6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 3 p.m., andread prayers.
Assent to the following Bills reported: -
Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.
Supply Bill (No. 2).
Supply Bill (Works and Buildings) (No. 2).
– Pursuant to standing order 38, I lay on the table my warrant appointing the following senators to be the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications: - Senators Barnes, Lt. -Colonel Sir Albert Gould, Keating, Long, Lynch, Shannon, and Turley.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence the following questions : -
– Ibelieve it is a fact that a military guard was placed over the office of this newspaper. Such a statement was made to me by a deputation, and I think that the minute that has gone out in regard to the proceedings brought under my notice by the deputation will prevent a recurrence of them.
– I ask, sir, as a matter of privilege to have my name removed from the Printing Committee.
– The correct procedure is for some honorable senator to move that Senator McDougall be discharged from the Printing Committee, and that motion can be moved without notice.
Motion (by Senator Russell) agreed to-
That Senator McDougall be discharged from attendance as a member of the Printing Committee.
– Will the Minister of Defence give the Senate an idea of what the provisions of the pension scheme referred to in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech are likely to be! If I may be permitted’ to explain my reasons for asking the question, they are that many of the men who are going to the front are seeking to effect extra insurance on their lives, and the insurance companies are charging them a special war bonus of £5. I desire to know whether the Minister will indicate to the men the provisions of the scheme, so that unless it is absolutely necessary they will only be put to the expense of the extra premium of £5 demanded by the insurance companies.
– As I informed the Senate yesterday, I am not yet in a position to give all the details of the scheme, for the reason that it is still under the consideration of the Cabinet. I am, however, in a position to say that the minimum pension a year will be £52 in the case of a woman whose husband has died, and £13 for each child up to the sum of £52, so that in the case of a widow with four children the pension will be £104 a year. In a case of total disablement, in addition to the £52 to be paid to the wife, there will be half that amount payable on account of the fact that her husband has also to be provided for, and an equivalent amount for the children. The question of provision for dependants other than widows and children will be determined on the same basis as that laid down in the Commonwealth Workmen’s Compensation Act, and the percentage as to disablement will also be that of the table adopted for that Act. That will be the minimum. I cannot make any statement as regards the other matters.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - Up to what age in the case of children?
– Up to the age of sixteen years.
– Widows and children of those who die or are killed in action?
– That is so. It will apply, not only to the Military, but also to the Naval Forces, and will come into operation on the departure of members of either Force from Australia on active service.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answer is-
Yes. It ranges from1s. per day in the case- of privates to 8s. per day for colonels.
The following papers were presented : -
Zoological results of fishing experimentscarried out by F.I.S. Endeavour,.
Part I, 1911.
Part II. 1912.
Part III. 1912.
Part IV. 1914.
Biological result of fishing experiments carried out by F.I.S. Endeavour,
Vol. II., Part. 1. 1914.
Vol. II., Part 2. 1914.
Vol. II, Part 3. 1914.
Vol. II., Part 4. 1914.
Geelong Automatic Telephone Exchange -
Report on working (dated 19th November, 1913).
– The Assistant Minister has tabled some papers in connexion with the work of the trawler Endeavour. In view of the fact that they are printed, I should like to ask whether he will be good enough to see that honorable senators each receive a copy of them ?
– I shall bring the honorable senator’s request under the notice of the Minister of Trade and Customs.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answer isi -
Inquiries are being made, and replies will be furnished as early as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Minister df Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Quantity ordered, 100,000.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
As some <;f the War messages received from, the High Commissioner by the Minister for External Affairs are marked “ Official,” whilst others are marked “ Reliable,” is it to be understood from this that Official messages are not reliable?
– The answer is-
No. It is to be understood that the information contained in messages marked “ Official “ is from official sources, and that marked “ Reliable “ is from sources other than official, yet considered reliable.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to substantially increase the pay of Area Officers, with a view to those officers devoting the whole of their time to their military duties?
– The question will be considered later on after the present war conditions cease.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon, notice -
– The answers are -
Debate resumed from 14th October (vide page 139), on motion by Senator Guy-
That the following Address-in-Reply be agreed to : -
To Mis Excellency the Governor-General.
May it please Your Excellency -
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD (New South Wales) [3.17].- We may fairly congratulate the Leader of the Opposition upon the attitude which he assumed in dealing with the many proposals submitted in connexion with our Expeditionary Forces. It is unnecessary for me to elaborate the matters with which the honorable senator dealt, or to repeat his reminder as to the very important position which Australia occupies in regard to a possible result of a war of the present magnitude. Senator Millen referred to the desirability of our being in a better position with regard to the despatch of future Expeditionary Forces than we found ourselves in in connexion with the starting of the present Force as the result of a lack of proper equipment. We should, at least, at all times, have at hand the material necessary for the despatch of an Expeditionary Force. I am prepared to go a step further than Senator Millen in this matter, though I am not disposed to go as far as Senator Bakhap would suggest in making provision for Forces for military purposes. I believe that Lord Kitchener, in his report, recommended the establishment of an Expeditionary Force of 10,000 or 20,000 men to be available for foreign service at any time it should appear to be necessary to despatchmen from Australia, instead of having to rely at the initiation of such a Force entirely upon obtaining volunteers for the purpose. The Government should deal with the matter from the standpoint of the desirability of being fully prepared for such an emergency. If we were prepared to despatch at any moment an Expeditionary Force of 10,000 or 20,000 men, the arrangement would be an excellent one for the Commonwealth. The men forming such a
Force need not be permanently employed - they would merely require to be enrolled for that special purpose. But if they were permanently employed, ample work could be found for them in drilling and instructing our partially paid Forces. Under such an arrangement, it would not be necessary, in time of national emergency, to enlist raw recruits who have to be instructed in military duties until they become efficient. Instead, we should have the nucleus of a thoroughly capable fighting Force. We must all recognise that considerable delay has been experienced in despatching our first Expeditionary Force overseas. But every provision must be made for its safe convoy, and that consideration may possibly be the cause of that delay.
