6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair, and read prayers.
– I ask the permission of the Senate to make a statement.
– I am pleased to be able to announce that the Australian and New Zealand Contingents have safely arrived and have disembarked in Egypt to assist in the defence of that country and to complete their training there, and that they will go directly to the front to fight with other British troops in Europe when their training is completed. Acting on the strong recommendation and advice of Lord Kitchener, the Commonwealth Government agreed to the Australian Imperial Forces being landed in Egypt for training instead of in England. It was pointed out that to house Australian troops in tents in midwinter, after a long voyage in troopships passing through the tropics and subtropics, would be a very severe trial and would impose unnecessary hardships on the men. Lord Kitchener’s proposals were entirely due to his anxiety for the best possible conditions for the success of our Forces, in which he takes an especial interest.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !
The following papers were presented : -
Statistical returns in relation to the Senate election, and the general election for the House of Representatives, 1914, and summaries of elections and referendums 1903-1914.
Statistical returns, showing voting within each subdivision in relation to the Senate election, and the general election for the House of Representatives, 1914, viz.: - New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania.
Public Service Act 1902-1913-
Department of Defence -
Promotion of H. S. Temby, as clerk, 4th class, Central Staff.
Department of Trade and Customs -
Appointment of Captain D. P. Davies, as Director of Navigation, Class A, Professional Division.
Terms of Capitulation
– I ask the Minister of Defence whether it is a fact, as stated in the principal newspapers of the Commonwealth on Saturday last, that he is dissatisfied with the terms of capitulation arranged with the German Forces when German New Guinea was surrendered, and if so, whether he has any objection to taking the Senate into his confidence and letting us know the particular terms with which he is dissatisfied ?
– The Government were not quite satisfied with the terms of capitulation which were given, and in order to clear up several points the terms were referred to the law officers of the Crown here, and certain points were submitted to the Government of the United Kingdom. As regards taking the Senate into the confidence of the Government, I would suggest that that act should be deferred till thereports have been received, when the whole matter will be placed before the Senate.
– Do the terms of capitulation of which the Government do not approve involve the possibility of any public danger, and if so, is the Department taking, or will it consider the expediency of taking special steps to prevent that danger from eventuating?
– No. I cannot see that there is any question of public danger immediately arising out of the matter, but it might involve the question of the Empire in its relation to International Law governing such matters.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister of Trade and Customs in a position to give certain information concerning the load-line for ships, which I asked for some time ago.
– The questions asked by the honorable senator were as follow : -
I have recevied the following replies : -
The freeboard for cargo steamers not having spar or awning decks remained unaltered for moulded depthsup to 27 ft. 6 in. and also for depths over 42 feet, but between the depths mentioned a slight reduction was made.
The freeboard and load-line ofspar deck cargo steamers remained unaltered.
In awning deck steam-ships the alteration gave a reduced freeboard and a higher loadline, subject, however, to compliance with higher standards of constructional strength than were required under the old law.
The justification for the alterations made lay in the great advance that had taken place in shipbuilding practice since the load-line was first fixed, the old wooden sailing ship having during the intervening thirty years been to a very large extent displaced by steam-ships constructed of steel.
The modern vessel, with a large proportion of its length covered by strong deck erections, and with greatly improved means of closing down hatches and other deck openings, could, it was held, be loaded with perfect safety to a somewhat deeper draught than was the case with the older type of vessels.
– Has the Administration taken into consideration the matter of the embargo upon Inter-State trade in wheat, to whichI alluded in the Senate a few days ago, and in connexion with which I have asked several questions ?
– The Prime Minister has informed me that he has referred this matter to the Minister of Trade and Customs, who has asked the AttorneyGeneral’s Department to advise him as to the law on the subject.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
– The answer is- 1, 2, and 3. A report will be obtained from the DivisionalReturning Officer for Franklin as to the circumstances under which the names in question were removed from the roll.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
When is the proposed telephonic communication between Chudleigh and Caveside, Tasmania, to be proceeded with?
– Inquiry is being made, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister of
Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and replies will be furnished as soon as possible.
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives, intimating that, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913, the following members of the House of Representatives had been appointed members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works: - Mr. Riley, Mr. Finlayson, Mr. Fenton, Mr. Laird Smith, Mr. Sampson, and Mr. Gregory.
The PRESIDENT announced the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives, intimating that, in accordance with the provisions of the Committee of Public Accounts Act 1913, the following members of the House of Representatives had been appointed members of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts: - Mr. Charlton, Mr. Burchell, Mr. W. Maloney, Mr. Fowler, Mr. Atkinson, and Mr. John Thomson.
Debate resumed from Wednesday, 2nd December (vide page 1239), on motion by Senator Gardiner -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I do not intend to delay the Senate with a detailed criticism of this measure. Our political opponents have hedged off any direct criticism of it. They have indulged in a general opposition, which was only to be expected. We know from their treatment of similar measures in the past, that while we may expect plenty of criticism, we can look for very little help from them to make our legislation workable and effective. I think that is scarcely an honest attitude for a political party to take up that professes to believe in the principle of this legislation. I consider that it is as much the duty of the members of such a party to suggest means of making the law more satisfactory to the community as it is the duty of those directly responsible for the introduction of this legislation.
– It will be found that honorable senators on this side are as willing to perfect measures introduced as are honorable senators on the other side.
– It will not be difficult for Senator Shannon to be more successful in that direction than have been the two preceding speakers on his side. I listened to them with a great deal of attention, but I failed to derive the slightest crumb of comfort in the way of a suggestion for the improvement of this legislation from them. We have had plenty of criticism, but no help. Honorable senators opposite are representatives of a political party that has had ever on its lips a declaration in favour of industrial peace. No man has been more ready than have the members of that party to condemn anything in the nature of a strike. We know from past bitter experience that they have been prepared to magnify the slightest industrial dispute into a trouble quite unprecedented. I shall not compare Australia with Asiatic countries, whose people have not yet developed sufficient courage to indulge in a strike, but I say that if we compare this country with the most advanced European countries we shall find that there are far fewer strikes in Australia than in any of those countries. When we remember that in Australia the power of the workers is very great, and they are in a position to bring about a strike more easily than are the workers of any other country, the fact that they are so law-abiding and are so ready to give compulsory arbitration legislation a chance, is very greatly to their credit. We all admit that the conciliation and arbitration law has been far from what we should have liked it to be. We are so tied round with constitutional restrictions that it is impossible for us to pass the kind of Act which we know is absolutely necessary to effect what most of us desire, but we have endeavoured to alter the Constitution to secure that power. Our political opponents, however, have given us not the slightest help in that direction, but rather have “thrown every obstacle in our way. They have stood in the path of conciliation with all the barbed wire entanglements they could manufacture out of their fertile imaginations, and these are very fertile when election matters are before the country. The extraordinary things said on the public platform by our political opponents would make our hair stand on end at times but for the comforting knowledge that very few of the people are so politically innocent as to swallow even half of what they say. We have never yet received the slightest help from our opponents in making this Act a workable proposition. The only reason I can find for this attitude on their part is that the Act has been a comparative success so far as the working classes of Australia are concerned. The working classes have undoubtedly improved their conditions materially by means of the arbitration law, having secured reforms which could only have been secured at a much greater expense had there been no such law in existence.
– It broke down the other side’s freedom of contract policy.
– Not only so, but it made them part with a considerably greater portion of the wealth which labour is such an important factor in producing. That is the serious point to them. They have been made to disgorge some of the wealth which, without this Act, they could have ‘retained. That is one of the principal reasons why we should endeavour to stick to and improve this legislation within our constitutional limitations, and take the earliest opportunity to ask the people to extend our constitutional powers so that we may make it operate fully and freely in the direction we desire. I am no new convert to the principle of arbitration. I think I am one of the oldest, if not the oldest, advocate of the principle in this Chamber. I had a considerable amount of responsibility for the passing of the Act in Western Australia - the first State in Australia to adopt the principle.
– Will you not give the “oldest inhabitant” some credit?
– I cannot speak with any certain knowledge of what Senator Stewart has done.
– I was at it before you were born.
– I can prove that I am a much older trade unionist than Senator Stewart.
– A man does not need to be a trade unionist to advocate arbitration.
– I can prove that, long before Senator Stewart was known in the Labour movement, I was a prominent trade union official. My knowledge of the Labour movement and the great losses sustained by strikes, in some of which I myself had taken part, brought me to the belief that compulsory arbitration was far preferable to the old methods.
– Are you sure that Western Australia was the first State to adopt the principle ?
– No; New South Whales was.
– I question if that is so. The New South Wales Act was, I think, introduced just before Federation.
– It was introduced in 1892.
– I conducted a case under it in 1894.
– Was that compulsory arbitration?
– No; it was voluntary.
– That is where the honorable senator makes a mistake.
– The first Western Australian Act was voluntary.
– The first Arbitration Act passed through the Western Australian Parliament was compulsory, being copied letter for letter from the New Zealand Act.
– The New Zealand Act was copied from Kingston’s Act in South Australia.
– The South’ Australian Act was not compulsory.
– It was when first introduced, but the Legislative Council altered it:
– I am not sure whether the Western Australian or New South Wales Act came into operation first.
– There was ten years’ difference between them, and the first Western Australian Act was not compulsory.
– I am referring all through to compulsory arbitration measures. Voluntary measures of that kind are as old as the hills. Long before I was born there were conciliation measures for settling industrial disputes, but the compulsory law is an entirely different matter. The first compulsory law introduced in Western Australia was brought in by Sir John Forrest’s Attorney-General, Mr. Pennefather, and as such was passed into law. I am not quite sure which Bill was introduced first, but I do know that Western Australia was the first State in Australia to have an Arbitration Act; that, of course, was after New Zealand. I had a great deal to do with the passing of the Act, and Senator Henderson, who was in Western Australia at the time, will remember, as will Senator Lynch, that as I occupied the position of president of the biggest union in the district, I was of necessity drawn into the matter. I am just as firm a believer in the principle of compulsory arbitration to-day as I was when I first took the matter in hand. I am satisfied that the principle is right, and that it has come to stay. No civilized community, once it has adopted the principle of reason as against brute force for the settlement of industrial disputes, can ever go back to the old barbarous way of settling these matters. Australia has had a taste of the benefits of compulsory arbitration, and although it cannot be said that there have been no disappointments, the results have undoubtedly been good for the community as a whole. I do not claim that the whole of the benefit has been reaped by the working classes. The entire community has shared in it. Indeed, there was no reason more persistently urged in favour of compulsory arbitration than that the community would chiefly benefit by this method of insuring industrial peace. The advocates of the principle contended that it was individuals who had least to do with industrial strife who were the chief sufferers when the weapon of the strike was employed. It was a recognition of this fact that led to arbitration legislation receiving such general approval. It is the duty of the opponents of the principle of arbitration to do something more than merely oppose this Bill. It is incumbent upon them that they should make suggestions in order that ‘we may obtain a workable measure. Before legislative effect was given to the principle of arbitration in connexion with the settlement of industrial disputes, the workers were exceedingly apprehensive of delay in their attempts to reach finality. But their fears were allayed by repeated assurances that the Arbitration Court would be free from legal quibbles and technicalities. Have these promises been fulfilled ? As a matter of fact, we know that the employers of Australia are principally responsible for any stigma which may attach to the -arbitration principle, and for “its unsatisfactory working. We have seen the Court blocked owing to the immense amount of business with which it was called upon to deal. That congestion has continued for -a considerable time. The workers waited patiently to have their grievances ventilated - some organizations, indeed, waited for years before they could secure a hearing. When they have at length succeeded in obtaining an award the employers have appealed to the High Court, with the result that the unionists have then found themselves exactly where they were at the beginning of the proceedings. The High Court has determined either that no dispute existed or that the industrial organization concerned was not engaged in “ an industry.” Consequently the whole of the-proceedings have been fruitless. It is this sort of thing which has brought the Act into the unsatisfactory- position in which we find it to-day. In such circumstances is it any wonder that men lose patience? We were promised that these superfine technicalities would not be raised, but each year the lawyers are finding means to discredit the Statute. There is one other matter with which the Bill seeks to deal which is worthy of mention. We have long experienced great difficulty in sheeting home the fact that the dismissal of any employe has been the result of his connexion with an industrial union. The practice of victimization has been one of the worst blots upon our Arbitration Act from its very inception. Since we initiated the compulsory arbitration system we have occupied a unique position in that, to a great extent, we have insisted upon trade unionism. Only unionists can come within the scope of the Act. In -effect, the Statute says that if any body -of workmen wish to take advantage of it -they must first resolve themselves into an organization for the purpose of securing registration as an industrial union. Consequently we have established a kind of compulsory trade unionism. Now, we cannot have compulsory unionism unless we have officers to conduct it. These officers are the mouthpiece of their fellow workers, and unless they are surrounded with a reasonable amount of protection they are liable to immediately become a target for the enmity of the employer. Too long have we permitted this practice to operate to the detriment of officers connected with industrial organizations. The moment they become active agents of a union they also become targets for the enmity of the employers.
– They are marked men.
