14 April 1915

6th Parliament · 1st Session

ThePresident took the chairat 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 2277


Assent to the following Bills reported: -

Estate Duty Assessment Bill.

Australian Notes Bill.

Commonwealth Bank Bill.

Estate Duty Bill.

Invalid and Old-age Pensions Appropriation Bill.

Iron Bounty Bill.

Land Tax Bill.

Land Tax Assessment Bill.

Loan Bill.

Loan Bill (No. 2).

Public Works Committee Bill,

Treasury Bills Bill.

War Pensions Bill.

War Loan Bill.

Defence Bill.

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The following papers were presented -

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works -

Report, together with Minutes of Evidence and Appendix, relating to the proposed storage and regulating reservoir, Upper Queanbeyan River.

Ordered to be printed.

Audit Act1901-1912 - Regulations amended- &c-

Statutory Rules1914, Nos.84 and 101

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 21 and 23.

Commonwealth Bank Act 1911 - True cop of Aggregate Balance Sheet of Common wealth Bank of Australia at 31st Decem ber, 1914; together with Auditor-General Report thereon.

Contract Immigrants Act 1905. - Returnfor 1914, respecting contract immigrants ad mitted or refused admission intothe Com monwealth, &c.

Defence Act1903-1912 - Regulation; amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 178, 179 180, 181, 186.

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 15,26, 27 20, 30, 33, 34, 36.

Defence and CommonwealthGovernment Small Arms Factory - Report for periodended 30th June, 1913.

Dominions Royal Commission. - Minutesof Evidence taken inSouth Africa -

Part I.

Part II.

Electoral Act 1902-1911, and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act 1906-1911 - Regulations. - Statutory Rules1916. No. 40.

Estate Duty Assessment Act 1914 - Regula tions - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 14. Immigration Act 1901-1912. - Returnfor 1914 showing- (a) Persons refused admission to the Commonwealth; (b) Person who passed the dictation test; (c) Per sons admitted withoutbeingaskedto pasthe dictation test; (d) Departuresof coloured persons from the Commonwealth

Inscribed Stock (Commonwealth) Act 1911- 1913 - Dealings and transactions during year ended 30th June. 1914.

Lands Acquisition Act 1906. -

Regulations.- Statutory Rules 1915, No. 11 Land disposed of -

Old King’s Warehouse on the Customs Reserve, Quay-lane, Rock hampton, Queensland - Leased to A. W. Kirby and Company Limited.

Grazing rights of portion of Rifle Range at Echuca, Victoria - Leased to George Frederick Cleland and Henry Little.

Land acquired under, at -

Arncliffe, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Balaklava, South Australia - For Defence purposes.

Bathurst, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Land acquired under, at - continued.

Baulkham Hills, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Bulli, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Cobden, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Glen Lnnes, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Horsham, Victoria/ - For Defence purposes.

Irymple, Victoria - For Postal purposes.

Junee, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Kew, Victoria - For Defence purposes.

Leederville, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.

Leichhardt, New South Wales (two) - For Defence purposes.

Millicent, South Australia - For Defence purposes.

Moonta, South Australia - For Defence purposes.

Mullumbimby, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Murwillumbah, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Narrogin, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.

Petersburg, South Australia (two) - For Defence purposes.

Port Augusta, South Australia (two) - For Railway purposes.

Quambatook, Victoria - For Postal purposes.

Sea Lake, Victoria - For Postal purposes.

Subiaco, Western Australia - For Defence purposes.

Tamworth, New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Willyama (Broken Hill), New South Wales - For Defence purposes.

Wyalong, New South Wales- For Defence purposes.

Naturalization Act 1903. - Return of number of persons to whom naturalization certificates were granted during 1914:

Naval Defence Act 1910-1912 -

Regulations amended. &c. -

Statutory Rules 1915, No. 4.

Northern Territory - Ordinances of 1915 -

No. 1 - Licensing.

No. 2 - Birds Protection.

Papua - Ordinances of 1914 -

No. 7 - Lands Acquisition.

No. 12 - Marriage.

No. 14- Pearl, Pearl-Shell, and Bechedemer.

No. 16 - Supplementary. Appropriation Ordinance 1913-1914, No. 3.

No. 17 - Education.

No. 19- Excise.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works -

Report, together, with; Minutes of Evidence ana Appendices, on the question of the. Construction of a Main Sower for the City of. Canberra.

Post and Telegraph Act 1901-1913.- Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules 1914, Nos. 151, 152, 162, 163, 184, 165, 169, 173, 177, 183, 184.

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 10, 13, 16, 19, 20, 32. 3d. Public Service Act 1902-1913- Appointments, Promotions, &c. -

Attorney-General’s Department -

Department of Home Affairs -

Postmaster-General’s Department -

Department of Defence -

Regulations amended, Stc. -

Statutory Rules 1914, No. 187.

Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 6, 7, 6,

12, 37, 38.

War, European -

Diplomatic Correspondence published by the Belgian Government.

Correspondence respecting events leading to the rupture of relatione with Turkey.

Correspondence regarding gifta from the Oversea Dominiona and Colonies.

Despatch from His Majesty’s Ambassador at Petrograd re temperance measures adopted in Russia.

War, European - continued.

Letter of 31st July,1914, from the President ofthe French Republic to the King respecting the European Crisis, and His Majesty’s reply of 1st August, 1914.

War Precautions Act 1914. - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1915, Nos. 28 and 31.

Wireless Telegraphy Act 1905. - Regulations amended, &c. -

Statutory Rules1914, Nos. 155, 156, 170.

Statutory Rules 1915, No.9.

page 2279



– I desire to inform the Senate that I have received from Mrs. J. A. Arthur, widow of the Hon. J. A. Arthur, Minister of State for External Affairs, the following communication : -

Burupga, The Avenue,

Royal Park, 27th January, 1915.

To the President of the Senate.

Dear Senator Givens,

Will you please accept my warm thanks and appreciation for your own personal kindness to me and mine, and also convey to the Senate and to the different Senators who expressed themselves so feelingly and kindly in the addresses given on the occasion of Mr. Arthur’s death. I have had such profound sympathy shown me fromevery one, and it has helped me so greatly.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Lily A. Arthur

page 2279



Senator McDOUGALL:

– Has the attention of the Minister of Defencebeen drawn to a statement by the ex-Governor of German New Guinea, published in the New York Times, reprinted in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of8th April, and headed -

New Guinea Rulers Saved by a “Bluff.” - Germanex-Governor of Settlement tells how he Dictated Terms to Australians. - Got Safe Conduct Home. - With Handful of Whites and Native Police, Dr. Haber Parleyed for Days with Invading Force.

I do not propose to read the whole of the report, but in one part a most serious charge is made against our forces, which I think should be inquired into -

We did not entrench at Toma. We just waited to see what was going to happen. In a few days they bombarded one of the sea coast places with 6-in. guns, firing GO shots, in spite of the fact that the manager of the Forsythe company, owners of one of the big plantations, had assured the Australian officers that the only inhabitants left in the place were a white woman with three children, plantation managers and native workmen.

Will the Minister make inquiries into this matter and find out the facts, so that this charge can be denied to the world ?

Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Defence · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · ALP

– I have been informed that such a report appeared, although I have not yet seen it. I shall be glad if the honorable senator will let me have his copy. But I would like, commenting on the part to which he referred, to make a statement now. It is rather significant that, at his own request, I gave the ex-Governor of German New Guinea an interview, and that he made no such complaint to me when he was in Australia. I shall have inquiries made into the matter.

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Senator LYNCH:

– In view of the report we have seen in the press that the captain and the officers of the Emden knew all about the movements of the first Australian contingent and were prepared to take action, and in view of the supposed truth of those statements, is the Minister of Defence satisfied that there is no leakage from this country of news concerning the happenings or the movements of troops here, and that adequate surveillance obtains at present over the news which is transmitted to neutral countries, and by that means reaches the enemy ?

Senator PEARCE:

– The Department, with the co-operation of the police departments of the States, is doing all that it can to safeguard the interests of the Commonwealth in the direction indicated by the question. As regards the particular incident to which the honorable senator referred, I would remind him that it was obvious from the action of the Emden herself that her captain was not aware that our transports were in her vicinity.

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Senator BARNES:

-I ask the Minister of Defence whether the promotions in our Expeditionary Forces now serving in Egypt are made by the General Officer commanding those forces, or by the military authorities in Australia? If the promotions are made by the latter, are they based on the recommendations of the General Officer commanding in Egypt?

Senator PEARCE:

– The General Officer commanding in Egypt is authorized by the Minister to make promotions in the forces under his command. Those promotions have subsequently to be submitted to Australia for confirmation.

Senator MULLAN:

– Arising out of ;he answer given to Senator Barnes, I ask ohe Minister whether we are to understand that the only promotions made in our Expeditionary Forces will be those which are recommended by the officers in charge of those forces abroad ?

Senator PEARCE:

– Yes. The only promotions made while the forces are abroad will be those recommended by the General Officer commanding them.

page 2280



Senator McDOUGALL:

– I ask the Minister of Defence whether he has iven effect to his promise to make inquiry during his visit to Sydney into the delay which has occurred in the launching of the cruiser Brisbane, and whether i report on the subject is now available?

