57, 58, 59, 64, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 73,76, 86, 88, 108, 112, 114, 115, 119, 120, . 121, 122, 123, 124, and 133..
Public Service Act 1902-1913. - Appointments, Promotions, &c. - Postmaster-General’s Department -
Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905.- Regulations amended, &c. -
Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 60, 61, and 111.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That Senator Henderson be appointed Chairman of Committees of the Senate.
– Probably, sir, you will permit me, at this stage, to return my very sincere thanks to the members of the Senate for the honour which they have conferred upon me, and also to express my belief that the assistance of honorable senators and yourself will always be forthcoming. I shall make it my constant endeavour to do what I deem to be’ an honest duty between man and man whilst. I occupy the position.
Motion (by Senator Gardiner) agreed? to-
That the days of meeting of the Senate during the present - session, unless otherwise ordered, be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of each week; and that the hour of meeting, unless otherwise ordered, be three o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday and Thursday, and eleven o’clock in the forenoon of Friday.
Motion (by Senator Gardiner) agreed to-
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate, or of a Committee of the whole Senate, on sitting days other than Fridays, be suspended! from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.
Motion (by Senator Gardiner) agreed to-
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, at four o’clock p.m. on Fridays, the President shall put the question, That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall not be open to debate; if the Senate be in Committee at that hour the Chairman shall in like manner put the question, That he do leave the Chair and report to the Senate; and upon such report being made the President shall forthwith put the question, That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall not be open to debate.
Provided that if the Senate, or the Committee, be in division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put. the question referred to until the result of such division has been declared; and if the business under discussion shall not have been disposed of at such adjournment it shall appear on the business-paper for the next sitting day.
Motion (by Senator Gardiner) agreed to -
That on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, Government business take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper, except questions and formal motions, and except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday after 8 p.m.; and that, unless otherwise ordered, private Orders of the Day take precedence of private notices of motionon alternate Thursdays.
The following Sessional Committees were appointed (on motion by Senator Russell) : -
Standing Orders Committee
The President, the Chairman of Committees,
Senators Barnes, de Largie, Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould, Guthrie, Millen, O’Keefe, and Turley, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or sit with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
The President, Senators Findley, Keating, Lynch, Maughan, Lt.-Colonel O’Loghlin, and Stewart, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
The President, Senators Bakhap, Buzacott, Long, McDougall, Needham, and Story, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
Senators Barker, Blakey, McDougall, Mullan, Newlands, Ready, and Shannon, with power to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
– In the nominations for the Standing Orders Committee appears the name of Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. The full military title of the honorable senator is rightly given, but why is a discrimination made between him and Senator Lt.-Colonel O’Loghlin, who appears on the Library Committee simply as Senator O’Loghlin ?
– I am assured by the Minister that it was entirely an oversight that the full title was not given to Senator Lt.-Colonel O’Loghlin when the motion was drafted. I shall take it upon myself to direct the Clerk to make the necessary alteration.
– Lt.-Colonel Gould and Lt.-Colonel O’Loghlin have been mentioned. Why not Major McDougall? He holds the title, and why is it not given to him?
– There can be no further discussion. These motions were allowed to go as formal, and if honorable Senators desired to raise any objection to them, they should have called attention to them before.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That, in pursuance of section 13 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, the senators chosen for each State shall be divided into two classes as follows : -
The name of the senator returned by the highest number of votes shall be placed first on the senator’s roll for each State, and the name of the senator returned by the next greater numberof votes shall be placed next, and so on in rotation.
The senators whose names are placed first, second, and third on the roll shall be senators of the second class, and senators whose names are placed fourth, fifth, and sixth on the roll shall be senators of the first class.
– Pursuant to standing order 31, I lay on the table my warrant nominating Senators Long, McDougall, and Needham a panel to act as temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested to do so by the Chairman of Committees, or when the Chairman of Committees is absent.
.- The Supply Billnot yet having come from another place, and the draft of the resolution regarding the grant to Belgium not having been finally approved, it might be as well to suspend the sitting until after the luncheon adjournment.
– In view of the circumstances, and if it meets the desire of honorable senators, I shall suspend the sitting as suggested.
Sitting suspended from 11.23 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.
.- I move -
That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent a motion in reference to a grant to Belgium being considered without delay.
The motion is necessary in this case, because no business other than formal business can be taken until the AddressinReply has been disposed of, unless the Standing Orders are suspended.
– It is necessary that the motion shall be carried by an absolute majority of the members of the Senate.
– There was only one “No.”
– As the motion is objected to, I think there should be a division to enable me to decide that the motion has the support of an absolute majority of the members of the. Senate.
– Might I suggest, sir, that you put the motion again. You are entitled to judge whether, on the voices, there is more than one “ No,” and, unless your ruling on that point is disputed, it is competent for you to declare that the motion is carried, and by counting those supporting the motion you could declare whether it is carried by the requisite majority.
Question put again, ami resolved in the affirmative.
– “No” was called twice from the other side, but they have not the courage of their opinions.
– I wish, at this stage, to make a personal explanation. I direct attention to a little incident which might seriously reflect upon honorable senators on this side. An interjection was made by Senator Guthrie which may “appear in Mansard. Nodding his head in the direction of honorable senators on this side, Senator Guthrie said, “ They have not the courage of their opinions.” That might lead to a suggestion that we, on this side, objected to the suspension of the Standing Orders, when, as a matter of fact, no objection to the motion came from the Opposition.
– Then why say “No”?
– The “No” came from a member of the honorable senator’s own party.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. I think it is altogether improper on the part of Senator Guthrie to attempt to fasten any odium upon the Opposition which might attach itself to anything that I have done. I am quite prepared to bear all the blame for whatever I do here. When I called “No,” on the question ‘.being put, I did so because I have always objected to the suspension of the Standing Orders, and I do not think it is at all necessary on the present occasion. So fa’r from my not having the courage of my opinions, I simply bowed to the inevitable, as every wise man will do. I found that 1 had nosupport, since honorable senators- practically unanimously called “Aye.” I do not wish that any share of my evildoing should be attached to the membersof the Opposition in the Senate.
.- I move -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, the sura of £100,000 from the Commonwealth Consolidated Revenue Fund should , be .made payable* as a grant in aid to Belgium, in grateful acknowledgment of the heroic services the citizens of that country rendered mankind in thedefence of their national rights to live in peace in their own territory; and that His Excellency the Governor-General be invited to> transmit this resolution to the - Secretary of State for the Colonies.
I do not intend to take up much time in submitting this motion, which I feel sure will commend itself to the overwhelming majority of the members of the Senate. We have to recognise that, in regard to the war with which the. Empire is now faced, a very serious responsibility rested upon the little country of Belgium when the first moves were made by the German Empire. That little country, with a small population and a small army, was facing one of the greatest, if not the greatest, military nations of our time. The German nation practically offered the people of Belgium that, if they were given a right-of-way through Belgian territory for the purpose of invading Prance, Belgium would be compensated for any damage done, and her neutrality would subsequently be recognised. The neutrality of Belgium is guaranteed by other countries, including the British Empire.
