6th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took’ the cHair at. 8 p:m:, and read prayers;
Assent to. the following. Bills’ renoorted -
Supply- Bill’ (No: 9): Spirits- Bill:
– r desire to ask. the, Minister of Defence- a question; bat under a ruling given the other day,. L shall not be able to read’, an extract to the effect that Me Butler; of ‘ the. Small1 Arms Factory^, denier absolutely through the press the statement made. By the Minister here in regard1 to his- evidence as- to tiff employment of a second shift at Lithgow Fa says’ most emphatically- that- what Senator Pearce stated is- grossly untrue;, and? 1 wont- to know if the Minister is going to take any action in. the matter;, and to-, let Mr. Butler prove- his statement or otherwise ?
– The statement T read’ was from a shorthand’ report taken’ by my private, secretary, Mr: Buffy.,, of a. deputation- from various- sections of. the employees in1 the: Factory; who waited! upon me. That, is- all that I know about* the- matter-.
– Has the Minister of’ Defence carried out the- promise’ Be: made recently that he would submit- toMr. Ferguson,, the private member of tie.Committee he recently appointed, and,. 31 think,. also to- Mr.. J… Davis; the. suggestion! I made here as to the immediate utilization in: the, Small. Arms? Factory of- trained! mechanics drawn from, the- Governmentand other engineering; establishments, in: contradistinction to the proposal to take untrained men and train them?
– Under my instruction, and pursuant to the promise I gave to the honorable senator, the following letter was despatched, on the 18th June, to Mr. R. Ferguson, the manager of the Newport “Workshops, Victoria : -
With reference to the report furnished by the Committee, of which you were a member, upon the question of a double shift at the Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, the Minister would be glad if you would be so good as to let him have your opinion as early as possible on the following points that have been raised: -
-. - I said nothing about “ engineers and fitters.”
– If I have mistaken the honorable senator, I can assure him that I did so quite inadvertently.
– I did not use the word “fitters.”
– The honorable senator used the term “ engineers,” which includes engineers and fitters.
– “Trained engineers “ was the term I used.
– I might explain that I took down those words as the purport of what the honorable senator said. I had not the Hansard report before me when I acted.
– Allow me to suggest that a better way to put my contention would have been to ask: Could not a second shift be worked in less time?
– I think that the honorablesen a tor is unnecessarily anxious-
– In a good cause.
– Because when he hears the reply he will find that he has no need to besuspicious. That was the question I put as my interpretation of what the honorable senator said, but if I misinterpreted him I am very sorry. In addition to that, I put this further question -
Those, I. think, are two perfectly fair questions. The letter is signed by Mr. T. Trumble, the Acting Secretary, and the reply is dated 21st June, and reads as follows : -
The first question I would answer in the affirmative, and the second in the negative, both of which require explanation, which I will give as briefly as possible.
The Committee, consisting of Colonel Dangar, Major Harding., and myself, considered that if additional staff be made available, the second shift should come into operation about 1st July. This is to be done by levelling up of the existing staff.
Also other trades are represented in the manufacture of the necessary components in which the engineers and fitters are not interested. I therefore would not recommend that the present organization of the labour be interfered with.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant.
Recruiting : Compulsory Service
– Has the Minister of Defence any statement to make in regard to the war?
– What phase of it?
– Has the Minister of Defence seen in to-day’s newspaper a telegram from Perth stating that since “the recruiting was resumed on the 14th June “ the number of volunteers medically examined was so-and-so, and, if so, whether there is anything to justify the assumption that prior to that date there had been a cessation of recruiting?
– I myself noticed those words, and I can only say that there has been no instruction to cease recruiting in any district in Australia at any time since the present Government assumed office. I will certainly inquire how the statement came to be made.
– It is most misleading as it reads here.
– Is it correct that the Imperial Government have, within the last day or two, cabled to the effect that every fit man, fully equipped or otherwise, that Australia can send forward is needed, and will be welcomed ?
– The Government have received a cablegram that every man is wanted. In reply to certain messages in regard to equipment a further intimation has been made to us that every man is wanted, equipped or otherwise.
– Arising out of the reply, is it the intention of the Minister or of the Government to continue the present system of recruiting known as the voluntary system, which is one of cajolery or allurement, or are they going to adopt a co-ordinated plan of compulsory service in this great emergency?
– The Government do not propose to adopt compulsory service at present.
Report : Appointment op Me. Leitch.
– Have any engineering firms in the Commonwealth made definite offers to the Government to supply shells suitable for the requirements of the British Government? If so, what are their names, and what has been done in the matter?
– I have here the report of the Munitions Committee, and will read it, or lay it on the table and move that it be printed, whichever the Senate desires.
Honorable Senators. - Lay it on the table.
– I lay the report on the table, and, by leave, move -
That the paper be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I desire, with the permission of the Senate, to make a statement in regard to the Munitions Committee.
– The Munitions Committee of the Defence Department has found it necessary to have a Business Representative, who will act as a connecting link between the Departmental Expert Committee and the Committees formed by the State Governments of New South Wales and Victoria and the Committee of the Chamber cf Manufactures. It is essential that such a gentleman should have a good knowledge of business management, as he will really be the business head of the Departmental Committee. I have requested Mr. Walter Leitch, a director of the firm of Messrs. Joseph Baker and Sons Limited (London), machinery manufacturers, who has been in the Commonwealth for some time, and had offered his services to the Department in any way in which it was considered he could be useful, to take this position. Mr. Leitch has consented to do so. Mr. Leitch has been connected with the firm of Messrs. Baker and Sons for twenty-nine years, and has resided in Australia for twenty-five years. Four years of that time - 1905-8 inclusive - he was general manager of the Welsbach Light Company of Australasia, Sydney, both manufacturing and importing. His connexion with the firm of Messrs. Baker and Sons has given him extensive experience in a managing capacity, which should be of immense service to the Department in the position in which he has been asked to act. The Committee is now in touch with the Committee of the Associated Chambers of Manufactures of Australasia, and also the Departmental Committees formed by the Governments of Victoria and New South Wales. I understand that the Governments of other States are sending forward proposals which will bring us into touch with them also.
Food Rations, Western Australia: Troops at the Front: Trainees.
– Has the Minister of Defence further information regarding the victualling of the troops in Western Australia?
– This is portion of the reply which was not available when the honorable senator asked his question previously -
With reference to the information given by the Minister to Senator dc Largie in the Senate on 17th inst., relative to the daily ration of troops of the Australian Imperial Force, the Commandant, Perth, has furnished the following particulars regarding the distribution of meals in the Australian Imperial Force camp, in his command:. -
Daily ration is divided as follows: -
Breakfast - Meat and vegetables.
Mid-day - Meat, and’ vegetables.
Evening- Soup; bread and jam.
On. Thursdays dinner is in the evening instead of mid-day.
No soup is provided on Thursday and Saturday evenings:
SenatorLt, -Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice - 1:. How many troops have been despatched from Australiain the Expeditionary Forces.
– The answers are- -
Total … … 82,500
– Senator Long recently asked’ the Minister of Defence if any steps could be taken to prevent the display of naval and military- uniforms’ in- advertisements of spirituous liquors. ON Senator Long’s behalf, I would ask the Minister if any reply is available ?
-Section 84 of the Defence. Act, 1903-15 provides for the punishment of ‘“any person who wears any uniform…… in a manner. ….. likely to bring contempt uponthatuniform.”Thereis,however, no regulation, to my knowledge,which prevents flags or uniformed, men being displayed on advertisements:
The following papers were presented : -
Audit Act 1901-1912. -Regulations amended. -StatutoryRules 1915, No. 86,
Customs Act1901-1914. - Regulations amended, &c.:- Statutory Rules1915, Nos:. 68,69,. and 70.
Defence Act 1903-1915. - Regulations amended;, &c. - Statutory Rules 1915) Nos. 84 and 85..
Excise Act 1901. - Regulation amended. - Statutory Rules 1915, No. 07.
Iron Bounty Act 1914. - Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1915, No.83.
Lands Acquisition) Act, 1900. - Land-, acquired under, at -
Albury, New South Wales - For. Defence purposes.
Bacchus Marsh, Victoria: - For Defence purposes.
Charing Cross, Waverley, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Coraki, New South. Wales - For Defence. purposes.
Molong, New South Wales.-For Defence purposes’.
Moonah, Tasmania- For Postal purposes.
Moonta,. South Australia- For Defence purposes.
North Fitzroy, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
Pingelly; Western Australia; - For Defence purposes.
Roseville, New. South Wales - For Postal purposes.
Southport, Queensland - For Defence purposes.
Surry Hills, New SouthWales- For Postal purposes:.
Lighthouses Act 1911. - Regulations.: - Star tutory Rules 1915, No. 96.
War, European -
Reports by United States Officials on the Treatment of British, Prisoners, of Warand Interned Civilians at Certain Places of’ Detention- in Germany:
Report of the Committee appointed toadvise His Majesty’s, Government; as to Alleged. German. Outrages..
Appendix to Report of Committee, on Alleged German Outrages:
Further correspondence regarding Gifts from the Ovensea Dominions’ and Colonies.
Reports of the Official. Commission of the Belgian Government, on the Violation’ of the Rights of. Nations and:of the Laws, and Customs of War in Belgium, &c..
asked’ the Minister of Defence, upon notice - 1.. What is the definition ofclause 31a. in military contracts.?.
– The answersare - 1.. Clause 31a. on the general conditions: of contract was designed to permit an accredited, representative of a union to visit the factory premises- of any contractor engaged upon themanufacture of military supplies;to interview the workmen engaged upon work usually, done by members of his union as to wages, hours, and’ conditions of labour. Such visit to be confined to the meal hour and to the place where meals ore taken-.
asked the Minister of. Defence, upon notice: -
Is the testing officer engaged atthe Colonial Ammunition Company’s worksat Footscray a Commonwealth, employee?
– The answers are -
.. -I ask leave ofthe Senate to withdraw themo- tionstanding in my name forthe first readingofthis Bill, as ithas beenfound that itcannot beoriginatedinthis Chamber.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
– Imove -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would preventthe Bill being passedthrough all its stageswithout delay.
I may say thattheobject of this(proposal is nottopass theBill throughall its stagesto-day,buthonorable senators know thestate ofthe business paper-
SenatorMillen. - What is the state ofit?
– If we do not pass this motionwemay get through onestage ofthe Bill,and thenhave to adjourn its consideration Whenitmightotherwisebe possible to put it throughanother stage. I can assure the Senate that there is no desire to rushthe measure through this Chamber.
– I would point out that, as this motion is submitted without notice, it will have to be carried by an absolute majority of theSenate.
– There ‘being no “noes,” and more than an absolute majority of the Senate voting for the motion,I declare it carried.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Pearce.)put -
That so much of the Standing and ‘Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent theBill beingpassed through ‘all ‘its stages without delay.
– There being no “moes,” and more than an absolute majorityof the Senate voting for the motion, I declare itcarried.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read afirst time,
Idesireto pointout that it does not provide for any new works.
-I point out to the Assistant Minister that he is not entitled to speak on the motion for the first reading of this Bill, which is not a measure relating to the ordinary annual services of the Government.
– Iwish to ask-
– Order! The honorable senator cannot discuss the motion for the firstreading. The Bill is notone which provides forthe ordinary annual services, and consequently it cannot be debated upon themotion for its firstreading,.
SenatorMillen. - I merely roseto ask whatBill was (being dealtwith.
– It is the Supply (Works and Buildings Bill. (Question ‘resolved in the affirmative.
Billreada first time.
European War - Small Arms Factory : Second Shift.: Statement by Mr. Butler -Expeditionary Forces: Desertions : Recruiting : Medical Examinations.: Canteen Arrangements at Liverpool Camp :Selection of Officers - Alleged Disloyalty of Medical Officer - Manufacture op Munitions -Continental Tyre Comjany -Employment of German - Party Truce : Referenda Bills -Soldiers and (the Franchise - Advertising Resources of Commonwealth - Land Taxation - Naval Defence -Note Issue- -Tipping of Stewards.
, - I move -
ThatthisBillbe now reada first time.
In submitting the motion, I have to say that the Bill covers a period of three months, and the amount asked for is £8,611,587. It is based upon the average of the supply required for three months of last year. It includes only the ordinary payments for the services of the Departments, and the object of its introduction is that the Commonwealth services may be carried on under ordinary conditions in anticipation of the annual Appropriation Bill, which must be considered at a later stage of the session.
– I propose to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the motion to invite the consideration of the Senate, and particularly of the Minister of Defence, to certain matters which I think it desirable to bring’ under their notice. I am confronted with somewhat of a difficulty. I conceive that it is the duty of every man in or out of Parliament at a time like this to oiler any suggestion the adoption of which would help forward the national cause. If any man has such a suggestion to offer, he is little less than a traitor to the country if he fails to give expression to it. If, in carrying out my duty in this regard, any suggestion I have to make may seem to suppose a lack of sufficient activity in official circles, that should not deter me from the course I propose to take. On the other hand, I submit that there is a very serious obligation on the Government to receive such suggestions as they ought to do, in view of the fact that they are submitted for the purpose of making our aid to the Empire more efficient than it otherwise would be. It is in that spirit that I have endeavoured from time to time to offer suggestions in this chamber. I have done so in good faith, and whatever imperfection may have marked my method in submitting them, they were brought forward with the genuine and honest desire which, I believe, animates all members of the Senate, to bring under the notice of the Defence Department certain action which I think ought to be taken in the interests of the Empire. I regret to say that, judging from the replies I have received, and from interjections which have been made, there appears to be a tendency not to receive such suggestions in the spirit in which they have been offered. Although I am disappointed on that account, I feel that I should not be deterred from submitting any matter which
I believe ought to be ventilated because of any consideration of the reception that may be extended to it. I wish to-day to invite the Minister’s attention again to the matter of the establishment of a second shift at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory. When this matter came before the Senate a little time ago, I directed attention to the fact that the recommendations in the report submitted by the Committee appointed by the Minister co deal with the question could not be given full effect in less than three or four months. I suggested the adoption of an alternative course, which would give us a second shift in a comparatively short time - I think I mentioned a fortnight. I suggested the employment of trained workmen for the purpose. May I remind the Minister of Defence, not with any desire to point to an error of judgment on his part, but in order to strengthen the appeal which I now make, that he assured the Senate that the point I mentioned had been considered by the very eminent gentlemen constituting the Committee, and must have been turned down by them, or they would have referred to it in their reports. Acceding to my request, the honorable gentleman agreed to submit the question I suggested, and we now have the statement from Mr. Ferguson that the course I suggested could be carried out. Let honorable senators not get away from the fact that Mr. Ferguson now says, in the most emphatic way possible, that if we were to ignore commercial considerations, and send trained men into the works, it would be possible to establish a second shift at the Lithgow Factory within the time I mentioned. It is true that Mr. Ferguson urges an objection, and to that I invite the attention of the Minister. Mr. Ferguson looks at the matter as he would have done if he were called upon to organize a second shift at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory under ordinary circumstances. He asks himself what is the best thing to do for this industry as a permanent institution. I say that we have nothing to do with permanent institutions at the present moment. What we have to consider is how to make the Empire permanent. Mr. Ferguson urges as a reason against the adoption of the suggestion I made to introduce trained men that to do so would be to disturb the labour organization. By that I assume that he does not’ mean the union organization.
– Certainly not.
– He means to say that the organization of labour in the Factory would be disturbed if we adopted the suggestion I have made in order to greatly increase the output of the Factory some months earlier than would otherwise be possible. Under ordinary and normal conditions, no one would desire to interfere with such an organization of labour in the Factory that any man or boy who entered it might be able to say to himself that the best position in it would be open to him if by industry and capacity he showed that he was entitled to fill it. Mr. Ferguson evidently fears that if we introduce into the Factory, not untrained youths who must proceed step by step up the ladder, but trained mechanics, we shall shut out all prospect of reasonable promotion for youths and untrained men who have been given employment there. There is, in the circumstances, a fundamental error underlying this objection. It is that Mr. Ferguson has assumed that the second shift is to be a permanent institution. It might be; but I never suggested for a moment that a second shift, to be composed of trained men, should be a. permanent institution. Mr. Ferguson admits the possibility of establishing a second shift within a fortnight, and I see no reason why we should not tell men who have been trained at Eveleigh and the Newport Workshops that they are introduced into the Lithgow Small Arms Factory to meet an emergency, and that, when it is over, the Factory will go back to its ordinary normal organization. I ask the Minister of Defence not to turn this suggestion down without further consideration. The matter is far too serious to entitle us to take any man’s ipse dixit. Mr. Ferguson’s suggestion would be entitled to every weight if the proposition put forward was to create a second shift as a permanent institution, or if we were dealing in normal times with the Small Arms Factory. The times are not normal, and the second shift of trained men need not be permanent. I ask the Minister to consider again whether it is not possible, in order to save these valuable weeks and months - for they are most valuable, in view of the statement the Minister has just made that the Home authorities want every man, whether he is equipped or not. Every man who goes forward equipped is a better asset for the nation than a man. who goes forward unequipped.
With a sincere desire to do all that may be possible to speed up the equipment of our men, I ask the Minister of Defence to give further consideration to the question whether a merely temporary disturbance of the organization of labour in the Lithgow Small Arms Factory should be allowed to stand for one moment in the way of an expeditious establishment of a second shift. The honorable gentleman will not lose any dignity by pressing the inquiry further.
– The honorable senator need not worry about my dignity.
– No; but the Minister must see now that I did not waste the time of the Senate when I urged that a second shift was practicable. As bearing out what I have stated, it. has been mentioned publicly that the head of one of the sections in the Factory, a Mr. Galbraith, referred to the new men who were handed over to him to train in this way -
The latest recruits sent to my section were two who had previously been milking cows, a third was an unemployed tailor, and the fourth was a hairdresser out of work. 1 do not say anything about these men and the occupations they followed ; I have had occasion at times to call for the assistance of members of the profession followed by the last man mentioned. I suggest to. the Minister of Defence that, in time of war, and in view of the necessities of the Empire, it is not safe to look to the training of untrained men like these when skilled labour is available. To do so seems to indicate a lack of appreciation of the seriousness of our position.
– A dentist might be considered to be an expert filer.
– There might be some justification for taking dentists in there in view of all we have heard about the rejection of men because of defective teeth. The matter is most serious, and I leave it now to the Minister of Defence to consider whether or not a temporary disturbance of the organization of labour in the Factory should be allowed to stand for a moment in the way of an earlier’ realization of a second shift to increase the output of rifles. The matter referred to by .Senator McDougall indicates a rather serious state of affairs. The Minister made a definite statement in this Chamber, when speaking on the 11th June from a report placed in his hands. He announced that he had visited the
Factory,, and had himself examined the heads- of different sections:. The- Minister said that Mr. Butler, speaking on behalf of. the. filing department, said that a, double; shift, was impracticable; but now, Mr. Butter- comes* along- and says he- was; surprised at the statement, and; that he; had. never- made it. Mr-. Butler stated -
S was. most emphatic: hr my evidence! that; the second shift was practicable; in this department. The. only alterations that I said, would be- necessary were as regards lighting., This, I said, would have- to be improved be fore- the; second! shift could be worked1.
If this- is- the, sort of view which is- accepted’ by the Department as a sufficient reason why the- second shift was not installed’, the sooner a more vigorous policy is1 adopted rh& better for all’ concerned1 and for the credit of the Government. I bring this- matter- up- because I think the Minister himself should look through the notes, and see whether Mr. Butler’s evidence at the inquiry has been faithfully transcribed or’ not. Now I want- to deal with a few other matters’ connected with military preparations. It is with a great deal of reluctance that I refer to the desertions from’ the Expeditionary Forces, which, to my mind, is a very serious matter to ventilate publicly. I should not have done so except ‘ that. I think the time has. come for very severe disciplinary action on the part of the Government to stop it. I have, had the statement made to me - and I have no doubt other honorable, senators have also - that the desertions which have occurred on the eve of embarkation have been so large as to affect seriously the strength of the units which were shipped. If that is’ so, and if it is going on to any extent at all, the Minister’ will be justified’ in taking; the sternest measures possible’ to> suppress– it. It- is not merely a> matter of losing the men- themselves’, but- it is> a matter which affects^ the strength of the unit. These” desertions, I’ asm- sorry to say, run into big figures-, if my. information is- correct. If a considerable percentage of men desert on the- eve- of embarkation, what is’ the- position of the unit and the equipment, on board ?’ Every man who is playing this dastardly part-, towards his Empire and his mates; should be made to understand that- it is1 a- very serious offence1. All who volunteer for service1, and become soldiers of the King–, are no longer free agents, for they haw accepted am, obligation, and! it-, should be the duty of the Government- to see> that, that obligation is carried out.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould… - Were they to desert, in the face, of the enemy, they would, be. shot.
– I. know that in a. country like this the people are not accustomed to military discipline, but at such a time as this they should, put on one. ride personal, considerations, and out o£ regard to the. men who are. loyal to. the colours: - that is the point - they should not do anything, to jeopardize the-, successof our. efforts.
– The,y want. to. be shot - one> or two of them,.. The. desertionswould, soon, stop then.
– Albert GOULD. - Their, action, is. just. as. bad as: if they deserted in the. face of the enemy..
-ew.land.: - It. is. the, same thing.