Senator PEARCE:

– I did make inquiries into the matter, but I have no report on it. What I was able to gather during my visit to Sydney simply confirmed the view which I had previously expressed, that in approving of a recommendation to build the slipway which is now being laid down we did the best possible thing in the circumstances.

page 2280




– I ask the Minister representing the Minister of Home Affairs whether he will lay on the table of the Senate Mr. Waldron ‘s report on the Macdonnell Ranges, Northern Territory ?

Vice-President of the Executive Council · NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP

– I will make inquiries into the matter. If the report is to hand I will see what can be done in the direction of making it available to honorable senators.

page 2280



Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Defence · Western Australia · ALP

– I’ ask the permission of the Senate to read a statement relating to the administration of the Government during the adjournment.

Leave granted.

Senator PEARCE:

– On the 18th December last, when moving that the House should adjourn until to-day, the Prime Minister stated that, whilst he hoped Parliament would not have occasion to meet before that date, the critical situation of -war might render an earlier meeting necessary. I am glad to say that such a course has not been necessary. The Empire has now been at war for eight months. We have seen many changing phases of the greatest struggle of history. There is no cause for dissatisfaction with the record to date. During these eight months the Navy has realized our highest hopes. Great Britain has succeeded in asserting an almost complete command of the sea. Britain has pushed forward great preparations for a land campaign in Europe. The military resources of the Empire have proved far larger and more quickly available than were thought possible. We have held during a terrible winter an important portion of the French lines in the West, and indeed have made progress; we have achieved considerable local successes in other parts of the world; we face the opening of spring with the highest hopes for success in this great struggle for freedom.

Australia has not been neglectful of her duty to the common cause. It may be that the immunity afforded Australians by the command of the seas possessed by the Allies has perhaps prevented our people from realizing to the fullest extent the terrible nature of the struggle in which they, with all other parts of the Empire, are engaged. But we must remember that they have been called upon to face, besides the war, the trials of an unfavorable season. Notwithstanding this, Australia has despatched for service at the front and has in camp preparing for active service there a grand total of 70,101 troops of all ranks, comprising 2,074 officers and 68,027 men of other ranks, with 30,946 horses and 3,098 vehicles. Of this total 43,146 men of all ranks have already been sent abroad; 24,976 are preparing to leave; 1,522 have already seen service in German New Guinea, where a garrison of 457 still remains; and I am more than pleased to be able to announce that approximately 80 per cent. of the forces sent abroad have been Australian born. I regret to say that the forces have suffered slight loss. There have been ninety-nine deaths in the force sent abroad and twenty casualties in the force of occupation in German New Guinea. I attach a table showing the position in detail.

Australian Imperial Force. The following units and reinforcements have been despatched for service in Europe: -

The casualties have been, to date, ninety-nine deaths.