– Yes, and the victims of trade unionism are twenty times more numerous than are the victims of the present war. I hail the measure with delight for this reason, if for no other, that at last it is proposed to give some kind of protection to the man who takes the leading part in his union, and does good work, not only for himself and his fellow-members, but for the whole community. He is performing a public function, and, as such, he is deserving of every kind of protection which we can possibly extend to him. Therefore, I am pleased that at last an attempt is being made to protect what, in my opinion, is a deserving citizen. In his criticism yesterday, Senator Millen described the introduction of the Bill as an attempt to mislead trade unions. Now, it will take a much cleverer party than the Labour party, and I am satisfied a much cleverer party than the Opposition, to mislead the unions. Their members are not such fools as the honorable senator seems to think, and he ought to know that, because at one time he had a connexion with a trade union, and I am satisfied that his experience did not lead him to believe that he could fool the unionists.
– That is why he left.
– Perhaps, or the honorable senator may have been found out. At any rate, the teamsters at Bourke were not to be fooled by him. I, for one, and I think that I can speak for quite a number of honorable senators on this side, would not pretend to be a cleverer individual than Senator Millen is, and, therefore, we are not likely to attempt to succeed where undoubtedly he has failed. In this matter the unions know where they stand, just as well as members of the Senate do. We are exercising our powers under the Constitution. We are endeavouring to amend the arbitration law so far as Ave have power to amend it, and if we fail to secure all that we desire, it will be because of the restrictions in the Constitution itself. However, it is our duty to secure these benefits as far as the Constitution allows, and the Bill is .nothing more than an attempt in that direction. To refuse to take any action until such time as we could secure everything would, in my opinion, be a foolish policy to pursue. In this measure we are attempting to secure what we can get, and, in the circumstances, that, I take it, is as much as any reasonable person can expect. In his remarks about the measure, Senator Bakhap declared that the unions were too prone to appeal to the Commonwealth Act rather than to the State Act. I do not know whether he referred to that proneness as something which we ought to deplore. The fact that our Act receives a greater amount of favour from the people outside than the State legislation of a similar kind gets is, I think, something of which we ought to be proud. The fact that our Act operates to secure a greater measure of justice than does the State legislation is a thing which we ought to he proud of rather than to deplore. I do not know whether that was exactly what Senator Bakhap meant. I invited him to be candid, and a little more explicit in that portion of his criticism, but I was not able to draw him. If he meant something else, he did not give expression to his meaning. He spoke in such general terms that it was difficult to follow him. I suspect that he meant something else, and as I believe that what he meant involved a reflection on one of the members of the High Court, I would have liked the honorable senator to be a little more candid on that point. I hope that this will be the last occasion on which the necessity will be forced upon us to amend the Arbitration Act until we get an extension of our constitutional powers, which I believe the Government will seek later. If their request is acceded to, and I honestly believe it will be granted at the third time of asking, it will be possible to alter the Arbitration Act in a much more drastic and radical way than the present legislative powers permit. At the present time we are tied up very much, but it does not follow that we should not take advantage of an opportunity which presents itself, and if it was for no other reason than to protect the men who take a leading part in the working of the Act, I hail the measure, and intend to support it all through.
– I address myself to this measure with rather mixed feelings. This is the fifth occasion on which the Parliament has been asked to legislate on this subject. A few years ago we all approached the subject with, a great deal of certainty and a great deal of hope, believing that a Federal law would achieve far better results than those which have been attained up to the present time. I approach this measure in much the same way as I approached a measure relating to trusts, which has been introduced here at odd times. I believe that Che Arbitration Act has done some good. When it was introduced, the organizations were under the impression, I think, that it would give them a far freer hand than they had been able to obtain on account of the limitations in the Constitution. Senator Millen stated yesterday that the unions of New South Wales prefer the State system to the Federal system. I cannot speak for New South Wales, but I can speak for Queensland. Although there is legislation in Queensland for the prevention and the settlement of industrial disputes, I think that events have proved that a big majority of the members of the organizations will, when an opportunity is permitted to them, go to the Federal Court in preference to the State Court, for this simple reason : that they realize that there is a possibility of getting, at any rate, something like uniformity. They realize that, as regards the various Courts and Boards in the States, it is a matter of their settling the question purely from the stand-point of the State, which may or may not put them in a better position than similar persons in the other States. If that is the case, it means a diversion of trade from one State to another, as has been observed by the Judges in the different States when they have been asked to give a larger increase than they felt themselves at liberty to grant. In connexion with the Federal Arbitration Court, no fear of that kind is entertained, not because men have believed that they were likely to get better terms from the Federal Court, but because they thought that there should be some standard of uniformity in connexion with the conditions of employment throughout Australia. Let us take one organization : The Seamen’s Union is an organization which almost came to an agreement with the employers, but there were a few points which had been left undecided, and on these they appealed to the Federal Court. Although the Federal Court had jurisdiction to establish wages and conditions for the people who were employed on vessels engaged in InterState trade, it had no power to say that the conditions in connexion with a vessel which was employed purely in the trade of one State should be uniform. Had not the organization been able to arrive at some understanding with their employers, there might have been different conditions in connexion with vessels trading Inter-State and vessels employed solely within the limits of a State.
– That is obviously an industry which is Inter-State.
– Yes ; but if a vessel is employed in the trade of only one State, practically the award of the Federal Court does not apply to the employes on the vessel. I think it is only right that people employed in the same industry - employed practically at the same work - should receive the same conditions as men who are travelling from one end of Australia to the other. Again, take the case of the bootmakers. They were able to get to the Federal Court. I was told by a manufacturer in Brisbane that either six or seven firms were cited. These firms would have had to pay the wages and give the conditions which were provided for in a Federal award. No one who was not cited to the Federal Court would be under any compulsion to observe the award, but, fortunately, the employers and employes got together before there was any possibility of trouble arising, and they all agreed to accept the award as set out by the Federal Court. Any one could have evaded the award. A manufacturer said to me, “We registered, for instance, as Smith, Jones, and Company. If we want to escape the effects of this award, although we were summoned and made a party to the award, all that we have to do is to cancel our registration and get two more of our shareholders to put up their names as representing the firm, and then immediately we shall be outside the award.” That is not the sort of conciliation and arbitration which is likely to give satisfaction to the workers of this community. I think that there is some force in a remark made by Senator Keating yesterday. He said that in passing arbitration Bills we had, to some extent, led and induced the members of organizations to believe that they would be able to obtain justice and satisfaction from the Federal Court, but afterwards it was discovered that there was no jurisdiction. I am prepared to accept all the responsibility which may be due to me in that regard, but whatever we did, I submit that we acted in good faith, believing that those who were advising the Government of the day were right in the opinion they held that this Parliament had certain powers, and that those powers should be exercised.
– And a majority of the legal talent of Australia believed the same.
– I dare say they did, although I would not care to speak for the innocence of a majority of the legal fraternity. I do not forget Senator Keating’s remark yesterday that many persons try to take lawyers down when they meet on a staircase or in any out-of-the-way place. I have never been able to believe yet that there are many persons who are capable of taking down the smart members of that profession. I view this legislation as I view legislation to deal with trusts and combines, because I believe we cannot expect any satisfactory results from it until we have secured an amendment of the Constitution which will prevent any Court in Australia saying that there is no jurisdiction to hear these cases. Industrial organizations have spent considerable sums of money in order to bring their disputes before the Arbitration Court, but I am of opinion that if that money had been spent in an effort to carry the referenda proposals we should be in a far better position in connexion with this matter than we are in at the present time. I am one of -those who have been to some extent disappointed with the operation pf our Federal arbitration law, but I have never believed that it was possible for organizations established in the various States to get to the Arbitration Court merely because they agreed to federate. I have always held that under the Constitution it was possible only for organizations of an Inter-State character to bring their disputes before that Court. I have believed that it was possible for such organizations as the Seamen’s Union, the Australian Workers Union, and similar organizations of an Inter-State character to get to the Court, but I have never believed that many of the State organizations would be able to do so. The Tramways dispute has been cited a number of times in the House of Representatives, and also in this Chamber, during the discussion of this question. I was in Brisbane during the tramway trouble, and knew the secretary and some of the officials of the Brisbane Tramway Union fairly well. In conversation with the secretary and members of the organization, I was asked whether I thought they would be likely to have their case brought before the Federal Arbitration Court, and whether I thought that Court would have jurisdiction to deal with such a case as theirs. I had no hesitation in saying that I did not think so. I was not surprised when that was practically the verdict of the Court, because I could not understand how, within the meaning of the Constitution, a dispute which was confined to a particular industry in one State could be considered an Inter-State dispute. I am sorry that organizations have been put to the trouble and expense of determining such matters; but our experience of the Labour movement is that it has been a fight all along the line, and enormous trouble and expense must be incurred before we can gain any ground at all. I hope that our industrial organizations will not be induced to believe that the passage of this Bill will greatly extend the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court. Some statements have been made which would lead to the inference that the effect of this Bill will be to remove many of the obstacles which have previously prevented industrial organizations from bringing their cases before the Court. I am afraid that some of them may be induced, because of such a belief, to rush into more expenditure, and incur more trouble, only to find eventually that’ they are up against the same fence as that which has blocked organizations in the past. I be- lieve that a word of warning in this connexion will do no harm. I read the whole of the debate which took place on this Bill in the House of Representatives. The Attorney-General admitted candidly that whilst he sincerely hoped that the passage of this measure would have the effect he desired, he does not feel too sure about the business. On the point of the determination of the question of whether there is a dispute by one Judge, a long debate took place in another place. I must say I do not think the Attorney-General was very sure of his facts in connexion with that point. I read the speech made by Sir William Irvine on the subject. He was more emphatic in the expression of his opinion on this matter than he usually is in giving an opinion in the House of Representatives. The AttorneyGeneral said that if a Judge could decide the question of fact as to whether a dispute existed the case could be proceeded with, but Sir William Irvine said that he did not think so at all. Mr. Hughes said that a prohibition could not be obtained against the Judge, but Sir William Irvine said that while a prohibition could not be obtained against something already done, a prohibition might be obtained against a Judge doing anything under an award in the future. If that be the case some of our organizations may be induced to spend money in the belief that this measure will have an effect which it will not really have. I do not think that, we shall be able to do very much for them in this way until the Constitution is amended. The Vice-President of the Executive Council in introducing the Bill made practically the same statement. He is not at all sure that it will do what it purports to do. It may have the effect of enabling something to be done for organizations registered under the Act, and working under awards of the Court at the present time, but I do not think that it will enable organizations that are not of a strictly Inter-State character to reach the Federal Arbitration Court. Senator Keating said that there have been many mistakes made because the executive authorities of different unions have assumed to themselves the right to decide these questions of law. I wish the honorable senator had a better acquaintance with industrial organizations. The executives of most of the organizations have consulted lawyers in their various States before they have taken any definite steps in connexion with these matters. What was the explanation given by the President of the Federated Tramway Employes Union when the verdict in their case was given? He said that all he could say was that the organization had not moved one step except under the express direction of members of the legal fraternity. I think that the executive of nearly every organization has followed the same course. The fact that a lawyer is not allowed to appear in Court in connexion with these cases does not prevent the officials of industrial organizations acting under legal guidance. No body of officials would dream of dragging the members of their organization into trouble and expense without first discovering whether they had an opportunity of having their dispute brought before the Court. If the members of the legal fraternity whom they consult advised them that they have such an opportunity they go ahead. It is only when the employers realize that the limits of the Constitution are such as to enable them to defeat awards of the Arbitration Court that the members of industrial organizations begin to be disheartened. This cannot be wondered at when we remember that they have had to put up a great deal of money to fight their cases, and may then be called upon to collect thousands of pounds in addition to fight appeal cases. We can only succeed in giving some sort of satisfaction to those interested in the settlement of industrial disputes by arbitration when we have done away with the possibility of these appeal cases. I believe in arbitration as the best method of settling such disputes. Many people believe in international arbitration. If it were possible to settle international disputes without people having to go through what nations are going through in Europe today it would unquestionably be a good thing for mankind. But we have to realize that there is always possible a resort to force eventually. No doubt many international disputes have been settled by arbitration where those in authority have been able to induce their people to agree to such a course. So it is in the industrial .world, and we all realize that it is better for employers, employes, and the community generally that trade and industry should be allowed to run along smoothly with out the interruptions due to industrial disputes. There are times when we are unable to make use of the method of arbitration in which we believe, but until such occasions arise it behoves us all to resort to every expedient to remove obstructions in the way of the smooth running of the commerce and industry of the country. We desire, as far as possible, to give satisfaction to the bulk of the workers of this country formed into organizations. I have nothing to say against this Bill. I hope it will be found to be as successful as those who have introduced it desire. I rose chiefly to sound a note of warning to members of organizations who may be induced because of the passage of this measure to endeavour to bring their case before the Arbitration Court, only to find, after trouble and expense, that the Court has no jurisdiction to deal with it. It is just as well that the organizations should realize this, because we can do nothing to alter the Constitution except to pass measures for submission to the people, and it is up to ‘those outside who think they ought to be able to obtain the benefits of organization to get to work, so that when they have an opportunity of voting for an alteration of the Constitution they may do so, and enable us to do away with the present power of the High Court to say, as it does say, that we have no jurisdiction in the matter of industrial disputes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from Committee without amendment.