– Nobody would attempt, tot defend- this- course’ of conduct,, and I. urge upon the. Minister that, he should make a drastic example,, without perhaps, going to the extreme limits suggested by the honorable senator.. If some, action of this kind were taken, it would, I. think, minimize-,, if not. entirely disperse1, this, trouble. Now I come to> another, matter - that, of the medical ex: amination of our men, particularly- in regard to. their- teeth,.. I. cannot help thinkings, in- spite, of the official’ assurances which have been- given,, that, there- is( still a. want, of uniformity in the various,States That something, is amiss is-, apparent by the announcement,, if. correct, that, theMinister has called, a medical conference to. consider various’ matters connected, I presume:,, with the; medical! examination of those who: are offering; as; recruits. If that- is so.,, perhaps; nothing more- need be said on the subject- at the present moment, but. I. can. assure, the. Minister that’ there is a general- feeling- of dis-satisfaction’ that- the instructions with regard to. medical examination, are. not the same- in. all the-. States^, and; thai the examination, on the dental: side- ie, unduly severe. In: this connexion I would like tot ask the Minister whether- it. is. a fact that- men who. are passed from the, Cadets by- medical examination to go, into the Citizen Forces are being turned down when! they, volunteer’ for the> front I- There is> a good’ deal to be> said for passing initio. the> Cadets a’, boy who*, though not over- robust’,, will) be; able. to> stand, the strain –slight as it is - which will be thrust upon .him, because the course of training is an the nature of physical development ; but any man who has passed into the .ranks of the Citizen Forces ought to have undergone such an examination as would entitle him to go to the front at once. I believe, however, I am correct in saying that men who .have been passed from the Cadets into the Citizen Forces are now being rejected presumably upon the same medical (examination. I urge the Minister to take this matter into consideration. If we ‘are justified in .-going to the expenditure =of training men they ought to be capable of passing the .medical examination necessary to send them to the front. It have had mentioned to me the case of a lad who, having passed that medical -examination, has .since been .rejected. “When the system was brought into force his complaint was that he was compelled to serve. “ At that time,” he said, “ I Aid not ‘like it; but I have come to see the wisdom of it, and now when I “want “to .go, you won’t allow me.”
– - Could he not have -developed some particular disease in the meantime?
Senator -MILLEN. - I understand that is -not so in .this -case, but I think the .standard laid down for the examination of oar “Citizen Forces should “be sufficient to .pass men for the front. I ‘have another matter to which I invite the .attention of t’he Minister. I was not present in the “Senate last Friday, as I was in my own ‘State taking part in a recruiting meeting, “but I noticed that Senator Pearce made a statement as to the action taken by the Government with regard to munitions. The ‘-Minister stated -
Up to ‘that time - The middle of September - when he Government took office - no action ‘had -been taken to inquire into the possibility o’f manufacturing Shells or guns in the Commonwealth
In the House of Representatives Mr. Fisher ‘made what the “papers said was the same .’statement, but this reported utterances differed .’slightly. He said - At .that time no steps had been taken 4o pro vide for the manufacture, within Australia, of either ordnance or ammunition therefor.
I am quo ting both statements, so ‘that it cannot be -said that I am taking advantage of the mere words. There can be only ‘one object :ii making that statement, I submit. Mr. Fisher, on the one hand, ‘and ‘Senator Pearce, on the other, were presumably making a “statement to the Parliament and -to the ‘country as to what they had done. The reference to the fact that those who had preceded them had done nothing could, I submit, have only ‘been made with -one object in view, and that was to show that there had been a remissness on their part.
– The same game as you are .playing.
– I am told that it. is the same game as I am playing. But si ;am not conscious of .having -played any game in this matter.
– Not you yourself but your party.
– The honorable senator’® interjection is only ,a confirmation of the statement with which .1 commenced my address. I do not think that any -one <can suggest for a moment that, -so far, I .have used any terms to which, the .-strongest : party man could take any exception.
– Tike honorable senator’s .party are accusing the Government of remissness at the present time.
– I admit, again, that there have been things left undone which ought to have been dome Months ago. Bui I am not bringing the matter forward in any party -spirit, but because I want the things done. Indeed., I heard with a great deal .of -pleasure the .’announcement fey ‘Senator Pearce .that steps are being taken to get the various Committees together in order that there .shall be a united effort throughout Australia to make use of any resources we .possess. Senator Pearce, by making the statement quoted, could have bad only one -object in view, and that was to show that the previous Government had been remiss.
– It was to put before ‘the public and the unscrupulous press outside a statement that up to that time nothing had been done. ‘Senator MILLEN.- There are two things I want to put before the Senate. One is that the statement is absolutely incorrect, and the other is that there is a “very big difference between the month in which we held ‘office ‘after the war -and the long period which has intervened since the elections. I will now pass from that aspect of the question, and justify my remark that the statement made by ‘Senator Pearce and Mr. Fisher is inaccurate.
I must add that 1 was extremely sur- , prised to find Senator Pearce putting his name to the statement. He must have authorized the payment of a fee to a scientist to whom I gave a commission to inquire into the question of what we could do in the direction of making steel.
Shortly after the war broke out, a Science Congress was held in Australia, and in the course of administering the Department the question naturally arose as to how we could obtain steel should, by any possibility, the chance of getting supplies from abroad be interrupted, even intermittently. A further question was that, if the control of the seas was lost, or if even a shipment or two of these necessary supplies should not be forthcoming, could we possibly do anything to make the shells for the guns we use here? Among these scientists was a gentleman named Professor Rosenhain, whose acquaintance I had not then the pleasure of possessing, but who stands in the very first rank of those who possess knowledge of the chemistry of metals. After discussing the matter with Colonel Legge, who was then Chief of the General Staff, it was decided that a commission should be given to Professor Rosenhain to advise- us as to what we could do in the way of making steel for rifles, and possibly for the field guns we use. , That commission was given to the professor two or three weeks after the war broke out. I did not remain in office to receive his report, but I presume that, as there was a fee to be paid for it, he presented a report, and I presume, also, that the Minister sanctioned the payment of that fee. “Whilst I did not receive the report, I did have a conversation with Professor Rosenhain on this subject a few days before I went out of office. He told me then that his inquiries were not complete. I do not propose, for obvious reasons, to give the details of the conversation, but he certainly led me to believe that the result of his inquiries would be of considerable encouragement and assistance to us in the circumstances. The fact that I called in that gentleman and I the fact that he was given a commission to inquire into the matter are, I submit, a complete answer to the statement of Senator Pearce. It shows that we lost no time in inquiring into the possibility of doing something in this direction. There is another matter of a similar kind which
I the fact that he was given a commission to inquire into the matter are, I submit, a complete answer to the statement of Senator Pearce. It shows that we lost no time in inquiring into the possibility of doing something in this direction. There is another matter of a similar kind which
I desire to refer to. When I know that at a time of very considerable rush I was endeavouring to do, and, I think, did succeed in doing, an amount of work of some advantage to this country, it is a little irritating to find our opponents affirming that nothing was done. In regard to the second shift at Lithgow, August had not passed before I sent for the manager of the Small Arms Factory to discuss with him the question of a second shift. Yet a great deal is made out of the fact that the present Minister sent for Mr. Wright. I sent for Mr. Wright; he came to Melbourne in order to discuss the matter, and after the discussion he urged then exactly as he urged right up to the time that the Parliamentary Committee met, right up to the last moment, that a second shift was not desirable.
– Why did you not “ sack “ him ? You say that I ought tohave done so.
– Because the Minister did not leave me there long enough to do it.
– You could have “ sacked “ him before he went back.
– No, because I had not then the information which later has been brought before us; but when Mr. Wright went away he left in my mind this impression : that, while he could not start a second shift then, because it would take time to train the men, he would be able to do so in a short time. It was on that understanding that he went back with authority to start overtime. He did start the overtime. It never occurred to me then that, at the end of ten months, Mr. Wright would still be insisting that a second shift could not be employed. But if it had, I would have done what I did as a private senator, and that is, get an opinion from other persons just as competent as Mr. Wright.
– Who are they?
– Some of the leading engineers of Australia.
– Let us have the names.
– That is not necessary, but I may mention Mr. Ferguson as one and Mr. Davis as another. The gentlemen who were called in by the Government to report, and their own Public
Works Committee, say that a second shift is possible.
– “Is desirable.”
– And possible.
– After a period of time.
– I do not understand the Minister.
– They do not say that it is possible immediately.
– Mr. Ferguson did not say that it was possible until the Ministers put a specific question.
– And then he qualifies his statement, as you know.
– It is a curious thing that I cannot get a copy of the report of these gentlemen. Although, it was tabled a fortnight ago, it is not available to honorable senators yet. Both the main Committee and Mr. Davis in his subsidiary report affirmed that a second shift is possible.
– Possible, if certain steps have been taken.
– That is to say, it is possible if you set to work to train a second shift.
– They say that if we set to work to train the men required, we can have a second shift in three or four months. That was their original report; but now the Minister finds, after further inquiry, that he can, if he likes, have a second shift at work within a fortnight if he will take untrained men.
– Mr. Ferguson says he would not recommend that the labour organization be interfered with.
– The labour organization, I repeat, is not going to affect the permanent position of any man there. The second shift of trained men is merely a temporary expedient, to come to an end when the emergency passes away. Before Mr. Lloyd George proclaimed that Great Britain was short of munitions, it never entered my mind, or the mind of any one else, that a big manufacturing country like Great Britain, with the large manufacturing resources of France behind her, would ever find herself in that position.
– Yet your press said that I ought to have been aware of that fact.
– During many months the Minister ought to have known the position, and, what is more, the Minister himself has shown that he has, with increasing clearness, seen the want, by the communications he has made to the Imperial authorities.
– I saw the necessity for self-sufficiency for Australia, but neither I nor any one else knew at that time that Great Britain was short,- or likely to be short of munitions.
– Certainly during the last few months it has become very obvious.
– It is easy to be wise after the event.
– It is not a matter of being wise after the event, because during the last few months it is clear from statement after statement that a shortage exists. I think that in fairness to myself I am entitled to ask the Senate and the people to consider that what was then possible and at all practicable was done by me during the short time I remained in office after the declaration of war. . Passing to other matters, there is in charge of the Liverpool Camp a doctor with a German name and of German descent. I do not know whether the Minister is aware that on that account a very considerable amount of dissatisfaction exists in the ranks of the volunteers. I do not wish to give the name of the doctor publicly, but I will give it to the Minister privately. It is reported on excellent authority that in the early days of the war the doctor was giving expression to sentiments which did not indicate a wholehearted adherence to” the cause of the British Empire.
– What were they?
– When a medical gentleman in his club expresses a very grave doubt as to whether the British Empire is going to win, and says, “ Don’t be too certain; Germany is not beaten yet,” his- conduct is open to grave suspicion, when it is coupled with the fact that he is of German descent. Thank God, there is only one doctor of that kind at the Liverpool Camp, and if the Minister will get the names of the medical officers there, he will learn to whom I refer.
– Are the people who heard the sentiments expressed prepared to give information ?
– I do not know, but at a time like the present, I do not see that we should tie ourselves down to the ordinary rules ;oI -evidence before we (decide -to act.
– & ,am :prepared (to keep i their names “confidential ; will they give me any information?
– .That I cannot -say at this (juncture. If .the .Minister lis merely going ‘to :say, ‘ ‘ 1 will not -act lai call. except un accordance with the law of evidence .prevailing in ta ‘Court,’- .he iis .likely to :prove very little. i.Senator Pearce - :I will give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. (Senator MILLEN - Jin this :case, the Minister has a doctor with -a (German ‘name and ,OI ‘German nationality. ‘Senator Pearce - W.e have had -men with German names -and -of ‘German :de.scent dying. at Gallipoli. [Senator ‘MILLEN. - .That ia so ; -but in ;th’is particular -case it as inconceivable -that <4fae Department .would .t.un the slightest risk. There >is any in umber of -other doctors .available.
– Mi .there >is any :doubt about >the (doctor at all, H will shift him. :Senator M’ILLEN.,- I will furnish the (Sinister with the -name, though.it is quite evident ‘that the has heard something of this /matter -before.
– I -believe that:some other .doctor wants .his ..job. (Senator MILLEN - That :may .be ;so ; <but it ‘was not a (doctor -who ‘brought the matter ‘under .my , notice
-: - ?It is playing .it very low ‘down. .’Senator MILLEN.- -Was it playing lit very :low down -when Lieutenant Edwards, holding a commission in our -An-my., was detected in writing home, ‘and .saying to this .people, “ You -do mot know what it is to be in =a-n -enemy .country.. Would to God ‘there were -twenty Emdens here-!”
We could find nothing about that .man ‘until we ‘got his letters. That case should ‘lead the Minister, if the circumstances at the Liverpool -Camp are such as to involve a -suspicion, ‘to say, “ I will not run a -.ris*k, but will put a .doctor there who will ‘be entirely above suspicion.”
– Is there -.anything against that doctor in regard to his attitude towards British interests ? ^’Senator MILLEN. - The honorable senator might have asked ‘the ;same .question about Lieutenant Edwards. I think :f.1, sit no one-wishes to be harsh to strangers ‘within our -gates, but I paint out that national ‘preservation comes -before ,all. in this i case, we haste ko remember that there is a considerable camp of interned Germans. I would like the Minister to inquire .whether this doctor is in very frequent consultation with them. There may be nothing in that, but it is talked of amongst our .men in the camp. I wish mow to offer the Minister a. suggestion. He has made a declaration, which has gone all over Australia, that .we .want ‘every .man .possible. . Following that declaration, .there should .certainly be an improvement in the recruiting facilities offered to those willing to present themselves. At present, young men who desire .to enlist have to suffer considerable disabilities. ‘Is it not .possible to have recruiting depots throughout the States, instead of having them located only at the capitals? Tit is a considerable undertaking lot- young men .up country, even if franked on the railways, to .leave their jobs to come-down to ‘Sydney, possibly for a week, with a chance of being rejected. Even if it costs them nothing otherwise, it means that many of them may “Jose their billets. It shou’ld ‘-be -possible ‘to have depots, not in ‘every town, ‘but in all ‘the ‘larger towns, so as to minimize the inconvenience and time taken before would-be recruits can .present themselves lit head-quarters. If we ‘are in earnest ‘about ‘recruiting, we shall not ‘wait until ‘the men come to the existing ‘recruiting depôts, ‘but take the depots into ‘the country districts as far as ‘we can, ‘not -only ‘ as . an invitation to ‘the men, <but as ‘offering facilities by which -they <can make their services available to the country. I (put .that forward as a practical suggestion to the Minister. It should present no difficulties It merely means at the larger towns - the ‘district ‘or sub-district headquarters - having a competent medical -man ‘and a .military (man in attendance. If that were done, quite a number of -young men who to-day -will mot -incur the risk of rooming to the (capitals ‘would -avail themselves .of ‘the opportunity -of putting their (fortune to the test locally. I submit .that the idea lis well worthy of consideration. I ‘understand, unless it has been altered quite recently, that the hours at which men can <enlist .at -the Victoria Barracks in Melbourne and Sydney are limited. The -men have to -present themselves at some time (during .the .morning. Why should there be a limit to recruiting hours ? The men .ought to be able to attend at .any time . it suits them. People) who want, to- do/ business generally keep: their premises open at hours likely to. suit the convenience? 05 their would: b customers. Surely it- is not asking: the. Department too much, to; say that; in:stead of limiting- the hours- from 9- at.nr.. to- 1 p;m., facilities- should be afforded: at all’ times, and particularly in- thai everting; after the day’s work-, is done, for those; who: cannot- get away from-, their employment, to present themselves and be examined. Air the- most,, it. means; an.other, officer or.- two. being detained-, at the: barracks, with a medicaid man, in attend:ance.. Practically what I suggest, is, that in our recruiting? establishment’s, business should go on from daylight, until a. reasonably late; hour at.- night,, so.- that anybody coming along may be. sure? of- being: examined, and told what. he-, can do* Another, important, matter!- arises- out of a-, statement: appearing; recently in-, a Sydney, evening gaper, as. to. the. action: being; taken,. in regard, to the canteen at the: Liverpool. Camp,, New South. Wales. I have, no other information than- that supplied by the newspaper article, but. it involves a matter of so much importance that I venture to bring it. before, the: Minister. It is head’ed “ One Big Trust; (Conditions, at Liverpool.; Private Profitmaking,” and begins, thus; -
A remarkable state, of affairs exists at Liverpool Camp in connexion, with the canteen arrangements. The whole- of the extra-military supplies which- the’ thousand’s- of soldiers can purchase have been-, centralized, under- the solecontrol of a private- firm of contractors!
How extensive the scope oi the. company is and how remunerative its operations must be can be gleaned from- the fact- that its1 control extends’ over- the canteen, the vaudeville and’, picture shows, the: hairdressers,, the chemist, the tailor, the. laundry, the fruit stall-,, and the photographer. The churches and.’ the. camp stadium are; However; independent. As- a matter of fact, it? is the- canteen propraetors, who have assumed- control of the other- undertakings,, and. they have been, given the! sole- monopoly of the sale of. tobacco,, groceries,, soft drinks, and other refreshments. ‘ They have been- created’ a trust.
The first tiling that marked- the transfer- of direct responsibility from the; military? authoritis to.- the.- canteen- proprietors was- an; increase im the rent of- the tent shops. The- hairdressers; for instance, who had”, paid’ £T 10s. & week- ground rent, were- informed’ by- their new* landlords that, they would have- to: pay £2. 5s. in future, and that, those who ran over three; chairs would have, to nay. an extra amount:
But it is- not this* aspect of; the affair that is- of such- concern as the- fact- that the men’s pay should go to swell the- profits: of as private concern, introduced! into a’.big centre of. Government, organization..
There, is.- a great deal more- details, but? the statement.- really, boils, down to. this;-.” that instead of letting^ the; soldiers’ sunt the canteen! themselves, as.- was- done., at Broadmeadows, and. the whole of, the? profits go to, t,lie- soldiers,, these- facilities have been, farmed out, at . Liverpool to; a; firm, or series’ of firms-:
– Private* enterprise.!’
– That. is= so?: and, of course,- private enterprise’* has- not been: slow to take, advantage, of: the opportunity.
Senator- McDougall - They are. paying a>. good’ price, for? its - £150 a.’, monthfor every; thousand’ mem
– But at Broadmeadows, the. men. save- the- profit, which r the contractor would make above;- t£e* £W0. It is- not- the contractor who* ispaying the £150 per month; it is thesoldiers. who are paying, it, and’ in addition, they,- are paying the contractors a profit for being- there. At Broadmeadows a totally different system* was adopted: The. canteen, was. made, the property and business- of the soldiers,, and any profit resulting therefrom belonged to them-.. A great, deal was, said, and: justly-, as to the admirable; results, of. that, undertaking, and one. is. astonished therefore,, seeing it worked out so well,, to find: an entirely, different system adopted; at Liverpool. I’ invite, the Minister’s.- attention to. the matter.. . To. met it; is revolting; to, think that the men. who have gone, there to offer their lives, if necessary for the* dB fence of the country, should, be put. in- a less favorable position, than were their fellows: at. Broadmeadows, especially seeing, that an alternative course was; so easily- available:..
– The honorable, sena-tor said that certain rents had been raa= tonally increased. By whom?
– According, to. the statement’,, the Department has- given, to a certain firm a franchise or. privilege, to. run. certain undertakings at. the, camp, and. this firm, in turn farms out the. right to., say, a hairdresser, or photographer-: to. start business, there. Haying, received, the concession from: the. Department,, its is, increasing the rents.- to. those who have en:tered into., these: subsidiary undertakings!
– And the land., be* longs to:- the- (Grown !
– That is so. I hope the Minister will be able to deny the statement, but it is so definite that I felt that I was more than entitled to bring it before the Senate.
– They ought to pay a heavy land tax there.
– Surely it is a heavy enough tax when a man has to pay .£2 5s. a week to put up a barber’s tent1! In- justice to the contractor or contractors, I should quote the following further statement from the article -
It can be said that the canteen is run excellently so far as the supplies are concerned, and that the prices are only reasonable under private enterprise conditions. Goods are sold a.t ordinary market prices. There have been complaints about the refreshments, but a visit by a Sun reporter to the canteen did not bear them out. For sixpence a cup of tea, ready , sweetened, and two huge corned-beef sandwiches, or a generous helping of cake, was obtainable. It was rough but good fare. There is no cause of complaint against the contractors, who are merely carrying out well an ordinary business undertaking. The whole question is one of principle. Should private persons make a profit - which, because of the extent of their operations, must be huge, but not unfair - out of the troops? Or should the troops be afforded the advantage of cheaper supplies and participation in the earnings of a co-operative canteen?
That is the position I want to put before the Senate. Having tested the cooperative canteen principle at Broadmeadows with, I believe, excellent results, there was no justification for adopting another principle at Liverpool. There was rather every reason to start at Liverpool a similar venture to that which resulted so successfully at Broadmeadows. Senator McDougall made reference to the amount paid. On this subject the article says -
An arrangement between the military authorities and the contractors is pending, and will provide for a big rental charge, based upon the number of men in camp. The amount will run into about f600 or £800 a month. That apparently corroborates Senator McDougall’s statement.
– I asked the question last week, and got the answer from the Minister.
– But the point is that it is obvious that the rent paid comes out of the pockets of the men, and private enterprise will not go there unless, in addition to the rent, it makes something for itself. It should be the duty of the Government to see that every penny of profit made from what ought to be a co-operative canteen is used for the bene fit of the men who provide that profit. If the matter is not finally concluded, I hope the Minister will at once break off the negotiations, and see- that, the men at Liverpool get the same excellent opportunities of working the co-operative principle as were furnished to their fellows who went into training at Broadmeadows.