Now in training in camps: -

Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. This force was raised and despatched for service in German New Guinea. It consisted of: - The above served from 15th August, 1914, to 4th March, 1915, and is now disbanded. The casualties were: - German New Guinea is now occupied by a later unit, despatched on and after 28th November, 1914, consisting of : - The unchangeable policy of the Government is to train, equip, and transport to the seat of war every available man fit to help defeat our enemies. The equipment of such an army has naturally been a task of the greatest magnitude, calling for every ounce of energy that can be exerted. In the matter of woollen materia] and blankets, practically the whole of the output of the woollen mills throughout the Commonwealth is required to equip the Expeditionary Forces. Twenty-two mills have been requisitioned and are working up to their full capacity, and in many instances overtime is being worked in the endeavour to execute orders at the earliest possible date. Orders are now running with the different mills for altogether over 2,000,000 yards of cloth for jackets and greatcoats and cord for breeches, for over 1,250,000 yards of flannel for shirts, &c, and for nearly one quarter of a million blankets. These supplies are required before the end of the current year to equip the Expeditionary Forces, together with reinforcements and replacements. With regard to clothing, applications have just been invited throughout the Commonwealth from firms willing to make up material into garments for the Department, and orders have been placed with, altogether, 124 firms for a total of 636,210 garments of various kinds. Arrangements have been made for the supply of nearly 1,000,000 pairs of boots by 31st December, 1915, distribution being made amongst firms throughout the Commonwealth, while master tanners have been required to guarantee sufficient supplies of leather for all military purposes. This effort on the part of Australia in the short space of eight months is a subject for gratification. It stands on a parity proportionate to population with what is being accomplished by our great sister dominion of Canada. But this is not all. The Royal Australian Navy has continued to perform the good work which it has carried out since the outbreak of war. The Prime Minister had the pleasure, when in New Zealand recently, of hearing everywhere expressions of appreciation at the part played by the Australian Navy since the outbreak of war, and of thankfulness for the protection it afforded to New Zealand in a time of great danger. It is a fact that the superior naval force presented by the Australian Fleet Unit was to a considerable degree responsible for driving the German Squadron from the Pacific to its doom at the Falklands, in the Atlantic. The Australian Navy has done effective work, and the Government have been at all times in close touch with the Admiralty. The officers and men are generally fit and well, and it is a remarkable tribute to the efficiency of the ships and the care bestowed on them by the crews that since the outbreak of war they have never been in dockyard hands for any serious defect. Fifty-three vessels have been taken up as transports by the Government; six interned German steamers have also been utilized as transports, and officers and crews provided for them by the Naval authorities. Twelve interned German steamers have been requisitioned for use as cargo ships, and full crews provided for them. These cargo ships, which are controlled by the Navy Office, have done much to relieve the congestion consequent on the requisitioning of so many steamers for military purposes. In order to protect trade routes and to embarrass the movements of enemy vessels, the Government were reluctantly compelled to impose considerable restrictions on coal export. This has entailed some hardship on the coal trade, which, however, has generously responded to the requirements of the situation. Work is proceeding at Henderson Naval Base, where 217 men are engaged. At Flinders Naval Base 333 men are employed. Engineering data is being obtained at Port Stephens and Albany. At. Cockatoo Island, works authorized in Estimates are in hand. It is expected that the *Brisbane* will be launched this year, and the destroyers fully completed this year. Railways. It is estimated the EastWest Railway will bc completed in less than two and a half years' time, and there Are reasons to believe that the same gauge from Kalgoorlie- to Perth will be in existence before that time has elapsed. The Government have had under consideration the question of a strategic railway for greater security and defence, which, joining the East- West Railway in the neighbourhood of Port Augusta, will link up the capita cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. They have made arrangements for a preliminary investigation of a proposed route. As soon as the report is received, Parliament will be advised. Financial Position of the Commonwealth. - In the Budget speech of 3rd December, 1914, the financial position of the Commonwealth was dealt with at length. It seems desirable, however, that a further statement should be laid before honorable members, showing the action which has been taken up to date, and summarizing the position. It will be remembered that the estimate of expenditure out of revenue totalled £37,583,715, including special expenditure consequent upon the war, amounting to £11,742,050. The Treasurer proposed that the expenditure should be provided for as follows: - Ways and Means. Surplus brought forward from previous years, £1,222,401; estimated revenue of 1914-15. including revenue under the new Tariff and increased land tax, as well as new probate and succession duties, amounting in all to £23,273,000; Treasury-bills to be issued for war purposes, £1.2 '2 050; Treasury-bills to be issued for other revenue purposes, £1,346,264; loan from British Government for war purposes, at £1.500.000 monthly, for seven months, £10,500,000. Total of estimated expenditure provided for, £37,583,715. Receipts. - The following is a comparison of the receipts for the year, and the actual receipts up to 28th February, 1915: - There were unusual difficulties in framing the Estimates of revenue, but I am pleased to be in a position to state that, according to present indications, the Estimates of revenue for the year will be found satisfactory on the whole, because, though there probably will be a shortage, its amount i8 not likely to cause serious embarrassment. The Customs and Excise revenue to 31st March, 1915, amounts to £11,181,000, which may be compared with £11,353,000 received in the same period of the previous