Motion (by Senator Gardiner) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– When speaking on the second reading I referred to the various States that were early in the field in introducing and passing the principle of compulsory arbitration. I have since looked up the records, and find that what I then said was absolutely correct. The honour of first introducing this kind of legislation in Australia belongs to the late Mr. Kingston, who introduced a Bill as far back as 12th December, 1890, but it did not pass. New Zealand was the next Colony to handle the subject. A Bill was introduced by Mr. Reeves during Mr. Ballance’s administration, on 31st
August, 1894, but did not come into force until 1st January, 1895. Western Australia was the first State in Australia to introduce a Compulsory Arbitration Bill that finally passed. This was introduced by Sir John Forrest on the 29th August, read a second time on 18th September, and assented to on. 5th December, 1900. New South Wales introduced legislation of a similar kind, following the example of New Zealand, at about the same stage. The Bill was introduced by Mr. Wise on 28th June, and read a second time on 14th July, 1900, but was not finally passed until 10th December, 1901, or twelve months and five days after the Western Australian Act. I was quite sure of my facts when I made the statement, having been personally connected with the passing of the Bill in Western Australia; but I have looked the dates up in Hansard, and honorable senators may be sure that they are perfectly correct. I knew New South Wales introduced a Bill at about the same date as Western Australia, but I was not quite sure which was passed first. The New South Wales Bill was introduced a little earlier than the Western Australian, but Western Australia was the first of the States to have a law of that kind. I am speaking not of conciliation, or voluntary measures, but of compulsory arbitration Acts. There have been conciliation and voluntary arbitration Bills introduced from time to time in various States, but I cannot speak with any authority as to their history.
– When Senator de Largie was speaking on the second reading, I did question the accuracy of his statement that Western Australia passed the first compulsory Arbitration Act. I do so still.
– I allowed Senator de Largie to proceed, and possibly I have no right to deprive Senator Henderson of the right of rejoinder, but I would remind both honorable senators that a mere dispute as to which Parliament first passed a compulsory Arbitration Act has nothing to do with the Bill now before the Chamber. As I permitted Senator de Largie to proceed. I do not propose to deny Senator Henderson the right to reply, but not at an., great length.
– The Western Australian Act for about four years after its first passage was entirely voluntary, carrying with it conditions of conciliation open to any organization whatever, without any compulsory arbitration attached to it. I know this for a fact, because I was a member of the Board.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 26th November (vide page 1068), on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– When I moved the adjournment of the debate on this motion we had scarcely seen the Bill, and had not seen the report of the International Convention that dealt with the question of the safety of life at sea. After looking over these matters I have come to the conclusion that there is no need for any violent opposition to the Bill. The provisions framed by the Committee, which was presided over by Lord Mersey, will not, I think, affect Australian shipping at all. That Committee merely dealt with western ocean trade, and with the subject of icebergs and derelicts. However, I see no harm in incorporating them in our navigation laws. With the exception of one provision which contemplates an important departure from the principal Act in the matter of determining who is the owner of a vessel when she is lost, and who is, therefore, responsible for paying the seamen who have been injured, the clauses of the Bill relate to small details. As it stands, the law provides that the ownership of a lost vessel is determined by her ownership at the time of her loss. I fail to see any necessity for altering that position. During the present war, Great Britain has captured many German ships, and the Germans have captured quite a number of British vessels. The provision in the Bill raises the question, Are the interned German ships lost, and, if so, who is the owner of them today? When the present European war is over, I venture to say that we shall either have to return these vessels or to compensate their owners for them.
– Not necessarily. That will depend upon the terms of the settlement.
– In the case of the Cheltenham, a ship which, while carrying contraband during the RussoJapanese war, was captured by the Russians and confiscated by a Russian Prize Court, it transpired that, although the master knew that she was carrying contraband, the crew were unaware of it, and had signed on for an ordinary trading voyage. It was held that the owners had broken their agreement with the crew, and that the loss of the ship did not terminate the services of the seamen, who were entitled to wages until their return to the United Kingdom. But in other cases it has been held that when once a ship has been captured - so far as her owners are concerned - she is lost.
– There is strong presumptive evidence, too.
– One of the leading authorities on maritime law - Mr. Sandford D. Cole - has written an article in which he affirms that the legal position in such cases is a very open one. In speaking of the Hague Convention, he says - .
The Hague Convention of 1007, to which both Great Britain and Germany were parties, has some bearing upon the position of ships in an enemy port at the time of the outbreak of hostilities. In the absence of any arrangement between the countries at war, such ships are liable to be confiscated by the enemy. The Convention provides, however, that a ship which, at the commencement of hostilities, is in an enemy port, or enters such port from sea while still ignorant of the war, may depart, if both countries allow such ships to leave. The British Government were not satisfied that reciprocal treatment would be secured to British ships in German ports, and, therefore, German ships have not been released. The Convention, further provides that ships, unable from causes beyond their control to leave the enemy port, or not allowed to leave, may not be confiscated,, but may be detained and restored after the war. In view of the Convention, some German ships have been ordered by the British Prize Court to be detained, the question whether they should be restored at the end of the war, or be condemned to bc confiscated as prizes, beingleft open for the time being.
Now the whole question of whether a ship upon being captured is lost is thus left absolutely open till the end of the war. I ask the Minister if there is any particular reason why our Navigation Bill should be so altered as to provide for ownership prior to the loss of a vessel, instead of ownership from the time of the loss? If there be none, we had better leave the matter where it stands to-day. There are no general principles embodied in the Bill, but I desire to call attention to the fact that the measure is not in tended to come into operation until a proclamation has been issued after the King’s assent to it has been obtained. This circumstance leads me to inquire whether the Government intend to hold up the Navigation Bill of 1912 until these provisions have been incorporated in it? We must bear in mind that in the near future still further amendments may become necessary. Since we passed the Act of 1912, no less than four amending Acts have been sanctioned by the Imperial Parliament. Yet our Act is not yet law, and I see very little prospect of it coming into operation at an early date. If this Bill is intended to delay-
– Why should we desire to delay?
– The Minister said, in his opening speech, that the Act of 1912 would not be proclaimed until the provisions of this measure had been incorporated with it. It is evident, therefore, that the Bill now before us will have to await the King’s assent, which may involve considerable delay. I regret that,, in introducing the measure, the Government have not taken steps to restore the provisions relating to the load line of’ 1906. If they had looked into the matter of the number of lives which have been’ sacrificed as the result of the alteration made in that law, not by Parliament, but by a Committee of the Board of Trade, without even the regulations being laid before Parliament, they would have realized the necessity for doing this. I intend to take care that, where regulations are made under this Bill, no Department shall have power to frame and enforce them unless they first receive parliamentary sanction. I notice that the Government have summed up sufficient courage to appoint a Director of Navigation, and I congratulate them upon having selected an Australian for the post. I intend to support the second reading of the Bill.
– I am somewhat disappointed that Senator Guthrie, who is so packed with knowledge of the matters coming within the scope of this Bill, should have expressed the opinion that its provisions will be futile if not pernicious-
– They will not be of much use. I do not say that they will be pernicious.
– The honorable senator expressed that view in reference to a portion of the Bill which is especially designed to further the saving of life in case of accidents at sea. It is that circumstance which makes me disappointed that he was -not able to welcome the measure in warmer terms than he did. As honorable senators are aware, that part of the Bill is the direct result of the Titanic disaster in the Atlantic. Following upon that disaster, it was felt, not only here, but throughout the civilized world, that the time had arrived for strengthening the provisions for life saving in cases of that kind. Out of that general thought there was evolved the idea of holding a Conference. To that Conference the late Government elected to send its representative. Bearing in mind the ‘personnel of that Conference, the sources of information which it had at its disposal, and the high standing of many of the gentlemen upon it, whose names are familiar to most of us, I believe that we have obtained from it some indication of the lines upon which beneficial legislation might proceed.
– Over a particular trade that does not interest us.
– I cannot quite think that it is limited in that way, but, even if it were, I venture to say that we are interested in the safety of life even in that portion of the ocean in which, perhaps, our vessels do not travel with as much frequency as they do around our own coast. At that Conference it was decided to inquire, under five headings, into the steps which ought to be taken for the purpose of insuring the safely of human life at sea. I shall not enumerate those steps, except to say that, so far as I have been able to familiarize myself with the findings of the Conference, it did its work thoroughly. It has put before us certain proposals. Whether these will prove of as much benefit to Australia as they will prove to other portions of the world, does not seem to me to be the point that we ought to consider. The question which we have to consider is whether they make for the safety of human life at sea. I think that even Senator Guthrie will admit that they do that, if not around the coast of Australia, in the broad expanse of the Atlantic and other oceans. When that Conference was called, the late Government felt that Australia ought to be represented, and entertained the utmost hope that at it some scheme might be evolved which would prevent a repetition of the disaster which we all had in our minds at the time, or which would at least minimize the losses that would otherwise result from such catastrophes. I hope that Senator Guthrie has spoken rather in general terms than out of his mature judgment.
– This Bill provides for picking up ice in the North Atlantic, which our commerce never reaches.
– I think that the honorable senator is taking an entirely narrow view of the matter.
– It was put there because it involved less trouble to include it than to notify the other signatories to the Convention that we had omitted it.
– Just so. The whole purpose of this legislation is to minimize the risk of danger at sea, and to increase the prospects of successful rescue if an accident does occur. I cannot conceive that any one would seriously declare that that matter is immaterial and of no value.
– It is only the provision as to wireless which is good.
– Now we are getting a concession from the honorable senator, and possibly, before the debate ‘ is closed, he may feel disposed to make a further concession. At any rate, I am pleased to welcome the Bill as a member of the Ministry which was represented at the Conference. Believing that the Conference did good work, and believing, too, that it carried out the mission for which it was appointed, I will, as far as that portion of the Bill is concerned, not only welcome its appearance on the statute-book, but anticipate from its operation much more satisfactory results than Senator Guthrie is able to do.
– I recognise that the Bill is merely an attempt to bring our Navigation Act into conformity with the law of other countries. The circumstances under which the Bill is brought forward are, no doubt, rather unique. Although the Act has not yet been brought into force, nevertheless an attempt is being made to amend its provisions. That is rather a new procedure. Of course the present Government is in no small way responsible for that state of affairs. If I remember rightly, the first Navigation
Bill was introduced in the other House in 1904. It was referred to a Royal Commission, which took evidence, and the result was that the measure was hung up for a considerable time. In fact, it was not until after the first Fisher Administration came into office, in 1910, that the Bill .was taken up and passed in 1912. We anticipated some delay before it could be brought into operation, but I think very few members of the Senate expected that there would be such extraordinary delay as has occurred. Since the Navigation Bill was agreed to by both Houses, there have been two changes of Government, and, no doubt, it is owing to that fact that the measure has not yet been brought into force. However, I hope that the present Government will not tolerate further delay in that regard. When the Navigation Bill was passed in 1912, I think we could all say that we had an up-to-date measure. But, as Senator Guthrie has pointed out, the Imperial Parliament have, on several occasions since then, amended their own Act. We have been somewhat slow, I think, in not bringing pressure to bear on the Board of Trade to get our own Act brought into operation before. I support the remarks of Senator Guthrie in regard to the appointment of the Director of Navigation. Remembering the amount of experience which a certain member of the Senate has had, and without desiring to cast the slightest suspicion on the fitness of the gentleman who has been appointed to the position of Director, I have no hesitation in asserting that during the consideration of the Navigation Bill the honorable senator to whom I refer showed that he was a fit and proper person, competent in every sense, to “fill the bill.” Had the present Government thought of looking to the Senate for a man to “fill the bill,” I do not think it would have been out of place for them to do so. I believe that, had they acted on the policy on which many other Governments have acted, of appointing supporters of their party to vacant positions, they could have done worse than appoint Senator Guthrie, for I feel sure that in Australia there is no man who is better qualified than he is for such an office by reason of the lifelong efforts he has made to model our navigation law on the best possible pattern. I remember the active part he took in the consideration of the Navigation Bill, and we must all acknowledge his great energy and the ripe experience he then displayed concerning this kind of legislation. I do not make these remarks with the slightest desire to reflect upon the gentleman who has been appointed as Director of Navigation, but in justice to our own Government it is only fair, I think, that public attention should be drawn to the fact that they have not, as other Governments have done, appointed their own friends to positions of this kind. I hope that when this measure is agreed to bv both Houses, the proclamation of the Navigation Act will not be delayed any longer in the interests of seafaring men, and, above all, the travelling public, who undoubtedly are entitled to an improved condition of affairs in the coastal trade, because, notwithstanding the great advances which have been made in shipbuilding, there are still boats running round the coast of Australia which do but little credit to us. It is time that we had a law to bring pressure to bear on companies which adhere to the use of obsolete vessels by which the public have to travel. It is only through a Bill of this kind coming into law that we can bring about that measure of relief which I think the public have long expected.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 (Short title and citation).
– =Does the Assistant Minister think it advisable to provide that the measure shall commence on a -day to be fixed by proclamation after the King’s approval thereto has been proclaimed in the Commonwealth ? In my opinion it will not be necessary for the GovernorGeneral to reserve the Bill for the signification of the King’s assent.