– Senator Millen brought forward one matter in particular on which I want information. That is the statement of the Minister with regard to Mr. Butler, .secretary of the Factory Association at Lithgow. Some time last year I had the pleasure of attending a deputation which placed before the Assistant Minister of Defence its ideas with regard to the second shift. It contended that the second shift was practicable and desirable at that time, and I was surprised to hear that some of these men had gone back upon the statements they then made. If, however, Mr. Butler now claims that he did not say what has been attributed to him, and does not. repudiate the views he previously held, I contend that there should be a searching inquiry into the matter. On several occasions I have had to complain of answers I have received not being at all satisfactory, and it appears to me that there is an attempt somewhere to defeat the desire of honorable senators to get information on certain subjects. We know now that, at that time, there was a shortage of material that we were not aware of then, but if there is enough material there for the men to work at night, there must be material enough for them to work a second shift. A certain amount of material must be required for the men to put in four hours over their ordinary day’s work. That is a fair answer to the contention with regard to the shortage of material making a second shift difficult to work, and I will leave the matter at that. Another question on which I desire an explanation affects the Crown Law Department. I refer to the manner in which the Continental Tyre Company is being treated by the representative of the Government or of the Crown Law Department. Any one who goes down. Georgestreet, Sydney, must be struck by a large black sign with big silver letters, “Continental Tyre Company, contractors to the Commonwealth Government.” It is an eyesore to me, and many others, who know that the manager of this company was convicted of the offence named by Senator Millen. Its business is still being carried on, in spite of this, to the detriment of legitimate traders, who did not have the inside knowledge to enable them to lay in a stock of the articles that were likely to become necessary. I have been told that the controller has to carry on the business of the company, furnish receipts at the end of the war, and show that the business has been carried on in a proper way. That may be so; but, if it be so, the position should be the same in other parts of the Empire. I have here a cutting from a Melbourne trade journal, which lets some light in on the subject. It says -
In fact, they seem to ,show the Commonwealth points by absolutely winding up the Continental Tyre Company: In view of the indefiniteness of the Commonwealth Government policy in regard to German investments in Australia, the action of the New Zealand Government shows a refreshing contrast to the “Mary Ann Simkins” methods adopted here. A telegram from Wellington announces that the Dominion Government has appointed a trustee, whose duty it will be to wind up this German business, the Continental Tyre Company, and hold receipts until the war is over.
– Who says that?
– It is a statement which is contained in a cable from Wellington, New Zealand. If that can be done in New Zealand, why cannot it be done here? The statement proceeds -
In-Melbourne Mr. M. J. Campbell, a director of the Continental Tyre Company Ppty. Ltd., who is also a solicitor, has issued County Court summonses against motor firms, who, for patriotic purposes, have delayed payment for German goods. It is to be hoped the Commonwealth Government will treat all these firms with German interests in a similar manner to what the German Government treat British firms in their country.
The Government have appointed a receiver to conduct the business of this Continental Tyre Company for the ultimate benefit of enemy capital. This is a matter which was ventilated in the Age at an early stage of the war, and it was then shown that the whole of the capital invested in the business is enemy capital. The goods which are now being offered for sale by the receiver, and which are being purchased by the public, are goods which were imported in anticipation of the war. The firm could never have stocked up in the way that it did if it had not anticipated the war. Certainly they were not goods legitimately landed in anticipation of ordinary trade. I believe that this company doubled its stock of tyres and other articles connected with its business just prior to the outbreak of war. If that be so, obviously other firms which are endeavouring to carry on a legitimate business in this country are being placed at a disadvantage. When the war broke out, the company was engaged in building a factory at Marrickville, Sydney, for the manufacture of its goods. The erection of that factory is still in progress, so that somebody must be finding the requisite capital for the undertaking. Surely, if we allow it to carry on its business with the aid of a receiver, we have no right to countenance the building and equipment of a factory which is to be given over to enemy subjects and enemy capital on the termination of the war. I have made inquiries into the matter, and I have been assured that there is no remedy for the existing condition of things. I have nothing to say against the Germans who are in our midst, but, in my judgment, a German once is a German always. He would not be any good if he were not. A Britisher once is a Britisher always, and I would rather have a German who manfully stands to his guns than one who declares that he would not care if Germany were put under the water. We can trust none of these people, and especially we cannot trust those who are striving to show us what good Britishers they are. In Sydney, there are men who have made certain statements in public, and who have been the recipients of threatening letters from supposed Germans, who have assured them that they are marked men, and that they will be dealt with when the war is over. Some persons profess to regard these threats as a joke, but I do not so regard them. I do not think they are a joke any more than was the threat to sink the Lusitania. Whilst we ought to be careful to avoid wounding the feelings of Germans in our midst, we ought to take care that they are placed in such a position that they can do us no harm. Only the other day-I brought under the notice of the Minister the case of a man with twenty-nine years of service in the Army Medical Corps, and who had been deposed from his position in charge of the hospital at the German Concentration Camp ate Liverpool in. favour of a German named Meyer:.
– Why/ wast the Britisher shifted?
-Colonel, Sir- Albert, Gould - Because ha was; not in. sympathy,- with) the; Germans at, the camp..
– He was; removed for no. reason’ whatever . The; authorrities simply say that the &e_tman is looking” after the camp better than* did his predecessor, and that since, his- appointment there have been no deaths1 there. By lids removal a slur was- placed on- the Britisher- who’ had been in charge- of* the camp, and he has since been compelled towalk the streets. The Germans in the Concentration Camp treat Meyer as- a traitor, and’ swear that they will have Ms life- when the war- is over: I believe- that’ lie has had- to defend himself with his revolver.
– Senator Gould saidjust now that the. Britisher was removed because he was not in sympathy with the. Germans at the, camp. The two statements do not harmonize.
Sena-tor McDOUGALL- This man Meyer was an officer who was going to the war-, and’ who was ordered’ to return even, after he had got aboard! the transport. The Germans at. the camp are not at all”, in sympathy with him. He has a private, income,, and yet his predecessor was. displaced” for. him,, and has since, been obliged to walk. the. streets.. I hope that what, I. have said. An. reference to. the Continental. Tyre Company, will, be pm:ductive of some good, result,, and. that we shall be informed why. the. factory at Marrickville is- being proceeded with, thus allowing the company to compete; with Australian, enterprise; in, the manufacture of rubber goods; and also with, importers. In connexion with the: contract, mentioned by Senator. Millen. at the, Liverpool (Damp; it will be- recollected? that I asked! a question of the Minister- only) last week I visited the camp> about’, a. fortnight; ago, when complaints were made> to. me; by two or three persons who, had been im the habit of vending- their goods there* with a view to making a profit of- a few shillings a week. They complained that they were not allowed1 to- enter the camp gates: A milkman, for example* had been refused admittance. “When’ I’ inquired into the matter- the Commandant informed’ me that’ a- contract had’ been- let, and that, consequently, admission had’ to> be denied’ these’ persons’. I1 do’ not complain of that. But I» do- complain of- the1 contract having- been let’ without it havingbeen thrown’ open to corn-petition-. Iff one man was’ willing to- pay £1’5”0- a month’ for every thousand’ men- in- the’ camp for- the* privilege lie- enjoys-, it is manifest that tenders should have- been called’ in- theordinary way. _?et a firm’ of’ contractors; lias secured- this’ valuable, right without public competition! The other matter- towhich I desire, to: refer isi that of-‘ enlistment. I think- that’ greater facilities should’ be- provided for recruits, enlisting in the country districts, and that no railway, passes should be issued to- them until? they have, actually signed on; for ‘service: There are hundreds of recruits who report’ themselves, in the country,, who- obtain free passes- to- the capitals of the different States, and who never go near the Barracks. Some better method of enlist,ment, should be devised. Tha Government/ have- not taken- the war- as seriously as they should have done.
– That’s- right. Give. out enemies^ information and provide headlines for to-morrow’s- newspapers.
– Listen, to. that. There might be an obituary notice. We have had a few of them lately. I do not- think- that I- am> doing-‘ anything- that the- Minister can growl’ about.
– For the honorable senator to say that the Government have not done all’ that they should have done in the way of recruiting; is- nothing- to growl’ about ? That, is what, our enemies are. saying.
Senator- McDOUGALL.- It is; absolutely my opinion. I wish, to give, tha Government a; word of advice. but,, according to. the Minister, I have- nc right to do so.
– Nice advice?,, to- make assertions, like that; without: any proof.
– -I can- give lots of proof :
– Give US the- proof:
– I brought proof forward on one occasion, and. the Minister would not accept” it’.
– Mere assertions. Give, us- the. proof.
Senator- McDOUGALL - I heard the Minister ask- for the name of one man who was physically fit, and -who had been rejected. I can supply him with the names of plenty of men who have been so rejected.
– I .gave the Minister the name of a man who was rejected one day and who was afterwards accepted.
– 1 will .give him ‘the name of one man now - Gunner McClean - who has been rejected a dozen times. -Senator Pearce. - He is still in the forts ‘in Sydney.
– There are many men who wish to go .to the <war whose services the Minister will mot accept. I am sorry indeed that the honorable gentleman has ‘lost his temper.
-bce. - I have mot lost any temper *but fl[ ‘resent the making ‘of wild charges ‘without any proof.
– I have not made any wild -charges. I have -simply said ‘that, in -my ‘opinion, ‘the ‘Government have -not ‘done ‘as .much -as they might .have done. I think that it is a standing disgrace to them that the ‘State Government of New South Wales (should fee ‘advertising in .the newspapers -every morning for (competent mien to .make munitions of .war. They ought newer to ‘have been given an .opportunity .to do -any .such thing. The Victorian and other State ‘Governments .are also trying to do (something, which (shows .that the Commonwealth Government have not (done all that they ought to have done.
– It only shows that they are desirous .of helping the Commonwealth Government: and we welcome their assistance.
-There .should have been no occasion for it. ‘Senator Lt.-‘Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - The Victorian Government are making arrangements for a recruiting campaign throughout the State.
– Of course they are. Many projects put before the Commonwealth Government have ‘been turned down. The State Government should never have been given a ‘chance to do What they -‘are ‘doing, or ‘are ‘proposing to do. I am sorry. that the Minister of Defence should have become angry..
– - -Seeing that the ‘honorable senator >is playing (the game :of our .opponents, it as only natural that I should be angry.
– I am glad I ‘have made the Minister angry, although I have not desired to do so. If I had, I “‘have plenty of occasion ‘to do so. I came over the other day with enough stuff, I ‘believe, to have blown the Administration off the globe, but I kept it to myself.
– -‘Give it to the Argus: they will publish it.
– I do not do that sort of thing. I leave blacklegging to the honorable .senator. ‘He will never find me doing that kind of thing. I have never blacklegged in any way in my .’life. ‘The Minister appointed Selection ‘Committees, which was probably a ,good thing, to -make ^recommendations for the .appointment lot ‘officers.; but because the Committee in .New South Wales recommended .a man who was not suitable to those who desired to command the brigade., the man they recommended was turned down. The man was sent to them, and ‘they would not recommend him. I do ‘not know this man or .the members of the Committee. The .Selection Committee recommended ‘an officer who, had held a ‘commission in the Defence Force in New South Wales for years. ‘They went so far in their protest against their .recommendation being turned down that they -resigned because a boy , twenty-one years of -age was -placed in a -position as ‘an officer when he ‘had ‘had no experience at all. Does the Minister want proof of that ? I have the proof i here, if he wants it. .Senator Pearce. - -Let the honorable senator put in everything he has got. I am not afraid of anything. Let him put it .all in.
– There is proof of what I have ‘said in connexion with this -matter. The Minister cannot deny it. The papers ‘are in the Library Jar .any one to see. .1 say that the mem- bers of the Committee resigned, and they were told !that there was political influence in Melbourne to get this man’s appointment through in .spite of the Committee. It was -got through, and he went away.
– What political influence got him through in Melbourne 1
– I do not know.
– Why does not the honorable senator say it straight out, instead of hinting at things?
– I did not want to approach this matter at all, because the members of the Committee resigned as a protest. They have signed their names to their protest, and I got a copy of it through the courtesy of the honorable senator. I asked him for the papers; they were tabled. They wrote the following letter: -
Victoria Barracks, Sydney, 10th December, 1014. Senator Hon. G. F. Pearce,
The Minister of State for Defence, Melbourne.
We, the members of the Committee appointed by you to recommend’ appointments to Commissions, A.I. Force, from Second Military District, as per telegram W.2559 and W.5346, desire to strongly protest against the appointment of Private G. D. MacArthur as Transport Officer of 13th Infantry Battalion, in face of the fact that the Committee declined to recommend him, and, instead, had recommended Lieut. Richardson (R. of 0.); subsequently, after the latter’s withdrawal (referred to later), the Committee recommended Lieut. Dunningham Retired List, but formerly of A.S.C.
The Committee on its appointment was informed by telegram W.2477 of 18/9/14 that, “ in the event of sufficient number of thoroughly suitable officers not volunteering for foreign service,” the Minister directed that competitive practical tests should be held amongst those volunteering who did not hold commissions, with a view to the best men being recommended for commission. That is, suitable Commissioned Officers were to be exhausted before N.C.O.’s or Privates could be considered.
When Colonel Burnage, O.C. 13th Infantry, proposed Private G. D. MacArthur for a commission as Transport Officer - he is only just twenty-one years of age - the Committee declined to then recommend him, telling Colonel Burnage that it thought that it should be possible for him to obtain a suitable Transport Officer from amongst the large number of Commissioned Officers who had volunteered.
Colonel Burnage having failed to propose any Commissioned Officer, the Committee recommended Lieut. Richardson.
Subsequently Lieut. Richardson withdrew, owing, so the Committee understands, to the attitude Colonel Burnage adopted towards him.
The Committee then recommended Lieut. Dunningham (Retired List), formerly of the A.S. Corps, who was willing to take up the appointment.
The Committee had been informed, as per telegram W.7041, that its recommendation of a Commissioned Officer had been passed over, and that, contrary to your own directions, as peT telegram W.2477, a member of the battalion, who was a very young Private at the time of the Committee’s recommendation, as above, has been appointed Transport Officer of the 13th Infantry Battalion. We also call your attention to telegram W.2918, which says, “ Committee will recommend all appointments to Commissions from applications received.” it may be stated here that, some time ago, . Colonel Burnage stated to the Committee that, if Mr. MacArthur was not recommended for a Commission by the Committee, he intended to ask his Brigadier, Colonel Monash, to press the appointment through political channels in Melbourne. Colonel Burnage’s attitude to the Committee has been hostile throughout.
It is clearly impossible for the Committee to discharge its ‘functions properly if Commissioned Officers whom it recommends as suitable are passed over in favour of very young members of the unit, who do not hold Commissions, and who are, consequently, not eligible under the terms of telegram W.2477.
The Committee accordingly asks that it may be supported by the Minister in the carrying; out of the directions laid down in telegram last referred to, and that Mr. MacArthur’s appointment may be cancelled, and the Committee’s recommendation - Lieut. Dunningham - be confirmed.
– The allegation of political influence rests on a statement which they say somebody else made.
– That is just what I said.
– No; the honorable senator said that Mr. MacArthur got the appointment through political influence.
– I did not say anything of the sort. I said that the Committee were threatened with political influence. The honorable senator knows the Committee, and he can find out all about the matter.
– The matter the Senate is interested in is whether the Committee’s recommendation was turned down.
– Yes, it was; but not because of any political influence.
– I said that political influence was threatened. If the Minister would keep his temper, and would listen to what I say, he would not make the errors he is making. I did not want to bring this matter up.
– The honorable senator should bring it all up.
– The resignation of the Committee was not accepted.
– No; they were “sacked.”
– They were “ sacked “ and turned down by an open telegram. The Minister did not send them a letter. A telegram, which every one could see, was forwarded to them, turning them down because they dared to make a recommendation in accordance with the Minister’s instructions.
– They were not turned down for that at all.
– I have the floor now, and I say that they were turned down because they carried out the Minister’s instructions to exhaust commissioned officers before they went to the ranks. Any one who can see a hole in a ladder must, know the reason. Every one knows what is behind it all.
– What is behind it all!
– I do not like to say . these things at this stage. Perhaps, after the war is over, I may have an opportunity to bring these things to light, and to settle some of the little differences which apparently exist between the Minister and myself. The honorable senator cannot sit quiet and hear a little criticism and a little advice.
– Bring it all out now. The honorable senator should not leave it until after the war. I .do not wish to have anything concealed.
– I do not think the Minister is the only pebble on the beach. I never did think so.
– I challenge the honorable senator to bring out anything He has got now.
– I have given the Minister one matter. Let him get on with that. The honorable senator’s interjections are disorderly.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Senator McDougall is lending himself to them.
– Oh, I see. I am lending myself to interjections, and asking for them. I have done nothing of the sort. I believe, sir, that it is your duty, when an honorable senator is addressing the Senate, to see that he is not interrupted if he objects to interruptions. I am sorry for these little interruptions. I did not intend to go so far as I have gone. I intended simply to give the Minister a little advice, which from the position I occupy, I am entitled to do. I do not think that I have said anything outrageous at all. The references the Minister has made to myself and my colleagues opposite do not matter to me. They only go to prove my contention that -there is something wrong. I have not .said a word to either Senator Millen or
Senator Gould upon matters connected with the war since the war has been on. I have been with them on the train, but I have never mentioned the administration of the Defence Department, or anything connected with the war to them. For the Minister to say what he has said is simply an indication that the honorable senator has lost his balance. He wants a little more stamina and a little more appreciation of the fact that others are as good as-he is. I consider myself as good as the honorable senator now or at any other time.
– Senator McDougall’s attitude is not new, and it does not occasion me the least surprise. There has never been an occasion on which I have been attacked by members of the Opposition, but they have received support from the honorable senator.
– Name one occasion.
– I do not object to that, but what I do object to is that Senator McDougall should make assertions here, and never on any occasion bring any proof to back them up. He has, at various times, charged me with practically every crime in the political calendar, but whenever these charges are investigated, we can never get down to anything definite. Let us take the charge he has brought forward to-day. This is not the first time he has brought it forward. On several other occasions he has hinted at something dreadful in connexion with the Selection Committee in New South Wales.
– This is the first time I ever mentioned it here.
– The facts of the case are these : Previous to my taking office, there were no Selection Committees for the selection of officers. Brigadiers selected their regimental commanders, and these in turn selected their subordinate officers. The selections were sent forward to the Adjutant-General, and he brought them forward, with his views upon them, to the Minister, who decided whether he would accept or reject them. The alteration I made in that procedure was to appoint a Selection Committee in each State that was to have the selection and recommendation of the officers in the first place, and the selections were then to go through the same channels as previously. The reason for that was that, in a number of cases, .officers had to be selected in order that they might be ‘trained with their companies «or regiments before -the brigadier was actually selected. When the first division was chosen, we were .able to turn to our brigadiers, our regimental commanders, and ask them to .make the necessary selection of officers. -But later, we did not know for a considerable time when we should be able to send another brigade. When we .decided that we could do so, we had to .-look for our brigadier. In the meantime, all these officers were required, .and so Selection Committees were appointed for -the purpose of making selections tfr.om .applicant’s for commissions, with the object -of forwarding them to .the Military Bowd. who made remarks -upon the .proposed appointments, and sent them along to the .Minister. When the regiment was formed., the officer commanding was given an .opportunity to express his views upon the selections made by the Committee, .and the local ^commandant. In the case referred to by .Senator McDougall, the Selection Committee recommended a certain .officer -for the position. The officer commanding the regiment was not satisfied with the ‘officer recommended, and he suggested, the .appointment of a man .in the Tanks -of the particular corps who., in his opinion, had given evidence of the possession .of ;good qualifications (for the position. In his opinion a certain officer - I do mot know the >man-
– I know him.
– I preferred to accept the recommendation of the officer commanding., -who would have to take this man to war ‘with him. The ‘officer (commanding ‘strongly objected ‘to the (choice made by the Selection Committee., and strongly recommended “this young private for,the lieutenancy. The Selection Committee ‘sent over their recommendation, and this went on to the Commandant. I .am not sure whether the Commandant took the same :view -as the ‘Selection Committee ‘or the officer commanding the regiment - -I a-m speaking -from memory - but when it came to the Adjutant-General and the ‘Chief of the General Staff, they both ‘strongly replied that the young man in the ranks ‘ought to get the -commission. Now the statement is made here, and fathered by Senator McDougall, who says lie is so anxious for fair play, that political influence was brought to bear; but he has no hesitation in quoting from a letter which he. ‘obtained, ‘from the file, but which he says was sent to him, and in which ‘Colonel Monash is made to say that -political influence was -at work.
– I did mot quote it until you forced me to.
– I want to say that Colonel Monash never saw me -about the matter at all. It is not his business. And, further, may I tell -my honorable friend that Colonel Monash -happens to he a member of the Liberal party?
– Does he ?
– I understand he does. ‘Senator Millen. - You have -given me some news, then.
– I understand that in private life Colonel Monash is a member of the Liberal party, and therefore, unless they thought there would be a certain Minister in office, .1 do not see how there could be political .’influence., assuming that the political influence was ‘to be connected with the Minister of the Department.
-‘Colonel Sir ALBERT Gould. - Perhaps it was -meant to placate the Opposition.
– Let roe .assure Senator McDougall and the ‘Senate that .the .matter was never put to me in that light at all. There was some difference -of opinion between the officers, and H deicided to give the benefit of the doubt to the -officer .commanding the .regiment. I said to myself, “ This is the officer who -has to take the men into war with him, and seeing that he - the regimental commander - has been backed up by the .members of the Military Board, I will decide in favour of him.”
– What is the good of the Committee if their recommendations are not adopted?
– They have the power ‘of recommendation, and in ninetynine cases ‘out -of a hundred their recom.mendations ‘are adopted. ; Senator Millen. - When the Committee are in agreement with the .commanding officer, their recommendation is adopted.
– Sometimes when the Committee have not been in agreement, the ‘recommendations have been adopted ; land, generally speaking, they are indorsed. In this case not only ‘the officer commanding the regiment, but. the* two members of the Military Board! indorsed this view.
– The, Selection! Committee is the fifth wheel of the coach.
– No; it is not. Ina> number of cases the members of that Committee are- the. final arbiters - that isto say, where companies have not been assigned1 to any regiment, they have practically full power- to nominate company officers-, and their nominations are almost alWays indorsed by the Military Board and’ approved by the Minister. They appear to have adopted the attitude that unless the Department accepted every one of their recommendations without examination or qualification or exception,, they would resign. They intimated! to me. that this was the position they took up.. We. had’ to accept every one of their nominations,, or they would resign.