– And including Germany.
– It is guaranteed by Germany also. The people of Belgium, knowing as they do, only too well, and having sad cause to remember, what the ravages of war mean, and what it would mean to them to face alone the great power of the German Empire, took upon themselves the responsibility of refusing the request made by Germany.
They did so alone and unaided, because they knew that no assistance could come to them in sufficient time to stop the march of the German army. Small and weak as they are, they took it upon themselves to stand up against the derra an military power, and to obstruct the march of the Germans through their territory. It has to be remembered that one of the consequences of that brave and plucky stand has been that it has delayed the German advance for such a time as to have the effect of upsetting the plans and calculations of the military men of Germany, and it has enabled the Allies to mobilize their forces and meet the German army much more effectively than they could possibly have done ‘in any other set of circumstances. I say that when we view the spectacle of that little nation consenting to see their country ravaged, their homes pillaged, their women and children outraged, and, in some cases, murdered, rather than give way to the German demands, it must excite the admiration of every man who has any spirit in him at all. The Belgians are a nation of heroes. They have rendered a service not merely to our Empire, but to the world. I say that we in this free land of Australia should be the first to spring to a recognition of the noble action of Belgium in defending its liberties and the integrity of its territory and the affirmation of the principle that every nation, small as- well as great, has a right to the inviolability of its territory and the freedom of its people. For this reason, though what is proposed may be only a small recognition, I feel that if this action is taken promptly it will be appreciated by the Belgian people, and will assist, in some small measure, to relieve distress caused by the ravaging of their territory and the destruction of their homes. They will know that their noble action is appreciated by people on the other side of the world; that we have read of their splendid stand, and are prepared, in some small way, to show our appreciation of it. I have, therefore, very much pleasure in submitting the motion.
– I desire to second the motion. We have in the past, in our terms of speech and in our habits of thought, accustomed ourselves to speak of Belgium and regard it as a little country. If we are to judge of the size of a country by the extent of its territory, the number of its people, or the measure of its wealth, then Belgium must be regarded as little. But if we are to adopt a higher standard, as I think we should in these circumstances, and apply to nations the same rules of conduct that we apply to individuals, then Belgium has made good her claim to be included in the . list of big nations whose annals adorn the pages of history, and who have been responsible for the epoch-making periods of the world’s history. In assenting to this motion, as I feel sure the Senate will do, it might, perhaps, be profitable to consider for a few moments the circumstances under which Belgium became involved in this gigantic war. She was not in any way associated with, or responsible, immediately or remotely, for the circumstances which brought this war about. She had committed no offence against any one. She had ho ambition to serve which would precipitate her into the conflict. Her sole offence was to claim her title to a place in the sun of national existence, and the right to pursue her industrial life in peace and prosperity. She became involved in this war, I repeat, not because of any action of her own, but because of the will and power of a great tyrant who, apparently, is as scornful of the rights of nations as he is cynically indifferent to the obligations of his own pledged word. It seems to me that Belgium could, if she had wished, have enjoyed an ignoble peace had she rendered obedience to the demands of autocracy and force. So far as I can view the position, she might have made an immediate and immense commercial gain by the sacrifice of her nationality. Historians may dispute in the future as to what measure of responsibility shall attach to the different nations for bringing about this war; but there can be no dispute, now or in the future, as to the part which Belgium has played. She has, with the full knowledge of what the consequences would be, preferred to die in glory rather than to live in servitude. She has placed before herself the ideals of national freedom rather than consideration of comfort and material prosperity. We have very vague notions as to the actual condition of affairs in Belgium. The details have not been filled in ; but we do know that wherever war marches it leaves behind a trail of privation, misery, and suffering. That, I suppose, must always be a consequence of war. Without accepting as entirely true all the accusations of German atrocities of which the newspapers have informed us, I think we know enough to say that this war is being prosecuted with a ruthless barbarity and a wanton cruelty which constitute a definite challenge to the claim of the German people to be regarded as civilized. It has been said - and the saying is familial to us in the shape of a proverb - that “in wine is truth,” and following that line of reasoning one might well say that war constitutes the sharpest test of civilization to which any nation can be subjected. If we apply that standard we must assume that German civilization is, after all, a very thin and hollow veneer. A knowledge of the circumstances - quite apart from the tremendous military service which- Belgium has rendered the Allies - must quicken our sympathies, if they need quickening. Owing to our geographical position, we in Australia, though we are taking our part - a part of which we have every reason to be proud - in the military undertakings of the Empire, and though we are sharing some portion of the financial consequences of this war, are yet happily freed from those unfortunate results - the horrors of war - which are to-day being thrust in full measure upon Belgium. Because we are freed from them, we should with greater readiness adopt the motion which has just been submitted. With such a knowledge of history as I have, I know of no instance in which a country was called upon to make a more heroic or a more ignoble choice than was Belgium. To her immortal honour she elected to take, not the easy, but the higher and the harsher course. With apparently undying courage she elected to see her countryside devastated, her fair cities smouldering in ruins, her industries paralyzed and destroyed, her people subjected to all the horrors of want, privation and those unthinkable atrocities which we have only too much reason to believe have bee a committed, rather than become a party to her own national undoing. For this we honour her, and in addition to honouring her- “as a nation, we’ seek by the purpose of this resolution to do something to alleviate - even in a small measure - the distress and suffering to which she has been subjected by her own heroic choice.
.- I know that my remarks will not be popular with a very large section of this community. That consideration, however, will not deter me from saying that in my judgment we shall be doing wrong if we devote so huge a sum towards this object at the present time. I heartily indorse the remarks of the Minister of Defence and the Leader of the Opposition in regard to the heroic action of Belgium. I do not wish my attitude in that connexion to be misunderstood. Metaphorically speaking, I take my hat off to the heroic little nation.
– Instead of the honorable senator taking off his hat he should put his hand in his pocket.
– I am prepared to put my hand in my pocket to the same extent as is any other member of this Parliament. It is all very well for honorable senators without a blush to vote the sum of £100,000 towards alleviating distress in Belgium when, perhaps, they will not contribute a single shilling themselves.
– The honorable senator is speaking metaphorically now.