– According to the latest information I have, the Bill must be reserved for the approval of His Majesty. But I do not think that the framing of the regulations will take a considerable time. A period of three months elapsed before, the Imperial Bill received the King’s assent, and there is no reason to anticipate that there will be any undue delay in this measure receiving
His Majesty’s assent, when it can be brought into operation by proclamation.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 -
Section 6 of the principal Act is amended -
by omitting from the definition of “ Master “ the words “ other than a pilot “;
by inserting in the definition of “Superintendent” before the word “deputy” (first occurring), the words “ duly appointed,” and by omitting from that definition the words “ in respect of any acts or duties which such deputy is authorized to perform”; and
by inserting after the definition of “ The Merchant Shipping Act “ the following definition: - “ The Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea” means the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea signed in London on the twentieth day of January, One thousand nine hundred and fourteen.
Section proposed to be amended -
In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears - “ Master” means any person other than a pilot having command or charge of a ship. “ Superintendent “ means -
A deputy of such superintendent in respect of any acts or duties which such deputy is authorized to perform.
– I would like the Assistant Minister to explain why it is proposed to take the words “other than a pilot” out of the definition of “Master.” We all understand that the master at all times has control of the ship, and that the pilot is merely an adviser in local waters. It is not proposed in this Bill to alter the definition of “pilot” in the principal Act. That definition reads - “ Pilot “ means any person appointed or licensed as such under this Act, and not belonging to a ship, who has the conduct thereof.
The pilot does not belong to the ship, but he has the conduct of the ship. Let me now read the definition of “ master “ - “ Master “ means any person other than a pilot having command or charge of a ship.
Here we find two different definitions of the man in charge of a ship - first the master, who has command or charge of the ship; and, secondly, the pilot, who has the conduct of the ship.
– The pilot is in charge of the ship.
– No; the master never loses charge of the ship. The pilot is merely an adviser. According to the Imperial Act - ‘ Master “ includes every person (except a pilot) having command or charge of any ship.
But our own Act says that the pilot only conducts the ship. The distinction between “ charge “ and “ conduct “ makes all the difference in this clause. I am inclined to think that, in order to be absolutely clear, we ought to retain the words “ other than a pilot “ in the definition of “ Master. “ Perhaps the Minister can give a legal reason for the proposed alteration, but I cannot see that it is necessary. It is admitted that the master has charge of the ship at all times. The whole of our legislation regarding pilotage lays down that principle. The pilot is only on the ship to assist the master with local knowledge, and to advise regarding local waters. I am inclined to think that in the interests of safety we ought to adhere to the definition of “ Master.”
– Is the master liable for anything which happens while the pilot is in charge of the ship ?
– In the opinion of the Department the present definition of ‘ Master ‘ ‘ is not quite clear, and the object of this clause is to make it as clear as language can that the pilot is never at any time in charge of the ship, but is subject to the control of the master. It is also desired to bring the definition of “Master” into conformity with section 351 of the Navigation Act, which clearly lays down what the powers of a pilot are. The Department think that if this amendment is made it will leave no room for dispute as to relative powers of pilot and master.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section 27 of the principal Act is amended by omitting thefollowing words: - “or (d) fraudulently lends his certificate to, or allows it to be used by, any other person,”
– I cannot understand why it is not proposed by the Bill to deal with the case of a man who fraudulently lends his certificate to be used by some one else.
– That is covered by section 389 of the principal Act.
– If a man gives wrong information in order to obtain a certificate, he is held to be guilty of an indictable offence. A man who forges, or fraudulently alters, a certificate is placed in the same position. A man who fraudulently uses a certificate issued to another person is also liable to a penalty, but a man who fraudulently lends a certificate to another with the knowledge that it is to be fraudulently used, is, apparently, under this propsed amendment, to be allowed to go free. There may be some departmental reason for this amendment, but I do not know what it is. This is the place in which the matter I referred to should be dealt with. All questions affecting certificates should be dealt with in the same part of the Act.
– It is considered by the Department that section 27, which, under this clause it is proposed to amend, is limited in its effect to certificates issued under our Act. It is desirable that the heavy penalties imposed for the wrongful use of certificates should apply, not only to those issued under our Act, but to those issued by the Board of Trade, and practically in every part of the maritime world. The object really of the amendment is to bring the provision automatically under section 389 of the principal Act, which covers all certificates issued.
– Then why not deal in the same way with paragraphs a, b, and c of section 27 ?
– That is not considered necessary. The object is not to exempt any offences, but to cover all certificates issued, and not merely those issued under our Act.
– The Minister’s reply does not meet my objection at all. If the object be to cover all certificates, and not merely those issued by the Commonwealth, the same course should have been followed in dealing with paragraphs a, b, and c of section 27. They should certainly all be dealt with in the same way.
– The honorable senator speaks as though the object were to exempt some one who has made a fraudulent use of a certificate.
– I may be told that the matter is dealt with in another section, but I still contend that all these matters should be dealt with in the same section.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 -
Section 128 of the principal Act is amended by omitting from paragraph(b) of sub-section (2) the words “ the owner of the ship at the time of loss,” and inserting in their stead the words “ the owner immediately prior to the time of the loss or abandonment of the ship.”
Section proposed to be amended - 128. (Recovery of expenses from owner) - (2)If the expenses are not so repaid, the amount thereof shall with costs be a charge upon the ship, and be recoverable -
where the ship has been lost - from the person who was the owner of the ship at the time of loss.
– This clause affects what I consider to be the most important question raised by the Bill. It deals with the settlement of the question as to who is responsible when a seaman is injured on the loss of a ship. The existing Act provides that the person responsible shall be the owner of the ship at the time of the ship’s loss. The object of the amendment proposed by clause 7 is to substitute for the words ‘ ‘ the owner of the ship at the time of loss” the words “the owner immediately prior to the time of the loss or abandonment of the ship.” It should not be forgotten that this amendment will cover a great many other things. It will decide the question as to when a seaman’s pay ceases, when his allotment note is due, and other matters of importance. Even under the existing law Judges have often been at a loss to decide when a ship was lost or abandoned. We have a number of German ships at the present time interned in Australia. Are those ships lost to their owners? We cannot tell until the war is over whether the owners will get them again. We have taken the crews out of those ships. Are the men entitled to pay during the time they are removed from the ships, and if they are, who is responsible for their pay? The clause, in my opinion, is surrounded with difficulties, and the Minister would be well advised to allow it to be negatived. If we leave the Act as it at present stands we shall at least have the precedence of the English Courts to guide us. I find it stated that in the circumstances of the present war not only may the dependents of seamen who have allotment notes have difficulty, but where there is no allotment the dependents certainly will be in difficulties. It was stated by Mr. Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, that a scheme is being prepared to secure the payment of prescribed allowances to the dependents of officers and crews of captured British ships. The Imperial Government has apparently made this provision. They have started an insurance fund, from which seamen’s wages up to 80 per cent, may be paid during the time British ships are interned, and also compensation for anything that may then happen to seamen. I expected to have seen some clause in this Bill to cover cases of that sort. I hope that the Minister will leave the Act as it stands. We know what is the meaning of “ the owner of the ship at the time of loss,” but the words ‘ ‘ prior to the time of the loss or abandonment of the ship “ may mean anything. They may mean a month, a fortnight, a week, or a minute before the loss of the ship. This proposed amendment will, in my opinion, leave a big loophole for argument as to what is meant by the words “ prior to the time of the loss.” All that it is necessary to do is to define the “ owner “ at the time of loss.
.- I do not intend to discuss the clause at length, but to say a word or two upon what Senator Guthrie has said. The honorable senator tells us that there is no ambiguity about the words used in the existing Act, and that, so far as his knowledge extends, it is a workable provision. It is proposed by this clause to substitute for the words “the owner of the ship at the time of loss,” the words “ the owner immediately prior to the time of the loss or abandonment of the ship.” As a layman, I think that the amendment would open the door to all sorts of difficulties as to the exact meaning of the words proposed to be used. Senator Guthrie has pertinently asked whether “ immediately prior to the time of the loss “ means a month, a week, or a day before the loss.
– The owner is the registered owner, I should say.
SenatorFINDLEY. - Yes, but the question is as to what is meant by the words “ the owner immediately prior to the time of the loss or abandonment of the ship.”
-Would not “the owner at the time of the loss “ be enough?
– That is the wording of the present Act, but this clause proposed to substitute for that “the owner immediately prior to the loss or abandonment of the ship.”
– That is confusing.
– That is why I have risen to ask the Minister if he can inform the Committee as to the necessity for the proposed amendment, and as to what period of time would be covered by the words “ immediately prior to the time of the loss or abandonment of the ship.”
– The proposed amendment will not in any way alter the liability or responsibility of owners under the Act. The object is to supply a better definition, and to more clearly fix responsibility upon some person, and to make it easier for seamen and others compelled to take legal proceedings to know whom they should cite before the Court. Take the case of a ship that is abandoned. She is left floating about in the ocean, but she may not be lost. Senator Guthrie has admitted that there is difficulty in deciding when a ship is lost. This is an attempt to give better guidance to seamen and others compelled to take proceedings under the navigation law. It is proposed, on the recommendation of the Board of Trade, who recognise that many difficulties are placed in the way of sailors who feel themselves compelled to resort to the Court. Senator Guthrie has admitted that there have been differences of opinion -amongst Judges and others in the interpretation of the law in the past. That is but a proof that the wording of the existing provision has not been found satisfactory. The honorable senator has asked who owns the German ships that are interned in Australia. He has admitted that it is almost impossible under the existing law to say who does own them. We know who owned and were responsible for the ships immediately prior to their sailing into Port Phillip.
– Are they lost?
– I am not prepared to say. The laws of war deal with those questions, and probably override any navigation laws. The point is not whether the ships are lost or not. All we say is that by these words we are giving a clearer definition as to who is responsible. Senator Guthrie himself, although no one in the Commonwealth is better informed on navigation matters, admits that he does not know who is the owner of the German ships, and asks me to tell him. We cannot tell, he cannot tell, and probably nobody can tell until some decision is given in the matter; but the owners immediately preceding the arising of the present doubtful situation were undoubtedly the registered owners who sent the ships to Australia.
– The first thing you have to do is to prove loss or abandonment.
– Not necessarily. All we are trying to do is to make clear to those who have claims against a ship who is the person against whom proceedings shall be taken; and the Bill says distinctly that it shall be the person who was recognised as the registered owner immediately preceding the loss or abandonment of the ship.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 8 to 21 agreed to.
Clause 22 (Regulations)
– Will the general practice of laying regulations before Parliament before they have the force of law be followed in this case?
. -I understand that the ordinary procedure, by which regulations are laid on the table for a certain time, the Senate having power to disallow them, will be followed.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 23 to 34 agreed to.
Clause 35 (Act not to apply to Government property).
– The marginal note does not correspond with the clause, which applies only to “ the King’s Navy, or the Navy of the Commonwealth, or of any British possession.” I take it that trading ships owned by a State would not be covered by this clause, but the marginal note refers to “ Government property generally.”
– The honorable senator’s suggestion is a good one. The marginal note can be brought into conformity with the clause, which deals with the Navy only.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 36 to 45 agreed to.
Clause 46 (Dangerous ice or derelicts to be reported).
– This clause deals almost entirely with the Atlantic trade, but as there were fourteen maritime nations represented at the International Conference, the Government have come to the conclusion that it will not overload the Bill to include it, and it is less trouble to put it in than to adopt the roundabout method of informing the fourteen different Powers of exceptions which we have made to the findings of the Conference. If we have erred at all, it is on the side of brevity and common sense.
SenatorFINDLEY (Victoria) [5.25].- The principal Act provides that all vessels trading on the Australian coast, and carrying crews and passengers to the number of fifty, shall be equipped with wireless telegraphy. I wish to point out that we have in operation here a wireless system, which, in my own opinion and in that of others more competent to express a judgment on this matter, is the most efficient in the world. A short time ago an action was instituted against the Commonwealth by certain wireless companies, which alleged that the Commonwealth system infringed their patent rights.
– Who instituted those proceedings?
SenatorFINDLEY. - The Marconi and Telefunken companies. The Fisher Government were in power at the time, and the plaintiffs claimed £50,000 by way of damages. The Ministry felt that they were on perfectly safe ground, and declined to listen to the claim. In other words, they decided to contest the action. A little later the Fisher Government were displaced, and the Cook Ministry came into office. Shortly after we were informed that a compromise had been effected in respect of the claims of the companies in question. A paragraph in the press intimated that these companies had been paid £5,000 in full satisfaction of their claims, and that the Commonwealth had been able to obtain from them some small advantage. In connexion with this compromise I have been informed that certain privileges were granted to the companies in the matter of equipping vessels trading around our coast with wireless installations. Seeing that we have in Australia the finest wireless system in the world, and that there appears to be no doubt as to our constitutional powers in the matter, it would be an extraordinary thing if these private companies were permitted to transact all the business that is to be done :n the direction of equipping coastal vessels with wireless installations. We have the constitutional power to install the Commonwealth system on those vessels, and I trust that the present opportunity will not be lost by the Government. I hope that they will give my remarks the consideration which they merit. My suggestion opens up avenues of revenue which will be closed unless the Government take early steps to prevent certain interested persons getting a monopoly of the business of fitting Australian coastal vessels with wireless telegraphy.