– They- did. not say that at: all ; it- is absolutely incorrect.
– In. view of- that attitude I intended that I would not wait for them to resign. I simply cancelled their appointment.
– That is, anotherwrong statement. Get the, papers and read them.,
– I informed the Board of the position,, and. that is the. end of the matter so far as I am concerned. This was brought forward as one of the reasons- to back up the attacks of the- Opposition on the Government.
– I’ object” to that statement about attacks on the Government.
– I say that- this has been brought forward to back up the statement thai, the Government, are not doing the right thing with- regard to recruiting and with regard to munitions, but I challenge the honorable- member to produce, any evidence-
– I did not bring that forward at all’.
– I did not- intend to- discuss- this- matter. I only rose-
– You say that, but you were* yabbering “ all,’ the’ time another man was> speaking-:.
– I rose to let Senaton McDougall. know that I am aware: he intended te, flagellate: me. He hast done so in. the. past, and I presume! he; will continue to.- do. so. in the. future.
– Don’t cry- for mercy..
– 1> am awa-re- that, -he: honorable; senator’s action! will be welcomed both by the. Opposition and the. press-,, which is; looking’ for- copy of that, kind..
– That- statement, is. as. contemptible ass the- man who, makes it.
– I’ turn, now? to some statements- made by the Leader of the Opposition. Senator Millen dealt with the views< expressed by Mr: Ferguson regarding a second shift at the Small Arms Factory. Senator Millen started off by assuring us of his* intention to help the Government. I want to believe that; but I ask Senator Millen to- place the facts honestly before the public-. Let me- give one instance of- the way in which he placed the facts, or alleged facts, with regard to Mr: Ferguson’s statement. I feel sure- that whenhe comes to read’ Hansard he- will’ see - I’ do- not say that- he did it deliberately - that the facts were not properly stated. Dealing with’ Mr. Ferguson’s statement, he leads u& to believe that Mr: Ferguson said1 -
If we can ignore, commercial considerations ….. we- need- not. put. on engineers.
Now, Mr . Ferguson did not say anything of the’ kind’, though Senator Mill’en, said he did’.
– Do you seriously put that forward as an assertion that I have made it appear that Mr. Ferguson used those exact words?
– The honorable senator, put. it that way, and it will’ read that way in Hansard. It will be open to that construction.
– Do- you- assert that I said that Mr: Ferguson used those words?
– I< took down the words’ as the honorable senator used them-. The honorable- senator stated that M-r, Ferguson said -
K we- can ignore commercial considerations . . . . then there- is no necessity to put on the engineers. »
I say that anybody reading- Senator Milieu’s speech- in H’ansard’ will’ come- to the conclusion that these were- the word’s used by Mr-. Ferguson.
– The honorable* sena- tor is; quite wrong. It would be obvious from- the context of my argument-, that. I could not have; said. that.
– But I took down the words, and that is how they will stand in Hansard, giving people the impression that Mr. Ferguson used those words, and giving them as his reasons for not recommending the course suggested by Senator Millen. What Mr. Ferguson did put as bis objection was that it would upset the whole organization of labour in the Factory.
-Colonel Sir Albert Gould. - That is what I understood Senator Milieu to say.
– But the honorable senator also used the words I have quoted.
– No; if I had used them they would have defeated my own argument.
– Did not Senator Millen say, on a former occasion, that Mr. Ferguson had not taken into consideration the better class of labour as against the unskilled?
– Yes;_and it is clear from the second report that I was right.
– I do not know whether Senator Millen has any knowledge of this matter; but recently the New South Wales Government received a report from their Committee which is dealing with the question of munitions of war. That Committee was constituted without reference to us as regards its composition, and its members were asked to ascertain if anything could be done in their factories to assist the Small Anns Factory. The Committee consists not merely of Government officials, but has on it Mr. Franki, of Mort’s Dock, and men of that” character. They reported to their Government on the way in which they thought the State Government and the Public Works Department of New South Wales could assist the Federal Government, and they dealt with the proposed establishment of a second shift at Lithgow. They pointed out that they could not recommend that the skilled labour at the Eveleigh Workshops should be put in to fill up the second shift, for the reason - -using almost the same words as were used by Mr. Ferguson - that to do that would be to completely upset the present organization of the Factory, that the Factory has been organized on the basis of skilled engineers for a section - a very important section of the work - and unskilled but gradually trained men for the other sections of the work. They say that to bring in a new element - skilled engineers for all sections of the work - would be to upset the organization.
– For one shift.
– That recommendation of the Committee was not made for my benefit. The New South Wales Committee have been asked to report, for the information of their political chiefs in New South Wales, as to how they could best help the Federal Government. I have not brought their report in here, for the reason that it deals only incidentally with the manufacture of shells and munitions; but I have sent it on to the Munitions Committee, with a suggestion that that body should cooperate with the New South Wales Committee in the conclusions arrived at. Now, in regard to the statement made by Mr. Butler at the Small Arms Factory, as quoted by Senator Millen, I can only say that my shorthand writer took shorthand notes of the whole of the proceedings of the deputation, and transcribed those notes for me. When I used the statement made by Mr. Butler, I quoted from the typed copy of the shorthand writer’s notes.
– Have the Government any object in preventing this second shift from working?
– Certainly not.
– What is all this trouble about, then?
– An attempt is being made to show that the Government were being pushed in the matter, and that we are acting unwillingly.
– An attempt is being made to get a second shift.
– Of course it is, and by the Government. But the Opposition are endeavouring to make it appear that the Government do not want to put on a second shift; that they are unwilling to do so.
– Not that you do not want to do it, but that you are missing opportunities of doing it.
– That is the statement being made by the Opposition and their press.
– You render a friendly suggestion, impossible ‘by this attitude.
– No; I am not against friendly suggestions, but when insinuations are made about the insincerity of the Government, and about our having to be pushed, urged, and shoved, a Minister would be a worm if he did not resent the accusation, when he knows it to be untrue; when he knows that everything possible is being done. I, for one, resent such attacks. Prom the very inception, I have tried to do all I can to obtain a second shift, and I believe that we are just on the verge of its realization. Senator Millen raised a question which undoubtedly is particularly serious, and that is the number of desertions from the Expeditionary Forces. For some time, I have been much perturbed over the fact that we take men into camp, and go to considerable expense to clothe and train them, and that, frequently on the eve of embarkation, a number desert. There is a pretty good indication that later some of them re-enlist, get a second turn at a camp, and subsequently desert.
– To what do you attribute the desertions?
– Simply to a desire to loaf on the Government.
– Why take loafers when there are plenty of good men who ought to be taken?
– We do not take any loafers knowingly. The pay is sufficient. A man, if single, has nothing to spend his money on; he saves up his money, and just before the boat is about to go he deserts, proceeds to another State, and enlists there. How are we to check him ? We cannot follow him. We would need to have his photograph or thumbprint in every camp in Australia.
– Is there any particular punishment meted out to the deserters ?
– If they are caught, yes.
– You have caught some, then?
– We have caught some deserters and court martialled them. I have given an instruction that every effort shall be made, not only by the Defence Department, but through the Police, to catch deserters; and that wherever men are arrested an exemplary punishment is to be pressed for.
– Have you any objection to stating what punishment has been meted out to the men who have been “ found and dealt with ?
– I am prepared to give the information, but I do not remember at this moment what the punish ment has been. There have been very few convictions.
– It is quite clear that the punishment is not severe enough.
– I will give the reason why so few deserters have been caught. At the Broadmeadows Camp, for instance, we have a Camp Commandant, and a permanent staff of four or five for the Staff Officers. For all the rest, we have to rely on officers who are going away from time to time with the various regiments. We have a continually changing population in the camp, with the exception of twenty or thirty persons. At times there have been 11,000 soldiers on the ground. There are now, I suppose, 5,000 or 6,000 at Seymour. When one lot of men goes away, a new lot comes, and the consequence is that there are very few persons in the camp who are able to identify people who were there before. Again, when they see a face they remember to have seen there before, for all they know the man may have been kept back for more training. It is very difficult indeed to trace such men at the camp, and to prevent their re-enlistment, or to catch them when they come up for that purpose. We did find that men used to slip away on the night before embarkation. We met that position by not giving the men any pay for a fortnight before they are to leave, paying them on board the transport, stopping all leave a day or two prior to embarkation, and having guards round the camp. But there are still desertions. I do not know what else can be done. I shall be glad of any suggestions as to what could be done. The only thing that occurs to me is to offer a reward.
– As you do with naval deserters?
– Yes; and also to ask for exemplary punishment. As regards the statement of Mr. Butler, I addressed the following inquiry to my secretary - .
Mr. Butler denies that he made the statement which I quoted here. Please look up your shorthand notes, if you have them, and also the report from which I quoted, and let me have your report to-day, if at all possible.
The reply I received from Mr. Duffy reads -
In connexion with this matter, I have looked up the report from which you quoted, and it contains the following sentence: - “Mr. Butler, speaking as regards the Filing Department, said that a double shift was impracticable.” .Ibis report I presented to you after our ‘return to Melbourne from Lithgow, w.here you received the deputation. It was transcribed from my original notes. The deputation ‘took place <on the afternoon of Tuesday, 1Mb. Jan,uary, -and the morning of Wednesday, 20th .January, and the original .notes were destroyed some .time ago. This sentence may not be a correct expression of Mr. Butler’s opinion on this matter, but ;it would be almost impossible to transcribe as “impracticable’” the outline for ‘’ practicable,” >or .Mr. Sutler’s assertion that It was practicable. .Senator Millen - The most feasible explanation that <I can :see is that the ^qualifying ‘words !are .omitted.
– .In the typed “.report, Mr. Butler’s assertion was that it was not practicable. I come now to the question -of medical ‘examination. ‘It is as easy as falling off a log to criticise in that regard. I cou’ld, I think, make out a “very good case why we should -reduce ‘the chest measurement. I could show -that there are men with a very small chest measurement who have been the fleetest -runners in Australia. I have seen splendid ‘axemen and bushmen who nave had a very ‘small ‘chest measurement. I could make ‘out ‘a very ‘good Base why we should accept -men under ‘5 feet in height. ‘We have ‘found men of surprising strength under that, height. I could make out a very .good case why we should accept men who have a full set of ‘false teeth, or men “who ‘have lost practically all their teeth, ‘but are yet .strong and ‘.healthy. I could make out a very -good case why we should reduce the vision test, and say ‘that so .long as a man had one :good eye we should accept !h’im. I could produce excellent shots with only -one eye-; In ‘fact, 1 know of a man with only ‘one arm who was an expert bushman, a good ‘rider, and ‘a good shot. “I could ‘go on multiplying cases to show ‘that the whole /et the medical test -was absolute nonsense, -and should be /swept away. But one swallow “does not make *a .summer, and ‘that these is one .active man with one arm who pan aide and shoot does not prove it-hat >we .should send soldiers with -one -arm into action. ‘So, when it comes to the question of teeth, it .seems to me .that the medical men have, after .all, put forward a roughandready plan which stands the test of common sense. They say that so long as a man has .sufficient natural teeth, it is not so much a question .as to whether -they Are front or back teeth .as -a question of his .ability to ‘masticate his food apart from false teeth. They will not reject .a man with false teeth if, in addition, he has ‘sufficient natural teeth to masticate his food. Why does that plan stand the best .of common sense ? 9.. this reason’: that a man with insufficient teeth may he able to keep in good ‘health if he .can get at this own .home, or in .centres of civilization, such food -as he can ‘masticate without -any .difficulty; ‘but take that man away from those .’Surroundings, -and put him .on a campaign where he has hard food, perhaps -not too well -cooked, and where lie has to keep physically tough and .fit, it may he found that he becomes physically unfit, and has to be sent to the rear - a handicap to the Army. ‘We have had :a -medical inspection of the ‘troops. It was ‘carried ‘out in the country .as well as in the city. Men were accepted in the country as well as in the city who had passed ‘the doctor. Twenty thousand of them went to Egypt, and -over 500 have (been :sent back as .physically unfit to stand the campaign. .Senator MILLEN - That number includes the venereal oases?
-No. I am dealing with men who the doctors say .ought not to have been passed .at .all - .men who were passed -from .Australia as , physically >fit., ‘but whom the doctors abroad have ‘returned .as having .been at the time ;of .acceptance ‘.physically -unfit to .-stand the -rigours <of .a campaign.
– Were the men who .came from the comatry examined again in .Sydney .or Melbourne?
– They were not examined then, but they are now. The bulk of those .men .came from the ‘country districts, and apparently the examination -in the country was not ,-so (good -as in the city. -Senator Newland - What was the cost of sending the men .away -and bringing them hack ? -Senator PEARCE. - I should .say .the .country .will lose at least -from £50 to .-£60 a man.
Senator -Grant. - Were .the 500 .men portion of the 30,00.0 to whom .Senator M.illen referred ?
Senator -PEARCE. - They were .some of the -first .20,000 troops who were (raised. On the Kyarra, now -on her way to Australia,, there .are over “150 men medically .unfit., apart from venereal -cases and from men who have been wounded. It is of no- use to send men like that to’ the war. The doctors there will not let them go to the front; It is simply wasting their time and the. country’s money to train men of that, kind and send them to Egypt or the base, and have- the base officials send them. back, as unfit to put in the trenches.
– Have you. a. medical’ conference; on now to consider all these subjects I
Senator- PEARCE. - There, is-, a medical conference, sitting now in> connexion with, the whole question- of medical- work.. Itis dealing not merely with this, phase;, but, chiefly with the reception of the: wounded when they? comet back- from the front-
– .Will it, consider; this! matter %
– -Yes. We have discovered theft while, tike, system of inspection! is. the; same> iia every- State;,, thai method, of carrying it: Q.ut varies) in. each State.. We. shall-, endeavour to; gen uniformity,, and. to see if we can: safety interfere with the present standard without, reducing the: effectiveness; of the troops.
– Now that, a Dental. Corps, has. been, appointed, willthe, restrictions, concerning false: teeth be relaxed…
– -The appointment; of a. Dental. Corps will not. affect, that, matter. A mam must have sufficient, natura.1, teeth, apart, from, false, teeth to> thoroughly masticate, his– food..
– Cannot thai Dental Corps-. &&. him up ?,
– The; members’ of the Den tall Corps, do not go- into, the trenches. If a. man- at the front, happens: to- lose;- hist plate-, they/ cannot make it forhim in>. the. firing line; We could, not. establish, a. dental base for the.- manufac- ture of false plates anywhere on the, 6*1- lipoli Peninsula.. There; is; not a- yard of it, which is-, not open, to hostile? fire.
– There) are plenty ofman with sound teeth who, should, be there to-day
– There are. thousands: of men in. Australia to-day,, physically fit, w,ho> have: not: enlisted.
– -Elm only remedy forthat is to, round them all up.
– Senator- Millenobjected to- my statement of. last week that’ up to. the time- we took offices nothing had’ been done, in regard to the munitions’ question’. I still think- that- statement correct. Nothing had’ been done. up) to that time in regard to. the. production of munitions in Australia. I know the reports: of Professor Rosenhain, to, which the honorable senator refers. That gentleman’ dealt with two. things. He gave us a report on the establishment of a-, national laboratory for the- testing of material’s and metals, - this would test, allsorts of. tilings, such as. steel, woollens, articles of. food,. &c. - and also, on, themanufacture of rifle- steel- in- Australia. He, said, “This is, a theoretical, report;, but if you want to» do anything practical,, I can recommend a man in England who will, tell you. how it can. be. done,, and - his fee will be £800.”’ His reports,, therefore,, did not. get. us. much “ forrader,’” and he- did not- deal with the question, of shells at all.
– Tt was intended that, he should do so ;; and- one matter put’, before him was, the analysis of a. shell’, to determine whether we could make that, steel’ in Australia. Tt was, that, matterwhich I discussed personally- with. him.
– I have seen no.- re* port- by Professor Rosenhain orr the; manufacture of shells, in Australia..
– I” presume the Minister will- accept my definite: assurance; that; to’ enable him to- do so, a: shell’ wassawn in sections and handed, to him.
– The only reportsof his- that I’ have seen are the two I have mentioned.
– Were instructions given in. writing,?.
Senato.ii PEARCE. - Some instructions, must, have, been given,, because he- did. inquire, into the, two, questions:. I’. have, mentioned^ and submitted reports. I. am. glad/ to. have Senator Millen?s> statement- that, he. sent for Mr., Wright. I. have been told times, out. of number, that, when, Mr. Wright told me that it would take, soma time, to: introduce the. double- shift, I. should have, instructed him to: do. i,lr straight off. Why, did not. Senator Millen. do that?:
Senator- Millen. - Because-! Mr:. Wright, led me to.- believe- that, a- matter of a few weeks would do? it- not a few months, or ten months.
– Them,, when. Mr: Wright made: the: same statement to me,. 1 should have disbelieved, him,, but. the; honorable! senator was’ right in believing; him’?Is that. the’, inference- to- be drawing If so>,. surely it”- is- unfair. According to, that- idea, Senator Millen was quite right in believing him and accepting his advice, but I ought to have disbelieved him and rejected it.
– You believed it for ten months.
– I have time after time pressed that question on Mr. Wright, and time after time he has told me that he was carrying out my directions and putting on the additional labour, but that, to use a phrase popular with our opponents, “ The time is not yet ripe.” According to Senator Millen, he was perfectly justified in accepting Mr. Wright’s statement, but I was not.
– I accepted his statement, but if he had not made it good in the few weeks he promised, I should have wanted to know something.
– That is only prophesy. The other is fact. What Senator Millen would have done we can only surmise. What he actually did do was what I did. He said, “ This man is an expert. He is the manager, and knows the Factory. He tells me that at present he cannot work the double shift, but will be able to do so by-and-by.” Then he told Mr. Wright to introduce the double shift as soon as he could.
– The difference is that I went and made other inquiries, and you did not.
– That is not correct, because I did make other inquiries. As regards the German doctor alleged to be employed at the Liverpool Camp, I happen to know something of the matter, because I received a letter on the subject this morning. I have not the slightest hesitation in giving the benefit of the doubt in favour of our safety, but there are plenty of people in Australia with German names who have proved themselves in this war to be true Britishers. Time after time in the lists of casualties one comes across absolutely German names. The names of Schmidt and others appear, showing that men bearing them have made the biggest sacrifice for their country that any man can make. They have proved their loyalty, and, therefore, we should not be influenced by mere names. I am not prepared to condemn a man simply on his name, but I have time after time stated publicly that if any one knows suspicious circumstances about any man, German or otherwise, it is his duty to write to me, and inform me of the grounds he has for suspicion, so that 1 can have the matter investigated.
– The fact that the Minister has received a letter is a proof that the matter is exciting comment.
– But the letter carries us no further than the honorable senator’s statement. It tells us only what he told us to-day - that there is a feeling of doubt or uneasiness because the man is there and has a German name, and is believed to have relatives in the German Army. At any rate, I shall have inquiries made. Senator Millen’s suggestions that, in addition to the existing recruiting depots in the capitals, we should establish depots in the larger cities in the different States, is worthy of consideration, which I shall certainly give it. Recruiting is permitted now in country towns. Every mayor of a municipality or shire council can enlist men, have them medically examined, and give them a warrant for a ticket; but when they reach the capital they have to be again medically examined. I take it that Senator Millen means that we should have our own medical and military officers at the new recruiting depots in the country. I shall look into that suggestion, and see whether it is practicable. It appears to be a good idea. I do not know much about the canteen at Liverpool, to which Senator McDougall, as well as Senator Millen, referred. Major Wilson, an honorary major - he is a civilian, not one of the dreaded military men - was the owner of the land at Broadmeadows, and volunteered, as the men were being very badly served at Broadmeadows, to organize a co-operative canteen there. He did it on lines very acceptable to the men, and with most satisfactory results. Seeing the good work he had done there, I asked him to visit each of the States in turn, and put their canteens on the same lines. He has done so, but I am not yet conversant with what he has done. I shall get the papers regarding the New South Wales camp ; but, from what I can make out from the newspaper statement read by Senator Millen, I do not think any great harm has been done. Judging by the amount of rent that these people are paying to the Department, it seems to me that the men are getting as much from them per 1,000 as we are getting from the Broadmeadows Camp.
– Who gets the profit?*
– The Defence Department receives it, and hands it over to the men. It is the men who get the benefit of it, just as they get the benefit of the profits made at Broadmeadows.
– I understand that a private firm pays a lump sum to the Department, and is given the monopoly of running all the undertakings at the Liverpool Camp, such as barbers’ and photographers’ shops.
– That is practically what is done at Broadmeadows, except that at Broadmeadows, instead of a private firm doing it, the men are employed by the canteen committee. Major Wilson takes them on and pays them wages. In New South Wales, apparently, a firm has been brought in to do it; out, judging by the amount of money the firm is handing over to the men, the men are getting the same amount of money per 1,000 as they are getting at Broadmeadows.
-Colonel Sir ALBERT Gould. - Does the money go to the benefit of the men?
– Yes; they buy recreation material and other things with it.
-; - But who gets the extra profit from those to whom the different businesses are farmed out?
– I suppose the firm makes a profit; but the article quoted by Senator Millen says that the prices paid at the camp compare very favorably with those charged in Sydney. If th« men are not paying higher prices, and are getting the same profit per 1,000 as at Broadmeadows, I do not see that much harm is done.
– Another aspect of the case is the farming out of the different conveniences.
– Under any other system, wages would have to be paid to men to run them.
– Why cannot the Department engage hairdressers and others “direct, instead of allowing an outside firm to farm out the business ?