– I believe that every honorable senator is imbued with a sense of gratitude to the Belgians. But when I remember that in Victoria there are a large number of unemployed, and when I reflect how far the sum of £100,000 would go towards relieving their distress, I am impelled to say that our charity should begin at home. I enter my protest against such a large sum of money being allocated to the purpose indicated in this motion. I am not oblivious to the truth of the old saying that “ he gives twice who gives quickly,” and I recognise that that applies in every case. I intend- to vote against the motion, not because I do not appreciate the stand which the Belgians have taken, but because, with our limited financial resources and with a drought prevailing throughout the Commonwealth, the expenditure we are asked to authorize in this connexion is too large.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [2.50].- I hope that the honorable senator does not voice the opinion of . a tithe - of. the. people of this country. If honorable senators will take the trouble to look around they will see in every direction evidence of the sympathy of our people with the Belgians in their present brave struggle. The poorer classes of the community have already exhibited their sympathy by contributing their shillings and half-crowns to the funds that have been inaugurated towards the relief of that heroic nation. It is all very well for Senator Blakey to say that he takes off his hat to Belgium, whose people have struggled so bravely to preserve, not merely their own integrity, but the integrity of other nations of the world. Unfortunately, there are in our cities many persons who are in want. But their troubles cannot be compared with those of the Belgians. We all know that in Belgium, even the avenues of industry have been destroyed by the wanton act of the German nation in attempting to march its troops through that country. Thousands of families there lost their bread-winners in the struggle to preserve their neutrality. Their widows and children to-day are in utter want.
– Will a contribution of £100,000 bring back those breadwinner’s 1
– No, nor ten times the amount ; but it is well that we should show what are our feelings towards them. We sympathize with our own people who are unemployed, but we want those who are in regular employment to assist their fellows by accepting a lesser measure of employment. If that course be adopted a great deal of the distress which exists to-day will be very materially modified. I am glad to know that the Commonwealth can look the world in the face, and say that it is rapidly attaining nationhood. We are able to exhibit our interest in the struggle which is now taking place in Europe. So far as our Empire is concerned, the heart of the people - both in its most remote outposts and in its centre - beats with a determination to vindicate the right of all nations to live in peace and to manage their own affairs. But for the heroic defence put up by Belgium, the present war would have assumed an entirely different complexion from that which it wears to-day. We in Australia are much indebted to the Belgians for the stand which they took, as are the Allies. Had the Germans been allowed to make a parade ground of Belgium, and to pass their forces through it unimpeded to Paris, we do not know what would have been the result of the war. So sure as Germany had been able to humble France, so surely would she have attempted to humble Great Britain in a very few years. In such circumstances, what would have been our position ? What would have become of our freedom when once it had been gripped by the German war lord ? All our right to manage our own affairs would have vanished, just as a puff of smoke does in the wind. Not only should we do what we can to assist the little nation which has rendered so much service to the world, but we should think of what we ourselves owe to Belgium for the magnificent fight which she has put up. If we fail to do so we shall merit the epithet of “ little Australians,” who are incapable of taking a broad outlook upon anything.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [2.58]. - I cordially support the motion which affirms that we should render assistance to Belgium for the heroic stand which its people have taken in the present international conflagration. But for that stand, Paris, if it would not have been in German hands to-day, would certainly have been invested by the Teuton forces, and the result would have been the indefinite prolongation of the war. I rose particularly to suggest that it might be possible for us to make a portion of the proposed grant in products and material instead of in money. If that were done, the gift would be equally acceptable to the Belgians.
– But it could not be as rapidly transported.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Confining my remarks to one item of foodstuffs, I find that last year we exported to Belgium £280,000 worth of wheat. . Now it would be idle to send raw material to a country whose industries are paralyzed consequent on a great portion of its territory being in the hands of the enemy. But we might be able to send them a cargo of flour, which the Belgians have been importing from South Australia. I make that suggestion to the Government. The gift would be equally acceptable to the Belgian people if a portion of our assistance took the form of Australian products. I trust that the motion will meet with the support of a great majority of each party in the Senate.
.- I rise to support the motion, but I do not propose to speak at any length, because the motion has been ably moved and seconded by others. It is probable that the historian of a hundred or a couple of hundred years hence will regard the service rendered by the gallant but unfortunate people of the little country of Belgium as being as great in behalf of European civilization in particular, and of the liberties of mankind in general, as that which was rendered by the Spartans, who fell at Thermopylae over 2,000 years ago. I do not intend to attempt to gild refined gold; I shall content myself with saying that I intend to support the motion, but I wish to address one or two remarks to the Senate. We must not blink our eyes to facts. It strikes me that practically the whole of this unfortunate little country is in the grip of the German legions. We hear to-day that the capital, which in the first place was removed from Brussels to Antwerp, has been transferred to Ostend, a watering place on the coast of the North Sea. I suppose that if unfortunately ‘ Antwerp should fall and Ostend in its turn should be in danger, tha next transfer will be to the deck of a British warship. What effective Government of an independent character exists in Belgium to which the proposed vote can be handed for distribution for the purpose of alleviating distress, and so on, or, in general aid of the finances of the Belgians ? Belgium, I understand, has no effective native Government at the present time. We will take Brussels, for instance. Enormous sums had to be paid by the people of that city to ransom their burgomaster, or to save, or partially save from spoliation, the architectural glories and art treasures of the Belgian people, who are as artistic as they are valiant. I would to the end of my life feel a never mitigated chagrin if we voted money which practically became a subsidy to the coffers of the Germans.
– Or to English shipowners who employ cheap labour.
– Without abating by one jot my support of this motion, I ask Ministers to take very great care that the money is given to some representative of the Belgian people that can guarantee its effective employment in alleviating
Belgian distress, or in the general assistance of Belgian finance. That is all I wish to say, because the invader of Belgian territory is as ingenious as he is ruthless, and if he becomes aware that, any responsible Belgian authority in his grip is possessed of £100,000, voted by the Legislature of a part of the British Dominions, he will devise means by which the money can be transferred to the coffers of Germany.
– Or to the English ship-owners.
– The honorable senator is a seafaring man, and he seems to be obsessed with the idea that there is some connexion between the English ship-owners and the proposed vote, but I must plead guilty to being unable to see a connexion. I hope that the Ministry, that has very promptly brought forward the motion, which is meeting with general support, will see that the money reaches the Belgian people, and can be disbursed by some independent national authority, for undoubtedly it is well to recognise that at least nine-tenths of the small country of Belgium are in the grip of the arms of Germany.
– A great deal of what has been said in support of this motion seems to me to be altogether beside the question. The bravery of the Belgians, and the great fight which they, in common with the French, the British, and the Russians, are putting up for civilization, has never been questioned by any person here or elsewhere in Australia, so far as I am able to understand. That is not the question at all. The question seems to me to be this: Is Australia justified in voting the sum of £100,000 to Belgium in present circumstances? So far as Belgium is concerned, that amount can only be looked upon as the merest bagatelle. It seems to me to be something like the case of a man’s house which is set on fire. Some member of his family happens to be in the dwelling; a bystander rushes in, and brings him out into safety, and the owner of the house rushes up and tells the rescuer what a brave fellow he is, and presents him with 6d. to go and have a drink. That seems to me to be almost a parallel so far as the present effort of Australia is concerned. The real question at issue is whether Australia is justified in present circumstances in offering this sum of £100,000. I have come to the conclusion that she is not. As some one has said, and said very truly, charity begins or ought to begin at home. What is our position here at the present moment ?
– I thought that charity was a universal virtue.
– The old saying is tha,t charity ought to begin at home.
– And should not stay there.