– As this clause deals with other than shipping matters, I would like the Minister to clear up a doubt which I have in my mind as to wireless and kindred questions. If there is not sufficient power under this clause to safeguard the public interest, we ought to make it even more stringent than it is. I agree with Senator Findley that there is a considerable amount of mystery surrounding the case which he mentioned. When the German wireless combination made an assault on the public purse this Parliament was practically helpless, by reason of the fact that the then Attorney-General was also the mouth-piece of the combination. I would like to know from the Minister whether any recurrence of that kind is possible under this clause. Questions of this character will crop up from time to time, and the more our Australian system of wireless becomes revenueproducing, the greater will be the claims made on the public purse for alleged infringment of patents. In my opinion, the clause is not sufficiently wide to protect the public purse. We are accustomed to take too much for granted. Because there is in office to-day an AttorneyGeneral who acts straightforwardly we are not warranted in assuming that that will always be the case. I would like the Government to give us seme indication of their intentions in regard to this matter.
– This clause deals with what is to be done in certain cases, in regard to the adoption of a general code. It scarcely touches the question which has been raked by Senator Findley. I may tell the honorable senator, however, that the whole matter of wireless telegraphy is under consideration by the Government, who have every desire to adopt a unified system, both on land and sea, around Australia. We have already provided in the Act of 1912 that vessels carrying more than fifty passengers must be fitted with wireless installations, and this clause will compel them to use those installations in such a way as will confer a great advantage upon the travelling public.
– I feel rather strongly in regard to the Australian system of wireless telegraphy, and that is my excuse for rising to address the Committee a second time.
– The general question cannot be discussed upon this clause.
– I think that I shall be able to connect my remarks with the clause, which provides that certain things shall be done if a ship is fitted with wireless telegraphy. My point is that if coastal vessels are to be so equipped they ought to be equipped with the Australian wireless system.
– There should be a uniform system.
– Yes, that would meet the case.
– The honorable senator has the assurance of the Minister that the matter is now under consideration.
– Does the Minister say that the Government have under consideration the advisableness, not merely of seeing that effect is given to the provision in the principal Act, which relates to the equipment of vessels carrying more than fifty passengers with a wireless installation, but of compelling the adoption of the Australian wireless system ?.
– The nationalization of the Australian system on the sea ? The Government have that matter under consideration.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 47 to 66 agreed to.
Schedule II. of the principal Act is amended by inserting after the word “shipwright” (wherever occurring) the words “ or ship’s carpenter.”
Schedule proposed to be amended - //. (Scale of Crew).
Steam-ships. (Passenger steam-ships carrying not more than ten passengers and cargo steamships.)
All vessels over 800 tons net register to carry a shipwright. (Passenger steam-ships carrying more than ten passengers.)
All vessels over 800 tons gross register to carry a shipwright. ….
All vessels over 600 tons net register to carry a shipwright.
– I move -
That all the words after the word “ amended “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words: - “by omitting the word shipwright ‘ (wherever occurring) and inserting in its stead the words ‘qualified shipwright or ship’s carpenter.’ “
– Does the amendment meet with the approval of the Carpenters and Joiners Society, who have been circulating dodgers about the matter?
– The amendment embodies what the Government and the Department think is the best settlement of the trouble.
– Are not all shipwrights qualified?
– No person who is not qualified will be allowed on a ship.
– What do you mean by the word “ qualified “ ?
– This matter has been in dispute for some time, and as some honorable senators may remember, I made a long fight when the principal measure was under consideration. Unfortunately, there is a dispute, and I, so far as lay in my power, have endeavoured to get the two bodies to come together and settle the matter. We have not been quite successful, and probably time has been against us; but I do hope that the two bodies will now come together, and that a final decision may be arrived at when the Bill is before another place.
– Have they effected a settlement yet?
– No. It is not that the men are not willing to settle the dispute; it has been a question of time rather than any difficulty as to arranging finality between the bodies. I hope that, while the Bill is before the other House, we shall be able to get a decision from the two bodies. In the meantime, we simply provide that where a carpenter or shipwright is required on a boat he shall be qualified. It leaves it optional to take either one or the other.
– The purport of the amendment is to use the word “ qualified,” as applicable to each body; but what does the word “ qualified “ mean ?
– It means a man who is able to present the ordinary credential which is accepted by any employer in engaging a tradesman.
– This question is not a new one. We know that when attempts were made in the past to test the qualifications of persons engaged afloat and ashore, and to issue to them certificates of qualification, they caused no end of uneasiness, heart-burning, and dissatisfaction on the part of those who had faithfully followed an occupation, although they might not have had certificates at all. Senator Guthrie will support my statement that when the first attempt was made to issue certificates to sea-going masters, and also to engineers - that is, to persons who had been engaged as masters and engineers without certificates - their position was taken into account, and allowance was made for the transitionary period which would naturally follow the issue of the certificates. Prior to the introduction of the Merchant Service Bill of 1861 in the Old Country those who had been engaged as ship-masters or engineers were given what were known as certificates of service, enabling them to follow their occupations without hindrance or question, until, of course, the time came when they would be no longer able to do their work. But it was never proposed, as some of our shipwrights have proposed, to draw a line sharp and deep, and to bring about an alteration in the employment of the men ; in other words, to ask that men who had rendered faithful and competent service should be discharged, and replaced by other men.
– We ought to prevent that, if possible.
– Yes, and that is what I am determined to attempt to do. On the one hand we have the shipwrights, who claim that all persons engaged on board a ship in that calling - that is, in looking after the gear and tackle, and particularly the woodwork of the ship, and in many other ways - shall be shipwrights, and nothing but shipwrights; whereas the position of the carpenters is that quite a number of them have been engaged as ship’s carpenter for many years, and have given general satisfaction, and that, therefore, they should not be discharged simply because we have passed a measure through Parliament. We should follow the course which has been adopted in similar circumstances in the past, and that is, to allow men who, technically speaking, may not be qualified, to retain their positions until they become unable to further discharge their duties. If we cannot issue certificates of service to them, we should specially provide that men who have given satisfaction in the past and proved their competency, should be entitled to remain in employment until the new order of things can be properly introduced. If we simply insert in the Bill a provision that none but shipwrights shall be employed in tho future, we shall inflict very serious hardship indeed on men who have been so employed in the past.
– I think that the amendment gives the relief which you desire.
– There is no security to entitle the ship-owners to continue to employ men who have given them satisfaction in the past in the position of ship’s carpenter. This is an amendment of a permissive character, and that is what I do not like.
– The men you refer to will have qualified for their work.
– That is what the amendment says.
– So far as I understand the Minister’s statement an option is given to the ship-owners to employ in the place of these men qualified shipwrights or qualified carpenters. Through its very elasticity the amendment will enable ship-owners to discharge old servants if they are so inclined, and to employ in their stead new men. I think that in order to hold the scales fairly between the contending parties we should insure some security of tenure to men who have given faithful and competent service.
– In the circular we have received it is stated that some of the men have been at the employment for half a lifetime.
– I know from personal experience that that is so, and that is why I am not inclined, merely at the request of a body, to agree to no transition period being allowed before the new order of things is established. I hold that any body of men who ask, or insist, that a sudden or an abrupt termination shall be put to an old order of things is making an unfair request. I am not inclined to support any proposal which may have the effect of rendering the position of these men more insecure than it has been in the past. In some of the States a proposal has been made for the abolition of barmaids. Some Parliaments have agreed that women should no longer be employed in hotel bars, but no one has proposed the immediate discharge of women at present earning their livelihood in that manner. What has been proposed is that they should be permitted to continue in their present employment for a time, during which they may be able to make arrangements to secure employment in some other walk of life. That gives consideration to people who have carried on a service, and at the same time to the desire of the community to introduce a new order of .things.
– Is not the honorable senator presupposing that these ships’ carpenters will be discharged?
– I am afraid that they will. I do not like this proposal, because it does not give to men who have been engaged in this kind of work in the past the security to which I think they are entitled.
– Could the honorable senator not leave that to regulation ? We must have some limit of time.
– The difficulty is to determine what the limit should be. The shipwrights say. “ Let these men who have given faithful service in the past be discharged, and let their places be filled by skilled men.” If the ships’ carpenters did not give satisfaction, their employers would not continue to employ them. I say .that this proposal for a- sudden departure from the old order to the new is unfair, and is against abstract justice..
– That is if the deparIture is sudden.
– That is what the shipwrights are asking for. They are asking that these men, who have given satisfaction for years, should be discharged, and qualified members of their union employed in their place. In asking that, the shipwrights union is asking too much. I object to any body of men, no matter who they may be, asking; that, on the passage of an Act of Parliament, one set of men shall, be deprived of their employment, and of their means of livelihood, to give place to another set of men. I ask the Government to consider the matter carefully before they agree to the discharge of men who have given years of faithful service in a particular employment merely because of a provision agreed to in any Act of Parliament. I do not think that the proposal made by the Government will overcome the difficulty. It will enable ship-owners to discharge these men-
– And take on others who are cheaper.
– That is one of the difficulties. Rather than permit that to be done, we should make special provision in the Act to enable these men to secure certificates of service entitling them to continue the performance of the duties in which they are now engaged, as long as they are able to perform them, without interference by any other organized body of labour. This is not a new trouble; but the difficulties which the proposal is intended to meet have hitherto been settled in an amicable way. I shall not by my vote bring to an abrupt termination the services of these men, when I know that in the past it has been possible to pursue a course which has led to a fair and reasonable adjustment of a difference between the two bodies of men concerned.
.- I have followed Senator Lynch with a great deal of interest, but I have been unable to discover exactly the point which he desires to make. He has referred to some imaginary grievances which he considers likely to arise if the proposal made by the Government should become law. Senator Guthrie has gone further, and has said that the amendment would give ship-owners the power to dismiss qualified men, and employ others less qualified in their places, because they would be cheaper. Is there not a schedule to the Act laying down the rates of pay for these men ?
– No; only the number of such men to be employed.
– Does Senator Lynch really believe that if the amendment is carried any considerable change in the direction he has suggested is likely to take place?
– I apprehend that it will.
– Is that because ship-owners will prefer to employ less qualified and cheaper labour?
– If they see a chance of doing so, yes.
– But the Government say that every man shall be qualified.
– These men are qualified.
– I trust that every member of the Labour party believes that men should belong to some organization, and if these men can produce qualifications and credentials from their organization, they must have served some time, and must be qualified for the work they are performing. If they have not served any apprenticeship, and do not belong to an organization, I am not seriously worried about them.
– What does it matter whether they have served an apprenticeship or not, so long as they can do the work?
– I remind the honorable senator that it is the desire of every organization that a term of apprenticeship shall be compulsory for all tradesmen. Laws have been passed in all the States to compel employers to teach their trades to apprentices during their term of apprenticeship. It was the practice of boys going from one employment to another which, before the passage of certain factory legislation, brought those employed in many trades to a very low level.
– Many tradesmen have spent the best years of their lives in learning their trades, at very low wages.
– And they have often had great difficulty in securing employment. When they have done so, they have had to wait a long time before they have been able to secure the wages to which they have been entitled.
– The honorable senator does not say that ships’ carpenters have not served their time at their trade?
– If they have done so and are qualified, they should have no difficulty in retaining their positions, even if the amendment be carried. If they are qualified, the amendment should play right into the hands of the men for whom Senator Lynch is pleading.
– What does “ qualified ‘ ‘ mean ?
– A qualified man is a man who has served his time to his trade or calling.
– Under indentures?
– Yes; in most cases.
– “ Qualified “ means able to do the work.
– Where would that definition lead us ? Some youths who have served two or three years at a trade, and who may have become qualified in a measure, might enter into competition with members of an organization who have served a long period of time to that trade. To say that a man who has been to sea for twelve or eighteen months, and has worked as a ship’s carpenter, is a qualified tradesman, and it does not matter whether he has served a term of apprenticeship or not, and to apply that rule to every calling, would break up all the unions in one act.
– I gave the meaning of the word “ qualified,” the use of which the honorable senator supports.
– If the word were not used, a man would not require any qualification at all, so long as he was doing the work.
– That would be his qualification.
– If he is not qualified he will, under the proposal of the Government, be disqualified. If the word “ qualified “ is not retained an opportunity will be given to ship-owners to employ anybody and everybody under any conditions they please.
– The employer will continue to employ a man only if he is qualified.
– I know some employers think any non-unionist better than a unionist. My point is that a’ union workman is a better workman than a nonunionist.
– These men are unionists also.
– The honorable senator suggested that the employer would not keep a man unless he was qualified, but they are always ready to employ less qualified men if they can get them more cheaply, and prefer to do so to employing men better fitted for the work at a reasonable wage.
– It is news to me that the employer does not want the best service.
– There is nothing new about it. Some employers employ Chinamen.
– Some Chinese are very efficient, especially as ships’ carpenters.
– I admit that. They are too industrious. They are prepared to work all round the clock. Because of their industry it ‘was found necessary in this State to pass special legislation to deal with them. The amendment is in the right direction, and will tend to insure fair treatment for those on whose behalf Senator Lynch has been speaking.
– The real object for which a ship carries a joiner, carpenter, or shipwright has been altogether lost sight of. We have to consider, not whether one body of men or another ought to be employed, but how best the safety of the general public can be conserved. We must, therefore, specify the man who is best qualified to do the work required. A shipwright has to learn the whole of the ship from the keel to the masts. That is the man who should be carried if the provision is to be compulsory. At present, as the Act has not been proclaimed, it is not compulsory for any ship to carry a carpenter, joiner, or shipwright. We propose to enact that every kind of ship of over 600 tons net register must carry, in addition to the firemen, sailors, engineers, and officers, some one who has some special knowledge of the hull and fittings. He is required in case of an accident.