– I have not sufficient information on the subject, but will have the matter looked into. I shall bring Senator McDougall’s statements regarding the Continental Tyre Company under the notice of the Attorney-General. I cannot resist the opportunity of quoting the latest remarks of Mr. Lloyd George on the question of munitions. In a speech made in the House of Commons yesterday, he said -
The Trench have mobilized their resources, though a large portion of their industrial area is in the hands of the enemy. Our engineering resources are greater than those of France. If we produced in the next few months as much as France, the Allies would have an overwhelming superiority. Germany has achieved a temporary preponderance in heavy guns, high explosives, rifles, and machine guns. The machine guns are the most formidable weapons in the war, and have almost superseded rifles. The difficulty is that the machinery necessary cannot be improvised in a short time. It takes eight or nine months before a single rifle or gun can be turned out.
This is the greatest manufacturing country in the world - a country which commenced manufacturing long before any other country. Yet, when it starts to improvize, it discovers that it will take eight or nine months before a new Small Arms Factory can turn out rifles -
It is largely a question of machinery and labour. Some material we have in abundance, some we have to husband, and some we must take steps to increase. We have a vast amount of machinery that is essential to the production of munitions. Our supply of other machinery is short. It is a question of the organization over the whole field of what is essential to the supply of munitions. We must recognise our armament firms, which have proved quite inadequate to supply the old and new Armies.
These firms, many of which have been established for 100 years, have proved quite incapable of supplying the old and new Armies. The statement proceeds -
Sub-contracting has undoubtedly been a failure. Good results are expected from inviting business men to organize and assist the Ministry to develop the resources in their districts. Loudon has come to the rescue by manufacturing fuses for high explosives. Shortly there would be another Woolwich arsenal turning out prodigious quantities of munitions, not merely shells, but particular parts of shells which other parts of the country could not supply.
Yet we have been told that Australia, which has never yet made a shell, and which possesses a steel industry that is only in its infancy, can make shells, and that it is only due to the laxity of the Minister of Defence that private firms have not been afforded an opportunity of manufacturing them. But Mr. Lloyd George says that this new Woolwich arsenal will make parts of shells which other’ portions of the country cannot supply. …3 r,
– But we, have the raw material in Australia, whereas Eng-land has not.
Senator- PEARCE;– No doubt we have the raw material,, and I hope that, we shall’ soon, have the- finished article. But. we. have a- long;, long- row to hoe before we do. produce- the finished article, and the; taskis not’ as easy as our arm-chair critics, would- have, the; people of Australia her lieve Seeing that- the Old Country - which is’ so- pre-eminent in manufactures - finds a. difficulty in producing shells, how much must that difficulty be. accentuated in a. country like Australia? The. statement continues5 -
A’ shortage, in; one: particular may stop the whole business of-1 manufacturing munitions’. The: making; o£ high, explosives must, keep, pace; with, tha supply of shells..
That isi to say;, the; output isi regulated by the supply of any particular part of the shell. It is. of no use being able to turn out l,p.Q0i shell, cases, im a day if we; cannot, turn out 1,60.0 fuses. -
Wren- a- return is secured! shortly* of’ thewHole, machinery in- the. country; it wilT be- possible to- estimate: the’ national, output:
So. that, that Imperial! authorities., are: not, yet able- to> estimate- the- national’ output5 -
The development of these new- sources of supply is bound to- take time. It will’ certainly be months before we can attain anything- Tike the- maximum output of which* the. country, iscapable:.
That is- Mr. Lloyd George’s; judgment after months of experience, in the) manufacture of. these munitions, and I. say that it should, give, pause, to those, who.- criticise, the: Government; in, a- hostile:, fashion.. If: the- difficulties’ outlined- by him are- experienced in. a country so. organized and’ so. well developed’ as- is Great Britain,, how, much more, will, they be- experienced in a country like- Australia ? Instead of carping criticism there should be some attempt on the part of our critics to render assistance to the Government,, and to. give credit where; credit, is- due. Let me give an instance- of the; desire which is exhibited to- take- advantage: of. anything, to. discredit, the Government, and,. ‘in: particular, to- discredit the Minister of Defence. The: report of the- Munitions. Committee, which I. laid on- the: table- of theSenate* t’o.-da-y points out that if we are going; to. manufacture: munitions- of war. there is one Department, which wall haveto be created - a Department for the, in spection of these munitions: Both: newspapers seize: on this point as* demonstrating the ineptitude of the present Ministerof Defence and of the- Government. They urge that we have so neglected our duty that we have not provided1 an InspectionDepartment for- war-like stores: Now, the report of the Munitions- Committee does not say anything- of the kind. It pointsout that there are certain, munitions: which its- members were told, off to investigate, and which Australia has. never yet produced. The Committee have: been told off- to- tell us how we can produce those munitions-,, and when and where we can produce them-. They say that one of the things we. shall require when we do produce, them is an. Inspection Department., We have an. Inspection. Department in every branch of munitions that we ha.ve been, manufacturing; in Australia.. We, have had our Inspection. Department, fox- rifle’s, ever since, the. Small Arms:. Factory was, established’.. We., have- had am Inspection Department for our cordite ever since: cordite wast manufactured1, in Australia. Similarly,;, we- have had- am Inspection) Department in connexion with, the manufacture off cartridges; clothing;, audi uniforms. We have; inspectors: who! inspect: the; limbers of: out. guns;, but’, we have not. an Inspection Department for- guns wade shells;., because; SO, far we, have- not: produced them. These munitions have beenobtained under- contract with thm WarOffice in England^ and the; War- Office has; tested them before they were sent outhere. I mention’ this’ matter- to- show thedeliberate intention of certain- newspaperstor discredit the Government by means of creditable or discreditable’ tactics: I say that there has been a deliberate attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the people outside, and to make them believe that wehave avoided doing one of the very first things that’ a Government should’ d’o, namely,, to provide for an inspection of’, war-like stores made in this country. A press, which would be so, unscrupulous’ cannot expect to. be credited with any. regard for. the principles, of fair play. It. shows a. desire, to- wound and. tor strike) no, matter what, may. be the) cost in, public, confidence, during this war-. Is. an. endeavour, to, make-, the people be:lieve that, the rifle placed, in. the. handsof a» recruit hast never been tested the. way inwhich to assist recruiting? Is an attempt to make Australians ‘believe that the cartridges which our troops willfire have never beentested the wayin which to encourage men to go tothe front? But the press is so anxious to destroy this Government that, even if it destroys Australia’s power to help the Empire during this period of unexampled trial, it will strike at us. I have nodesireto control myself in dealing with a situation lake that. If any honorable senator will read the reportof the Munitions iCom- mittee, and also the comments upon it by to-day’s (newspapers, he will see that every word Ihave uttered is justified. . I do not associate SenatorMillen, and those who have spoken to-day, with that criticism.
– The newspapers are their organs.
– They arenot connected with them.On thispoint they have not spoken, andI want to dissociate them from anythingI have said in that connexion.
– Is itnottimethat they repudiated the Argus?
– I saythatthese arepresstactics ofadespicable character. Ithink Ihave nowsaid all thatI set out to say. But before I resume my seat, I should liketogivehonorable senators the text of a cable which Ihave just received from ‘General Sir Ian Hamilton, and which isdated 23rd June. Itreads -
After twenty-four hours heavy andcontinuous fighting a substantialsuccesshas been achieved. As already reported,the battle of 4th-5thJune resulted in a good advance of my centre,towhich neither myright normy left were able to ‘conform,the reason beingthat the Turkish positionsinfrontof theflanks are naturally Strong, and exceedingly well fortified. At 4.30 a.m. on the ’21st, General Gouraud began an attack upon the line offormidableworks which runalong theKereves Dere. By moon, the : 2ndFrench Divisionhad stormedand captured all the Turkishfirst . and second line trenches opposite their front, including the famousHaricot redoubt, With its subsidiary maze of entanglements and communicationtrenches. Ontheirright the1st FrenchDivision,afterfierce fighting,alsotook the Turkishtrenchesopposite their front,but were counter attacked so heavily that -they were forced tofall back; again this division attacked, again it stormedthe position, and again itwas driven out. The bombardment of theTurkishleft wasresumed, the British guns and howitzers lending theiraidtothe IfFrenchartillery asin the previous attacks. At about6 p.m. a fine attack was launched, ‘600 yards ofTurkishfirst-line trenches were taken, and, despite heavy counter attacks during the nightespecially at . 3:30 a.m allcaptured positions are still in our hands.
Am afraid casualties are considerable, ‘but details are lacking. The enemy ‘lost very heavily.OneTurkishbattalion coming up to reinforcewas spottedby an aeroplane and waspracticallywiped outby the seventy-fives before they could scatter. Type of fighting didnotlend itselfto making prisoners, and only some fifty, including an ‘Officer, are in our hands . Theelan and contempt of danger shownby the young French draftsof the last contingent, averaging perhaps, twenty years of age,was much admiredby all. During ‘the ‘“fighting ‘theFrench battleship St. Louisdid excellentserviceagainst the Asiatic batteries. French casualties were . approximately 2,500, which, for the great success gained, is not excessive. Enemy casualties veryheavy,beingestimated not less than 7,000, many of whichwere caused by theFrench seventy-fives, which, during counterattack yesterdaymorning, caught the Turks indense formation, and absolutely mowed them down. Turks most gallant, and when short of ammunition fought ‘Frenchwithstones and ‘fists, and, (in (spite of heavyartilleryfire,advanced in rushes between theRafalos.
SenatorLt. -Colonel SirALBERT GOULD . (NewSouth Wales) [5.49].- I amsurethathonorablesenators entertain onlyoneopinion in regard, tothe message which theMinisterhas justread. Werejoice toknow that valuable progress hasbeen made on theGallipoliPeninsula during the last dayortwo. Wo know that our own men have bornetheir fair share ofthefighting. Weknow Whatthey havedone previously, and we believethat theywill continueto acquit themselvesequally well.But I wishnow tosaya f ewwordsin reply tothe remarksofthe Minister as to the attacks of certainnewspapersontheGovernment, andparticularlyin replyto the interjectionthat honorablesenatorsuponthis side of theChamberare themouthpieces of those newspapers.
– : Is the honorable senatorapologizing forthem ?
-Iapologizefor no newspaper, butI say ‘that it is incorrect to allege thatwearethemouthpieces of anynewspaper.One ofthemostimportantmatterswith which iParliamentcan dealis the safetyof the country.Itisthedutyof every honorable senatorto dothebest hecan,byadvice and criticism,to improve the position oftheEmpire,especiallyduring the present (greatEuropean struggle. ‘The complaintmadeusthat we should have had inspectioncommittees in respect ofall kindsof military material. and that work in the production of military material in other directions that those in which we have so far been engaged should have, been going on.
– How could we inspect guns when none were being made ?
– I say that we should have started our work. It is quite beside -the question to say that anything is being done to prevent recruiting by attempts to belittle the value of the rifles or the ammunition we propose giving to our soldiers. No one has made or insinuated any such thing.
– Did the honorable senator read the article in the Argus of this morning ?
-Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD. - I am not concerned with the article which appeared in the Argus.
– That is what the Minister of Defence referred to.
.- - We have been informed that there have been inspection committees at work, and that every weapon that we have put into the hands of our soldiers has been properly tested, and on its merits will compare with weapons produced elsewhere. The Opposition accept that assurance, and believe the statement to be correct, so that there should be no insinuation that what is said is intended in any way to diminish recruiting.
– We know that there has been no criticism so severe as that of a Labour Conference that met recently, and the proceedings of which were reported at length in the Daily Telegraph.
– We know that, from time to time, there have been severe criticisms passed by Labour organizations.
– And by Chambers of Commerce and Chambers of Manufacture.
– And by the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. Severe criticisms have been passed on the administration of the Defence Department within the past few weeks by this organization with regard to the second shift at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory. We learn that the Minister of Defence was there in the month of December, talking about the establishment of a second shift, but up to the present nothing has been done to make it an accomplished fact.
– The Minister has explained that.
– The explanation indicates that the Minister has received reports from his officers from time to time; that he has made certain inquiries. But what have the inquiries been about? First of all, can we establish a second shift? The chief officer of the Factory reported adversely. A further report was also, to a certain extent, adverse to the establishment of a second shift. Later reports are to the effect that a second shift can be established, but it is not desirable in the interests of the unskilled labour employed in the Factory. It is suggested that it would involve a disturbance in the labour organization of the Factory. Senator Millen has pointed out that it need’ not lead to any disturbance of the labour organization of the Factory, because the second shift would be only temporary, and could be so arranged’ that it would not interfere with the promotion of untrained men at present employed in the Factory. The matter might be so arranged that the work of the second shift might be done just as though it were done in another factory. The trained men employed upon the second shift could be made to understand that they would have no right to interfere with the prospects of promotion of the men engaged in the first shift. If it were not a matter of emergency, it might be said that we should adopt the course of training men for the work in anticipation of the establishment of a second factory. But we have to bear in mind that we are in a position of extreme difficulty in the maintenance of the integrity of our Empire, and the Minister of Defence should say to those who have charge of the Small Arms Factory, ‘ ‘ You must make the necessary arrangements to give effect to what we find is practicable, although it may be costly and difficult.” Is it not a fact that the men who have made history, and who “ make good,” are those who will not take a negative for an answer while there is a possibility of converting it into an affirmative? In a supreme emergency the Minister should say to his officers, ‘ ‘ You must tell mehow this thing is to be done, and must not give excuses for doing no more than you are doing.” In an emergency a Minister must whenever necessary override the opinions of his officers. No man knows better than one who has been a Minister of the Crown that in ordinary circumstances a matter is sent from one official to another, excuses for inaction are given, and reasons why a certain action should not be taken. But when, to meet an emergency, things have to be done, the Minister should tell his officers that they have to be done, and it is their duty to see that they are done. People outside learn that the men in the Small Arms Factory were working only eight hours per day, and subsequently for twelve hours per day, and it is natural that they should come to the conclusion that this has been the result of some supineness on the part of the Minister.
– Where are we to get the trained men to make guns? The honorable senator cannot make a gun.
– I am talking at present about themanufacture of rifles, and we know that we can make rifles. If we could get men to work in the Small Arms Factory for three shifts of eight hours each per day, that would be better than having them work one shift of eight hours, with overtime of four hours, and better than having them work two shifts of eighthours per day. I believe that the Minister of Defence will have two shifts at work at the Factory within the next two or three weeks. If he does not, I shall be very much disappointed. I do notwish to make an attack upon the honorable senator. We know that he is being pushed along, but an emergency such as we have to meet now should push every man along and incite him to greater efforts. We have reports that a second shift can be worked at the Lithgow Factory, and it only requires determination on the part of the Minister of Defence to have that done, in spite of any difficulty that may be suggested by his officers. On the subject of the manufacture of shells and guns, Senator Millen and the Minister of Defence have both pointed out what they have done in the matter. The Minister cabled to the Home authorities for information, but was unable to get it because of the pressure in Great Britain in the production of shells. How did Canada get all the information required? She is sending shells in considerable quantities to the Old Country. These shells are the product, not merely of Government factories, but of private engineering firms established throughout that Dominion.
– America is also sending shells.
– American factories have been longer established, and America is in a different position from Canada.
– It is only fair to say that Canada has been making steel for over fifty years.
.- That is so. We have been told that certain information must be obtained before we can manufacture shells in Australia. Canada has the necessary information, and is making shells for local as well as for Imperial requirements. I cannot help feeling that if the matter had been properly placed before the Imperial authorities they would have been prepared to encourage the manufacture of these munitions of war not only by the Government of the Commonwealth, but by private firms here.
– Canada does not occupy the insular position which we occupy in Australia.
– I recognise that Canada is very much closer to Great Britain than we are, and can communicate with the Old Country much more rapidly than we can. I say that if the Dominions put their shoulders to the wheel, and said that they would help not merely local, but also Imperial defence, by the manufacture of munitions of war, the Imperial authorities would be glad to know that they might receive material assistance from them. If we had the necessary information, have we not the skill amongst us to undertake the manufacture of shells? Have we not any number of trained engineers quite capable of doing this work?
– We have, and yet we send all work out of the country.
– I am suggesting that we should do this work in the country.
– That is not what the honorable senator has done in the past.
– I have never been in favour of sending work out of the country. On the subject of the appointment of officers. I may say that I know nothing of the case referred to by Senator McDougall.
I do know, however, that Selection Committees were appointed for the express purpose of preventing even the imputation of the exercise of political influence in the making of these appointments. The men appointed to the Selection Committee were supposed to be skilled men, and were acting under instructions to exhaust the commissioned officers before recommending the appointment of men from the ranks. The Committee recommended one commissioned officer for a certain appointment, and later on a second commissioned officer, but, nevertheless, a man from the ranks was appointed upon the strong recommendation of the colonel of the regiment with whom, as the Minister has put it, he had to go into the field to fight. The question is, which is the better practice to adopt. Is it right to appoint a Selection Committee to make selections for these positions, or should the commanding officer of a regiment be called upon to say in the first instance who should be appointed to a commission? We must have definite lines upon which to work. Of course, if the Committee recommend incompetent men, there is only one course to follow - to turn the Committee down and get better men. Concerning the charges of political influence, we want the Minister to be in a position to say that he not only resents such a suggestion, but that he has laid down such regulations as should make it impossible for political influence to be used. We know that there is a constant cry that if you want anything to be done, not only in connexion with the Defence Department, but in the various Departments of the Government, you have to go to the politicians. We have always tried to fight against that position of affairs, but I dare say we snail have to fight against it till the crack of doom. Now, referring to the question of recruiting, it appears that only lately have we awakened to the fact that it is of the utmost urgency that we should obtain more men. Although we welcome the action of the State Governments in assisting the recruiting movement, we cannot help feeling that their attitude towards this question is rather a reflection on us here, for, while they are doing their best, we are content, it seems, to give our attention to other matters. It may be that hitherto we have not been able to clothe and equip all the men coming forward, but nevertheless we are now told by the Imperial Government that men, with or without uniforms, will be very acceptable. I think, therefore, it is about time that the whole of our Parliaments “ took their coats off “ and set about doing their best to see that the men are sent. It is not of much use for one individual to start out on work of this kind. There must be organization, with the Government at the back of it, so that any information that may be necessary for the success of the campaign may readily be obtained to induce men to join our Forces, and assist the Empire in this emergency. If one will take the trouble to go to any of the sports gatherings that take place in the different cities of Australia, he will find there abundant material, if only it could be trained, for the defence of the Empire. I do not believe that there are only 80,000 or 90,000 men- this is, the number we have recruited in Australia up to the present - who have the courage to volunteer to go to the front, although there are many men who, through infirmity or because of family ties, are unable to place their services at the disposal of the Empire in this great adventure. I quoted the other day from a return which I had, showing that there were upwards of 500,000 unmarried men, between eighteen years and thirty-five years of age, in the Commonwealth.
– Not all are efficient.
– -No, perhaps not; but even if you take off 20 per cent.-
– More than that.
– Well, if you took off 50 per cent., there would still be 250,000 men available for duty.
– Some of them to make shells.
– Then they would be doing good work.
– Are any shells being made in Australia?
– You say they will be made in a fortnight.
– I did not say they would be making shells. I hope they will, and I shall be happy to do anything I can. to assist them. With a population of nearly 600,000 unmarried men up to thirty-five years of age, and nearly 700,000 up to forty-five years of age, it is surely “ up “ to a large number of them to come to. the assistance of the Empire in this great crisis.’
– And they are coming.
– They will if it is brought homo to them.
– It has been brought home to them.
– If so,we shall probably get them to come along; but we want the lead that can be given by the Minister. We do not want the Minister simply to say to the men, “ It is your duty.” We want members of Parliament from both sides to go through thecountry on a recruiting campaign and impress on the people the great necessity of all putting their shoulders to the wheel to help the Empire. I believe the Minister the other night addressed a meeting in the Town Hall, and made a very effective speech. I should like to see the Minister and the ex-Minister do the same thing in other portions of the Commonwealth.
– The Minister has a very heavy office.
– I know the Minister has a heavy office, and I believe Senator Gardiner told the people the other day that the Minister of Defence was working eighteen hours a day now.
– Yes; the Minister ofDefence is working eighteen hours a day.
– I am aware that the Minister has very arduous duties to perform.
– And you want to increase the work.
– I believe that if this great emergency were recognised, as it has been recognised in Great Britain and in the other portions of the Dominions, Australia would show that she was with the Empire in the accomplishment of a particular object - the defence of the Empire - irrespective of any political views. We would then be doing the right thing, because this is the supreme question,although honorable members opposite are talking of Referenda Bills. In no other portion of the Empire are contentious matters being brought forward at a time when the attention of the people should be devoted to the defence of the Empire.
– Is that why the Age and the Argus are squealing so much?
– I do not know; but I say that at present ail these contentious matters should be laid on one side in order to insure the protection of the State. It is said that no party issues are involved in these questions, but we remember that they have been before the people twice, and on each occasion caused great dissension and difference of opinion. Will they cause less dissension and less difference of opinions during the next six months? We know that under the Constitution these Bills will have to be referred to the people within a period of six months after they have passed through both Houses, and I say they should not be proceeded with at present.
– Is it a fact that the honorable senator’s party has gone on strike ?
– I have heard that something has occurred in the other House, but I am not going to be led aside by these interjections. The referenda questions divide the people into two sections, and for the present they should be laid aside. Great Britain has been able to lay on one side all party questions, such as Home Rule for Ireland, with the result that to-day the Conservative, or Unionist, party, the Liberals, and the Labour members have come together with one common object namely, to present a united front in this great emergency. When this war is over and settled, no one would complain if the Government brought forward these referenda proposals again. But this is not the time, and I am afraid it speaks ill of the Government–
– That was the cry before the war, and it is the cry now.