Lad been over-speculation, and people found that they had been building up houses of cards. When these began to come down, a run began on one bank, and then on another. We learnt then the lesson that it was incumbent upon the banks to be very careful with regard to the issue of notes, and legislation was introduced to make the notes a first charge on the property of the banks themselves. One would have been prepared to go’ even further at that time by limiting the amount that the banks should be able to issue in the way of notes, fixing the limit in accordance with their capital, resources, and power to meet their obligations. All this shows the difficulty that surrounds a currency which cannot be readily converted into sovereigns. When the people in the crisis of 1893 found first one bank and then another going, and there was talk of other banks dosing their doors, they began to say, “ This paper money is probably of very little value; therefore, we will rush it in on the banks, and get it converted into (.ash, if possible.” The same principle would apply in regard to the issue of paper money by the Government. The only means of safety in that regard is to let the public realize that the notes will be convertible whenever it becomes necessary in the interests of their business to convert them into cash.
Treasury, because the whole secret of the confidence of the people in paper money is that the paper is as good as gold, and will be redeemed whenever the necessity arises. While that is the case there will be no difficulty experienced. In regard to taxation we hear frequent references to the old sayings about putting taxes upon the people who are best able to bear them. Senator Stewart is very anxious to see the land value tax considerably increased. The persons who are best off are naturally those who are called upon in the first instance to pay taxation, but honorable senators must bear in mind that no man pays a tax without getting a return of it in the long run if it is possible to pass it on to somebody else. If a tax is levied on the value of goods the public have to pay a bigger price for the goods. Again, if a tax is imposed on the rental value of property, the people have to pay a bigger price for what they require, because it is the duty of n business man, in his own interests, to see that he gets an adequate profit on his outlay.
– I take advantage of the opportunity to offer you, Mr. President, my personal congratulations upon your elevation to the high office you now hold. I congratulate also the mover and seconder of the Address-in-Reply upon the excellence of their speeches, and upon the fact that, although’ new members of the Senate, they have given evidence of useful service in the future. Speaking as a comparatively new man myself, I am aware that, although one may have graduated in other spheres of usefulness in a State Parliament, there is always a feeling of newness upon entering for the first time a National Parliament of this character. Senator Gould, who has just treated us to a lucid speech on the AddressinReply, and the situation generally, has made special reference to many problems that await solution, and particularly to the financial problem con fronting us. Most honorable senators willagree that his remarks on the latter subject are answered by paragraph 5 of the GovernorGeneral’s Speech, in which it is stated that- Financial proposals to meet the exceptional conditions arising out of the war, and the consequent dislocation of trade and commerce, are under consideration by my Advisers, and will shortly be laid before you.
Senator Gould knows, as we all do, that this is not the time or place for the Government to present their financial proposals. They will come before us in due course, and probably within a very few days we shall have the pleasure of listening to one of the most important and historic Budget speeches ever presented to any Parliament in this continent. Although it is true that the great war question almost overshadows everything else at the present time, as a National Parliament we are called upon to consider problems other than those arising out of the war. As a newly-elected Parliament, sent here by the electors on clearly defined issues, it is our bounden duty to give effect as soon as possible to the policy we were returned to support, and not even the war, with all its dreadful consequences, must deter us from doingour duty in that regard. I quite understand that a large proportion of the session must be taken up with matters directly arising out of the war. At the same time, there are quite* a number of matters coming within the purview of domestic legislation which must receive our close attention. I am pleased to see in the policy speech of the Government that legislation is promised on many phases of social, commercial and domestic policy. I have ‘been particularly pleased to note the reference to the proposals to provide adequate consideration for the widows and orphans of Australian people. That must appeal to every member of the Senate, irrespective of his political creed. As one associated with the Parliament of a State for many years, and my experience may be regarded as common to most of those who have been members of State Parliaments, I say that the States in the past have not risen to the occasion in this respect.
– Some of the States in a quiet way make very considerable provision for widows and orphans.
– I am aware of the fact that something is done; but, in my opinion, what has been done has been by no means adequate. I speak for the State of Queensland, leaving honorable senators representing other States to speak for what has been done in them. The inclusion in the policy speech of such a humanitarian proposal indicates the intention of the Government to look after the widows and orphans of the community. It is not new to find this branch of domestic legislation referred to in a policy speech. For some years past the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Honorable Lloyd George, has submitted in Budget speeches delivered in the House of Commons some very remarkable proposals for domestic legislation. It is about time that this Parliament should realize its responsibilities in this connexion. One of the most important questions we can discuss on the AddressinReply is that of defence, and the very important land question raised by my honorable colleague and friend, Senator Stewart. In my opinion, these questions are interwoven one with the other. In this connexion, I cordially indorse the remarks of my colleague, Senator Stewart, and I know that he has given a good deal ‘ of attention to the matter, both in the Queensland Parliament and in this Chamber. It is idle for men, either inside or outside of the Commonwealth Parliament, to advocate an efficient system of defence unless they are prepared to evidence in some practical way that they mean business. In Queensland we have a State which is bigger than France, Germany, and Portugal combined, and yet it has a population only equal to that of a second-class city in the “United Kingdom. Everybody admits that the State which I have the’ honour to represent is possessed of potential resources. It is capable of supporting millions of people, and, were it not for the cursed system of land monopoly, I do not hesitate to say that to-day, instead of boasting a population of 700,000, it would have a population of, at least, a million. Its present position is due to the fact that past Governments failed to realize that its resources would be better developed by a large than by a small population.
– Have not many Queensland Administrations encouraged immigration ?