– In any case, what is our position at the present moment? We are not ravaged by war. Fortunately we are far removed from the scene of operations. We do not hear the scream of the shells or the groans of the dying, or anything of that kind. We are feeling the effects of the war in every portion of Australia, not so acutely as those who are nearer the scene of action, but very acutely indeed. The fact is that there are thousands of unemployed in Australia, that every Australian Government is at its wits’ end to provide funds to keep the wheels of trade going-
– This Government is not.
– If it is not at its wits’ end as far as the discovery of ways and means is concerned, it is because it has not any wits to be at the end of.
– It is rather early to talk like that, is it not?
– The revenue of the Commonwealth is undoubtedly falling, and will continue to fall.
– It has not fallen.
– It has not fallen, but it. will fall. Any man who is able to judge events can come to only one conclusion in regard to the Australian revenue, and that is that within a very short period it will take a very steep tumble indeed.
– Especially when we have effective Protection.
– We have, in addition to the war, a drought, which is spreading over three-fourths of Australia, which is responsible for a great deal of Suffering at the present time, and which will be responsible for a great deal more suffering in the future. If we are engaged in a war with Germany; if we are sending an Expeditionary Force, the cost of which will probably run into many millions of money ; if our revenue is going down, or will go down in the immediate future ; if our industrial life is to be paralyzed almost in every centre ; if thousands and tens of thousands of our own people are out of employment now, with the promise of very largely added numbers in the near future ; I ask, in the face of all these facts, would Australia be justified in sending this sum of £100,000 to the Belgians?
– - If we do not wm this war there will be no Australian Parliament. German will be spoken here.
– If we win this war it will not be because of Belgium. I do not wish to trench on this aspect of the question at all. It is the Russian who is fighting the battle of civilization by some strange irony of fate; it is not the Belgian. Germany would have swept the Allies away as with a broom but for the huge force which Russia has brought to bear on her rear, -so that if any credit is due to any nation, it is due to the Russian nation, which is saving civilization, and which is saving France, Belgium, Britain, and Australia.
– And we will see that Russia is well paid for it in territory and money.
– That is another question. The sooner this bubble is pricked about Belgium being the one country that is saving civilization the better, because but for the assistance of Russia the Allies would have been “ in the soup “ long ago.
– Not much.
– I do not wish to labour the question. I submit that under the existing circumstances we are not justified in spending even so small a sum as £100,000 in assisting any one outside of Australia while our own needs within the Commonwealth are so great in the present, and seem to be likely to be very much greater in the near future.
– J think that we who are in favour of this proposal are indebted to honorable senators who have opposed the motion for giving us an opportunity to explain our position. I, for one, would not feel so much inclined, to support the Government if I thought for a moment that the voting of this money was going to deprive a single individual in Australia of one hour’s profitable employment.
– People cannot get employment now; what will it be like later ?
– My honorable friend had his opportunity of speaking. He told the Senate and the country that he was opposed to the motion altogether on the ground that he was afraid the comparatively small sum which the Government are devoting to this very good object would deprive our Australian fellow citizens of some employment. The honorable senator will agree that I have every right to claim that I am as anxious about the employment of our people as he or any other honorable senator is. I am not finding fault with him for objecting to this grant, but I do find fault with any honorable senator who objects to it on the ground that it will prevent any person in Australia from obtaining employment. We are told that the amount will be a mere flea-bite to the people of Belgium. If it is only a flea-bite to the people of that small country, it is certainly a very much smaller flea-bite to the people of Australia. As Senator Stewart said, the whole thing does not amount to the price of a pint of beer per head to the people of the Commonwealth, so how can it be objected that the making of the grant will deprive our own people of a considerable amount of employment? We are glad to know that we have at the head of affairs at the present time a Labour Government whose first duty must be to look after the employment of our own people. Unless they pay due attention to that obligation those of us who sit behind them in this Chamber will very quickly point out their duty to them ; but I repeat that the grant of this small sum to the Belgians will have no more effect on the question of employment or unemployment in Australia than if Senator Blakey went down the street and had the sixpenny drink to which Senator Stewart referred. So far as concerns the warning note struck by Senator Bakhap, I have no doubt the Government have taken every precaution to see that the money will not fall into the hands of the -Germans. I am sure the Minister, in his reply, will satisfy even that honorable senator that the money will reach the right quarter, and will be applied, so far as it is humanly possible to apply it, for the purposes for which it is intended. I believe there is not an honorable senator here, and there is scarcely a citizen in the Commonwealth to-day, who” has not contributed in some way or other to the many benevolent, patriotic, and other funds that are being raised. I am sure that every one of us has put his hand in his pocket more or less deeply during the last three months to subscribe to some mayor’s fund, benevolent fund, patriotic fund, or fund to provide necessaries for our sons who are going to the front. Every one of ns has put his hand in his pocket, and it is hardly fair to say that members of the Senate would rather contribute Government money to the Belgians than put their hands in their own pockets. I have no doubt the motion will be- carried, and that the Belgian people will appreciate the gift, not so much on account of the amount involved as on account of the excellent principle which it establishes. I am glad that this free country has taken the earliest possible opportunity of expressing in this direct way its appreciation of the fact that, had it hot been for the stand made by the Belgians in the early part of the struggle, the German Fleet would have been very much nearer Australia than it is to-day. We ought not to forget that fact when we criticise the action of the Government in doing this simple act of justice to a deserving nation, for which every one of us has a great admiration.