– I say it speaks ill for the patriotism of a Government that, during this great emergency, can ask Parliament to deal with a large number of matters involving contentious principles, which cannot affect the progress of the war, but which may affect the progress of this country. I am sufficiently a Democrat to nay that if the majority of the people of this country desire any particular amendment of the Constitution, it is their right to have it. But I say it is not right for a few unrepresentative men, or an unrepresentative body, to stand behind a Government and say, “ You have to do this in spite of all things; and, if you do not do it, we will say you are ‘ blacklegging,’ and strike you off.”
– What is the honorable member referring to ?
– I am referring to the Political Labour League which met in Adelaide the other day, a body which I contend is unrepresentative of the people of this country, and which has no right to speak for them. It might have a right to speak for a section of the people; but it should not arrogate to itself the function of saying to the Ministry, “It is your duty to do soandso.”
– It did nothing of the kind.
.- The Government ought to be in a position to stand up against these people, these tyrants, and say to them, “ We will do what we believe to be the best thing for this country without being dictated to in any way.”
– These Referenda Bills were before the people at the last general election, surely ?
– They were before the people for the second time, and were defeated.
– We were pledged that, if returned, we would ask the people to approve of them at the earliest opportunity.
– But not in a great emergency. At that time the people of the. country had every confidence, not only in the strength of the Empire and her Allies, but also in the early success of the Empire in this war. It is only within the last few months that the people have begun to realize the kind of proposition they are up against, and how necessary it is to conserve all their energies for the prosecution of the struggle. These contentious matters should be placed on one side, because if through the supineness or weakness of the Government our nation were defeated, what would be the good of .the referenda proposals then ? I admit that if this war had not been in progress the Government would have been justified in submitting the proposals to the people; but when we find that the mother of our Parliaments has to combine to form a National Government, it is quite up to the people of this country to do the same thing. We know quite well that the war cannot be brought to a close unless every ounce of energy is brought to bear upon it, and unless every available man is sent to the front, because this is a war of masses, and the nation which has the largest mass of people concentrated in the
War area will probably win.
– Why do you not submit something tangible?
– It would be very much better to have the whole of the energies of our people directed to fighting the enemy than for the people to be fighting among themselves.
– And allow the capitalist to consume the people.
– What nonsense ! No one wants the capitalist to consume the people. There is no man in this Parliament who has ever advocated that idea. There will be no capitalist and no people if my honorable friends are not careful. We are told that the Minister of Defence is working eighteen hours a day. Perhaps his colleagues are working long hours also. What opportunity have they to go through the country with other public men to assist in recruiting. when they have to meet Parliament week after week, when the Minister has to attend here, to be questioned, and possibly heckled, on very many matters which could be dealt with very much better if he had certain members of the Opposition in his confidence ?
– It is done in Great Britain, in Canada, and in other parts of the world, but it must not be done here.
– Why are not the State Governments proposing to do it?
– I am talking of Australia as a whole. What are the State Governments doing? The Government of Victoria realize the position, and are starting out on a recruiting campaign. The Government in Victoria, as well as in New South Wales, say, “We want to manufacture munitions of war for you; here are the workshops, and the men available to you.” The State Governments are doing more than, unfortunately, the Commonwealth Government are doing at present. That is why I urge that we ought to work together. If the Minister of Defence adopts a particular course and thinks it is a wise thing to do, would it not be very much better for him to have the concurrence of leading men in the Opposition? Let the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader in this Chamber have confidential communications and consultations with Ministers, and then the misunderstandings which exist to-day would be swept away.
– What a splendid chance for co-operation between Senator Millen and Senator Pearce was lost last August I
– In August and September last the position was entirely different from the present one.
– Yes, because your. Government was in power.
– If, at that time, any one had said that, within a limited period, we would have to raise 250,000, or even 100,000 men, he would have been met with the exclamation, “What nonsense!”
– Even in last April.
– What has been done in ten months? We have enrolled 83,000 men. If there had been eight or ten months ago an emergent position like there is to-day, do my honorable friends mean to tell me that the Minister of Defence would not have come forward, and said u> the people that not 60,000 or 70,000, but several hundred thousand men were wanted ? Would he not have been telling the people that the more men we could put into the field with celerity the more effectively we could vindicate the position of the Empire and our Allies?
– A few years ago you pooh-poohed the idea of an Australian defence, Naval or Military.
.- I never did.
– Your party did.
– I served in the Military Forces of this country before the honorable sena tor was born. I have gone right on with the service; at any rate, I have done my share.
– I am speaking of the present system of Australian defence which you and your party oppose.
– I have never raised my voice against any proposal to provide additional defence for this country.
– AH that you have done to defend us has been to wear gold lace. You have never been to the front, anyhow.
– I have never had an opportunity of going to the front.
– How many sham fights have you been in?
– More than even the honorable senator, perhaps. It is very common for some persons to laugh at men who have offered their services to the country; but those men made the offer honestly, and in the belief that they might be of value at some time. Whether they ever got an opportunity of doing anything or not is entirely beside the question. Senator Needham had no justification for saying that I opposed every proposal for the defence of this country. An honorable senator behind me interjects that Mr. Joseph Cook was the man who brought in the Bill to provide for the system now existing. The man who brought before Parliament the Bill to establish ‘a “blue water fleet” was Mr. Deakin.
– Is he not the gentleman who called it a “ tin-pot fleet “ ?
– So yours was.
– Did not Mr. Cook object to the provision of boats of the river class, because we had no rivers for them?
– Order ! There are far too many interjections. The honorable senator who is speaking is entitled to be heard with reasonable silence.
– No man in the Senate or in this country has the right to turn round on the Liberal party and say that they were not responsible for the introduction of the Defence Bill in the early stages. I have made this statement frequently. Further, I am willing to believe that the Labour party have been just as genuine during the last ten or twelve years in the desire to establish a system of defence as has any one else. But I remember quite, well that the leader of the party many years ago advocated reducing the defence expenditure to £500,000 a year, saying that that amount was quite enough to expend for the purpose.
– Times have changed.
– The honorable senator says that times have changed. The difficulties experienced in the early days came not from the Liberal party, but from the men who then represented the Labour party in this country.
– Was it not a proposal of your party to give a Dreadnought to England instead of establishing an Australian Fleet?
– The Liberal party proposed to the people of this country that they should present a Dreadnought to England. It was a proposition of the Government of New Zealand, too, and a Dreadnought was presented to England by that Dominion.
– Mr. Cook wanted Parliament to be called together to present a Dreadnought.
– And, if we had done so, what difference would it have made to the Empire? We could not build a Dreadnought here. Can any one belittle what was done by New Zealand? Her gift to the Old Country is doing good work in the North Sea to-day. Although our opponents did not go so far as to propose to have a Dreadnought, of our own, or a first class or second class cruiser, they thought that we could drop the payment of the sum which would enable the British Navy to be strengthened speedily. But let that be as it may. To-day we have a Defence Act, a Naval Act, and Forces in being. But we find that our men are not sufficient in number to fully help the Empire. We need not merely the men who are prepared on the spur of the moment to offer their services. There are in the country many men equally capable who will volunteer if it is brought home to them that they should. We do not want to send away only the pick of the country - the men who are showing a spirit of patriotism - in insufficient numbers, with the probability that they may be shot down, when, by inducing a number of other men to serve alongside of them, many lives could be saved which otherwise would be lost. My honorable friends have also to look at the future of the Empire.. We want vigorous people reared in this country; but that object cannot be attained if we allow the best of our men to go away and lose their lives.
– Our present policy is one of “ dribble, dribble, dribble.”
– I am afraid that there is too much of that sort of thing, and that “ dribble, dribble,” may mean defeat in the end. If the driblets were amalgamated and sent out as a big body, we would command victory and save many lives. No man can speak too strongly on the great question before the country today. No Minister can expect to sit in his chair and administer the affairs of the Defence Department without being open to criticism, and very often criticism which he may resent. That is one of the penalties which a Minister of the Crown has to “lit ut> with. He must take his gruel, and however much he may think that men are attacking him from time to time, he must give those men credit for being actuated by the most honest and the best intentions.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– It may be thought that I have spoken warmly, but I feel warmly on this subject, and it is the duty of every man who has the right to speak on behalf of the people, or of any important section of -them, to speak his mind, in the face of an emergency like the present, clearly and distinctly and without hesitation. The Minister of Defence may consider that some of the remarks made this afternoon are not altogether justified, but it is a Minister’s place to stand the fire of criticism and take it in good part, as we all have to do. Nobody is belittling his loyalty or his desire to’ do the right thing, but we lament that he has not done qui to as much as we think might have been, done. Surely we are at liberty to point out the mistakes we think he has made.
– I do not think the Minister complained of the Opposition,, but he did complain of the newspapers.
– The members of the Opposition are just as eager and anxious to do what is best in the interests of the Empire as is any honorable senator opposite. We are all, I hope, animated with the one desire. We are told that in the Labour Caucus warm discussions take place, but whatever differences of opinion occur there, the moment an attack is made on the party, every member of it sinks his differences with his fellows, in order to protect the party against the assaults of its political enemies. We speak now in the interests of the Empire, and it is wise to throw aside all merely party questions, and bend our energies to the one subject. Whether the referenda proposals are good or ill, whether they ought to be passed or not, the fact remains that they have caused a strong divergence of opinion amongst the people, and amongst parties in the Houses. If we are to direct all our attention to the question of maintaining the integrity and independence of our Empire, as we should do, we cannot afford to quarrel with one another on matters of minor importance - and, indeed, everything else is of minor importance.
– The Referenda Bills are intended to do what you suggest.
– They have been the cause of great contention and difference of opinion amongst the people. I am not going to allude to their merits or demerits. All these matters should be put on one side tin til peace is restored.
– Why quarrel? Let the people decide.
– Will not the honorable senator defend the referenda proposals before his constituents? If he does so, why should I not speak against them? Once that begins, how can we deal properly with the bigger question? If all parties will unite on this question, recognising its supreme importance, and put nil else on one side, Australia will do immensely more than she could in any other circumstances. I advocated tonight that Ministers should help in the recruiting campaign with the Opposition. How can they, with their multiplicity of work, talk on the referenda questions, and at the ‘same time give the necessary care and attention to the fight for the integrity of the Empire? Ministers represent the country officially, and it is their duty to be at the head of all affairs of this character. No section of the community can do anything like the amount of service in the recruiting campaign that could be done, if Mr. Fisher and Mr. Cook, Senator Pearce and Senator Millen worked hand in glove on the one great question, allowing all other matters to remain for the time in abeyance. That is where I complain so much of the dominion exercised by an outside body. Honorable senators are hampered in their judgment under present arrangements. If we go on fighting these party questions, and the Empire is unsuccessful in its great struggle, these Bills will be mere waste paper. Like a whiff of smoke they will disappear in a breath. Therefore I can. not urge too strongly united action on the one great issue at this juncture. Many other matters touched on this afternoon I do not propose to discuss. Senator Millen has been very forceful, and Senator McDougall has placed some matters very cogently before the Chamber.
– What were they?
– The honorable senator heard his speech. Senator McDougall and I have had no conference with regard to those matters, but when honorable senators bring subjects before the Chamber they should be given credit for believing that Ministers will inquire into them even if they have not definite proofs of their statements. Every man here hears all sorts of tales, and can safely reject half of them as not having sufficient foundation to justify their repetition in public. When honorable senators do bring matters forward here, I think they do so honestly, in the belief that if they have any foundation the Minister will know about them, and, if necessary, take action in regard to them. I believe the Minister will take certain action that we consider necessary, and, within a comparatively brief time, have certain things accomplished. Some “ pushing along “ is done by honorable senators, and it is often of great benefit to have a little stimulus behind one to make him put forward his best efforts. As on a race-course a horse responds towards the end of the race to the whip or spur, so we hope Ministers of the Crown may respond to the stimulus of a little criticism.
– But there are some crooks on the race-course that take a pull, and that is what we complain of in regard to Defence matters.
– The pull is not taken on the horse that wins the race. I want the Minister to be the horse that is going to win the race, and that only requires a little stimulus to bring out his best.
– The Minister, instead of attending to war matters in the Department, has been defending himself here every day against attacks.
– Then why not close up Parliament, and do away with the possibility of contention? Let us become a harmonious body, imbued with the one idea.
– Your interpretation of harmony is to carry out the policy of a rejected party.
– No. My idea is to carry out the policy that the great National Parliament of Great Britain deems necessary in this emergency. I ask no member of the Labour or any other party to abandon his principles, or give up anything he believes to be in the best interests of the country ; but there is a time for everything, and this is not the time to thrust these matters before the people. This is not the time for us to be wrangling about matters of this character. My attention has been drawn to the report in the Sydney Daily Telegraph of 16th June of a meeting of the Sydney City Council.
– That is the paper. “ Business as usual ! “ They had seven and a half pages of advertisements the other day.
– The question of the employment of foreigners was raised by a recommendation of the Finance Committee, and the following amendment was moved : -
That the Council dispense with the services of all those men engaged in the Council of German or other enemy nationality, whether they be naturalized British subjects or otherwise.
The mover is reported as follows: -
It might be said that it was well enough to leave these matters to the Federal Government; but if the Federal Government were so spineless as not to have the grit to deal with the question, he, for one, would not shirk his duty in connexion with City Council employees.
That was a pretty strong statement to make. During the debate Alderman Meagher, a prominent member of the Council, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, said -
He did not agree with what Alderman Kelly had said as to the usefulness of the lynx-eyed officials, who, instead of patrolling about the post-office, might have discovered in the contents of some big packing-cases that wharf labourers put on to outward-bound steamers something that would have surprised them. It was the big Germans who did the most damage. Nor was it necessary to be a Sherlock Holmes to track down the chief spy in New South Wales.
When such a definite statement is made, it is as well for the military authorities to take the trouble to inquire of this gentleman what he is really hinting at.
– Do you call that a definite statement?
– I think it is fairly definite.
– Do you think the Intelligence Branch of the Defence Department is so slow that it is not already making inquiries into a matter of that kind? Do you want us to get on the housetops and proclaim what we are doing ?
– They may be inquiring into it, but I take leave to doubt it. This matter was brought under my notice by some persons in New South Wales, and I deemed it only fair that I should mention it here. If the Defence Department is making any inquiry into it - –
– Does not the honorable senator think that Mr. Meagher should make a straight-out charge?
– I have quoted the statement for what it is worth, and if it is worth anything at all it is worth inquiring into. If the Government are prepared to say that, no matter what utterances may be made in public, they do not intend to worry themselves unless they are compelled to do so, we shall know precisely where we stand. But that is not my idea of what they should do in the present emergency. This gentleman -goes on to say -
Nor was it necessary to be a Sherlock Holmes to track down the chief spy in New South Wales.
If that does not mean what it says, then in the name of conscience what does it mean ? I think it is only fair that the Government should prosecute an inquiry into this matter. . Senator Russell. - Is the honorable senator prepared to affirm that no inquiry is being made?
– Is the Assistant Minister prepared to affirm that an inquiry is being made? I have brought the matter forward in perfect good faith. I have dealt with the principal subjects mentioned) during this debate, and I do not propose to detain honorable senators any longer on the present occasion.
Senator GRANT (New South Wales) £8.17]. - One would imagine, from the writings of the Age and the Daily Telegraph, that the various Parliaments throughout Australia ought to devote their attention exclusively to matters arising out of the war. But what do we find ? To-day the Parliaments of Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and New South Wales .are dealing with their ordinary business.
– The South Australian Parliament is not yet in session.
– This Parliament has very properly chosen to direct its at’tention to necessary legislation apart from war legislation. But if I thought that anything which w© are now doing would interfere in the slightest degree with our war efforts, I would not give it a moment’s countenance. The Age newspaper has controlled the affairs of Victoria so long that this is the only State in which the Labour party are not in office. It is the only black spot in the Commonwealth in which the Conservatives -rule
– The Age has given the Commonwealth Ministry a lot of support.
– What is the Age doing? What is this great Victorian newspaper in Collins-street, which is run by a man named Schuler doing? If one looks at its business columns to-day, he will find that it is very strongly in favour of the motto, “ Business as usual.” I measured up its advertisements this morning, and I found that about seven of its pages consisted of solid advertisement matter, for which about 7s. per inch is paid. The Age desires this Parliament to close down on all business except busi ness relating to the war. It is up to the Age, therefore, to close down on all advertisements, and to devote its columns to war matter exclusively. Similarly the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, comprises seven and a half pages of advertising matter, all of which is charged for at the rate of 5s. or 6s. per inch.
– The honorable senator does not like the Age because it is a Protectionist journal.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that the Sydney Daily Telegraph is very strongly in favour of the fiscal policy of the Commonwealth. The Cook Government, which held the reins of office for twelve months, were also satisfied with that policy. It is about time that Senator Blakey realized that both the Daily Telegraph and the Age are thoroughly in accord with the declared fiscal policy of the Commonwealth. No doubt he is extremely anxious that higher duties should be imposed in order to avoid the necessity for levying a straight-out land tax. I do not forget, and I will not allow him to forget, that the Commonwealth is collecting £16,000,000 annually through the Customs, and only a paltry £2,500,000 from the land-owners of Australia.
– Will not a Protective policy stop that?
– Certainly not.
– The honorable senator will please address the Chair.
– These interjections are quite uncalled for. If one looks down the columns of the Daily Telegraph, what will he find ? A whole page devoted exclusively to sporting matters. A portion of it deals with cricket-
– This is not the season for cricket.
– But in New South Wales there is a squabble about cricket in progress; and so the Daily Telegraph finds space for matter relating to cricket, instead of telling us how to manufacture shells. Then it devotes a number of paragraphs to hockey. Also it found room in yesterday’s issue for the usual anonymous letter by an alleged mistress, who complains of the abnormally high wages that are demanded by domestic servants. It is not safe to read anything in that newspaper unless one is prepared to swallow a pill in regard to the referenda proposals. I wish now to make a suggestion to the Minister as to recruiting. I was pleased to read his able speech the other evening-
– What effect has it had? None whatever.
– It was printed in very small type in most of the newspapers, whereas it ought to have been printed in the largest type and with big headlines. On the same evening, Senator Millen addressed a recruiting meeting at North Sydney. His utterance has not had much effect. With all due respect, it does not appear to me that these gentlemen are the right persons to appeal to our manhood to enlist for service abroad. To my mind, the most effective way of procuring recruits would be for the various municipal bodies to place at the disposal of the Defence Department the local Town Halls, and for that Department to get, not members of Parliament, but soldiers who have enlisted, to make an appeal to their fellow citizens to join them in rallying to the colours. I venture to say that if the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, who is elected, not by the citizens, but by the property-owners of this city, were to place the Melbourne Town Hall at the disposal of the Defence authorities, and if the Minister were to organize!-
– The Town Hall is plastered with ridiculous posters now.
– It is idle to ask the Minister of Defence to address meetings with a view to stimulating recruiting, because he is not going to the war. It is equally idle to ask the Lord Mayor of Melbourne or Senator Bakhap to address similar gatherings. The men who can address recruiting assemblages successfully are those who are themselves prepared to go to the front. Let the Department bring down, not two or three of those who have enlisted, but 150 of them to make an appeal to their fellow citizens. No man who is himself unwilling to proceed to the front can successfully appeal for recruits. I throw out this suggestion in the most earnest way. I regret that Australia is being denuded of the best and most courageous of her manhood , We require to send forward reinforcements at the rate of 5,000 or 6,000 per month, and we now find that Great Britain is prepared to accept as many men as we can despatch, irrespective of whether they are equipped or not.
– We ought to have had those men in training from the beginning of the year.
– They are not prepared to come in.
– Bring them in.
– The people of the Empire are not yet of the opinion that, conscription is desirable.
– The question to be determined is, “ Are the leaders of that opinion?” and, if so, have they the courage of their opinions?
– If the community desires to see recruiting stimulated in a way that it has never yet been, the Minister should adopt the course which I have suggested. I believe that such an appeal could not be resisted by a large number of men in our midst. I hope that the Minister will enlist the support of the municipal authorities throughout the Commonwealth in an endeavour to give effectto my suggestion. If he does so, he will secure such an army of recruits within; fourteen days or so as will astonish him. I feel sure that the people do not realize what the Empire is up against in fighting the Germans.
– Then they must be awfully stupid, and they are. There is nodoubt about that.
– There is one other matter upon which I should like to touch.. We do not cease to applaud the conduct of the young men who have left our shores to fight for the Commonwealth, but we have never yet proposed to give them the franchise. I asked the Minister the other day how many young men between the ages of eighteen and twentyone had gone to the front, and he wasunable to tell me. I feel confident, from reading various reports, and from other information I have, that a very largeproportion of the men who are prepared’ to sacrifice themselves for the Commonwealth have hitherto been denied thefranchise. I think that it is up to thi* Parliament, even at this late hour, totake steps to see that every man who has gone to the front, and every man who is prepared to go, should be given the franchise. Senator Bakhap is prepared totake men from eighteen years of age and upwards, and compel them to go to thefront.
– I am prepared alsoto go to the front myself with men of: my own class if they are required.
– I say that every man who has gone to the front should have the franchise extended to him, not only for this Parliament but for the State Parliaments and for municipal -councils as well. It is a scandalous thing that these young fellows, who have finished their education, and many of whom are very well informed, and who are prepared to do battle for the existence of the Commonwealth, should be debarred from the exercise of the franchise. I hope that the Government will in the near future bring down a Bill for this purpose. It might be said that it would be a contentious measure; but there should be no contention about such a proposal.
I wish to say a word on the subject of providing munitions of war. Notwithstanding the fact that Victoria has had in force the glorious policy of Protection ever since it has been a State, we have, unfortunately, to confess to-day that Victoria cannot make a single shell; we have to confess that we have not the skill and ability to make even one shell in any part of the Commonwealth.
– We have both the skill and the ability, but the preparations for the purpose have been delayed.
– There is something .absolutely lacking. I speak with the very greatest respect of those who have been prepared to invest their money in steel and iron works and in engineering enterprises throughout the Commonwealth, but I repeat that we have never yet produced a single shell in Australia.