– They have. But, unfortunately, like most of the efforts made by the Tory Governments, the immigrants found upon their arrival that there was no land available for them to settle upon. I admit that the immigration question is one of the most important that we can discuss, and, with Senator Stewart, I firmly believe that it should demand at the hands of this Parliament greater attention than it has hitherto received. No doubt it will be given that consideration when our legislators realize that the land must be brought to the people, and not the people to the land. You, sir, know, that owing to Queensland being the nearest State to the great Eastern Powers, it is necessarily the most vulnerable point of the Commonwealth. It is essential, therefore, that it should be speedily developed and settled. How is that to be done when enormous areas of land are owned by private monopolists? The States have signally failed to cope with land settlement. Senator Bakhap said’ yesterday that the best way to deal with the question of land settlement was by means of the repurchase system. He thinks that it would be a much sounder proposition to repurchase land than to promote closer settlement by means of the land tax. I may tell him that in Queensland alone £1,700,000 or £1,800,000 has been expended in re-purchasing estates, and, in connexion with many of those estates, the settlers will never see their title deeds. The purchase price was so exorbitant that during the recent election campaign quite a number of settlers on the Darling Downs appealed to the Minister of Lands for an extension of time to enable them to meet their obligations.
– Were they not willing to purchase the land at the price fixed?
– They were at first, but they have since discovered that they were “let in.” My chief object in rising was to connect’ the question of defence with that of land settlement. We cannot effectively deal with the former unless we effectively deal with the latter. Of course, some honorable senators will say that land settlement is purely a State matter. As Senator Stewart knows, we fought this matter in the Queensland Parliament in the “ nineties,” but I am sorry to say that we made very little progress. The politicians of that time were hand in glove with the land speculators and monopolists, with the result that to-day Queensland possesses a population of only 700,000, whilst the disease of earth hunger there is rampant. I shall certainly give my warm support to any proposal which will have the effect of bursting up large estates by means of the land tax.
– And if such a scheme is not introduced the honorable senator will want to know the reason why?
– Is the honorable senator in accord with Senator Stewart, who declares that the tax has been ineffective?
– I do not say that it has been ineffective; but I do say that it has not proved as efficacious as I had anticipated in speedily bursting up large estates. I thought that there would have been a very much better result.
– The big estates have not been burst up.
– That is so. However, we shall probably be afforded an opportunity of dealing with this question at a later stage of the session. In regard to the subject of defence, I wish briefly to call attention to that portion of the Governor-General’s Speech which refers to the loss of the submarine AE1, and of its gallant crew, which we all deeply deplore. When I mentioned this matter the other day, I was reminded that it would be better if nothing were said on the floor of the Senate in regard to the building of another submarine to take the place of the one which has been lost. I should like to know what is going to be the rule concerning questionsof this kind. We have been told what is to be the naval programme of Great Britain for the year. We have been assured that the British Navy is to be increased within the next twelve months by a large number of first class ships and destroyers. That was the information vouchsafed by the responsible Minister in the House of Commons, the actual figures being given. Yet when I ventured to ask whether our lost submarine was to be replaced, I was told that I ought not to raise the question. That is the one defect which I observe m the Governor-General’s Speech. It contains no outline of the naval programme for the year. I am quite aware of the fact that the Minister of Defence may not be altogether responsible for taking up the attitude which he has taken up in this, connexion, but I do not see why it is necessary to keep secret all matters involving the development of our naval programme. If that policy is to be pursued, it will cause great uneasiness to the Australian people who, I think, should be taken, into the confidence of the Government.
– Likewise the German people.
– Nothing of the sort. Seeing that we know what is to be the naval programme of Great Britain during the coming year, we ought surely to be told what is going on in Australia. There should also have been some reference in the Vice-Regal utterance to the establishment of Naval Bases around our coast. Probably this matter will be dealt with in the Budge?. Only the other day I read an article in the Argus dealing with the operations which are in progress at Cockburn Sound, and also with the Naval Base at Westernport. But there are other places in the Commonwealth which were recommended by Admiral Henderson as suitable sites for Naval Bases. I should like to know what is the position at.