– I support the motion, and hope that it will be carried unanimously. I regret that there has been any discordant note sounded since the proposal was made to the. Senate; but, as Senator Newland said, the fact affords those who support the motion an opportunity of saying a few words in justification of their attitude. I wish to take exception to some remarks made by Senator Stewart when criticising the motion. I am afraid that on this occasion his characteristic clearsightedness or fairness was absent. The illustrations he gave us were not at all appropriate to the situation, and the last simile that he instituted was exceedingly inappropriate. He told us that, in effect, all this £100,000 from Australia would mean to Belgium would be the price of a sixpenny drink given to a gallant rescuer in the circumstances he so graphically described. The honorable senator must remember that we shall not be the only people who will contribute to Belgium on this occasion for the like purpose. The honorable senator will recall better than I do the old Scotch proverb which says that every mickle makes something else which is equally unintelligible, but from which we draw the satisfactory inference that every mickle amounts to something substantial. The honorable senator put the position of the Belgians in association with the Russians and French as one of great gallantry, but there has been something more than mere gallantry so far as the Belgians are concerned. Later he pointed out that it was Russia, and not Belgium, that was upholding the cause of civilization in the encounter. We all know what the mighty hosts of Russia are doing towards the eastern boundaries of Germany, but we must remember that this was Russia’s war. Germany had declared war upon Russia, if not by an actual formal declaration, at any rate in effect. Germany had also declared war on France. It was determined to try conclusions with France, and France, willy nilly, was to be a belligerent in the contest. The same applies to Russia, but Belgium was a country neutralized by a Convention amongst the Powers. It was offered by Germany the opportunity of allowing its territory to be passed through by the German troops in order that they might carry out their hostile designs upon France, and had Belgium yielded to that solicitation, there is no doubt that it would not have experienced the sacrifice of life and the desolation of territory that it has since experienced, and the German troops would have been able to pass through and inflict upon France a smashing blow, if not a decisive defeat, very much earlier than now. In that case Belgium would have been immune from all the horrors of war that have been its sad experience within the last two months, but it absolutely declined to listen to such a suggestion, and gallantly threw itself into the breach and held back the Germans sufficiently long to enable both Great Britain and France to mobilize with effect. Belgium had a choice there, and if it had chosen to yield to the suggestions of Germany, it would have come through this ordeal so far, at any rate, comparatively speaking, scathless; but it chose the more difficult, the more honorable, and the more exacting part, and we all know what it has suffered in consequence. With nations as with individuals, it often hap pens that they have to say, “I see the better and approve it, yet the worse I follow.” The exact antithesis is the case in the circumstances we are now considering. Belgium has seen the easier offered to it. It has spurned the easier, and taken upon its shoulders the responsibility of the more arduous and the more difficult, not alone in its own interests, and not to its own immediate advantage, but in the interests of all the other parties engaged on this side of the conflict. In the circumstances we, as part of the British Empire, are deeply indebted to Belgium, and this grant is only a small token of our recognition of the measure of our indebtedness. It cannot be put on any other basis. It is not charity; and even if the amount is small we believe that other parts of the British Empire, *and other countries, will also realize their indebtedness, and contribute in the same way and in the same spirit. Our £100,000 will in that way swell to an amount that will more adequately compensate Belgium for the obligations she has incurred, not merely in her own interests, and not for her own advantage, but for the advantage of others, amongst whom we are included, and on behalf of civilization generally. Senator O’Loghlin has suggested that part of the. grant should be sent to Belgium in goods, but I hope Ministers will remember that there will be a greater difficulty in forwarding goods than money.
– There is also the element of time.
– Yes, and the element of risk. We can transmit money through the medium of the banks without immediately sending the solid gold. I have every confidence that the Government will see that the money is quickly and safely transmitted, and placed in such hands that it will go ultimately and wholly for the benefit of the Belgian people themselves, and not into the coffers of those who, for the time being, hold the Belgians, so to speak, in thrall.
– A cargo might be captured.
– That is so; but it would be impossible to capture money transmitted by wire. That is one reason why the Government should make the gift in money, and I have every confidence that they, will see that it is placed in proper hands, so that it will accomplish the object for which Parliament intends it.
.- Senator Stewart and Senator Blakey are entitled to our respect for having voiced an opinion very much in opposition to the popular attitude, but I am certain that the proposal of the Government will meet with the almost unanimous indorsement of the people outside. Big and generous as has been the response of the people to the various appeals that have been made to them by the mayors of the different capitals, this tribute from the Commonwealth Parliament will carry much more weight. It is a pity that Senator Stewart and Senator Blakey confused the gallant fight put up by the Belgian people on behalf of civilization withthe question of unemployment in Australia. The two things are entirely dissociated. I am confident that the members of the Government are as fully seized of the seriousness of the industrial position in the Commonwealth as is either of the two honorable senators to whom I have referred, and that we can rely upon them to give all necessary attention to the requirements of Australia. I wish to assure Senators Blakey and Stewart that should the Government fail in this great and grave responsibility to the industrial classes of Australia they will find me just as keenly critical of them as either of my colleagues. I have, however, no misgiving whatever on this point. I am certain that the Government led by the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher appreciate to the full the seriousness of the position for many thousands of our working people and those dependent upon them throughout Australia to-day. It is a pity that we should confuse the two issues. They are quite distinct, and this proposal to recognise the services rendered by the Belgian people ought not to have been confused with the question of unemployment in the Commonwealth. This is a proposal for a contribution to the little nation of Belgium, whose sacrifices have been enormous, as their defence of their country has been gallant ever since the war began. I shall vote for the grant of £100,000 to the Belgian people as being, in my opinion, a very small recognition of the gallant services they have rendered to mankind. I express ‘my regret that the grant proposed is not larger, and in some way more commensurate with the sacrifices which the Belgian people have made and the services they have rendered to civilization.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I move -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the Supply Bill (No. 2) 1914-15, the Supply Bill (Works and Buildings) (No. 2) 1914-15, and the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Bill 1914, when received from the House of Representatives being passed through all their stages without delay.
I may say, in explanation of the motion, that honorable senators realize that the Supply Bills must be passed to-day.
– Is the honorable senator including the Supply Bills and the other Bill referred to in the one motion ?
– Yes; and I will give the reasons for doing so. The two Supply Bills must be passed to-day, in order, not only that Commonwealth public servants may be paid, but that there shall be no break in the continuity of employment by the Commonwealth. I am satisfied that I shall have the consent of honorable senators generally to that course. The reason for including the other Bill in the same motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders is in order to save the time of the Senate. The Bill is urgently necessary in the interests of industrial peace throughout the Commonwealth. It is urgent that there should be a Judge of the Conciliation and Arbitration Court appointed at once, and for that reason the Bill should be passed through to-day.
– I am prepared to give the Minister of Defence every assistance in the passage of the measures referred to in the motion, but I consider it necessary to direct attention to what appears to me to be an entirely undesirable procedure in including in one motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders Bills of a totally different character. The Senate might feel disposed to suspend the Standing Orders for the purpose of passing one Bill, but not for the purpose of expediting the passage of another. I am acquainted with the purpose of these Bills, and propose to support them, but for the safety of the Senate itself, unless there is a strong reason for the contrary, every effort should be made to follow the procedure laid down in our Standing Orders. In this case, I think it would have been better to have submitted two separate motions in connexion with the Bills which have been referred to rather than to compel honorable senators to vote aye or no for the suspension of the Standing Orders in connexion with Bills of a totally different character on the one motion.
– I remind the honorable senator that it is competent for him, or for any other senator, to move an amendment on the motion. -
– I am aware of that, but knowing the purpose of these Bills, I do not wish to take any action of that kind to-day. Still, I consider it desirable to direct attention to the matter.’ The Minister of Defence must see the force of my remarks, and must agree that in ordinary circumstances it is not desirable to bracket in one motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders more than one measure.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Gardiner) read a first time.
.- I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
I may say, in explanation, that the urgency of this measure is due to the position in which we find ourselves at present. As honorable senators are aware, the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration is at present absent from the Commonwealth, and cannot possibly be here for some considerable time. Section 14 of the principal Act provides that a deputy may be appointed by the President to conduct the business of the Court. The object of this Bill is to provide that a deputy may be appointed by the GovernorGeneral. Honorable senators are. aware of the necessity for the appoint ment, since the accumulating business of the Court must be disposed of. The Government have considered it reasonable to ask honorable senators to assist them in expediting the business of the Court by agreeing to the proposed amendment of the existing Act, rendered necessary by a peculiar combination of circumstances.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
After section 14 of the principal Act the following section is inserted: - “ 1.4a. Whenever the President is out of the Commonwealth or is for any reason unable to appoint a deputy, the Governor-General may appoint any Justice of the High Court or Judge of the Supreme Court of a State to be the deputy of the President in any part of the Commonwealth, and in that capacity, to exercise, during the pleasure of the GovernorGeneral, such powers and functions of the President as the Governor-General thinks fit to assign to such deputy; but the appointment of a deputy shall not affect the exercise by the President himself of any power or function.”