year. We estimated that in the whole year we should receive £717,000 less than in the preceding twelve months, but in the nine months the decrease has been only £172,000. While it is too early, as well as unwise under present circumstances, to commit oneself to a definite forecast, it may be stated that the estimate of Customs and Excise revenue for the year is likely to be exceeded ; but, even so, the excess will not be as much as has sometimes occurred under less disturbing conditions. We expected the Post Office to return in the whole year £55,000 more than it did in the previous year. Up to 31st March, 1915, the total revenue was £3,423,000, being an increase of £37,000 above the amount collected for the same period in 1913-14. It seems, therefore, that Post Office revenue is coming in at about the expected rate. Up to 31st March, 1915, we collected probate and succession duties amounting only to £804. For manifest reasons it is almost impossible to make a reliable estimate of revenue from this source. As the Commonwealth duties are levied on the estates only of persons who died after 21st December, 1914, and as some time necessarily elapses before the amount payable in any case can be ascertained, it was not expected that prior to 31st March there would be any considerable revenue. From information now in our possession, however, it would seem that the estimate of £1,000,000 for this financial year waa too high, and we do not expect to collect, before 30th June, more than £100,000. The land tax this year promises a larger amount of revenue, but it is doubtful if the estimate will be realized. Expenditure. The following was the state of the Expenditure Accounts on 28th February last: - Since the Budget Estimates were framed, no further estimate of expenditure has been made, but it is known that the war expenditure will exceed the estimate. Such excess will be met out of the proceeds of an additional loan granted by the British Government. To this loan further reference will presently be made. As already stated, the total receipts for the eight months are £20,987,057; and the expenditure for the same period is £21,836,070. From this it will be seen that we have expended in excess of the receipts in the eight months the amount of £849,013. We were able to pay away more than the actual receipts of the period because we began with a surplus brought forward amounting to £1,222,401. In framing the Budget, it was found necessary to raise money by the sale of Treasury-bills in order that the estimated expenditure might be met. The estimated requirements were: - On 28th February, 1915, we had already sold Treasury-bills amounting to £2,995,000 to cover the deficiency referred to. The Treasury-bills were bought by the Australian Notes Fund ; that is to say, funds were created by the issue of notes, and these funds were used for the purchase of the Treasury-bills. The amount is in excess of the estimate of £2,588,314, but an improved financial position has since enabled us to reduce the amount of Treasury-bills outstanding to £2,795,000, and when the land tax is received at the end of the year we expect to reduce it further. In the estimated total expenditure of £37,583,715, already referred to, provision was made only for the services which are usually paid for out of revenue. In addition, the Treasurer estimated that he would spend in the year the amount of £2,162,580 on the Transcontinental Railway, land in the Federal Territory, conduits, and other services which are usually paid for out of loan funds. Up to 28tn February, 1915, there was expended on these loan services £1,301,482. In order to raise the necessary loan funds, the Treasurer sold to the Australian Notes Fund, Commonwealth Inscribed Stock and Commonwealth Treasury-bills. Imperial Loan. The estimated receipts during this financial year include £10,500,000, being seven monthly instalments of the £18,000,000 which the British Government has agreed to lend to the Commonwealth. This loan was granted in order that war expenditure might be met. The first instalment was received on 15th December last, and in each month since an instalment has been paid, making a- total to date of £6,000,000. The Commonwealth is to pay to the Imperial Government on the £18,000,000 the rate of interest at which that Government itself has borrowed. The period of the loan is indefinite, the date of repayment being a matter which is to be agreed upon between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government of the Commonwealth. It is understood that tho British Government is making the loan to the Commonwealth out of the proceeds of a loan of £350,000,000 raised by the British Government. This loan is repayable between 1st March, 1925, and 1st March, 1928. The price of the issue was £95 per cent., and the rate of interest 3£ per cent. Until the date at which the Commonwealth has to repay the loan has been fixed, it is not possible to calculate the effective rate of interest. Since the date of the Budget, it has been decided to increase the strength of the Expeditionary Forces, and the amount of £18,000,000 will not suffice. The British Government has, therefore, agreed to lend us a further amount of £6,500,000 for war purposes, making a total of £24,500,000 to be received by the Commonwealth up to 31st December, .1915. In addition, the British Government has agreed to lend us before the date named the amount of £3,500,000, in order that Commonwealth works already in progress may be continued. Assistance to States. Before the British Government agreed to lend the amount of £18,000,000, it was the intention to meet the war expenditure out of the Australian Notes Fund, but money for the war having been obtained in the manner previously referred to, we were able to use the resources of the Notes Fund for loans to the States for public works. Accordingly, on 5th November, 1914, tho Commonwealth Treasurer en tered into an agreement with the States that the Commonwealth should lend and the States should borrow the following sums : - The money is to be available in London and in Australia, and the amount borrowed is to bear interest at the rate which it costs the Commonwealth of Australia to raise money for its own purposes, but such rate is not to be less than 4 per cent, per annum. In tha agreement the States engage not to borrow otherwise during a period of twelve months from the date of the agreement, except for renewals of existing loans falling due; but the States are permitted to sell Treasury Bonds over the counter to an amount not exceeding sales in a normal year. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator MILLEN:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913; NAT from 1917 -- Within what period is this money to be advanced to the States ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- To December of this year. As the precise rate of interest payable by the Commonwealth to the British Government is not yet known, we cannot at present state exactly what interest the loans to the States will bear. It would seem that the amount will be slightly more than 4 per cent. Each monthly instalment of the loan to a State will be repayable by the State to the Commonwealth two years after the date at which the instalment was paid to the State. The Commonwealth Treasury is making its advances to the States out of the Australian Notes Fund on or about the loth of each month. Each monthly instalment amounts to £1,500,000, and the first instalment was paid in December. Previously Victoria had received £350,000 and South Australia £100,000; but the sums will be deducted from the instalments payable to these States in a future month. Agreement with Banks. The Australian Notes Fund could not have been used in the manner indicated without the assistance of the banks, which have agreed not to present notes at the Treasury for gold until the close of the war. The right is reserved to the banks, however, to make use of the Australian notes for banking purposes. The agreement does not compel any bank to hold any particular amount of Australian notes. It may pay the notes away to its customers or to its other creditors. The Treasurer on his part has agreed with the banks that the increased issue of Australian notes is to be considered an emergency issue, which is to be redeemed in gold at the close of the war. The banks have further undertaken to lodge gold in the Commonwealth Treasury amounting in all to £10.000,000, and to take Australian notes in exchange for the gold. "Up to date, the Treasurer has called upon the banks for 3,000,000 sovereigns, which have been placed in the Treasury vaults, and are now part of the reserve for the redemption of Australian notes. The agreement with the banks provides further that the Treasurer shall, if required, make advances to the banks in Australian notes, the banks to deposit in gold one-third of the amount of the notes advanced, and to give a deposit receipt at 4 per cent. per annum for the balance. Deposit receipts are to be payable in twelve months after the end of the war, and the banks have the option of redeeming the same at any time before maturity. Deposit receipts amounting to £241,000 have been received from the banks under this arrangement, and the banks have exercised their right to redeem the deposit receipts to the extent of £40.000, the amount outstanding being £201,000. Australian Note Issue. On 12th April, 1915, the Australian notes in circulation in the hands of the banks and the public amounted to £26,664,329; in addition, up to that date, the Treasury had received interest on investments of the notes moneys. Such interest, after deducting all expenses of the note issue, amounted to £601,460. The total Note Funds at that date, therefore, amounted to £27,265,783. These Funds, on 12th April, 1915, had been disposed of as follows: - Loans to States, being instalments of total loan of £18,000,000, viz. : - CommonwealthEmployment. - During the recess, the Ministry have given special attention to the necessity for providing relief to the labour market, both skilled and unskilled labour, owing to the increase in unemployment, consequent upon the closing down in certain directions of private industries. With this object in view, practically the whole of the works voted by Parliament were put in hand immediately the Estimates were passed, including alarge number of drill halls, rifle ranges, military depots, and additional buildings in connexion with the Aviation School at Point Cook, additional buildings at the Royal Australian Naval College, Jervis Bay; at the Royal Military College, Duntroon; and at the factories for the equipment, and manufacture of munitions of war. On the east-west railway, where the road-head is now at 216 miles 66 chains in the west, and at 232 miles in the east, approximately 3,000 men are employed in construction, traffic, &c. Drought conditions, and consequent shortage of water, prevented even larger operations. The Defence Department is employing no less than 1,922 temporary men. In the Federal Capital Territory, approximately 650 men are employed, and it is expected the number will be increased very shortly by another fifty, or more. On the Pine Creek-Katherine River railway, some 340 men are employed. On Federal works in Victoria, approximately 1,160 men are receiving employment; and on Federal works in New South Wales, approximately 1,300 men. We have made a start with construction of works by day labour under our own supervision in Queensland, and will soon be employing quite a number of men. In South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, Federal works are being pushed on with under State supervision, and as much employment as possible is being given. Commonwealth Bank. The Commonwealth Bank has been of great service to the Commonwealth during the war crisis. It granted to the Government an overdraft in London during August last of £100,000; and during September, £130,000, at a time when all the banks in England, except the Bank of England and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, were observing tho moratorium. At the request of the Minister of Defence, the Bank also arranged to provide funds to pay for purchase of horses for the Expeditionary Forces throughout Australia, pending the passing of a Supply Bill, which arrangement enabled the departmental officers to immediately proceed to purchase and pay for horses, without waiting for Supply to be passed. At the same time, the Commonwealth Bank agreed to assist the State Governments in London with their financial arrangements. The Bank also assisted four banks in three different States in Australia, and in London, and arranged to assist another if necessary. At a time when the other banks in London were strictly observing the mora torium, the Commonwealth Bank did not do so. It assisted a large number of Australians resident in England, and visiting there. Passengers who have since returned are loud in their praise of the action of the Bank during the crisis. It need hardly be added that the prestige of the institution has thus been considerably strengthened. The Bank continued uninterruptedly to negotiate in London bills on Australia, and many merchants in this country were glad of its assistance in transferring funds to London. The Bank has on behalf of the Treasury continued to redeem Australian notes and silver in London, and owing to the despatch of the Expeditionary