Thursday Island which Admiral Henderson recommended as a fleet secondary base and also as a destroyer base. Similarly, under his scheme Townsville was to be a destroyer sub-base, and Brisbane a destroyer base and also a submarine base. There were many other places in New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia which were indicated as being suitable for Naval Bases. While I know it is necessary to preserve absolute secrecy in regard to many matters connected with naval and military strategy, it would, I think, impart a tremendous element’ of confidence to our people if they were told exactly what, is to be the naval programme of the immediate future. It was a very good thing for the Commonwealth that the Labour Government, who were in office from 1910 to 1913, realized their national responsibilities. What would have happened so far as Australia and certain Possessions in the Pacific are concerned had it not been for the establishment of our Australian naval unit I do not know. Although many of our opponents would not give our party credit for the work they did in that connexion, the records prove conclusively that had it not been for the action of the Labour Government during the years they were in power the most terrible things might have happened at some parts of our coast-line. Certainly we should not be in the happy position to-day of being practically immune from bombardment by German raiders. There is one matter which I should be glad if the Minister who i§ watching the debate at present, will bring specially under the notice of the Minister of Defence. I have been in close contact of late with quite a number of captains and officers on various coasting ships. These men are not attached to either the military or the naval arm, but many of them entertain the idea that as sailors they might be of great use to the Commonwealth Naval Department if they were permitted to go through a brief course of drill every year uT gunnery. They might, perhaps, with an alteration of the Naval Defence Act, become officers of the Royal Naval Reserve. There are hundreds of these men all round Australia skilled in navigation and many having been drilled. They would be invaluable to the nation in time of stress, and especially in time of war, if associated with our defence scheme, but they are made no use of at present. The only responsibility they now ‘have is to look after freight and passengers. These men, in case of trouble, would simply be rushed by the Navy Department. I believe in taking time by the forelock, and if it were possible for the Department to get. in touch with’ them, and utilize their services when we are at war, it would be a great thing. I have been through the mill myself, and, speaking as an old sailor, and one who was associated with the early stages of the Queensland Naval Brigade, I know it would be a good thing for Australia if every opportunity were given to our mercantile marine officers to join the Royal Australian Reserve. With regard to the question of Protection, I was glad to hear the views given expression to by at least two honorable senators sitting on the Opposition front bench. In this connexion it is most interesting to note the wonderful change that has come o’er the scene in the case of the Sydney Morning Herald, one of the oldest newspapers in Australia. Both that and the Sydney Daily Telegraph have in years gone by been opposed to the very name of Protection, but they now realize, especially in view of the events of the war, that this must be made a selfcontained* nation, and that the sooner our raw material is utilized here, our manufactures tremendously increased, and work found in our factories for thousands of our young people, the better it will be for us all. I realize, as a practical man, that for many years ‘ there will be quite a number of things that we shall have to import. It will be long, for instance, before we can organize on proper lines an industry for the production of cotton goods. I should be very sorry to see a cotton industry organized in tropical Queensland except under white labour conditions. There are people who would institute a cotton industry to-morrow if they were allowed to work it by cheap coloured labour, but the great b,ilk of the Australian people are against that policy, and I trust they always will be. If we are to have effective Protection it will mean the protection, not only of our manufacturers, but of our workers. We remember the wars that used to rage around the old fiscal flags in years gone by. Queensland bad a hybrid Tariff, New South “Wales a Free Trade one, Victoria a 25 per cent. Tariff, South Australia a half-and-half business, and Western Australia was almost Free Trade in pre-Federation days; but whether they were Free Trade or Protectionist States, low wages and sweating conditions existed. We want to avoid that sort of thing under an effective Protective Tariff, and this can be done by legislation. Some people say it will be impossible to do it; but we have done some wonderful things in Australia by legislation. I remember that when, in the nineties, the Labour members in the Queensland Parliament advocated old-age pensions, the Tory Ministers used to ask, “ Where are you going to get the money from ? “ and cries of “Dangerous Socialism” were hurled across the chamber.
– What was the matter with those old Tories that they provided the machinery to grant old-age pensions in the Federal Constitution?
– They realized that a Constitution without some provision of the kind incorporated in it would simply rouse the wrathful indignation of the people. I give men like Sir Samuel Griffith, Mr. Kingston, Mr. B.R. Wise, Sir William Lyne, and Mr. J. H. Howe credit for having the sense to see ahead, and for understanding the growing democratic sentiments of the people. If it had not been for men of that class at the Convention, I believe that we should not have had such liberal provisions in the Constitution. They realized that the people would not submit to a Tory Constitution; and, although I do not admit that the instrument is perfect, it represents a great step forward; and, in that respect, I am glad indeed to think that the result of the recent election has justified the attitude taken up by the Senate in the last Parliament. It was said by the Fusion party that this was to be a Senate fight. We have had a double dissolution and a Senate fight. I am not going to “ throw off “ at the other side, because I recognise that they represent, just as we do, a very large number of people; but the majority have decided that the Senate was perfectly justified in its attitude. They decided that it was absolutely justified in urging that’ the referenda proposals should be again put before the people for adoption or rejection, and they also showed that, in their opinion, the Senate must be a democratic, and not a Tory, body. Consequently, they did us the honour to return our party in even greater strength, and we are here to-day with a total of thirtyone members opposed to a party of five. This, I suppose, constitutes a record for the world for an election by the mass vote of the people. As one of my colleagues has put it, this is a mandate to the Labour party to go ahead. We have a programme and a policy, and it is our duty not to mark time, but to go right forward. I congratulate the Government on wasting no time in calling Parliament together, because, as Mr. Fisher pointed out some time ago, we have a lot of leeway to make up, seeing that during the fourteen or fifteen years of the existence of the Commonwealth the Labour party has been in power for only three or four years, and there is a lot of work to do. We have to do a lot of work that the State Parliaments will not do, and we are, consequently, saddled with a greater responsibility than would otherwise be the case if the State Parliaments rose to the occasion.
– Some cannot, owing to their Legislative Councils.
– That is so; and this reminds me that there are in this Parliament to-day men, notably Sir William Irvine, who would be only too glad to see the Senate a nominee body like the Legislative Councils of Queensland, New South Wales, and some other States. Thank God it is not a nominee, but an elective, House, and I trust it will always remain so. In order to have the figures incorporated in Hansard, I wish to remind honorable senators that, since the establishment of Federation, the Labour party has made gradual progress in the Senate. In 1901 it had only eight members in this Chamber out of thirty-six; in 1903, it had fourteen; in 1906, fifteen; in 1910, twenty-three; in 1913, twenty-nine; and in 1914, thirty-one. That gradual progress represents the mandate of the people, and, while we should be very sorry to miss Senator Bakhap and his friends, I should not be at all surprised if, at the next appeal to the country, we practically monopolized the whole Senate.