– I wish to ask the honorable senator in charge of the Bill whether he does not think that it would improve the clause to insert after the word “deputy” the words “ or deputies.” The reason for the suggestion must be obvious to honorable senators interested in Arbitration Court proceedings. We know, as a matter of fact, that there is tremendous congestion in the Conciliation and Arbitration Court.
– The Acts Interpretation Act provides for what the honorable senator suggests. The singular covers the plural, unless an Act expressly provides otherwise.
– If that be so, I have nothing further to say. It is well known that there is tremendous congestion in the Court, and everything should be done by this National Parliament to provide against a contingency of that kind. Although it may perhaps be considered outside the scope of the Bill, I certainly should like to express the opinion that the time has come when an additional Judge,, should be appointed to the Arbitration Court.
– I rise to emphasize the remarks just made by Senator Maughan. It must be evident to any one who has taken any interest in the proceedings of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration* Court that one of the great principles laid down in Magna Charta, the great Charter of the English people which was wrung from King John several hundred years ago, has been, and is at the present moment, being violated in Australia. That principle is that justice should not be delayed. A number of organizations have been forced into the Conciliation and Arbitration Court by laws which we have passed in this Parliament, and one organization of which I know has been waiting for a period of eighteen months.
– Some have been waiting for two years.
– I am reminded that some organizations have been waiting for two years to have their cases dealt with. Nothing is so likely to bring the principle of Conciliation and Arbitration into disrepute than is delay of this kind. If we want peaceful settlement of disputes, we must provide the means whereby it may be brought about. So far as one can gather from outside, there is a lack of Judges of the Arbitration Court. There is an ample number of lawyers in Australia capable of sitting as Judges in Arbitration Courts, and, as Senator Senior interjects, “ Barkis is willin’,” no doubt. It is the duty of the Government to see that every organization desiring to submit a case to arbitration shall have the fullest opportunity to do so, and shall get justice with as little cost and with as much speed as possible. Unless that can be provided for, arbitration and conciliation will be largely at a discount. Our people will lose faith in the principle, and will probably revert to the old method of striking for the settlement of disputes regarding wages and conditions of labour. I would impress upon the Government the importance of this matter, and would urge the appointment of a sufficient number of Judges to deal with all cases coming before the Arbitration Court as speedily as possible.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to. .
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third- time.’
Defence Expenditure - Submarines - Supply of Ammunition - Cordite, Small Arms, Woollen Cloth and Clothing Factories - Enoggera Rifle Range and Remount Depot - Naval and Military Pensions - Expeditionary Forces - Bureau of Agriculture Bill - Bitter Pit Investigation - Weather Warning Stations - Lighthouses.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a first time.
The Bill provides Supply for one month, and is based on the Estimates prepared for the year which ended on the 30th June last. It is unfortunate that Estimates have not yet been prepared for the current financial year, but that is due to circumstances for which this Government are not responsible.
– The Minister cannot say that the last Government were responsible either.
– It will be somewhat difficult for honorable senators to follow many of the items; but I do not know that there are any that call for special remark.
– The Minister has represented the Bill to be an ordinary monthly Supply Bill; but there is one aspect of it to which I direct attention, and about which I should like an explanation, if possible.
– This is a proper stage for discussing matters not relevant to the Bill; the motion for the second reading provides a stage for the discussion of the Bill itself.
– I understand that at this stage we may discuss anything under the sun, and that my remarks need not be relevant. Certainly I am aware of no rule which prevents me from making remarks that are relevant. Although the Bill has been represented to be a Supply Bill for the ordinary services of the country for a period of one month, based on the appropriation for last year, it contains a provision of £1,650,000 for the Expeditionary Forces. The total pro-‘ vision for. -the Defence Department is” £2,467,000, so that, deducting the provision for the Expeditionary Forces, £817,000 is set down for the ordinary monthly expenditure of the Department. The Department is, therefore, costing nearly £10,000,000 a year, which is certainly not its ordinary expenditure. There must be some error.
– The explanation is simple. The war has necessitated not only the organization of Expeditionary Forces, but the mobilization of the local Defence Forces. Payment is being made to the members of the local Defence Forces to an amount in excess of the ordinary expenditure of a month, but, at the rate approved by Parliament in its appropriation for last year. The mobilization of our Forces has swollen the expenditure for the month. If that mobilization continues the expenditure will remain at that very high figure. Although it is based on last year’s Estimates, the amount is swollen by the fact that our Forces have been mobilized.
– Are the Government making any provision for the purchase of another submarine in place of the one which was recently lost?
– I will answer that question to the honorable senator or to any other honorable senator privately and confidentially. He will” realize that questions of that sort cannot be answered on the floor of this chamber at the present time.
– Questions like that are permitted in the House of Commons.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 postponed.
Clause 5 agreed to.
– In the Department of Defence there appears an item which reads “Ammunition, £100,900.” I should like to know whether that amount is to be expended entirely upon the purchase of small arms ammunition?
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister of Defence [4.1]. - As the honorable senator is aware, a trust fund exists which deals with rifle clubs, and into which certain payments are made. Rifle clubs are entitled to a certain quantity of free ammunition, and amounts are debited from ordinary Supply Bills to that trust fund to make up the loss occasioned by the issue of that free ammunition. The asterisk attached to the item indicates that the amount is paid to the trust fund. Owing to the greater consumption of ammunition during the present year, consequent upon the organization of the Expeditionary Forces, the expenditure under this heading is larger than usual.
.- The Minister of Defence has failed to grasp the significance of my question. I did not take any exception either to the amount of this item or to the purpose to which it is to be devoted. But I was not clear as to whether the sum is intended to pay for small arms ammunition supplied by the Colonial Ammunition Company. From his reply I take it that it is intended to be devoted to that purpose.
– It is. We have the one source of supply - the Colonial Ammunition Company - and they are paid from this trust fund in the way I have indicated.
. - I note that the sums set out in this Bill for the Cordite Factory and the Small Arms Factory are very small, and that in the case of the Woollen and Clothing Factory no appropriation is proposed. Perhaps the Minister will tell the Committee what is the position of these factories.
. - I understand that the honorable senator’s question is why the amounts allocated to certain of these factories are so small.
– And why there is no appropriation proposed in the case of the Woollen Factory?