– Does not this affect men employed on wooden ships more than men employed on iron ships?
– No. The shipwright’s duties are to look after the hull and the boats, the sluices, valves, and bulkhead doors. The ship’s carpenter knows nothing of the hull of a ship, or of the boats. He merely fixes up the fittings in the cabins and on the decks. We are called on now to make a choice between the two tradesmen in the interests of the travelling public and of the rest of the crew. This clause would leave it optional with the ship-owner which he will carry. The Act, as we passed it after a long discussion, showed that both Houses were perfectly satisfied that the man who ought to be carried was a shipwright, but that Act has not been proclaimed. The Government know best why they have brought down this amendment. I have an inkling that it is not proposed absolutely in the interests of the safety of the travelling public at sea, and that there is some other reason for it.
– If the Act had been proclaimed, would shipwrights only have been carried ?
– If the Act is proclaimed before this Bill receives the King’s assent, only shipwrights will be carried. If it had been proclaimed two years ago, every ship would have been compelled to carry a shipwright who could prove that he was qualified.
– What would happen to the others?
– What has happened to other men? That was the position taken up by both Houses.
– How many of these men are likely to be affected ?
– Not a great many, because the great majority of those on the ships in the coastal trade are shipwrights. In the little sailing ships dodging about the coast the full kit of tools of a great many of the men consists of a big jack-knife. They are merely shipped because some one who can do a little woodwork is wanted. It is, however, quite a different matter with large passenger steamers. My own opinion is that large passenger steamers ought to carry one of each, because the two trades are quite different. -As a matter of fact, many of them carry now a shipwright and his mate, and the mate can do the carpenter’s work. I emphasize the fact that it is our duty, not merely to choose between the claims of two rival societies who have circularized us, but to do what is best in the interests of the people who risk their lives in going to sea.
– I ask honorable senators to let the question go in its present form. It is subject to regulation, and when the Government has to specify the qualifications, honorable senators can rest assured that a Labour Government, in sympathy with the workers, is not likely to enact that a man who mends deck chairs is a qualified shipwright or ship’s carpenter. There is plenty of time for the matter to be settled, and the two unions are now conferring to get over the difficulty. I am sure that common sense will prevail and that a workable arrangement will be made. The provision can be amended if necessary in another place. In the meantime no injustice will be done.
– Senator Guthrie has made ‘at apparent that while a shipwright is supposed to know the whole of the hull of a vessel, there is also carpenter’s work to be done, exclusive of the shipwright’s work, which might be termed iron work.
– No; the shipwright knows the vessel from keel to truck.
– But with wood, iron, and steel vessels there must be a differentiation, even between shipwrights.
– A shipwright knows all about the building of both iron and wooden vessels.
– But evidently the work of a ship’s carpenter is totally different from that of a shipwright, and neither can take the place of the other. Senator Guthrie, however, has shown that a shipwright is likely to be the more useful man if only one is carried, although admitting that where two are carried, both can be very well employed.
– A carpenter is not absolutely necessary for safety. He is wanted only for keeping the ship in order.
– Apparently, on large boats, two men will be necessary, and, in my opinion, the clause as it stands will meet all cases.
– Stow do you make that out?
– In the larger boats both men are necessary.
– They are necessary, but are not carried.
– That is another question. We are simply saying that if more than one person is necessary a shipwright or ship’s carpenter should be carried, just as when more than one sailor is necessary two or more sailors are carried, although the number is not specified in the Navigation Act.
– The number of hands to be carried is specified in the schedule to the Act.
Sitting suspended from 6-25 to 8 p.m.
.- In the absence of Senator Long, and at his request, I move -
That notice of motion No. 2, private business, be postponed till a later hour of the day.
– I would point out that this notice of motion, private business, has precedence now, but that it may not have precedence at a later hour of the day.
– I desire to lay the Budget-papers on the table cf the Senate. Would it be possible for me to do that before the motion of Senator Ready is dealt with?
– So long as there is no interruption of business.
– Does the Minister of Defence intend to make a statement in laying the Budget-papers upon the table ?
– Yes; I intend to move that the papers be printed.
– If the Minister proposes to lay the papers on the table, and in doing so to make a statement, I submit that under our Standing Orders private business must take priority. It seems to me that the course proposed by Senator Ready is the proper one to follow. We ought, first, to postpone the consideration of Senator Long’s notice of motion, and then we shall be able to afford the Minister an opportunity to make the statement which he desires to make.
– Whereas the notice of motion standing in Senator Long’s name has precedence now, it may not have precedence at a later hour of the day. In regard to the other matter, I rule that, so long as he interrupts no other business, it is perfectly competent for the Minister of Defence to lay the
Budget-papers on the table, and in doing so to submit a motion that the papers be printed.
– Would that not be an interruption ?
– So long as business had not been called on, it would not. By protecting the rights of private members I am endeavouring to study the convenience of the Senate.
– Would not the ends of the Minister be served if he were allowed to make a statement by leave of the Senate ? Any motion in reference to private business could afterwards take precedence.
– It might take precedence after the Minister’s statement - I do not know at this stage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I beg to lay on the table of the Senate Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1915, together with the Budget-papers, and in doing so I move -
That the papers be printed.
I understand that, in accordance with the practice which has previously been followed here, I am at liberty to make a general statement in regard to the information that is contained in these papers.
In order to lay before honorable senators the financial position of the Commonwealth, I propose to go back to the year 1912-13. The revenue for that year was £21,907,084, the expenditure £21,525,452, and the accumulated surplus on 30th June, 1913, was £2,643,305. Tho revenue for 1913-14 was £21,740,423, and the expenditure £23,161,327. The surplus of the previous year was reduced by £1,420,904. The estimated revenue for 1914-15, inclusive of surplus of £1,222,401, is £24,495,401. The estimated expenditure is £37,583,715, and the estimated deficit £13,088,314.
– Does that include new works?
– It includes everything. Included in the gross expenditure of £37,583,715 is an amount of £11,742,050 for war expenditure. Ji this extraordinary expenditure be deducted from the gross expenditure it leaves a net ordinary expenditure of £25,841,665, and de- ducting from that the estimated revenue, we get an estimated deficit of £1,346,264.
– That would have been the ordinary deficit?
– Yes, leaving out the war expenditure. A sum of £4,303,870 out of this estimated expenditure is to be spent on new works and buildings - an increase of £1,004,288 over that of last year. As regards the general deficit, it will be met by a loan from the British Government of £10,500,000 and by the issue of Treasurybills to the extent of £2,588,314. The British Government have agreed to loan us £18,000,000, at the rate of £1,500,000 per month, beginning on 15th December of the present year. “We shall thus receive during the financial year ending 30th June next, £10,500,000 from this source. As regards the £2,588,314 worth of Treasurybills, these will be purchased by the Australian Notes Fund. It is intended to raise £1,000,000 by way of probate and succession duties. As regards the details of revenue, they are as follow : - Customs and Excise, £14,261,000; post-office, telegraphs, and telephones, £4,566,000; land tax, £2,700,000; probate and succession duties, £1,000,000; coinage, £200,000; Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway, £132,000 ; interest on general Trust Fund investments, £55,000; lighthouses and light dues, £60,000 ; balance defence fund trust account, £50,000; Northern Territory, £44,000; repayment of States’ proportion of pensions, £4S,000; Defence - sale of stores, &c, £30,000; patents, £22,000 ; Capital Territory, £18,000 ; other items, £87,000; total, £23,273,000. The total estimated expenditure for the current year, namely, £37,583,715, is made up as follows : - Deducting from this amount expenditure consequent upon the war, namely, £11,742,050, of which a statement appears on pages 64 and 65 of the Estimates, we have £25,841,665 as the ordinary expenditure for the year, as compared with £23,161,327, the expenditure of the preceding year, an increase of £2,680,338.
– That is an increase over the actual expenditure of last year?
– Yes. The principal items of this increase are as follow : - Invalid and old-age pensions, £220,735; maternity allowances, £55,010 ; interest on sinking fund, Commonwealth inscribed stock, £98,785; interest on Treasury-bills in aid of revenue, £40,000; interest on Treasury-bills for loan purposes, £35,000 ; Belgian grant, £100,000; surplus revenue to the States, £135,751; interest on properties transferred from the States to the Commonwealth, £95,410; Defence Department (exclusive of additional expenditure consequent upon the war), £493,820; lighthouses (maintenance), £55,968; electoral office, £43,296; Public Works staff, £11,906; railways, £185,157 ; works and buildings (maintenance), £43,877; administration of Electoral Act, £10,810; Commonwealth elections, £63,781 ; Postmaster-General’s Department, £207,125; additions, new works, and buildings, £1,004,288. The principal items of decrease are: Sugar bounty, £149,244; Manufacturers Encouragement Act, £43,130.; British Association for the Advancement of Science, £14,338; Northern Territory, £13,826; advertising resources of the Commonwealth, £36,979.
As the result of the Conference with the State Governments, we have agreed to loan the States an amount of £18,000,000. Associated with that transaction was an agreement made with the Associated Banks whereby they should give to the Commonwealth £10,000,000 in gold for Australian notes. In undertaking this financial transaction the Treasurer impressed upon the banks’ representatives that he should require their assistance; and they, recognising the national emergency, cheerfully agreed to render to the Government every possible aid in their power. It should be clearly understood that the £10,000,000 advanced by the banks will be redeemed at the close of the war.
– It is to be without interest for one year, is it not?
– That is so. These arrangements made it possible for the Commonwealth to come to the aid of the States, and to lend them, for their Public Works purposes, at a low rate of interest, having regard to the state of the money market, a sum equal to the amount the Commonwealth itself had borrowed from the British Government. The terms and conditions of the loans to the States were embodied in an agreement of which the following is a copy : -
That practically is the agreement entered into between the Commonwealth and the States relating to this matter.
I have already quoted the war expenditure at the sum of £11,742,050, and, dealing with the Defence expenditure generally, I will give a summary of what is contemplated, as showing the justification for an increase of the normal Defence expenditure.
Royal Australian Naval College. - Provision has been made to enter thirty Cadet Midshipmen on 31st December, 1914, which will bring the total number of Cadet Midshipmen at the College up to eighty-seven.
The College buildings at Jervis Bay will shortly be ready for occupation, and the College will be removed from North Geelong to Jervis Bay in January.
– Are these Cadets all Australians?
– Are there no New Zealanders?
– No; the New Zealanders have not yet come in. Necessary provision has been made on the Estimates to meet the cost of transferring the College.
Provision is made for a full year for the crews of the following ships: -
H.M.A.S. submarine AE2.
H.M.A.S. torpedo boats.
Provision is also made for portion of the year for torpedo-boat destroyers Torrens, Swan, and Derwent. In addition, the necessary sea-going personnel for H.M.A. Naval Establishments, Garden Island and Naval Depot,Williamstown, are provided. Provision is also made for officers and men temporarily appointed to the seagoing Force for the period of the war. The gunboat Komet, recently captured from the Germans, has been renamed Una and placed in commission as one of H.M.A. ships. Una, I understand, means ‘ ‘ the first ‘ ‘ - our first capture.
Naval Reserves. - Provision has been made for boys who passed from the Senior Cadets to the Adult Force on 1st July, i.e., boys attaining the age of eighteen years in 1914, making a total number of Senior Cadets of 1,776 provided for. The large increase in the Vote is to provide for calling up the Reserves for duty during the war, also Examining . Officers (Pilots) and Officers of Unattached and Retired Lists.
Signal Stations and Examination Services. - The increase here is consequent upon the war necessitating the Examination Services being put into operation at eight defended ports in the Commonwealth.
Maintenance of Ships and Vessels. - The large increase under this Vote is principally due to the war, necessitating the ships of the Fleet being constantly at sea, also expenditure in connexion with hire of Fleet Auxiliaries, i.e., Colliers, Supply Ship, Hospital Ship, Oil Ship, &c.
Fleet Construction. - Of the sum of £750,000 provided on the Estimates, £500,000 is to meet the payment of balance of cost of ships of the Fleet Unit and
Fleet Auxilaries, and £250,000 towards new construction of a light cruiser, as to the type of which the Admiralty is being consulted. My honorable friend, Senator Millen, outlined a proposal he had in that regard, but I was disappointed to find that, beyond the proposal, it had not advanced any further, and that no money had been set aside for that purpose, and no orders had been given other than the negotiations opened up with the Admiralty as to the class of cruiser which they would recommend.
The Royal Australian Navy has played an important part in the war. The coasts of Australasia have been guarded from attack by the enemy’s cruisers; all the trade routes to Colombo, Singapore, the Pacific Islands, and America, have been kept open, and not a single merchant vessel has been captured in our waters. That is a statement which does not sound very much, but when we remember that one ship, the Emden, accounted for British vessels of the value of some millions of pounds, it is difficult to realize the full significance and import of thatsingle sentence as to the services rendered to Australia and to the Empire by the fact of our having a navy in these waters.
Ships of the Royal Australian Navy, together with Military Expeditions, have taken possession of all German possessions in the Pacific, and the Royal Australian Naval Reserves, reinforced by crews from the destroyers, successfully attacked the wireless station near Rabaul. Our ships have assisted in the convoy of the Australian Expedition to Europe.