– Thank God, there has never been any necessity to do so before.
– That is so, or, at all events, we thought there was no necessity. But when the German nation was arming itself to the teeth, we were lying asleep. The necessity has existed all along, but we were not aware of it.
– That is the fault of Imperial statesmen for not arousing themselves and us.
– That may be so.
– Why blame us for their neglect of duty?
– I give Senator Millen credit for doing all he could during the time he held office. I do not suppose any man could have done more than he did during that time. I do not say that he did as well as might have been done, but he did what he could to the best of his ability. The honorable senator made mistakes, and every Minister of Defence will ‘ make mistakes, and many of them because the conduct of the war is a new enterprise for Australia to undertake. The fact remains that notwithstanding all the efforts of Senator Millen and Senator Pearce, there is not a single firm of engineers in the Commonwealth in a position to make a contract with the Federal Government for the supply of shells.
– The plant has to be obtained to manufacture the shells.
– The plant is not here, and must be imported or manufactured. I have listened to the statement made by the present Minister of Defence oh this question, and I feel confident that he has left nothing undone to secure the manufacture of shells and guns in the Commonwealth at the earliest possible moment. It is, however, futile to expect that the plant for the purpose will grow up like mushrooms in a night. Time is required, and it may yet be several months before we shall be doing very much in this way. We have .not the specifications here yet of the steel required for shell-casing, or of the contents of shells.
– There is one element that we can furnish, and that is men.
– The scheme I have suggested would do much, I think, to overcome the difficulty in securing a sufficient number of men.
– It might do a good deal, but it will not do all that is required.
– The honorable senator has not the slightest chance of forcing his ideas of conscription upon the people of Australia.
– All the more pity for the people.
– Once the people of this country realize the seriousness of the position, I feel sure that they will respond. It must not be forgotten that while a few of the officers of our Expeditionary Forces are fairly well paid, the men who have gone to the front for about 6s. per day cannot be said to have volunteered for the money they would receive, but because of a desire to maintain the integrity of the British Empire. I have no doubt that thousands will be ready to follow them when the true position is properly realized.
I have a word or two to say on the subject of the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow. I have said before that I was very much concerned about that Factory. I visited the place a few days after the recent Federal elections, and tried to get a grip of the position. As I have no knowledge of engineering matters, I knew that 1 should be quite unable to grasp the reason for the difficulty alleged in increasing the output of the Factory. I asked Mr. Wright why he did not work a second shift, and he gave me a noncommittal answer. I asked the sub-manager Mr. Ratcliffe, why a second shift was not worked, and he gave me his view of the position. Listening to the statements of irresponsible people outside, and to what we have heard from Senator Millen and Senator Pearce, I am satisfied that, even up to the present time, it has not been possible, with advantage, to put on a second shift there. But we have, at last been assured by the Minister of Defence that we are on the very verge of the establishment of a second shift. It has taken about nine months to arrive at that stage, but I suppose that the second shift will be working there within a few days from now. I hope we shall not be disappointed in this regard.
I wish to refer to an item in the schedule to this Bill for the purpose of advertising the Commonwealth abroad. The Bill is intended to cover the expenditure for one quarter, and I should like to hear from the Minister representing the Treasurer why it is proposed to spend £5,000 under this .measure for advertising the resources of the Commonwealth abroad. I shall take good care, when we come to consider the schedule, to divide the Senate upon this item. We shall then see what honorable senators are prepared to go on expending money advertising the Commonwealth abroad during the coming year, as we have done in years gone by. To my mind there is not the slightest possible justification for doing anything of the kind. I enter the strongest protest against it, and I shall also oppose the expenditure of any more money in connexion with the Panama Exposition.
I should like now to enter a protest against the inefficiency of the Land Tax Department.
– The inefficiency of the Department?
– Yes. I have been trying to obtain some information from the Department with an ulterior purpose. I wish later on to suggest the taxation of land values for war purposes, and, in doing so, I expect that Senator Bakhap will back me up.
– Let honorable senators opposite bring in an equitable proposal for war taxation, and they will have my support. Let the honorable senator not say that it is for some other purpose.
– No; merely a war tax.
– I desire that we shall thoroughly understand each other in the matter.
– I learn from this Bill that the Defence Department will require, during the current year, something like £25,000,000. That is not very much, and I should not be surprised if we should find it necessary to spend £50,000,000 in connexion with the prosecution of the war.
– The honorable senator would not object to it?
– Certainly not. I should not object if we spent our last shilling so long as we win. My troubles about what it will cost! I say, however, that in meeting the war expenditure, we should levy taxation in such a way that it will fall upon the shoulders of those best able to carry it. As the result of inquiries I have made, I find that the Land Tax Commissioner, although he gets about £80,000 a year to conduct his Department, is unable to answer a simple question such as I put to him through Ministers the other day. He is unable to say how much revenue would be derived by a slight alteration in the land tax. He does not know, nor does Mr. Knibbs know, what is the value of land held in estates of less than £5,000 in value. Something ought to be done to place the Commonwealth in a position to tax the total land values of Australia. In reply to an inquiry by the Assistant Minister, Mr. Knibbs wrote -
The Secretary to the representatives of the Government in the Senate states that you want to know what information is available regarding the number of. estates of less value than £5,000. I understand that the Federal Land Tax Commissioner has information of the number of estates between £3,000 and £5,000. It was, of course, obvious to me long ago that this information would bo required, and I endeavoured to get it through the State Statisticians, but the Taxation Departments were not willing to incur the expense of its compilation, since, from the stand-point of “ revenue collection,” it was a matter of no moment.
When it was proposed to call for returns for the Federal land tax, I urged the desirability of getting returns of all holdings whatsoever. The year of collection of the land tax being also the census year, it was eminently desirable that we should know the value of the landed estates in Australia, and the opportunity for obtaining it was a unique one. I pointed out personally to the Land Tax Commissioner that the whole of the compilation could be done for each State by officers of this Bureau for all estates under the value of £5,000, so that the Land Tax Commissioner could have dealt with the estates above £5,000, and this Bureau with the estates under £5,000. We should then have had the necessary data for one of the largo elements in determining the wealth of Australia, which is frequently asked for, and we should also have had the means of knowing what revenue could be derived by a tax with a lower limit than £5,000.
In my memorandum of 23rd December, 1910, S. strongly urged the matter, the value of the information being set out in my memorandum of 5th September, 1910. I understand that the number of naturalized Germans in South Australia holding a number of estates sufficiently large for taxation under the £5,000 limit is considerable.
– Order ! I ask the honorable senator to resume his seat. I notice the Honorable T. J. Ryan, Premier of Queensland, in the gallery, and I propose, with the consent of the Senate, to ask the honorable gentleman to take a seat on the floor of the chamber.
Honorable SENATORS - Hear, hear !
– Mr. Knibbs said, further -
In my judgment a valuable opportunity for acquiring this information has been lost, and there would be no hardship in insisting that the part of the community relieved from taxation should have been required, nevertheless, to have made returns. There is no possibility whatever of making even the roughest estimate of the number of estates of various ranges of value under £5,000.
That ‘discloses to me a position of affairs which, I think, ought not to be tolerated one day longer than is necessary. I am informed on good authority that the total value of land held in estates of less than £5,000 in value runs into something like £250,000,000 or £300,000,000, and I say that the people who own that immense amount of wealth should be able to pay something towards the cost of this great war.
– It all depends on what the annual value is.
– But I am talking about the capital value. It is the capital value that ought to be taxed, not itsannual value. We do not want any business of that kind. We want to see the capital value taxed, and unless this is done, what will happen? All the war expenditure will require to be paid by those less able to bear it. We find that the British Government to-day, instead of appealing to the big land-owners to pay by means of a land tax, are issuing a further loan. I hope this Commonwealth will not follow that example. We have an excellent opportunity of placing the taxation on the right shoulders, anil I certainly shall expect when the time comes that the Government will not be afraid to impose a straight-out land value tax on all estates, without any exemption or graduation whatever. I shall expect, also, that Senator Bakhap and Senator Millen, who understand this question so well, will “back up” the proposal. I will conclude my remarks by saying that, so far as I am concerned, .1 will be no party to doing anything whatever that will interfere with the successful prosecution of this war. When I see the Age, with its seven pages of advertisements, and the Daily Telegraph, with its seven and a-half pages of advertisements daily, carrying on business as usual, I say there is no wrong at all in this Parliament doing a little business apart from the war. I do not think that these proposals will interfere in any way with the successful prosecution of the war. They will not. interfere with any of the engineering firms who are prepared to come to theassistance of the Government, and they will not interfere with the establishment of a Commonwealth gun factory, or a factory for munitions. At the present time we have clothing factories and harness factories at work.
– And woollen factories, too.
– Yes, a woollen factory almost in operation. We have commandeered the woollen output of the Commonwealth, and we are doing a thousand and one things which are more or less directly connected with the war. We must not forget that it is a most serious thing to close down all businesses and to do nothing except to “ offer “ to do something. A mere “offer” to assist in a war is not of any value. What is required of the Commonwealth is that something should be done to render practical assistance and to urge on those who are capable of enlisting the duty of doing so. I hope that any observations that I have offered on these questions will be accepted in the spirit in which they have been made, -and I trust they will be acted upon.
– It is not my intention to prolong unnecessarily the debate on the .first reading of this measure, but I want to offer a few remarks concerning statements which have fallen from the lips of speakers on the other side of the House during the past few weeks. The whole trend of their criticism of this Government in connexion with the prosecution of the war has been in the direction of insisting on “ shutting up shop “ and closing down this Parliament, or, as an alternative, the formation of a National Government in order that, in their opinion, more assistance may be rendered to the Empire in this great struggle. The only argument that honorable gentlemen have adduced, so far, in support of their contention, is that in Great Britain the Home Government elected to reconstruct and to include members of all shades of political opinion; but the honorable gentlemen have not mentioned that the House of Commons, constituted as it is to-day, is practically a moribund House. It is about six years since members elected to the Imperial Parliament appealed to the people of the British Isles, and it is about ten months since Great Britain became involved in this terrible war. Seeing that an election was imperative under the Constitution, one of two things had to be done - either to extend the life of the Parliament or to reconstruct the Ministry. All parties agreed that it would be wrong to involve the people of the British Isles in the turmoil of a general, election, knowing that their attention was concentrated on the great struggle on the Continent of Europe, where their sons and husbands were fighting the battles of the Empire. As the result of that agreement between all parties, the only way out of the difficulty was to take in the leaders of the different phases of thought in the House of Commons. This was the reason for the establishment of a National Cabinet in Great Britain. The Prime Minister of Great Britain agreed that this course was advisable.
– The honorable senator’s leader, Mr. Fisher, said the Liberal Government of Great Britain were already falling to pieces before the reconstruction, and I believe he was right.
– I am not quoting my leader’s opinion, but the opinion of the Prime Minister of Great Britain himself, who is on the spot, and who probably knows more about the position in Great Britain than does the right honorable the Prime Minister of Australia, with all due respect to him. Compare the position as I have outlined it at Home with the position of this Parliament. This Parliament was elected by the people of Australia on the 5th of last September - one month after war was declared. The Cook Government appealed to the people not to “ swop “ horses crossing the stream. They urged that, as we were involved in this great struggle, it would be dangerous to change the members, and the policy; but the people determined otherwise. They “swopped” horses crossing the stream. They put in another team. They elected a new Parliament, the majority of whom belonged to this party; and this party, with the confidence of the people behind them, elected new Ministers. Now, are we to expect that this Government will turn round, ten months from their election, and practically say to the people of Australia, “ We are not worthy of the trust you reposed in us. We are able to conduct the affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia in times of peace. We can guide the ship of State when the sea is calm and the waters are undisturbed. But when the sea gets rough, we cannot manage the ship. We resign. Put in another crew “. That would be a confession of impotence and of weakness which no man worthy of the name would admit himself capable of.
– The people also sent the party in with an instruction.
– Furthermore, the people of Australia indorsed the policy that we placed before them.
– And after the war occurred, too.
– Yes; the war had been in progress one month when we appealed to the people; and the progress of that war has determined the absolute and imperative necessity of this Government remaining as they are, and putting into operation the policy promised to the people. We promised the people that we would give them another opportunity of clothing this Parliament with greater powers than it possesses to-day; and during this time of struggle, and strife, and anxiety, what do we find? We find that the people of Australia are being fleeced more to-day than ever in their history. And by whom? By the very men who are advocating the formation of a National Cabinet. And why do they do this? They do it to prevent this Parliament getting ready the machinery to submit these proposals to the people, fearful lest these men, who to-day are sucking the very life-blood of the people of the Commonwealth, will be placed in their proper position. That is what is behind the opposition to these proposals. Because we stick to the ship we have tho capitalistic press of Australia running us down, and saying, “Why all this bother about party politics, and this forgetting of the war?” There is not one man of them, in the press or on the public platform, who can suggest any better system of conducting this war than that adopted by the Government.
– Nonsense !
- Senator Gould lashed himself into a fury this afternoon about the way the war is being conducted, but he did not make one tangible suggestion.
– Or Senator Bakhap either.
– There has been talk about the scarcity of munitions.
– God help the country !
– This has only been made clear since the trouble was discovered at Home, when the British Government themselves realized that they had not sufficient munitions of war. If in Great Britain this trouble was not discovered by their great statesmen-
– Great statesmen?
– Senator Bakhap will not dispute that they are. great statesmen.
– I do dispute it.
– If those statesmen, with their great experience and knowledge, could not foresee the difficulties that have arisen, how was it possible for this young Commonwealth to foresee them? It has been freely stated that we have not yet made one shell in Australia. I believe we can make shells here, and I believe we have the men and the material to do it. Every effort is now being made to meet that short-coming. If the honorable gentlemen who are cavilling at the policy of the present Ministry, who are crying stinking fish about the Commonwealth, who are practically libelling Australia in the eyes of the world, had their way there would not have been an Australian fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula to-day. There would not have been a ship to drive from our waters the German raiders. In the clubroom this evening I was reading Mansard, and there I found speeches in which these honorable gentlemen deprecated the proposal for an Australian Navy, urged that we should continue the payment of the Naval subsidy, having one Imperial Navy governing the Empire, and doing nothing ourselves. If we had not had an Australian Navy, I venture to say that the Emden would not have been smashed to pieces on the Cocos Islands. These are the men who come here to-day mid say that the Government are not doing all that they could do to help the nation in the hour of trouble. It is in my recollection that about a couple of years ago the press of Melbourne severely castigated the Fisher Ministry and the present Minister of Defence for increasing the Defence Estimates. The Age, in leading articles, condemned the daily increase in the cost of defence. It conveniently forgets that fact to-day, and practically says that we are not spending enough. The . reply might be made that at that time we were not at war. Our policy all along has been to prepare for war in time of peace, and it is because of our policy that we have ‘been, at least, as prepared as we are today. It would have been a good job for Australia and the Empire if the policy which the Labour party have advocated in season and out of season had been put into execution at the very beginning of the Commonwealth.
– Why was it only Labour members who voted against that policy ?
– The honorable senator is entirely wrong.
– Read Hansard a .kittle more closely, and tell us more accurately what is in it.
– I ‘ admit that one or two Labour members voted against it. One swallow never made a summer.
– Multiply it by four or five.
– But 1 can read in Hansard that almost every member of the party the honorable senator sits with opposed the principle of an Australian Navy and a Citizen Defence Force.
– And every member of the party in the other House voted for the proposal when it was introduced, which is more than can be said of your party. If you go back to Hansard and read the report, you will find that you are making a mistake. It is there all right.
– I leave it to the honorable senator when he stands up to disprove my statement. Mr. Cook’s speech in Hansard of 1907 will prove conclusively the statement I am making. In connexion with the visit of the then Prime Minister to London to attend the Imperial Conference, he said that it was essential for the unity of the Empire to continue the Naval subsidy of £200,000 a year, and that he was against the commencement of an Australian Navy, as we have it to-day. That statement cannot be denied. It is to be seen in print.
– He introduced the proposal, and every member in the House of Representatives voted for it.
– What was the proposal ?
– It was the proposal committing the Commonwealth to the indorsement of the principle of an Australian Navy arrived at in consequence of the Admiralty Conference.
– I know that Mr. Cook did that, but the Labour party had already taken action which he had to carry out.
– Why did nine Labour members vote against it?
– That is their business, not mine.
– Stop the kind of statement you are making !
– Those nine members did not constitute the Labour party.
– Why are you pillorying the Liberal party about it, and trying to throw the shadow of oblivion over that fact?
– Mr. Deputy President, I would like the honorable senator to make his speech at some other time.
– You do not like the truth I am telling you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I remind Senator Bakhap that interjections are always disorderly.
– I will stick to what I have said, and the pages of Hansard will prove my_ statement. It is imperative that this “Parliament should go on with its business and keep its promise to the people. Furthermore, it is going to give to the people, shortly, a chance to endow this Parliament with further powers. It has been said, not only by members of the Opposition but by members of my own party, that in time of war the Government have powers which they can put into operation without let or hindrance, and that, therefore, there is no necessity to seek from the people additional powers. And, when these statements have been met with the contention that if the Government did exercise those powers during the time of war. they might be brought before the High Court, it was said that no man in Australia would dare to test the position there. But in the High Court to-day, under a certain Act of this Parliament giving criminal jurisdiction to that Court, the position is being tested in connexion with a forgery case. The power of this Parliament was set at defiance, the case was hung up to find out whether we had right or authority to pass that measure in the time of war, and pass it under war conditions, and on account of them. It is futile to say that we have certain powers, and that if we exercise them they will not be tested, because there is a case which is now before the High Court. I have no more to say, except that the honorable senators who advocate the formation of a National Cabinet should remember that we are fresh from the electors of Australia, with a mandate from them to carry out; whilst the people in Great Britain have not had a chance for six years to tell their representatives what they ought to do. It was for that reason, and for that reason alone, that the National Cabinet in Great Britain was formed.
– Very briefly, I wish to refer to a few phases of the war question which appeal to me, bub which, so far, I have not heard mentioned. When a measure to amend the Defence Act was before .the Senate at the beginning of this session - that is, in last year - I endeavoured to refer to them, but the President, very rightly, I suppose, ruled that they were without the scope of the measure. It appears to me that the occurrence of this world-wide war has been due to the great growth of the Socialistic feeling in Germany, Socialists being the apostles of peace. That may at first sound rather anomalous, but it appears to me that the growth of that feeling was so strong in Germany that the capitalistic classes, the Krupps, with their tool, the Kaiser, were absolutely forced to bring things to a crisis, otherwise the Socialists would have captured Germany. Prior to the outbreak of the war the Reichstag included 110 straight-out Socialist members, and the progress that had been made for some years just previously seemed to indicate that it would not be .many years before they would have secured a majority. Confirmation of that view was brought home to me by a letter I read in the Melbourne Argus about two months ago. It was’ written by a manufacturer, who said that about two years, ago he was being shown round Berlin by a military magnate, who passed some ‘remark about the growth of the Socialistic feeling in Germany. The Melbourne manufacturer asked his guide, “ What will you do if the Socialists get too strong, and capture the Reichstag, in the same way as the Socialists in Australia have captured the National Parliament? “ and the high military man replied, “ Before that time comes we shall let a bit of blood flow, and there will be no more Socialism for twenty -five years.” That, in my opinion, is the power which forced the Kaiser to bring about the war. I was one of those who, at the outset, we le rather inclined to think that Sir Edward Grey had been somewhat precipitate in intervening on behalf of Great Britain; but after having read the correspondence in the White Books supplied to us, I was quite prepared to admit that he had no alternative. He stayed the hand of Great Britain, I think, as long as it possibly could be clone. Still, I hold that it was the growth of the Socialistic feeling which alarmed the capitalists who compelled the Kaiser to force the war; and indications all round - to my mind, anyhow - seem to confirm that view. What has been the position with regard to the German people themselves? I think that most honorable senators will admit that at the beginning this was not a war of the German people. I think that even those who are most enthusiastic in Imperialism were prepared to take that view at the outbreak.
– Had the German people been consulted there would have been no war.
– Exactly. When people get into a fray of course they get carried away, and it is then a case of war to the knife; but I think that every one will concede that at the outset it was not a war of the German people. What caused them to go into the war with such determination and enthusiasm? I think it was simply because they had been misled as to the conditions operating throughout the world. Who helped to mislead them? What part did Australia play in that misdirection ? Let us review the actions of honorable senators sitting in Opposition now, the party to which they belong, and the newspapers which support them throughout the Commonwealth. What little did they do towards misleading the German people? Did they not refer to the Labour party in the Commonwealth and in the States as ‘ ‘ the disloyal party,” “ the haul-down-the-flag party,” “the cut-the-painter party”?
– And “the ruinthecountry party.”