– The reason why the amounts proposed are so small is that each of these factories is worked in connexion with a trust fund. The various units which draw their clothing from the Clothing Factory are themselves charged with that expenditure. The money is paid into the trust fund of the Clothing Factory and from that fund the operatives are paid their wages. The trust fund is a fluctuating one, and is recouped in that way, and whenever a deficiency occurs it is made up by a vote on the Estimates. The reason why no appropriation is sought in connexion with the Woollen Cloth Factory is that the power plant of that institution is not yet complete, and until it is we cannot engage operatives to manufacture woollen cloth.
– When I asked the question whether provision was being made to replace the submarine which was recently lost, I had no idea that it would be regarded as embarrassing. The Minister knows that I would be the last man to put an embarrassing question to him, especially at the present time. It never occurred to me that my inquiry would be so regarded. At the same time, I observed from reports in British newspapers that questions are asked of the Minister of War by members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords in regard to the naval construction scheme of the Admiralty, which raise a very much more important issue than did the question I put this afternoon.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - During war time ?
– It is going on now. I was not able to examine the whole of the figures; had I done so I would not have asked the question, because I see that no provision is made in this measure for a new submarine. But I think it would be to the public interest to know that such provision has been made. Of course, I am quite seized of the fact that there are many questions about which honorable senators may be very desirous of knowing something, but that under existing circumstances it would be much more advisable for them to go privately to the Minister and seek the information than to have it published abroad through the press. That was why I raised the question. But I thought it would be information which every member of the Australian public had the right to know. There has been, I understand, a stoppage of works in connexion with the new Brisbane rifle range at Enoggera, and also the additions and improvements at the remount depot at the same place. I shall be glad if, before the next Supply Bill is submitted, the Minister will have the goodness to make an investigation in that direction.
– I would like to know from the Minister of Defence whether it is proposed to make this expenditure of £1,650,000 on Expeditionary Forces a charge against the revenue or loan account. It is now charged, I presume, to revenue account; and I desire to know whether it is to be a permanent charge against the revenue for this year. I should also like the Minister to say whether in the. proposed pension scheme for the Naval and Military Forces it is proposed to make provision for the dependants of those who lost their lives in the recent submarine disaster.
– I wish to inform Senator Maughan that I shall have inquiries made as to what stoppage of work has occurred. It is not the intention of the Government to stop any work which is authorized, but rather to push on with it. In regard to the question about the submarine, I hope that the honorable senator did not imagine that I meant my statement in any way as a reproof.
– Oh, no. I wanted a clear understanding.
– Honorable senators will recognise that, whilst a question itself may not be embarrassing, it might easily lead up to questions which would be embarrassing. The position which the Government take up is that any member of Parliament is entitled to the fullest information on any subject which he raises. Honorable senators know that they have only to ask the Minister any questions of the kind to be supplied with the information, or if it cannot be given they will be told the reason why. In regard to what Senator Mullan has asked about the expenses of the war, I have to say that these accounts are being kept separate from the ordinary normal defence expenditure. The Government have not yet decided upon a policy as to how the expenditure ultimately will be met; but we recognise that the accounts should be kept separately from the normal expenditure, so that we shall be able to see what the war has cost us in money. The voting of this amount from the ordinary revenue is necessary, because these accounts have to be met. As a matter of fact, some of the accounts have already been paid, and this sum represents very largely unauthorized expenditure. When the Government have developed their policy as to how the expenditure is to be met, it will be merely a bookkeeping matter to recoup the revenue the amount which has been drawn therefrom for this purpose. Of course, we all hope that in the long run another country will have to foot this bill - that in any war indemnity which other people have to pay, this expenditure will figure as one of the items.
– Do you keep the mobilization expenditure separate?
– Yes. All expenditure above the normal which has been caused by the war is being kept separately. Regarding the question of pensions to those who have lost their lives in the war, the Government intend that their scheme shall apply to the Naval and Military Forces.
– It will be retrospective, of course?
– -It will apply to all those who have been engaged in these Forces since the outbreak of war. Further, the Government have decided that as there were about 1,000 British Reservists resident in Australia who have been called up for service by the British Government, and who are entitled to some compensation or pension from that Government, as regards their dependants or their widows or children, if they should be killed in war, we will supplement what is paid by the British Government to bring it up to the Australian rate.
– I desire to elicit some information with regard to the invitations which have been offered to men to volunteer for the Expeditionary Forces. As we all know, there has been a generous response. But what I desire to ascertain is whether any order of precedence has been arranged as to the way in which the men shall be accepted. Suppose that there are single men volunteering, and also men with large responsibilities in the way of families. Has the Minister arranged to give precedence to the single men as against men who have big family obligations? I am of opinion that, so long as sufficent men can be found, and I am sure that there will be no difficulty in finding them, single men should have a preference over men with big family obligations and responsibilities. I do not think it is a fair deal, if other men can be found, that men with large families should be encouraged to go away from Australia.
– Some single men are complaining that too many married men are rushing to enlist.
– I wish to know the views of the Minister in that regard.
– I have not disturbed the principle laid down by my predecessor in this respect. Senator Millen first of all laid down the principle, I think, that only single men should be accepted.
– Or that single men should be given preference.
– To .single men preference.
– Afterwards, I think, that was widened.
– I thought that afterwards it was widened.
– There was no alteration made; but the instruction was being neglected in carrying it out, and a fresh minute was written directing attention to it again.
– That decision has not been disturbed. It still stands as an instruction to those engaged in organizing the Expeditionary Forces.
– Do I understand the Minister of Defence to say that there is an instruction to the effect that single men shall be selected in preference to married men?
– Yes, by my predecessor, which has not been disturbed.
– I do not wish to anticipate a question on the notice-paper, the answer to which may, perhaps, guide me in making some remarks’ on this matter; but I am certainly in accord with what Senator Mullan has said. We should send away single men, because there is no lack of them willing to go, whereas many of the married men are leaving substantial family obligations behind them.
. -Can the Assistant Minister representing tho Minister of Trade and Customs give the Committee any information with regard to the item of £1,000 for the administration of the Bureau of Agriculture? I have a very vivid recollection of the ex-Prime Minister, Mr. Joseph Cook, saying that at the door of the Senate was to be laid the responsibility of the failure to pass the Bureau of Agriculture Bill; yet now the Senate is called upon to vote £1,000 for the purposes of a measure which Mr. Cook, who, like the character in the Arcadians, would never tell a lie, accused the Senate of blocking.
– And they were guilty of blocking it.
– We were not; whether Liberal or Labour, we were only too anxious to pass the Bill. We were never given a chance, and Mr. Cook knew perfectly well, when he spoke at the Farmers’ Conference at Maryborough, that he was saying something as far removed from the truth as the north pole is from the south. He did it for a political purpose. I am sure he knew that he was stating an untruth, and ex-Senator McColl went to Bendigo and apologized for the lies told by the ex-Prime Minister. If the Bill was blocked by the Senate, why does the item of £1,000 appear for this purpose? If the Bureau is to be established by the Government, it may be of assistance to the Senate for the people to know it, and perhaps the farmers of Australia may wake up to the fact that the Labour party are doing something substantial in that direction.