The first page of our sea history has been inscribed with the well-fought action of the Sydney and Emden. I may say now what it was, perhaps, not safe to say before to-day - that at the time the Sydney fought that action with the Emden, our transports were within 100 miles of Cocos Island, so that we have reason to doubly congratulate ourselves, that, not only was our ship able to account for that German cruiser, but that the latter did not get in amongst our transports with a result which it would be difficult to estimate, and certainly something awful to contemplate.
– She was. Experience during this war supports evidence gathered in time of peace, that modern efficient sea defence in the South Pacific is essential for the safety and general welfare of His Majesty’s Dominions. It is yet too early to give a definite expression of opinion on the subject, but there are indications that the greatest utility and service can be attained with central control, and a large degree of local Executive authority in these distant outposts. It is the hope of this Government that the day is not far distant when the sister Dominion of New Zealand, whilst maintaining its identity unimpaired, will be more closely associated with the Commonwealth of Australia in the creation and maintenance of effective defence in a common sphere of action.
– Will the Minister say if provision is made for a new submarine ?
– No provision is made, and 1 can tell the honorable senator privately why ?
– All right.
– Now let me take the expenditure on the military side.
Aviation Instructional Staff. - The value of aviation, from a military point of view, having been fully demonstrated in the present war, a sum of £14,430 has been provided for the Central Flying School at Point Cook, as compared with an expenditure of £3,071 during 1913- 14. This will enable thirty-six officers to be trained in aviation per annum, instead cf twelve, as originally proposed. It is also intended to undertake the construction of flying machines locally, and the necessary staff has been provided for that purpose. A sum of £7,700 has been included under Additions, New Works Estimates, to purchase the equipment and material required in this connexion; and also a sum of £19,885 to cover the cost of erection of additional buildings.
Royal Military College. - During the first six weeks of the present financial year there were 147 Cadets in residence at the College, which is practically the full establishment, including, I may say, thirty or forty New Zealanders. Of this number, fifty-seven have since received commissions in the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces; and thirteen have returned to New Zealand to join the Dominion Troops for active service abroad, thereby reducing the number of Cadets in training to seventy -seven. This number will be increased to 122 in February next, when a quota of fortyfive Cadets will be admitted to the College, ten of whom, it is expected, will come from New Zealand.
– Nearly one-half have gone to the front?
– The two first quotas.
– That is so.
Factories. - The various Government Factories have been fully employed during the year, and a large quantity of military stores manufactured. I have some very interesting information regarding these factories, and as they form a very important part of the defence expenditure, and have been challenged in some quarters, I think it is my duty to place the information before the Senate.
The Cordite Factory has cost £147,940 to 30th June, 1914, of which £103,227 is invested in land, buildings, and plant; and £19,195 is the value of stores of raw material, &c, on hand. The maintenance of the Factory to 30th June cost £77,460, and product to the value of £75,148 was turned out during the same period. Eighty-four persons were employed at the close of the financial year, and wages paid during 1913-14 amounted to £11,636. The Factory is now working at full capacity, and is able to meet all requirements of cordite for small arms ammunition.
The Small Arms Factory has had £359,873 expended upon it to 30th June, 1914, and, of this, land and buildings account for £64,384; machinery and plant amount to £128,455; and stock on hand is valued at £46,462. The previous Labour Government approved of an extension of plant by one-third, and this machinery has since been installed, and is now being brought into operation. The total cost of working the Factory to June of this year amounted to £120,572. The employes numbered 374 at the close of the financial year, and wages for 1913-14 were £45,000. The Factory has for some time past maintained a satisfactory output of service rifles, and clips for small arms cartridges.
– Can you give us an idea as to how much it costs to turn out each rifle. We have heard some fantastic figures.
– The fantastic figures, I may say, were arrived at in this way : the critics took the total cost of running the Factory for twelve months, and the number of rifles turned out in that period, and divided the number of rifles by the total cost of running the Factory, irrespective of the fact that, during a good portion of the twelve months, the staff were not making rifles, but installing and testing the machinery.
The total cost to 30th June last of the Clothing Factory was £37,900. The value of the land, buildings, and machinery on the same date was £23,654, while raw material on hand was valued at £62,290. A sum of £355,360 was expended in maintenance, and clothing to the value of £328,633 was manufactured. Wages for the year 1913- 14 amounted to £34,369; and 439 persons, comprising 84 males and 355 females, were employed at the end of the year. Tho Factory now carries out the manufacture of most of the clothing required by the Naval and Military Forces, as well as a large quantity for the Postal Department. The quality of the work is considered to be superior to any hitherto supplied, and the cost compares very favorably with prices paid to contractors.
A sum of £46,805 has been expended on the Harness, Saddlery, and Accoutrements Factory to 30th June, 1914; and land, buildings, and plant are valued at £11,357; while raw material and stores to the value of £15,000 are on hand. The cost of operations amounted to £146,476; and goods to the value of £145,509 were manufactured. One hundred and sixty-eight persons were engaged on 30th June last; and for the financial year 1913-14 wages to the amount of £22,626 were disbursed. The bulk of the harness, saddlery, leather equipment, and canvas work used by the Defence and Postmaster-General’s Departments is supplied from this source.
The erection of buildings for the Woollen Cloth Factory at Geelong is approaching completion, and the machinery and power plant are now being installed. The Woollen Factory has cost £91,517 up to 30th June, and an additional £100,750 has been provided on this year’s Works Estimates. £20,000 has been provided for the purchase of raw material, &c., in preparation for commencement of manufacture about July of next year.
Excluding the Woollen Cloth Factory, which has not yet commenced operations, the various factories have cost the public the sum of £592,518, and the land, buildings, and plant in use are valued at £331,077, and stores at £142,947. A sum of £699,868 has been expended in operating tlie factories, and product to the value of £613,790 has been manufactured. Wages to tlie amount of £113,631 were distributed during 1913-14, and there were 1,065 persons employed at the close of the year.
Military Forces. - The estimated expenditure upon the .Military Forces for 1914-15, exclusive of additions, new works, miscellaneous expenditure, &c, is £12,254,490, of which the sum of £10,607,500 is provided to meet expenditure due to the war. The balance, £1,646,990, represents an increase of £108,446 on the actual expenditure under the corresponding votes of the previous financial year.
Administrative and Instructional Staff. - A sum of £228,950 has been provided under this head as compared with an actual expenditure of £178,337 during 1913- 14. This increase is partly accounted for by the fact that a number of instructors who were attached to and paid as members of the several Permanent Units in 1913-14 have now been provided for as members of the Instructional Staff. It has also been found necessary to provide for an increased number of instructors; and, in addition, the clerical staffs at district head-quarters have been strengthened. Under contingencies, the raising of the allowance of Area Officers with three years’ satisfactory service from £150 to £180 per annum necessitates increased provision. I think that is a commitment. Senator Millen will have heard that term before.
Permanent Units. - The amount provided for the Permanent Units for 1914- 15 represents an increase of £10,703 upon the actual expenditure for the previous year. A consider- able saving is being effected under the Royal Australian Field Artillery, owing to a great number of the men having enlisted for service abroad, and the consequent decision to maintain one permanent battery only instead of three until the men return. This saving is, however, more than counterbalanced by the fact that since the outbreak of war recruiting has been commenced, and endeavours are being made to bring the other Permanent Units up to their full establishment, which, of course, means increased expenditure.
– Does that mean to make two of them ?
– No; that refers to other branches of the Permanent Forces which were under strength.
Ordnance Department. - Increased provision to the extent of £7,417 has been made for this Department to provide much-needed increases in staffs. A system of reorganization is now being put into operation in New South Wales, and will be extended to the other States as circumstances permit.
Universal Military Training. - The amount provided for universal military training for the current financial year is £755,032 in excess of the actual expenditure during 1913-14. Of this sum, £650,000 is the additional amount required to pay the Citizen Forces called out for home service, and is included in the total war expenditure. The balance is principally required to pay and clothe the 1896 quota of Senior Cadets who pass into the Citizen Forces during this year.
Camps. - Of the sum of £271,600 provided for camps, &c, £160,500 represents the additional estimated expenditure in connexion with the mobilization camps for Citizen Forces called out for home defence, and forms part of the total expenditure due to the war.
Ammunition. - The amount provided for ammunition this year is £88,000 less than the expenditure for 1913-14. This is due to the fact that certain further supplies will not be obtainable before the 30th June next, and that a proportion of the small-arm ammunition available for purchase will be required for the Expeditionary Forces, and will consequently be paid for from that vote.
Expeditionary Forces. - The sum of £9,800,000 included in the Estimates ia intended to cover all expenditure in connexion with the Expeditionary Forces raised for service abroad up to 30th June next, and. is based on the assumption that the present war will continue during the remainder of this financial year, and that approximately 42,000 troops will be despatched during this period. The above amount is made up as follows : -
– Are we to understand that these figures are based on the supposition that 42,000 men only will be sent?
Senator- PEARCE. - They are based on the supposition that up to 30th June neat 42,000 men only will be sent.
In all, 10,700 officers and men have been mobilized during the war; 22,373 officers and men have already been sent to the front, and 16,500 of all ranks are now in training for service abroad. Thereare also 6,800 in training, for home defence. It is expected that 13,000 will leave Australia during the current month, and that 3,000 in addition will be despatched every two months. All men offering for enlistment are being trained and equipped. It has been suggested that we should send a number of men to England to be trained and equipped by the British Government, but we are rendering far more effective assistance by sending only drilled and equipped soldiers. The adoption of such a course as that suggested, so far from assisting the British Government, would only embarrass and hamper them. There is no shortage of undrilled men in Great Britain, but there is a lack of drilled and equipped men. If we are to render real service to Great Britain, we can only do so by providing men who are drilled and. also equipped.
– Who proposed that our men should go Home undrilled?
– Certain proposals of that kind have been made in the press by a number of correspondents.
Loan Expenditure. - Returning again more closely to the subject of finance, it will be necessary, before the adjournment, to ask Parliament for additional appropriation for loan expenditure. The following statement shows the loan expenditure 1913-14, and the estimated loan expenditure 1914-15 : -
The total amount appropriated by Parliament for loan funds is £5,770,002. The total expenditure to 30th June last was £4,003,067, leaving a balance of appropriation available of £1,766,935.
I do not know that there are any other points connected with the Budget to which I need direct special attention, as the Budget-papers will be available to honorable senators, and legislation covering the Budget proposals will come before them in due course.
– Do the probate and succession duties represent the only additional taxes proposed to be levied ?
– No; there is other taxation proposed, which will be disclosed in the Budget statement itself. An alteration of the land tax will be disclosed, when the necessary legislation to give it effect will be brought forward. The amount I have indicated shows the increase which is estimated as the result ofthat alteration.
– Are there no Tariff proposals submitted ?
– Not in the Budget. There is, however, an adjustment of the Customs revenue, which has in view and is based upon the proposed introduction of certain Tariff proposals.
Debate (on motion by Senator Millen) adjourned.
.- I move -
Radio or wireless telegraphy should be just as exclusive a Commonwealth monopoly or Commonwealth service as any other branch of our postal or telegraphic system. There are no insuperable difficulties in the way of carrying this policy to a successful issue, because works have been established at considerable expense in certain States thoroughly capable of undertaking the manufacture of wireless plants and everything connected with them, and also all our requirements for telephonic services. We have at present ample wireless stations so far as the coastal service and connexions with our Dependencies are concerned; but there is no reason why wireless telegraphy should not be developed to a much greater extent inland than it is at present. If it were, it is no idle statement to make that the very heavy expenditure which this Parliament is called upon to meet annually for telegraphic poles, wire, and other incidentals connected with the construction and maintenance of telegraph lines, would be considerably reduced. When the Commonwealth Navigation Act comes into operation it will be compulsory for every ship trading in Australian waters under our jurisdiction to be equipped with a wireless plant. There is every prospect of an important industry being established in this direction if the Government undertakes the manufacture, construction, and installation of these very necessary wireless plants on the different ships trading in our waters. At present there are over 500 ships trading in Australian waters that are without anything in the nature of wireless equipment. The present wireless companies operating in Australia, who claim to have a monopoly, charge about £250 a year rental for each plant installed on the ships that are today equipped with wireless. We cam therefore estimate what revenue would be likely to accrue to the Commonwealth Government if they undertook this work, even if they charged the shipping companies a much lower rental. There has been established for some time in Australia a factory specially equipped for the construction of wireless material. This factory, I am glad to say, received considerable encouragement from the Labour Government when they were in office from 1910 to 1913. It was in consequence of the support received from the Labour Government, and the activity displayed by that Government in linking Australia up with a chain of wireless stations, that those interested were induced to import special machinery at a high cost to equip their works thoroughly, so as to undertake the manufacture of wireless plant and material ; but when the Labour Government were superseded by the late Cook Ministry, strange to say, every effort was made to boycott the works.
I make bold to say that during the regime of the late Cook Government that factory, with its 250 skilled, capable young Australian workmen, did not receive sixpennyworth of Government work. Not only did the late Cook Government not encourage this fine Australian industry, but they did all they could to place obstacles in its way, and to assist its competitors, known as the Amalgamated Wireless - a combination of the German Telefunken and the Marconi companies. The Australian interests of these companies were combined for the purpose of defeating the Commonwealth system - an Australian invention that was assigned to the Federal Government without any cost to the country - and I regret to say that this movement in a great measure succeeded. When the war broke out on the 5th August of this year there was a considerable demand for wireless plants, and the then Minister of Defence purchased a number of them from the German company, while hundreds of young Australians capable of manufacturing them were walking the streets of Sydney looking for work.