Forces, this phase of its transactions has assumed comparatively large proportions. It has, during the war, and still can, help stranded Australians at almost all places outside the actual theatre of war, a fact which may be interesting to many of our people in this country. I am glad to pay tribute to the excellent work of the Bank's Governor in the crisis. He rendered good service in the negotiations for assisting banks, Savings Banks, and States, and is still assisting the Treasurer with these and similar matters. I should like to refer to the assistance rendered by this institution to Government and semi-Government bodies in Australia at low rates of interest during the past twelve months, when the money market had become restricted owing to the war and other conditions. Since the 30th June, 1914, the Bank has made the following advances: - All these loans have either been made, or are in course of payment, and nearly the whole amount has been lent at a maximum rate of interest of 4£ per cent., and in the case of municipalities, &c, is generally repayable by half-yearly instalments of principal and interest, covering periods of from ten to thirty years. At the same time the Bank has continued to deal with applications for advances from constituents throughout the Commonwealth on normal lines, and practically every application has been granted where a proper and ample security has been forthcoming. The rate of interest charged on ordinary overdrafts has been kept at 6 per cent. throughout, whilst for advances to churches, charities, societies, and unions, &c, who do not distribute their profits amongst their shareholders, the rate is 5 per cent. On the 1st March, 1915, the Bank had 924 overdrawn accounts in the Commonwealth, of which 740 had balances under £1,000, and 184 over £1,000. These advancesare distributed over the whole of Australia and Tasmania, and are all amply secured. In addition to its own staff, the Bank has, by arrangement with the Federal Land Tax Commissioner, the assistance of the Federal Land Tax appraisers and valuers throughout the Commonwealth, in arriving at the proper valuation of securities offered. In order that the Commonwealth Bank may develop in accordance with the ideas of business which have been found peculiarly adaptable to Australia, it is necessary that it should be represented by direct branches in as many centres as possible throughout the Commonwealth, and this may be accomplished either by opening new branches as desired - which is an expensive and slow process - or alternatively absorbing another bank or banks. The Bank at present has branches at the following centres: - New South Wales. - Sydney, Albury, Broken Hill, Canberra, Dubbo, Lismore, Newcastle, Tamworth, and Wagga Wagga Victoria. - Melbourne, Ballarat, and Geelong Queensland. - Brisbane, Rockhampton, Toowomba, and Townsville South Australia. - Adelaide Western Australia. - Perth Tasmania . - Hobart and Launceston And also a branch at London, and arrangements are now well forward for opening branches at many other important centres throughout the States. The balance still at debit of profit and loss at the. 31st December, 1914, was £23,566 16s. l1d., but it is to be remembered that all payments for furniture and fittings were charged to profit and loss, and not debited to a " capital account." As regards the SavingsBank Department of the Bank, it has continued to progress steadily, despite the war crisis, and between the 30th June, 1914, and 31st December, 1914, the balance at credit of depositors in this Department increased by £1,362,000, an average of well over £50,000 per week, whilst the number of accounts during the same period increased by 31,666. The steady weekly increase in this Department still continues, the total of 192,530 depositors' balances as at 29th March, 1915, having increased to £6,552,661, as against 174,809 depositors with balances of £6,007,975 on 31st December, 1914. The Savings Bank in London was established primarily for the benefit of Australians, or intending Australians, and generally to assist emigrants leaving England for Australia, and has been almost exclusively made use of in this respect. Other persons are not encouraged to deposit with the Savings Bank Department in London, and several suggestions that the Bank should receive deposits from the public throughout Great Britain have been declined. At the time of its establishment, the British Post OfficeSavings Bank was consulted in the matter, and took no exception whatever to the establishment of thisportion of the activities of the Commonwealth Bank of London, and the friendliest reciprocal arrangements still exist with the British Post Office Savings Bank, and also with the New Zealand Post Office Savings Bank throughout that Dominion. Agencies of the Savings Bank Department are now established at well over 2,000 post-offices throughout the Commonwealth, and arrangements are now in course of preparation for the opening of many hundred more agencies at additional post-offices. Immediately training camps were established for the Australian Expeditionary Forces arrangements were made for Savings Bank officers from the Commonwealth Bank to visit these camps on pay days, and to open Savings Bank accounts for the soldiers, the money being available either in Australia or in England, and some thousands of the soldiers gladly availed themselves of the facilities that were afforded. At most of the camps permanent agencies of the Savings Bank have now been established, in order to meet the convenience of the men. As soon as it became known that the troops were to be quartered at Cairo, arrangements were made for the Bank's agents at the centre to cash cheques and pay with- drawals on Savings Bank accounts, and alao to enable cable remittances being forwarded direct from Australia to Cairo, and in cases where lodgments represent military pay, they are forwarded either by cable remittances, or through the Savings Bank Department free oi any charge for exchange, the facilities made available in this way have been generally availed of by friends and relatives of tho men who are with our Expeditionary Forces. Extensive arrangements are also being made to enable the members of the Forces 1- receive remittances and cash their cheques throughout Europe, as may be necessary, and also to forward remittances in local currency to men who are at the actual theatre of war, where banking facilities may, for the time being, be nonexistent. The Season. It is pleasing to be able to mention the widespread rains that have within the past few days benefited the southern States of Australia. The rains of November and December, which broke the long dry spell of the winter and spring of 1914, covered most of Southern Australia ; but whilst the rains were continued in the Western State during January and February, over all southern, central, and eastern Australia, there was a return to the dry conditions. At the close of March, however, there were useful rains in parts of New South Wales. During April, monsoonal influences have greatly relieved- the situation by moderate to heavy rainfalls generally throughout the agricultural bolt of South Australia and the whole of Victoria and Tasmania. This re-awakening of monsoonal activity is an indication that the .period of drought has broken, when we may expect a return to more normal conditions. 