.- There is an item of £400 for bitter-pit investigation. How far has that investigation proceeded, and how long has it been proceeding? How long is it likely to proceed, and at what cost, and what are the results to date ?
– Senator Blakey will not expect me to recount the whole story of the unfortunate dispute with regard to the Bureau of Agriculture Bill, but I can tell him that the item of £1,000 was placed on the Estimates by the previous Government in anticipation of the Bill being passed. It has evidently been continued in the hope that some day the Bill will pass. I give the honorable senator my assurance that the money will not be spent until the Bureau of Agriculture comes into existence.
– Then it is anticipatory?
– Yes, by the present Government. Progress reports on bitter-pit are being made by the State Agricultural Departments. The Commonwealth is contributing a certain sum towards the cost of the investigation, but no final report has been received, and I am not in a position to say when wo may hope to receive them.
. - As the reports come to hand, will the Minister endeavour to have members of Parliament furnished with individual copies? A progress report was made some time back, but I do not think that we as members received copies. I was indebted to the State authorities for the copy I obtained, and as the Commonwealth is contributing to this investigation it would be as well for the Government to obtain an adequate number of copies of the progress reports for individual members.
– I shall have pleasure in bringing the honorable member’s request before the Minister of Customs, and will make known his decision in the matter.
– I hope that provision will be made in the Estimates of the Trade and Customs Department for the establishment of a weather-warning station in North Queensland, within the Barrier Reef. I have brought the matter under the notice of the Senate on more than one occasion. Senator Lynch has also raised the question so far as the coast of Western Australia is concerned, and it is very urgent. I discussed it briefly this morning with Senator Russell, and he saw at once that it was very pressing. It is well to mention it now, in view of the fact that we are approaching the cyclonic period. We all know, as practical men, that it is as well to be prepared for these climatic disturbances, and we all know to our cost, especially in Queensland, that dreadful marine catastrophes have taken place on that coast for the want of weather-warning stations. On behalf of the travelling public and the owners of ships on our coast I urge the Minister to go into the matter and make adequate provision to establish the stations necessary without any further delay, because there has already been a delay of years.
– If there had been a northern station, the Yongala would not have gone down.
– Had there been a weather-warning station in existence at that time the Yongala would have been on the sea to-day, and hundreds of lives would have been saved. I trust the matter will receive the serious attention of the Government.
– I would draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs to the badly lighted state of the waters in the north of Australia. I was in that region recently, and the master of the vessel on which I travelled mentioned two points in particular as requiring lighthouses. These were Cape Don and Cape Fourcroy. Undoubtedly the waters in the north of Australia are badly lighted, for both in going to and coming from Port Darwin we had to anchor at night, and the captain of the vessel was very emphatic in asking me to make representations to the proper authorities regarding the badly lighted state of those waters. The captain has had many years’ experience in trading in those waters, and I learned to esteem his opinion very highly as that of a most capable man. I respectfully urge upon the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs the desirability, at an early date, of lighting the waters of the north of Australia very much more effectively than is the case at the present time.
– The matter referred to by Senator Maughan comes under the next Department covering weather reports. I shall be glad to bring his very strong representations before the Minister in charge of the Department concerned. The matter referred to by Senator Bakhap is under the control of the Department of Trade and Customs. I can inform the honorable senator that £5,000 is provided for lighting the North ern Territory and North Queensland. I understand that the matter is under the careful consideration of the Department at the present time, and probably some progress has been made in the direction suggested by the honorable senator.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clauses, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without request.
Report adopted, and Bill read a third time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first and second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 postponed.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
– I wish to know whether the proposed vote of £40,000 for the Federal Capital represents the ordinary current expenditure, or includes any expenditure which may be regarded as particular or extraordinary? The Minister might say whether the vote represents a proportionate measure of the expenditure proposed for the year upon the Federal Capital.
– The amount which the Senate is asked to vote for the Federal Capital will cover a period of two or three months’ ordinary expenditure. I may inform honorable senators that the Bill covers an amount of £50,000 for sewerage from the city boundary to the sewage farm, an amount of £3,000 for the completion of the road to the Cotter River from the city boundary to the 11- mile post; brickworks, £12,000; road development south of the Murrumbidgee, £35,000; coffer dam, £30,000; miscellaneous, £5,000. As additional information, I should like to say that the following labour is expected to be employed at the Federal Capital: - In two months, 500 men; in four months, 700 men; and in six months, 1,000 men. In connexion with the works carried out by the Department, more than one-third of the expenditure is required for wages, and the balance for material produced in Australia.
– Did I understand the Minister to say that the number of men employed at the Federal Capital has recently been increased from 400 to 1,000?
– No. I have given the number of men for whom the Department are making provision out of the expenditure asked for under this Bill.
– There is no doubt some good reason for the system of preparing the schedule; but a certain amount of confusion and difficulty is caused to honorable senators in hunting up the total expenditure in any particular Department. For instance, under the Home Affairs Department there is an item of £52,850 for defence, while again, on page 5, there is the item of £180,450 for expenditure on works in connexion with defence under the control of the Department of Defence.
.- The honorable senator knows that the Estimates, and not the monthly Supply Bill; must, be referred, to in order to ascertain the general policy of the Government in regard to expenditure. In the Estimates and the Budget-papers the expenditure for each Department is clearly set out; whereas a Supply Bill shows the expenditure by each Department. In the particular case referred to by the honorable senator this is expenditure by the Department of Home Affairs on buildings which are ultimately for the Defence Department. Supply Bills are based upon the preceding Estimates which have been approved by Parliament. It is on the Estimates that Parliament approves or disapproves of the general policy of the Government” on works and buildings, or on departmental expenditure, and. the Estimates clearly set out the total expenditure on each Department, although expenditure might be incurred for one Department by another Department.
Senator MULLAN (Queensland) part of the. Government, at the present juncture, to ease off in any way in the matter of employment on works and buildings ?
– There is no such intention. Moreover, immediately on the Government resuming office, the Prime Minister sent instructions to the Departments that all works that could be justified were to be pushed on with; and, acting on those instructions, the Ministers of the various Departments have themselves notified their officers that where works can justifiably be brought forward, they are to be brought forward, as far as possible, at the present juncture.
– At the risk of being considered insistent, but in a friendly way, may I ask the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs whether the item of £5,000 for lighthouses is the sum he referred to a few minutes ago, and whether this is provision for the erection of. new lighthouses ?
– I understand that this, is provision for part payment on contracts now being canned out in the Northern. Territory and on the north coast of Queensland.
– But is the provision for new lighthouses?
– I understand that the Department are building new lighthouses.
– I again ask the Minister to bring under the notice of his colleague the desirability of making increased provision for the erection of lighthouses on the two points that I have named. He will understand that I am making this request because of the necessity for these lights having been- pointed out to me by an experienced navigator who is frequently traversing these waters.
Schedule agreed to.
Postponed clause 2, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Report adopted, and Bill read a third time.
Senate, adjourned at 4.45 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 9 October 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1914/19141009_senate_6_75/>.