Senator SENIOR (South Australia) £4.37]. - I join in congratulating you, Mr. President, on occupying your present position. I am pleased to see you there. Just as I was pleased to recognise your ability and impartiality last session, so I have every confidence that this session the same qualities will guide your actions. I join, also, in congratulating the mover and the seconder of the Address-in-Reply, and welcome them to the Senate. “ I believe they will be an acquisition in the debates on the important matters that have been sketched out for us. I hope they will have a long period of usefulness here, and that our associations will be as pleasant as their speeches predicate. After witnessing the strenuous opposition put up by Senator Gould to our party last session, I was astonished to hear him say to-day that he was very largely in accord with the -present Government. It seemed to me, however, that he thought the attitude of the Government should be a restful and quiet one, on the ground that, because the drums were beating and the cannons roaring in the Old Land, we in Australia ought to be dumb. His conception of the attitude of the Government seemed to be that it should be entirely pacific. According to him, also, we in this Chamber ought not to disturb Ministers in their desire to find the best way out of the present difficulty, or to disturb the people themselves. In that sense, I think, the honorable senator has credited Parliament with the possession of too great powers. I do not think that we will do either one or the other even if we go on with the programme. Touching on the war, it is deeply to be regretted that we are involved in a conflict which is not likely to terminate for some months, and which, perhaps, may extend for years. However, we have this consciousness, that it is not of our seeking. We have the consciousness that England has been embroiled in the war in a way that is honorable to the nation, and that when the history of it comes to be written the story of her part will redound to her credit. I feel that as Englishmen we have been, perhaps, slow in the matter of defence, but not too slow. Knowing what war is, we have not been anxious to hurry into the battle, but being there we shall be just as slow to leave. I am confident that, however dark the prospect may seem at times, the British nation will come out of the conflict uppermost. But it is not only for that reason that I feel that our position in Australia is, perhaps, far more serious than on the surface it may seem to be. Wrapped up in this conflict is our very existence, because whatever we may think of the position between the two principal nations in conflict, there is not the remotest doubt in my mind that British rule exceeds all other rule. There may be at times many things with which we as Britishers have occasion to find fault. But when we make an analysis we always feel that there is no other rule which we would like to be under. I believe that that feeling is indorsed by every foreigner who comes to live under the British Flag. I know that many of our German friends would not forsake Australia even to go back to the old Fatherland. We can scarcely blame these men if their sentiment and their sympathy are with the land of their birth. Ours is just the same. We cannot forget that the early training of these men was in Germany, and that their associations, friendships, and relationships are there. We must not forget that this sentiment is almost as strong, if not as strong, as any other sentiment which governs men in life. Nor must we forget that any hasty words dropping from the lips of these residents are, after all, only the echo of the old time and the old life which they have left behind. I think that, as a general rule, the German residents in Australia are true to the’ British Throne, and I speak from experience of these men. There may be, of course, odd individuals who are not attached to the Throne, but these exceptions, I think, prove the general rule. Perhaps it is too early to ask a question of the Ministers, but I should have liked to hear a declaration as to what attitude they intend to take up with regard to the establishment of Naval Bases, especially in South Australia. There we are severely struck with a drought, and we have to-day a larger number of unemployed than has been seen in the State for the last four decades. The position is a very serious one, because we have not only the calamity of the shadow of war over us, but we also have the calamity of the drought, which is affecting us far more seriously at present than is the war itself. Senator Gould in his speech dealt with the question of the finances. Possibly a financial man like the honorable senator may grasp the situation more clearly than I do, but it does seem strange to me that within twelve months from the close of i period of unequalled prosperity we should be face to face with a difficulty, not of food, but of finance. We are not yet faced in Australia, I am pleased to say, with the difficulty of how our people shall be fed, nor do I think that that difficulty will confront us, but we are faced with a position in which the question is asked, “ What are we to do in the matter of finance?” As I listened to the observations of Senator Gould, I thought it was rather peculiar that, although during the last eight or ten years Australia experienced most bountiful harvests,, trade was more prosperous than it was in any preceding period, and the population increased, yet in the last twelve months we have been brought face to face with a difficulty, and the question is: How is this Parliament to meet the terrible calamity which is upon us? These things set one thinking, and as one begins to wonder what stops may be best to recommend, one looks, naturally to those who have the data at hand to explain, if possible, their ideas on the situation. I have here a few figures dealing with the financial question, and which are drawn from the balancesheets of the Associated Banks in Australia. These figures may throw a sidelight on the question of how we ought to deal with the finances of the Commonwealth, and of where we should look for help. To our financial institutions, I think, Ave may look to get an idea as to what the real stability of Australia is. Perhaps, without looking carefully into this matter, it may be felt that “the circumstances which surround us at the pre-‘ sent time are such as to cause us to be downhearted, but, as we scan the figures hidden in the balance-sheets of the banks, I think that we will come to an entirely different conclusion. In Australasia there are twenty-two banking institutions, with paid-up capital amounting to £20,245,530, and reserves amounting to £13,901,837, making a grand total of £34,147,367. What else do we find from the balance-sheets? The dividends for the last half-year amounted to £1,143,119, averaging 9 per cent, for the twentytwobanks. These figures, I think, clearly indicate that with a mere handful of people in Australia we should not be up against such a great difficulty as we seem to be. The figures undoubtedly are reliable, and there ought to be sufficient funded capital in the banks to guarantee us against anything like panic legislation, or a feeling of despondency. The total deposits in the twenty-two institutions amount to £202,591,3S0. The Senate will agree with me, I think, that the figures are illuminative as regards the present position. Senator Gould, if he was acquainted with the figures I have quoted, had no cause to deliver such a direful and gloomy speech as he did this afternoon.
– And all that financial stability has beau achieved under the poor old Tory regime.
– Slot all of it. The honorable senator forgets that during a portion of that period, and the more prosperous portion, a Labour Government was in power in the Commonwealth. He also forgets that prior to that event in different States the Labour party was in power. Surely he will admit that we did more during the time we were in power than was done during the whole regime. of Tory Governments.
– Two State Labour Governments had brought about record deficits in the history of Australia.
– That is not unlikely. It is quite possible for a man to have an overdraft at his bank and yet to be perfectly sound financially. It is quite possible for even two or more Labour Governments to have what appears from their Budget to be a deficit, and at the same time to be in a sound and prosperous position. In fact, a deficit may be brought about by the negligence and diffidence of Tory Governments to do their duty.