– Were any tenders called?
– No tenders were called for the supply of that material, although the urgency of the requirements may have justified this; but there were complete wireless plants in that factory that had been manufactured by Australian workmen. These were allowed to remain there, and while the bailiffs were practically in the premises, many big orders were given to the Amalgamated Wireless Company by the late Government. That is a bold statement to make, and our friends opposite can try to refute it if they have the courage to bring forward their facts.
– It is disgraceful.
– It is disgraceful when we remember that a number of people in Australia put a lot of money into this very fine industry, and imported machinery to the value of almost ‘£80,000. The late Government apparently went to a lot of trouble to crush this good Australian industry, while in different parts of Australia they were talking about the glories of this Commonwealth, free, fair, Federal, and just. If Australian industries had to depend for their existence upon the support of Governments led by
Mr. Joseph Cook or the representatives of his party in this Chamber, they would have mighty poor prospects. I have included in the motion a provision that any system of wireless telegraphy installed should be a Commonwealth system. Honorable senators, before committing Parliament to the adoption of any system, would of course require to know what the Commonwealth system, which is a purely Australian invention, had to recommend it. On this point, the opinion of Mr. Swinburne, admittedly the greatest living expert on radio-telegraphy, should be not only valuable, but conclusive. He was brought out to Australia to adjudicate in a dispute that was going on at the time between the Marconi and Telefunken people and those connected with the Australian invention. The former applied to the High Court for an injunction for alleged infringement, and the Judge rightly asked for scientific guidance in an investigation into the infringement of so highly technical a patent.
– Did both companies consider that there was an infringement of their patents?
– When it was discovered that the Commonwealth Government were likely to adopt, and did adopt, the new invention, the German firm and the Marconi people, who were then at each other’s throats for infringement, combined their Australian interests in order to fight the new system, and, if possible, crush it out of existence. Mr. Swinburne, who received a fee of about 3,000 guineas for coming out here, reported that there was not the semblance of an infringement by the Commonwealth system on any other system, and voluntarily added that the Commonwealth system was 33 per cent, more effective than any other known system. I am sure” his statement is a sufficient recommendation for the system I am advocating. When his recommendation was made available, of course litigation ceased. In the meantime, the Labour Government went out of office, and a new Government came in. A few months afterwards it was announced that the Commonwealth Government and the Marconi people had come to an amicable agreement, the Cook Government having decided to purchase the Australian rights of the Marconi, which, by this time, included the Australian rights of the Tele- funken, for £5,000, each side to pay its own costs in the litigation. This was a beautiful arrangement, seeing that, in the case that was then going on, the combination that was trying to crush the Australian system out of existence was already “ well walloped.” It had no chance of winning, yet the Cook Government agreed to purchase its Australian rights for £5,000, although those rights absolutely expired at the end of the present year. The unfortunate part of the whole business is that, owing to the fact that no judicial decision was obtained in respect of the threatened litigation, the Commonwealth wireless system occupies very much the same position to-day that it occupied previous to the attack made upon it by the Marconi combination. If an attempt be made to instal it upon any ship trading round our coast, the Combine will at once threaten the shipping company concerned with an injunction, and the company, not wishing to face litigation, will, consequently, decline to proceed further with it. It will thus be seen that it would have been much better had a definite decision been obtained from the High Court as to the alleged infringement of the Marconi patents by the Commonwealth. From the very beginning of that litigation until its termination, Sir William Irvine held a retaining fee as counsel for the Marconi Company.
– Ho ought to be impeached.
– No doubt attempts will be made to whitewash his conduct. But nothing can justify the legal adviser of the Government in accepting a retainer from a financial corporation whose interests are in direct conflict with those of the Commonwealth.
– He would probably tell us that no mau cm serve two masters.
– Probably. I think I have said sufficient to convince honorable senators that my proposal would bo a very good one for the Commonwealth to adopt. I believe, too, that they are of opinion that a scheme which is purely an Australian scheme is well suited to our requirements. When I add that everything connected with wireless plants, from the most sensitive instruments down to the most unimportant piece of machinery, can he manufactured in the Commonwealth, it will bc recognised that it is time the Government established a factory of this kind on their own account. Of course, it may be urged that we have already established a number of wireless stations, and that, consequently, we are not likely to require much in the way of plant in the future. But I would point out that there is considerable wear and tear, particularly on the motors and oilengines, which form part of any wireless equipment, and that these could well be manufactured by the Government. It is equally important that the Commonwealth should undertake the manufacture of the whole of its telephonic requirements and material. There is no reason why it should not have done this long ago. There is no reason why it should import any of its telephonic requirements, either metallic or wood, or why it should import the ebonite which is used in connexion with that service. Seeing that all these things can be produced in Australia, we ought not to hesitate to undertake their construction, and to make their manufacture a Commonwealth monopoly.
– ‘The insulators, I believe, are imported.
– No. I am glad to say that we are manufacturing the biggest portion of our requirements in that direction, and that the local product is equal to the best imported. The great majority of the telephonic instruments used in Australia are branded “ Ericson,” and it is interesting to know that nearly every part of those instruments is made in Germany, whence they are sent to Sweden, where they are assembled. Subsequently they are forwarded to Australia as a Swedish production. The whole of these articles might with advantage be manufactured in the Commonwealth, which would thus provide work for many capable Australians. I am extremely anxious that we should do nothing in the way of rendering assistance to Germany - the country with which we are now at war, and whose action has threatened the very existence of civilization. I am sure that those honorable senators who, like myself, have visited the very fine wireless works at Randwick, in New South Wales, and who have heard the explanations of the experts employed there, must be satisfied that everything connected with our telephonic requirements could easily be supplied by that factory. As a matter of fact, there is an Australian firm to-day which is undertaking with marked success the manufacture of ebonite. There is no doubt that we have in this country a variety of woods which are thoroughly suited to the manufacture of telephone boxes. When we recollect that we are importing a large number of these boxes, and that they cost about 7s. 6d. each, we can easily understand what a saving the Government would effect by undertaking their manufacture locally. I am assured that the Ministry do not view this motion with any degree of hostility, and consequently I have no wish to labour it. I merely desire to add that we already have in our midst’ a thoroughly equipped factory, manned by a skilled staff, which is capable of manufacturing the different materials of which I have spoken and of thus affording employment to a number of skilled men who were formerly engaged there, but who have now been out of work for some months. The Ministry have now an opportunity of seeing that these men, who have lost their employment by reason of the inaction and indifference of the Cook Administration, are again provided with an opportunity of earning a livelihood. I submit the motion in the full confidence that honorable senators will recognise its importance, and that the Government will, without delay, undertake the establishment of a fine Australian industry, which will employ many thousands of good Australian workmen.
.- On behalf of the Government I wish to say that we do not view this motion with any hostility. Even if a hostile Ministry were in office, the able manner in which the motion has been put forward by Senator Long would incline them to give it very serious consideration.But, seeing that there are now in office a Government fresh from the country, which from many platforms avowed their desire to encourage the employment of Australian workmen in industries in which they can be profitably engaged, and bearing in mind that the extension of governmental activities is a plank in the platform of the Labour party, I am justified in assuring Senator Long that his motion will receive earnest consideration at our hands. But, whilst associating the Government with his proposal in that way, I do not associate them with every thing that he said during the course of his speech. I may say, however, that his statements in regard to the agreement arrived at by the late Government for the settlement of the litigation threatened by the Marconi and Telefunken companies were substantially correct. I merely rose to assure him that the Government will! take this motion into their earnest consideration. There is nothing in it which is inconsistent with the declared policy of a Labour Ministry.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Launching of the Cruiser Brisbane - State Interference with Wheat Contracts - Fodder Duties.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I take this opportunity to voice my dissatisfaction with the answers given by the Minister of Defence to-day to several questions I asked about the launching of the cruiser Brisbane. He replied to the first four questions, but of the others he said that the Department had no knowledge. The fourth question was -
Did the late manager of the dock prepare launching plans and estimates before proceeding with the launching of the Brisbane ?
The answer to that question was, “ The Department has no knowledge.” I do not suggest that the Minister would give this answer knowing that it is absolutely incorrect. But I am prepared to saythat, before the late manager undertook, as an employe of the New South Wales. Government, to build the vessel, he took all precautions for launching her, and! that the State Government were prepared to guarantee that they would launch her.. I do not wish to enter into a controversy on the subject at the present moment, but I want the Minister to give me his* assurance that he will find out whether the answers to my questions are correct or not. I say that the plans were prepared; that they were sent to England, and have been returned, and that if they are not in the Department to-day they were in the Department, and ought to be there now. I will take another opportunity of referring to this matter; but 1 ask the Minister to find out if he cannot give me other answers to the questions.
– I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of Defence to a matter about which I have spoken on several occasions during the last nine or ten days, and regarding which I asked him a question even so late as this afternoon. Regarding this matter of Inter-State wheat shipments, and the embargo laid upon them by certain State action, I would like the Minister to see that the obtaining of the necessary legal opinion as an initiative in connexion with possible Commonwealth action be obtained as quickly as possible, because the matter is one of supreme urgency in regard to the interests of the State I assist to represent in this Chamber. I will have no other opportunity of referring to the matter, perhaps, for the next couple of months, as it is an open secret that the two Bouses of Parliament axe about to make a- long adjournment. Procrastination in regard to the- obtainment of legal opinion will be most detrimental to the - interests of the people of Tasmania. I would like- the Administration to recollect that the Commonwealth was instituted primarily because of two supreme desires on the part of the people of the- Colonies, namely, to secure a system of’ national defence, ‘ and to obtain- perfect freedom of trade between the States: The Minister will, I feel sure, recognise that this is a matter of very great importance to the people’ of the Commonwealth, and that it is almost’ as important as the matter of defence, because, if the people are not fed, there can be no sound system of defence. This position has arisen out of something which is very unsatisfactory, namely, a bad wheat harvest, and our State is at all times in rather a precarious position in this regard. It is doubly so this year because of the leanness of the harvest, and anything like delay in connexion with any action which the Commonwealth- may contemplate taking is something which we certainly do not desire. I hope that all possible expedition will be used by the Government in obtaining the necessary legal opinion, with which they may fortify themselves before taking action, if - action is right and proper on the part of the national Administration.
– I wish to know what the Government intend to do in the matter of suspending the- duties- on fodder. I asked a question on the subject previously, and the answer given was to the effect that the Government had the matter under consideration. I am sure that the Minister, as well as the members of the Senate, have noticed that lately the Government of New Zealand have taken a very decided step in this regard. Owing to a shortage of wheat, they have suspended the duty on that article, and, to the extent, of course, to which they have relieved the situation, the consumers in the Dominion are experiencing a benefit today, as well as the growers in the North Island, particularly, where wheat culture is carried on. In Australia the fodder question is not an unimportant one at all. It is a very serious question in some parts, particularly so in Western Australia. The price of fodder there to-day is about 60 per cent, higher than.- it was in the drought year of 1902, while in- Melbourne, as well as in Sydney, fodder is- much dearer at the present time than it- was in the corresponding part of the year 1902. I do sincerely hope that the Government will take into immediate consideration the necessity for wiping out the- duty on fodder; as this is a famine year. There -is not the -slightest doubt that we are experiencing the worst year that has ever struck this country: The State of New South Wales is fairly well situated; the State of Queensland, I believe, is better situated than all others; but in Victoria, and more acutely in South Australia, and still more acutely in Western Australia, this country is shorter of fodder this year than it has ever been in the history of its development. It is a most important and pressing question for the reason that, if we do not get fodder admitted into Australia at a reasonable figure, a man of slender means will not be able to get an appreciable area of country under crop at all. This question is more important than even the one to which Senator Bakhap referred, for the reason that if we do not get opportunities provided for men to feed their horses, and to got their land cultivated, we shall have less production, and a very much smaller crop to handle next year. It is all important to do something in the direction I have indicated. And; after all, what is the Tariff? It is made for normal years. In my opinion, it is like a garment which one puts on when. it is wanted, and takes off when it is not wanted, particularly in a yearwhich, let me repeat, is on abnormal year. The occasion has arisen when the Commonwealth Government should follow the lead of the New Zealand Government, and remove the duties on fodder. I hope that the Minister will bring my request urgently under the notice of big colleagues, and, if he does, I am sure that he will earn the gratitude and appreciation of a large body of small cultivators, particularly the men of slender means, who are anxiously looking forward for some form of relief to be given to them in their present crucial position. I hope that the Minister of Defence and his colleagues have their plans matured by this time, and will make an early announcement that the fodder duties will be removed.
– In reply to Senator McDougall, all that I can say is that his questions were submitted to the Department, and that I gave the answers which were furnished to me. I must assume that the Department is telling me the truth ; but I will have further inquiries made, as the honorable senator has suggested. In regard to what Senator Bakhap has said, I will bring his representations before the Minister of Trade and Customs. The question raised by Senator Lynch, as he knows, has been considered once by the Government; but I will bring his representations before the Minister of Trade and Customs again.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.27 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 December 1914, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1914/19141203_senate_6_75/>.