– That is so. T. venture to say that there is not an antiLabour politician in State or Federal politics who at some time or other has not been quite content to let support come to him by virtue of the traducing which the Labour party received by that false charge of disloyalty. Let us review the conduct of the men holding prominent positions in Federal politics to-day; and what do we find ? Even after the outbreak of the war, just prior to the elections, on the 5th September, we had the Fusion party, or the Liberal party, or the antiLabour party, or whatever they may like to term themselves, going throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth, and referring to the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher, who was then the Leader of the Opposition, as a traitor to Australia. Prior to that time, Mr. Fisher had been four times a Minister of the
Crown in Federal and State politics. He had been three times a Federal Minister and twice Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, and the party he led in the last campaign had been in power at one time or another in every State of the Commonwealth, and in some had been in power twice. Notwithstanding this, a leaflet was circulated, particularly in New South Wales, by the tens of thousands, describing the Right Honorable Andrew Fisher as a traitor to the Empire - one who had advocated hauling down the flag. What a fine and pleasant feeling that news must have excited in Berlin ! How eagerly it must have been disseminated throughout Germany in an endeavour to mislead the German people to believe that the Labour party throughout the Commonwealth could not be depended on to assist the Empire in case of urgency or necessity, because they were in favour of “ cutting the painter “ ! We have all read the remarks of captured German prisoners, who expressed surprise that Australia should have played an important part in the war, because they thought the first step to be taken at the declaration of war by this great Commonwealth, which, in the majority, was composed of these Labour disloyalists, would Be to establish a Republic. I charge the anti-Labourites, from their leader, the Right Honorable Joseph Cook, down to the most modest antiLabour newspaper in the Commonwealth, with having done their share towards providing false grounds for misleading the German people. It is patent to all that the German diplomats based their expectations on the probability of three occurrences. The first was the establishment of a Republic in Australia on the outbreak of war; the next was a civil war in Ireland following the Carson bluster over the Home Rule question. It has been pretty conclusively proved since then that at the time of the commotion over the Home Rule question the Germans had been supplying both factions - Carsonites and Nationalists - with modern rifles at a price of about 3s. 6d. each, supplying each side unknown to the other with these up-to-date weapons, because they wanted civil war over the Home Rule question. Their third hope was a revolution or insurrection in South Africa, and that was the only place where their aspirations had any semblance of realization. The antiLabourites of Australia did their worst against the interests of the British Empire and Australia by traducing the party which represents the majority of the people of the Commonwealth. Even since the opening of this session an honorable senator sitting in Opposition in this Chamber has attacked the financial stability of the Commonwealth, and cast innuendoes on its credit by stating that the credit of our great Commonwealth was not worth half-a-million sterling. The honorable senator who made that base and groundless charge, that unwarranted insinuation, now, in the person of Senator Bakhap, preaches conscription.
– Mr. Deputy President, I want to know what authority the honorable senator has to attribute such a statement to me? I completely deny that I ever said the Commonwealth was not worth half-a-million sterling.
– I referred tothe credit of the Commonwealth, and I think most people will admit that the whole credit of the Commonwealth is behind the Australian Note Issue. On 20th November last, Senator Bakhap, in this Chamber, asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, the following questions : -
– I asked a question. Is this the way you twist everything!
– The answers given by Senator Pearce were - “1. Yes; 2. No.”
– I asked the question for information. Am I not within my rights in doing so?
– What was the purport of the question? What did it convey ?
– Mr. Deputy President, I ask that the honorable senator should be made to retract his statement. What sort of a man is he to make such a statement? He reads a question which I put to the Minister in the Senate, and founds a statement on it. I demand a withdrawal.
– I have read the question, and am prepared to allow you, sir, to be the judge of what it means.
– I demand a retraction.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Order !
– The honorable senator conveyed the idea that the Australian note issue would not stand at that time an extra £500,000 worth of notes being put on the market.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- That is the honorable senator’s own construction.
– It is my opinion.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator has no right to charge another honorable senator with that opinion. He may place upon the question whatever construction he chooses, but I must ask him to withdraw his statement.
– I withdraw the .statement that the honorable senator attacked the financial stability of Australia.
– I should think you would !
– But the construction that one would naturally put on the honorable senator’s question is that the Australian note issue at that time would not stand an increase of £500,000. The only logical conclusion that Senator Bakhap could have put on that, the only rounding touch that he could have given to his question, was to shout “ Hoch der Kaiser!”
– I again demand a retraction.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order !
– What news it would have been to send to Berlin that the credit of the Commonwealth would not stand another £500,000! Within a comparatively few days afterwards the gratifying information was made public that the Associated Banks of the Commonwealth had agreed to take £10,000,000 worth of Australian notes, and advance 10,000,000 sovereigns in exchange.
– It bore a very sinister inference.
– To the average man the question must have read very glaringly and doubtfully.
– I rise to order. I distinctly heard the honorable senator say that I asked the question with the intention of producing a position that would enable me to say, “ Hoch liebe der
Kaiser.” I ask for an unqualified withdrawal.
– That is hardly the construction I put upon it.
– Did you not make use of those German words?
– If the credit of the Commonwealth is attacked wilfully or innocently-
– Remember you are not dealing with a fool.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order ! These interjections will lead to trouble.
– I again demand a retraction.
– If it goes forth to the world that the credit of our great Commonwealth and our note issue would not stand the comparatively small addition” of half-a-million sterling-
– Again I ask that the question whether the honorable senator should withdraw the words I complain of be decided.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I have not yet heard the words of which you complain.
– Did you not hear those German words?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I do not understand German.
– Fortunately, since that time the issue of Australian notes has exceeded £30,000,000 sterling. It was a poor compliment or a poor display of faith in our great Commonwealth to doubt, or throw mud, innocently or wilfully, at a great national institution like the Commonwealth note issue. Commercial men in the three capitals that I have visited do not hesitate to admit that it was the Australian note issue that saved the situation during the recent financial crisis caused by the war.
– Mr. Deputy President, is it because you did not hear the words that you do not uphold my demand for a retraction ?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I did not hear the words.
– Is that the reason that you do not uphold my demand for their retraction? *
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Order ! If the honorable senator has said anything that offends Senator Bakhap, he must withdraw it.
– He has most grossly offended me.
– I have every faith in our great Commonwealth, and even at that time an additional halfmillion sterling of notes-
– I think the Acting President should have determined the question, and seen it through to a legitimate conclusion, before he left the chair. He asked Senator Ferricks to withdraw something of which I complained, and that has not been done.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s remarks are somewhat of a reflection on myself. In saying that a certain question should have been settled by the Deputy President, he appears to assume that I am not competent to settle it
– I did not mean that at all, sir.
– If the honorable senator will raise a point of order, I shall endeavour to settle it to the best of my ability.
– The point of order was this : Senator Ferricks, in alluding to a question which I addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer some months ago, said, amongst other things, that I asked the question with the intention of being able to say, “ Hoch liebe der Kaiser!” He used those German words. I complained of them, and asked for their withdrawal. The Deputy President said he did not hear them, but told Senator Ferricks that if he had said anything to which I objected, he must withdraw it. Senator Ferricks did not heed this request. I wish to insist on Senator Ferricks obeying the request of the Deputy President to withdraw the statement of which I complain.
– It was not competent for the Deputy President to remain in the chair after I entered the chamber, because the Standing Orders provide that I must be in the chair if I am in the chamber, and the Senate is constituted. If Senator Ferricks imputed any motives to Senator Bakhap, he was out of order, and I ask him to withdraw any motives he imputed. If he said anything about Senator Bakhap which the honorable senator regards as offensive he is compelled by the Standing Orders to withdraw it, and I am sure he will do so in the usual way.
– I assure you, sir, that I did not voice the expression used by Senator Bakhap for the simple reason that I could not get my tongue round it if I tried to. I did use a contraction of it, and if Senator Bakhap objects to it, or regards it as offensive, I have no objection to whole-heartedly withdrawing it. The Australian Noteissue and the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank have, through this great crisis, demonstrated the foresight and wisdom of the Australian Labour party and Labour Government. The war having begun, and Great Britain having been forced into intervention, we must hope for the best. I do not think that our opponents, press and politicians, are doing all they can to bring about that best. It is a thousand pities that this awful slaughter could not be avoided. Some three years ago we had a general strike in Brisbane, and by this industrial upheaval, all trade and industry was stopped for three or four weeks. The men in all occupations went out on strike, and were called mad for doing so. The opponents of industrialism pointed to the thousands of pounds that were being lost in wages. It is true that some thousands of pounds were lost in wages and in commercial operations, but how many millions are being lost now. Upon the conduct of the war at the present time the estimated expenditure of ‘Great Britain alone is £3,000,000 per day. In addition, we must recollect that there are rivers flowing with human blood. I repeat that it would have been a jolly good thing if. on the declaration of war, there had been a general strike in Europe. If all the workers had sat down, and told the people who wanted the war that they must go and do the fighting themselves, there would have been very little in the nature of international complications.
– That is a very patriotic statement.
– It is a pity that what I have outlined did not “actually occur. It would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and an expenditure of many millions sterling.
– We would all have been shot down.
– I said that if the workers of the world had sat down there would have been no war. If they had taken a peaceful holiday-
– There would have been no German Army.
– I believe that such a condition of tilings as I have pictured will be brought appreciably nearer by the great upheaval which is taking place to-day. Some honorable senators may think that it will not materialize in our time. Personally, I think that it will. Another remedy which, in my opinion, would help to prevent war is a referendum of the people of the different nations concerned. Before any two nations go to war there should be a referendum of their people. Then all those who voted in favour of war should be sent to the front and allowed to fight each other. I am confident that if the people had a voice in the making of war these awful disturbances would be of very infrequent occurrence. Any person who spoke or wrote in favour of war should be placed in the front of the firing Hue.
– What would the honorable senator say of Germany, which will not respect her obligations?
– If sufficient propaganda work were undertaken amongst the Germans there would be an overwhelming vote against war.
– Did not the Germans ignore their obligation on the present occasion ?
– If they had been sufficiently advanced socialistically they would not have done so. I come now to the cry which has been manufactured purely for political purposes, that in this Parliament there should be a party truce. Our opponents ask, “ Why this party warfare?” “ Why not bury the hatchet?” They tell us that at a time like the present we should have no legislative quarrels. But before any honorable senator comes here and preaches that doctrine, I want him to go to the people whom he represents, and put the true position before them. Has the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, which in the six months following the outbreak of war made a disclosed profit of £500,000, declared a truce with the sugar-millers, the sugar-growers, the sugar-workers, or the consumers? Has the Shipping Trust joined in any truce with its passengers? We know that in Victoria, three days after the Peacock Government came into power, the price , of wheat jumped from 4s. 9d. to 8s. 6d. per bushel, the price of bread from 7d. to 9d. and 10d. per loaf, and the price of flour from £12 to £18 per ton. Did the riggers of the wheat market declare any truce with the people? Will Senator Bakhap answer that question?
– I have my own opinion of the honorable senator’s utterances.
– Senator Bakhap cannot contend that they did. Nor did the Beef Trust declare any truce with the meat consumers when it raised the price of beef to nearly Is. per lb. Until honorable senators opposite can assure us that a truce has been declared with the people whom we represent, it is idle for them to preach that we should “ bury the hatchet “ in this Chamber. When the time comes that an economic truce is declared with the people of the Commonwealth, when huge profits are no longer extracted from the pockets of the consumers, my honorable friends opposite will be justified in demanding that we should join in a party truce. The sooner we are enabled to join in that truce, the better will it be for everybody, because it will mean a co-operative Commonwealth. Before resuming my seat, I desire to direct attention to the very wide latitude which is allowed under the provisions of our Conciliation and Arbitration Act. I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, as the representative of the AttorneyGeneral, to take note of my remarks in this connexion. It will be recollected that about three years ago Mr. Justice Higgins made an award which covered the remuneration of stewards employed upon our coastal steamers. Under that award, these stewards are entitled to receive £5 10s. monthly in actual cash, and an allowance of £2 10s. monthly, which is to be made up in “ tips “ from the travelling public. I contend that by that award His Honour gave judicial indorsement to a most pernicious practice - the degrading practice of “ tipping.” This objectionable system is as extant on our railways as it is on our steam-ships. On landing at the Gladstone wharf from the north the other day, I had the “ acid “ applied to me once more. I picked up my bag to carry it down the gangway of the steamer, and as I passed them, one of the stewards nudged the other, and remarked, “We do not bother about him. He does not part up.” I went back to that steward and called him aside, and I told him why I did not “part up.” I pointed out that he was employed by the shipping company, which should pay him a living wage, and that if it did not pay him such a wage, it should be forced to do so. In reply, he assured me that the stewards did not want to live by “ tips.” He said that they did not wish to humiliate themselves by standing at the gangway of a vessel and holding out their hands for gratuities. I say that it is not right that under our Conciliation and Arbitration Act, which was passed at the instance of a Labour Government, the President of the Arbitration Court should be permitted to make such an award. It is tantamount to legalizing a system of black-mail, because “ tipping “ is nothing less than legalized black-mail.
– There are fiftyeight ships owned by the Commonwealth, in which no “ tips “ are given, and the stewards thus have to work for £5 10s. per month.
– If, under the Commonwealth, there are fifty-eight ships sailing our coastal waters in which the stewards have to work for £5 10s. per month, the position is a disgrace to any Labour Government. Why should ships’ stewards, more than any other class, be obliged to have their living wage made up part in cash and part in privilege? Surely the time has arrived in democratic Australia when we should discourage the pernicious system. I think the Assistant Minister will agree with me that the Government have an excellent chance of effecting a reform in this direction quicker than it could be effected under the Conciliation and Arbitration ‘Act. It might, for instance, be made a penal offence for any permanent employee upon our transcontinental railways to accept a “ tip “ from the travelling public. Upon our two central railway stations in Melbourne such a system is already in operation, and I believe it is very successful.
– Do not the permanent employees there accept “ tips “ ?
– No. I was once accused of giving a permanent porter engaged at the Spencer-street railway station a “tip.” Two luggage porters made the charge against him. The accusation was unfounded, and these porters had their licences cancelled. The stationmaster told me that there are thirty-seven luggage porters employed on the Flinders-street and Spencer-street stations, and that if they see a permanent porter accepting a “ tip “ from the general public, all they have to do is to report him. The luggage porter receives no remuneration, except that which he derives in the form of “ tips.” He is a, licensed porter.
– He has to live on “ tips.”
– Yes; but the permanent porters on our railways and on our ships should be paid a living wage. The sooner they are paid such a wage, the better it will be for our nationalism, our freedom, and our independence generally.
– I welcome this opportunity to participate in the discussion, because it affords us a chance of giving the widest publicity to our views on the one subject of engrossing interest to-day. When we look abroad and note the struggle which is taking place in Europe, and when we measure up the progress which the Allies have made, it must be admitted that that progress has been far less than we anticipated. We were assured some time ago that the war would really commence in May last. But May has passed, and June has nearly gone, and yet the vigorous attack which was foreshadowed for so long has not been launched. Indeed, it would seem that the position of our enemies to-day is just as secure as ever it was. Unfortunately, we must take note of that fact. Whilst we, as a nation, are sharing in the struggle, it is very necessary that we should consider what may best be done to afford greater encouragement to those who are at present in the firing line. If we view the position from the standpoint of numbers alone, there is plenty of warrant for unbounded hope in the prospect. Looking into the population of the different countries engaged in the war, I find that the Allied Nations number something like 270,000,000 of people as against about 120,000,000 in Germany, Austria, and Turkey, according to the latest census. On the score of numbers alone it would seem that the struggle ought to have ended in favour of the Allies long before to-day. But, as sensible men, we cannot blind ourselves to the fact that the struggle is far from being ended, and that, instead of the enemy countries being largely at a disadvantage, they are not only holding us at bay, but in some cases, and particularly on the eastern front in Europe, have made solid advances. Australia is in the war for all she is worth. My opinion is that she might.be a good deal more in the war than she is, and might contribute more than she has done up to date. That may seem to be a bold statement, but as one who has endeavoured to size up the feelings of his countrymen in Australia, and who knows something of their ability and readiness to face facts as they find them, I have no hesitation in telling them a plain, unvarnished tale as to what the true position is, and what is expected of Australia to-day. The Mother Country is at present putting forth her most supreme efforts. There is hardly a resource in the Old Country that has not already been laid under tribute to increase and equip the men in the firing line, in order that the present struggle may be brought to a victorious conclusion. According to the latest figures I have been able to see, I find that in various ways there is something like 3,000,000 men under arms from the Old Country. The population of the British Isles to-day is something in the neighbourhood of 45,000,000. The effort put forward by Great Britain at the present time, therefore, represents one man in the firing line for every fifteen of the population. In the case of Australia, the proportion of our population in the firing line is much less. We have a population of 5,000,000, and up to date we have succeeded in placing men under arms and sending them to the front to the number of only 82,000 or 83,000. We have congratulated ourselves that that is a verY good effort; and, in view of all the circumstances, it is really a very good effort. But, compared with the effort made by the Mother Country, it is not equal to it in any sense at all. That being the case, we should seriously consider whether we ought to continue to lag behind the Mother Country in the efforts we put forth to bring the struggle to an end.
– It would be fairer to compare the effort made by Australia with those made by the other Dominions.
– If there is any portion of the British Empire which, in the event of a drawn battle in Europe, stands to lose, it is certainly Australia. Girdled as she is by the seas, she can be easily approached from any point of the compass. Canada in the past never went in for a Navy. She relied upon the strong arm of the United States alongside of her, and by virtue of the Monroe doctrine has enjoyed, and will, no doubt, continue to enjoy, security from foreign invasion. We in Australia, on the other hand, willbe in a perilous and precarious position should the fortunes of war go against the Allies- in Europe. It is, in the circumstances, about time that we faced the facts. Leaving politics, party, and Governments on one side, it is time we asked ourselves whether, in proportion toour population, we are putting forth as great an effort as we might? In view of our numbers and our state of unpreparedness in the past, I admit that we have done very great work indeed in sending such a large number of men to the front, and in equipping them in a way which constrained the correspondent of the London Times to admit that the equipment of our Australian soldiers was the best that had been brought under his notice. But the fact remains that, compared with what has been done by theMother Country, and in view of our population, we have not done enough yet inthe matter of sending men to the front. I welcome this opportunity to express my view of the effort so far put forth by Australia, and if we can arouse the people from their lethargy, and make them realize what is expected of them, and what they have done, as compared with what has been done by the Mother Country, some good may result from this debate.
Something has been said by our opponents about a refusal to receive help from the Opposition, or to co-operate with them in the prosecution of the war. I remind honorable senators of the fact that the last Federal elections were conducted when the war was in progress. Althoughovertures were made to the Government at the time to secure the help of the Labour party, who were then in Opposition, the offer was spurned, and no effort was made by the Cook Government to cooperate with the Labour party at that time. The electoral struggle ensued. The contest was decided on the 5th September last, with the result that the electors throughout Australia, in the exercise of their better judgment, called into power a different party to manage the war and the affairs of the Commonwealth. The party in power prior to the elections, having refused the offer of assistance from the thou Opposition, and having refused to postpone the elections, can ill afford, now that they are themselves in Opposition, to find fault with the Government called by the electors to assume the management of affairs for refusing to accept overtures from them.
The present Opposition are finding fault with the present Government concerning what has been done in connexion with the Small Arms Factory, and in regard to providing ammunition for the larger type of guns. It is well in the circumstances to remind them that, immediately after their return to office, the present Government took steps ‘to secure in Australia as large a quantity of the ammunition required for the larger guns as was possible. The newspapers are now asking’ what the Government have done, and why they have not put forward a special effort on the present occasion to obtain the ammunition required for the larger field guns ? Yet Senator Pearce, immediately after the Government assumed office, set about doing what these newspapers and leading members of the Opposition are now contending ought to be done. They are issuing a warning eight months after it was necessary. The wisdom and foresight of the present Governnment have been proved by the fact that the Minister of Defence was endeavouring to get this ammunition shortly after he assumed office. The electors should remember that those who have been wise after the event deserve no credit for asking the Government to do what they did shortly after their return to office. The Minister of Defence has done everything that was humanly possible to increase the output of the Small Arms Factory. He had the advice of his expert officers, and they had to decide between them what it was best to do to increase the output. Evidence in connexion with the matter has been taken by the Public Works Committee, and on every occasion it has sustained the position taken up by the Minister of Defence, and has justified his every action in connexion with the matter.
– It has been shown that there is not a sufficient number of trained men at the Small Arms Factory to supervise the work of’ two shifts.
– That is so. Any person who is not steeped in political bias, and studies the matter, will learn that there is a whole series of operations to be performed in connexion with the manufacture of a rifle; and while for a majority of the operations men or boys might be trained in the course of* a few months, or even a few weeks, there are intricate operations to be performed which can only be carried out by men whose training has extended over, not months, but years. The difficulty in establishing a second shift at the Small Arms’ Factory has been the difficulty of securing a sufficient number of men to perform these intricate operations for two shifts. The Government have done all in their power to increase the output of the Factory, and yet the Opposition find fault with them. I do not wish to say that political motives are at the back of their criticism.
– The honorable senator must recognise that a great deal of fault-finding has been indulged in by organizations connected with the Factory itself, and associated with his own party.
– The honorable senator refers to the Amalgamated Engineers Society, but he will agree that when the members of a trade organization find that many of their fellow members are out of employment, they are naturally insistent in their demand to have a larger number of them employed, if possible. To accept the advice of these men, without giving any consideration to the views of the responsible officers in charge of the Factory, would be to consult the tail instead of going to the fountain head. If, in any business in which he was associated, Senator Bakhap desired to secure the best advice he could get, he would go, not to the workmen, but to the persons in charge, who had at their fingers’ ends all the intricacies of the business.
– The point is that we are being charged with being critical, whereas the most vitriolic criticism has been issuing from the ranks of members of the honorable senator’s own party.
– I did not wish to take up the time of the Senate unduly, but I thought that some reply should be made to the statements of our opponents. If the remarks which have fallen from the members of the Opposition mean anything at all, they mean that, in their opinion, the Government are going too slowly, and are not making every effort to facilitate any increase in the output of rifles. The Government called in expert advice, and one Committee after another has come to the decision that the Government have done everything they could do up to date. What would, the Opposition have said if the Government’ had turned down the expert advice of Mr. Ferguson, the manager of the Newport Workshops, or of Mr. Davis, of New South Wales? The Government have taken the best advice at their disposal, and, notwithstanding anything that members of the Opposition may say, they have done all that it has been possible for them to do up to date to increase the output of rifles and the supply of ammunition. As the hour is late, and as I have some observations to make on other subjects which will come within the scope of the Supply Bill, I ask leave to continue my remarks. Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time. . Senate adjourned’ at 10.3 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 24 June 1915, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1915/19150624_senate_6_77/>.