– The deficits were produced in the prosperous years to which you have alluded.
– The deficit inWestern Australia was brought about by the Tory Legislative Council throwing out our taxation measures.
– Exactly. I could point to a State Government bringing about a similar position in South Australia. I could point to Tory Governments, as well as to a Tory Legislative Council, baulking legislation which would have advanced the best interests of the State. We know full well that any deficit in New South Wales has been brought about purely because Tory Governments would not develop the State as development became necessary, and do it quickly.
– The honorable senator is referring to what was alluded to in the Age recently as “ financial chaos.”
– The allusions in the Age to many matters are not always correct. That newspaper might refer to Senator Bakhap as a man who is able to look only through a keyhole, and perhaps it would be nearer the truth than it was in the allusion to which he has referred. The honorable senator is adroit in constructing side tracks which he endeavours to induce a speaker to follow. We have no need for anything like panic or despondency. So far from the resources of Australia being exhausted, they have yet scarcely been touched. One matter arising out of the war has been brought more forcibly under our notice than has ever been the case in the past. At a time when we are about to revise a Tariff it is most opportune that we should remember that many of the articles which we have required in the past have borne upon them the stamp “ Made in Germany.” We shall continue to need those articles as time goes on, but we shall not require to obtain them from the same source. It is incumbent upon Australia to manufacture those articles for herself in the future. Australians must rise to the occasion, face the difficulty, and solve this problem as statesmen should solve it. No part of the globe is better able to supply the needs of the people than is Australia. No country in the world could be more selfcontained. There is no other country of which it is quite so disgraceful to say that she sends her raw products to the other side of the globe to be manufactured into goods which are afterwards bought by her own people. We in Australia must make up our minds to meet Australian needs, and where the products of our land exceed our needs we must be prepared to send, not the raw material, but the manufactured article, to the people of other lands. We are complain ing largely of our unemployed whilst we are exporting our wheat to be ground in other lands. We should grind our wheat here, and export our flour.
– Would people pay the price for our flour.
– Senator Bakhap will, I am sure, contend that the question of price is always determined by the law of supply and demand, and ifthere is a demand for our flour, people will be found to purchase it. I have not the slightest doubt that there will be a very considerable demand for it.
– The honorable senator should not forget that much of our wheat is used for mixing purposes in other countries.
– I grant that. I remember the time when wheat grown at Mount Gambier was ground at Mount Gambier by the old-fashioned stone grinders, but to-day some of the millers tell us that they cannot grind the wheat grown at Mount Gambier, since the introduction of new milling machinery requires the production of a harder wheat. We ‘are importing superphosphates to Australia very largely to-day, whilst we are exporting bran, pollard, and wheat, and, with those exports, £100,000 worth of superphosphates every year. We are faced to-day with a drought, and I am afraid that a number of pastoralists will have to slaughter their stock, while we are at the same time exporting foodstuffs, when by grinding our wheat we might keep some of our own people employed, and supply many of the needs of the community. These questions call for serious reflection, but we must, first of all, banish every feeling of despondency because of the war. Sadness must ever follow war, but there should not be amongst us any feeling of despondency. We should, on the contrary, feel that it is our duty to rise to the occasion and meet our own needs by utilizing the labour we have here. I heard it stated recently in connexion with concentrates now lying at Port Pirie, and a valuable product of the Broken Hill Silver Mines, that they cannot be utilized here. It is said that in order to utilize them here it would be necessary to spend something like £1,500,000on machinery. It is about time that we recognised that we have minerals in Australia and should, as a people, be prepared to treat them be re, so that wo may export to other lands, not the raw material, but the finished article.
– The honorable senator should not forget that in connexion with the reduction of ores, very special skill is necessary, and this skill has been developed for generations by the people of Belgium and of Germany.
– The honorable senator’s interjection is but a key opening up another point. I am pleased to say that many years ago, in Australia, we decided upon compulsory education. The next step must be to extend that education to the secondary and technical branches to enable Australians to- meet the needs and prosecute the true development of Australia. We must go still further, and take steps necessary to develop Australians as well as the products of Australia. We should recognise that money spent in that way will prove about the most profitable investment we could make. In the past, when there has been any position of eminence requiring special skill to be filled, the practice has, unfortunately, been to disparage the produce of our own land, when Ave should have been preparing Australians in such a way as to fit them to fill the highest positions in the country.
– The people who have been relying solely upon- German imports are now posing as Australian patriots, but they are too late.
– Germany has taught us many lesson’s, and possibly in time to come will teach us many more. She is perhaps teaching us an important lesson in the present war. It may be that she is teaching us that we should cease to be dependent upon her, and should be self-dependent. We should take advantage of the lessons she has taught, particularly in the way she has trained her people. It may surprise some honorable senators to learn that more .than 1,000,000 Germans are employed directly in the forests of Germany, and more than 3,000,000 find employment in’ connexion with the output of those forests. If in Australia we attempted to preserve our forests or to go in for a policy of re-afforestation, our friends of the Opposition would imme diately raise their eyes and cry “ Socialism.” They overlook the fact that Germany to-day draws half her revenue from socialistic enterprises in connexion with mines, coal fields, and forests.
– Does the honorable senator accuse members of the Opposition of having at any time disputed the value of a policy of afforestation?
– I do not accuse the honorable senator of that, but I do say that in South Australia every attempt of the kind has been burked by the Tory section in the State Parliament. Possibly in the little State of Tasmania, which is so small as almost to escape one’s notice on looking at the map of Australia, it is recognised that the depletion of the forest is greatly to the disadvantage of the interests of the State.
– I recognise that the waste products of our saw-mills are not. utilized as they arc in Germany.