1 just want to add one or two words to the statement I have read. Since that statement was printed, I am pleased to be in a position to say that, as a result of negotiations with the War Office, the Government to-day decided to offer a double medical hospital, which will provide for 1,000 beds. Arrangements tor the organization and despatch of the hospital are now being put in hand. I may also say that a number of Australian nurses have been sent from Egypt to England, and so satisfied has the War Office been with these nurses that they have asked us to supply 100 nurses to the War Office itself. That has been done. This is a very great tribute, I think, to the training which our nurses received in Australia. {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
ALP -- That is under consideration. Before sitting down, 1 haveto refer to the fact that since we adjourned there have been two deaths hi this Parliament. Both these gentlemen were members of the House of Representatives, but I feel sure that I am voicing the sentiment and the wish of the Senate when I say' that we condole and sympathize with their relatives in the loss" which they have sustained by death. I desire now to say a few words regarding the order of business. It is proposed to introduce as soon as possible certain amending legislation which has been found necessary as the result of further experience with war conditions. Some o) the circumstances which have given rise to the necessity for that legislation have only come to light during the last week, and in consequence of that the Government, while convinced of the need for its enactment, have not been able to get the legislation ready for the re-opening of the Parliament, but at the earliest possible opportunity it will be brought forward. It is also intended to ask Parliament te pass the Estimates for 1914-5. Honorable senators will realize that we are approaching the close of the financial year. The preparation of the Estimates for the forthcoming year is well advanced in the various Departments. It is advisabitthat at the earliest opportunity the new Estimates should be submitted to Parliament. As it has voted practically the- whole of the Supply asked for in the old Estimates, it is desirable that they should be cleared out of the way. It is proposed to ask Parliament to pass the old Estimates, and as soon as they have been dealt with in another House they will be brought up hero. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Do you anticipate having to bring in a further Supply Bill 1 {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Not if the Estimates for the current year are put through. If our honorable friends who sit in opposition will accede to our wish, we will put the Estimates through, and that will give us Supply until the end of June.' {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- For how long have you Supply now? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I think that Supply will be exhausted this coming week. The point I wish to make is that, if Supply had to be asked for now, we would practically have to ask it for the period ending June for a reason which I will point out. As honorable senators know, there is a measure known as the Tariff before another place. It is quite possible that both sides there may be found in perfect agreement on the Tariff, though it is probable that they may not. Judging by past experience, it is almost too much to hope that the Tariff will be sent to the. Senate for some little time. However, the Government are assuming that there will be a fair amount of discussion on the Tariff, and as our other proposals are not yet ready for submission - I refer to the Referenda Bills - what we propose is that the Senate shall deal with the emergency war legislation, pass the Estimates, and then adjourn. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Are those measures coming here first? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- If that can be arranged, I shall be glad to introduce, them here. Possibly we may be able- to deal with the emergency war legislation while the other House is finishing the Estimates for the current year. {: .speaker-KPE} ##### Senator Keating: -- The war measures will be initiated here? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Probably. That would enable us to pass the emergency war legislation and the Estimates, and then the Senate could adjourn until, say, the beginning of J une. Through the Estimates being passed, we would have Supply until the end of the month, and probably at that time we would be ready to submit the Referenda Bills if the Tariff was not ready, or if the Tariff was ready we could go on with its consideration; at any rate, by the beginning of Jane we would either have the Tariff up here or other legislation which the Government propose to submit, and which is set out in the Governor-General's Speech. I hope that this statement will be acceptable to honorable senators. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- Before sitting down, do you not propose to give us an outline of the business for the session ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- That is already outlined in the Governor-General's Speech. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- It is not proposed to go beyond that ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Not in any important particular unless special circum stances should arise. I do not know of anything which is not forecast in the Speech. {: .speaker-KUL} ##### Senator Millen: -- I think it is pretty all-embracing. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I move - That the paper *be* printed. Debate (on motion by **Senator Millen)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 2290 {:#debate-9} ### HOUR OF MEETING Motion (by **Senator Peakce)** agreed to - That the Senate, at its: rising, adjourn till to-morrow at 4 p.m. Senate adjourned- at 4.3. p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 April 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.