– Here again is a reference to what is done in Germany, and it is the socialistic management ‘of her forests and other natural resources that has given Germany the strength she has to-day. I hope that in the time to come our friends of the Opposition will not raise their usual cry when we take such socialistic measures as appear to us to be necessary to enable Australians to utilize the raw products of the country for the benefit of- the people of Australia.
.- I join with almost every other honorable senator who has spoken on the AddressinReply in tendering my personal congratulations to you, sir, on the fact that you have been again elected to the very high office which you filled with such distinction in the previous Parliament. May I also tender my congratulations to the members of the Ministry representing the Government in this Chamber. I feel that I shall be doing no injustice to other members of the Senate if I say that, in my humble opinion, the three best senators who could possibly have been chosen have been selected by the Labour party for those positions. I am confident that Australia as a whole welcomes again the control of the Defence Department by Senator Pearce, the Leader of the Labour party in this Chamber. It is no exaggeration to say that none of the honorable senator’s predecessors in the office have ever had the grasp of that tremendously important Department that Senator Pearce exhibited during the three years it was under his control. I do not hesitate to say that the great success which the Labour party achieved at the recent elections was in a large measure due to the very mean and paltry attempts of the other side, led by the ex-Minister of Defence, to deprive the Labour party, and more particularly Senator Pearce, of the credit rightly due to them and to him for bringing the defence of. Australia up to its present state of perfection. It was because .of these unfair tactics that the Opposition number has been so reduced that they are now no longer entitled to be dignified by that term and might with more justice be referred to as “ the spectators on the other side of the chamber.” It is characteristic of members of the so-called Liberal party _ that, whilst they are extravagant in their statements on the public platform, where they know that those statements cannot be” answered, they sneak out of the chamber when members of the Labour party are afforded an opportunity of replying to them. They ignore their obligation either to justify their statements or to do the manly thing by withdrawing them, by making it convenient to be in some other part of the parliamentary buildings while the debate is proceeding. During the recent election campaign the ex-Minister of Defence, Senator Millen, affirmed that the Labour party could not take to itself credit for our defence system, naval or military, because prominent members of that party had opposed the expenditure which Parliament was asked to sanction last year. In support of his statement that the Labour party did not desire anything in the nature of increased expenditure on defence, he quoted paragraphs from . the speeches of members of that party. If Senator Millen were present, I would charge him with having deliberately faked a statement of mine for his own. particular purpose. I further tell him that if he can find in Hansard the paragraph which he attributed to me, and which was published in the Argus and all other Tory papers of 28th August, I will resign my seat in this Chamber. The honorable senator exceeded the ordinary and legitimate bounds of criticism, and for party purposes descended to methods which certainly did him no credit. It was not surprising, therefore, to find that lesser lightsof the Opposition echoed his cry in other parts of Australia, and particularly in the State from which I come. On 28th August, according to an Argus report,. Senator Millen credits me with the statein ent -
I wish to say that, although I voted willingly for this expenditure last year, 1 am questioning- it this year, because I believe that if we made a mistake yesterday we ought to be preparer! to admit it to-day.
Senator Millen deliberately omitted the first portion of my utterance in that connexion, and also the central part of it,, and then presented the remainder to the. people of Australia as something which I said in opposition to the present defence expenditure.
– If he took away tha body and the head of it, he left only the sting.
– But in such circumstances the statement created quite a wrong impression in the minds of the people, lt is passing strange that the statement attributed to me was published simultaneously in all the Tory newspapers throughout the Commonwealth. Let me give honorable senators the words which I actually used on the ‘occasion in question. Senator Stewart had been speaking on the question of defence, and dealing with the effectiveness of the military arm as compared with the naval arm. He affirmed that it was to the military arm that he looked for the safety of Australia, in the future. I followed him, and said that, however unpopular it might be, I wished to associate myself with the sentiments which he had uttered, because I believed that “in the future the security of Australia would have to depend almost entirely upon her military defence. I then proceeded to point out that, in my opinion, the expenditure we were incurring in connexion with the development of our Navy was unwise, seeing that in fifteen or twenty years’ time we- could not hope, at our present annual rate of expenditure, to possess, a Navy equal to that of even one of the smaller Powers of the Old World. I said, therefore, that we ought to spare no expense in the development of our Citizen Forces, because it was to that arm of defence that I looked for the protection of Australia. My exact words were -
Without cavilling in. any sense at the naval expenditure to which Australia has been con*mitted. I wish to say that, although I voted quite willingly for this expenditure last year, I am questioning it this year, not because I have ceased to bc patriotic as regards defence, but because I believe that; if wo made a mistake yesterday, we ought to be prepared to admit it to-duy.
That is to say that if we had made a mistake yesterday in connexion with naval expenditure by neglecting to pay due attention to our Citizen Forces, we ought to be prepared to admit it to-day. I repeat that, if Senator Millen can produce from Mansard the paragraph which he attributed to me, and which was published broadcast in the Tory newspaper? throughout Australia, I shall resign my seat in this Senate. I throw out that challenge in order to emphasize the mean, low-down tactics resorted to by such a prominent member of the Opposition in an endeavour to boost up the claim of his party to the credit attaching to the defence scheme of Australia to-day. Again, I want to say that the cause of righteousness will always prevail, no matter what factors may be arrayed against it. The Labour party has succeeded because it has always been frank, and because it has always taken the people of Australia into its confidence. Neither its leaders nor its members ever present a programme for the purpose of tickling the ears of the electors. As honest, straightforward representatives, they advocate what they regard as the best solution of the many problems which are so closely associated with our social and industrial lives. Our opponents marvel that their numbers in this Parliament are so small. Each blames the other, and all of them are walloping their particular joss, because the Labour party has achieved the greatest victory in its history. It has achieved that victory because the electors have at last recognised that there is only one political party in Australia which has a true conception of the rights and duties of a nation. During the recent election campaign, the newspapers in Tasmania - and probably in most of the other States - contained criticisms of the meanest and most contemptible kind under the heading of “ Points to the Elec tors.” The Launceston Examiner went so far as to say that the Labour party in the Senate threw out the Agricultural Bureau Bill, which the Cook Government were anxious to put through, because it meant so much to the farming interests of Australia.
– The ex-Prime Minister made the same statement.
– Exactly. They made that statement knowing very well that the Bill was not introduced into the Senate last session. As a matter of fact it was introduced into this Chamber in 1913, only on the very day upon which Parliament went into recess. But I venture to say that honorable senators will not find anything in Australia which, for vulgarity, excels a paragraph which was published in the Launceston Examiner of 28th August, and which reads -
Australia’s pressing need is to clear the dogs out of its parliamentary manger. This will be accomplished. Tasmania will do its share of the work if only on September 5 its Liberals will vote solidly and straight for the Liberal six.
– And the same newspaper stated that the paragraph was written after consultation.
– As I am pertinently reminded by Senator Guy, the paragraph was not one which crept into that newspaper quite unknown to its editor or to its proprietors, because immediately under the paragraph appeared the announcement that it was written “ after consultation to express the views of the Launceston Examiner.” They were not successful in clearing what they termed the “ dogs “ out of the parliamentary manger, and I thank the saints that we were successful in clearing- a few mongrels out of it. I would much prefer to be a dog than to be an individual who would hire himself out to write a criticism of that character of honest and straightforward public representatives. Several honorable senators to-day have referred to the Commonwealth Bank, and the part it is likely to play in the future development of Australian finance. Our opponents ought to be fair-minded enough to admit that the existence of the bank means our financial salvation. If it had not been established Australia would have been faced with a panic equal to that of the early nineties.
No thanks are due to Mr. Joseph Cook, when he was Prime Minister, for the fact that there was not a panic in spite of the existence of the bank. If there was one man whose duty it was at that juncture to inspire the public with confidence regarding Australian finance, surely it was he; yet the manifesto which he issued on 31st August contained the most damaging statement that any public man could make against the financial stability of Australia. That man, who ought to have taken every step in his power to allay anything in the nature of a panic, and to assure the people that, whatever trouble might befall the private banks, the Commonwealth Bank was big enough and’ sound enough to come to their rescue. So far from discharging that duty, in order to have a “ dig “ at his opponents and to follow his old policy of denying to our party the credit that rightly belonged to them, he made a big hit at the financial stability of Australia, in trying to decry the Commonwealth Bank, by saying that “ If a panic broke loose, and financial stress came suddenly upon us, we would look in vain for substantial help from the Commonwealth Bank.” The bank was established in opposition to the protests of the representatives of financial institutions in the Federal Parliament, and in spite of the sneers and jeers of the financial magnates outside, who predicted its early failure. They said it could not possibly be a success, because there were so many institutions already engaged in the business of finance in this country; but when financial stress came they had to admit, like our friends on the Opposition benches, that the fortress and buttress of our finance is the Commonwealth Bank, established by the Labour Government. Mr. David Barclay, who occupies a very prominent position in the financial world of Tasmania, and who is looked upon, I believe rightly, as the leading financial authority in that State, on being interviewed after the war had broken out, and the first financial strain was beginning to be felt, was asked what the financial position would be if the war continued for five or six months. He then gave the assurance that there was not the slightest occasion for apprehension, that the banks were perfectly sound, and that everything would bc quite all right for many months to come. “But,” he said, “even if the worst comes to the worst, we shall be able to fall back upon the Commonwealth Bank.” There is a tribute from a man very high in the financial world and well qualified to utter it. I hope and believe that the Government will devote themselves earnestly, honestly, and energetically to carry out the programme which they presented to the people for their acceptance on the 5th September,’ and subsequently embodied in the Speech delivered by the Governor-General to Parliament. I indorse Senator Senior’s view that we have nothing to fear so far as the stability of Australia is concerned, and I agree with him that we have not yet touched th’e outskirts of this country’s resources. The position is, no doubt, serious, and will possibly become much more so before the awful crisis in Europe has been brought to a successful conclusion, and, from our point of view, there is only one conclusion that can be successful. Whatever the upshot may be, we have our part to play, and I am sure that Australia is not going to shirk its responsibilities. It certainly will not be permitted to do so by the present Administration. In spite of the mean attempts made during the last campaign to fasten disloyalty on to the Labour party, we have the opportunity during the next three years of demonstrating to our opponents and other paris of the Empire that Australia will do its utmost to assist the Old Country in this its greatest time of need. The Government will also show the people that they realize how serious the position is to the industrial classes. Having discharged their responsibilities to the Old Land. I am sure they will not neglect their responsibilities to their own people, but will apply themselves to the task of keeping the wheels of industry going, and finding employment for the thousands who have been thrown out of work by the industrial dislocation that has taken place. I again tender to you, sir, my hearty and cordial congratulations on your being called upon to preside over the deliberations of this- Chamber for the next three years.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to~-
That the Address-in-Reply be presented to His Excellency the Governor-General by the President and such senators as may desire to- accompany him.
– In moving
That the Senate do now adjourn, I wish to intimate that the VicePresident of the Executive Council has given notice of motion for leave to introduce a Bill relating to bankruptcy, which motion will come on to-morrow. I propose, therefore, to ask the Senate to meet to-morrow, so that we may take the first reading. I do not think this will entail much hardship, as honorable senators have not been able to get away to the other States. It will get us over the formal stage, and on Wednesday the honorable senator will be able to move the second reading. I understand that a money Bill to make the grant to Belgium will also come up from the other House on Wednesday.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 5.38 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 October 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1914/19141015_senate_6_75/>.