7th Parliament · 1st Session
The President took tho chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Censorship of Correspondence
– Has the Min ister for Defence found out the name of the officer, who prevented the publication in the Tribune of the correspondence, which passed between the Australian CatholicFederation and the Defence Department re the Critchley Parker pamphlets ; and, if so, what action does he intend to take?
– On Friday last, I promised to make inquiries into this matter. I find that the facts are as follows : -
With reference to the statement made by Senator Needham on Friday last, that the Censor had forbidden the Tribune to publish certain correspondence between the Department of Defence and the Catholic Federation relative to the question of the censorship of matter published by Mr. Critchley Parker, I hare inquired into the matter, and find that the rule is that official correspondence cannot be published without the. consent of the Department. The Tribune did not ask for such consent, but announced its intention to publish, and in the proof submitted, it proposed only to publish the letters of the Catholic Federation to me, and to omit the Department’s reply of the 27th March, 1917- Permission has now been given for the publication of this correspondence, provided it is all published, including the Department’s letter of 27th March, 1917.
Bill presented by Senator Millen, and read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Repre sentatives, and (on motion by Senator Millen) read a first time.
asked the Honorary Minister, upon notice -
In view of the report of the Commonwealth Meat Inspector that meat in large quantities is held in cool storage by Angliss and Co., will the Minister exercise the powers conferred on him by taking immediate and effective steps to release this food, and place it within reach of Australian consumers at reasonable prices?
– I know nothing of the matter, but will immediately inquire into it.
Perth and Kalgoorlie to Melbourne
asked the Minis ter for Works and Railways, upon notice -
In connexion with the following telegram: - “Kalgoorlie, 10 July.
Statement appears local papers, to-day’s date, that arrangement been made Commonwealth Minister, Mr. Watt, and State Commissioner, whereby fares - Perth to Melbourne,£ 10 first class, £7 second class - be also charged Kalgoorlie-Melbourne, thus charging gold-fields’ people for 400 miles that they will not travel, and robbing them their geographical advantage, being that distance nearer Eastern sea-‘ board. Strongly urge you make immediate representations against this injustice being perpetrated on gold-fields’, people.”
Will the Ministerstate whether the schedule of fares as described therein has been fixed, and, if so, will he take steps- to remove the anomaly as far as the residents of the Western Australian gold-flolds arc concerned, so that they will not be overcharged when travelling from Kalgoorlie to the Eastern States?
– The scale of fares between Kalgoorlie and Melbourne has not yet been determined. The ‘officials made certain suggestions as to fares between the capital cities of the Commonwealth, but these have not yet been dealt with.
asked the Min ister representing the. Treasurer, upon notice -
Whether the Treasurer will make available to senators the report ofthe heads of the Taxing Departments on thequestion of amalgamating the various Federal and State Departments,?
– The answer is -
It is anticipated that the report will be available at an early date.
asked the Minister for
Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Honorary Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a Bill for an Act to amend the Defence Act 1903-1915.
Bill read a third time.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
.- I move-
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are aware of the existence . of the Act which deals, with the organization known . as the Industrial Workers of the World, and’ similar organizations which may be in existence. Associated with the name of that body there has been quite a series of crimes which have arrested public attention and called for general public condemnation. It was consequent upon those crimes- that the Bill of 1916 was introduced and. approved by Parliament; but, in spite of that legislative action, there are increasing signs of activity on the part of this organization, and experience has demonstrated that the powers granted by the original Act are insufficient to enable the authorities to cope effectively with this growing menace. That body still issues its pernicious literature, is still finding funds - from what source is not definitely known - and still, in many ways, is defying authority. It is quite clear, from its actions, that it is issuing a challenge to the public life, . as well as the private security, of the country. Australia has, probably more than any other country, adopted the soundly democratic principle that it will be governed in a constitutional way, and that the laws made by the majority of its citizens shall stand and be respected. This. organization practically declares that it will obey no law that does not suit it, and, indeed, will obey no law of any kind. In ‘ other words, it stands for anarchy, and thereby becomes a distinct menace to the public life of this country and to the private security of individualcitizens. It advocates the destruction of property, and, so far from stopping at the mere advocacy, it has committed crimes in the State which I represent ranging from arson to murder. There can be no doubt that it was members of that organization, or men led away . by its teachings, who were responsible for the crime at Tottenham. The Bill introduces no new principle, but is designed to stop the gaps which experience has shown to exist in the parent measure. That measure dealt with the organization itself. This Bill proposes rather to deal with the individuals who are members, or who may remain members after it becomes law. It is not necessary for me to do more than briefly point out thealteration which the Bill introduces. It proposes that, not only shall the existence of any such organization be an offence, but that the Governor-General shall have power to declare any association which adopts the practices hitherto confined, so far as we know, to the Industrial Workers of the World’, an unlawful association for the purposes of the measure. It is not merely the Industrial Workers of the World that will be aimed at, because that body might possibly avoid the provisions of the Bill by merely changing its name, or dissolving as an Industrial- Workers of the World organization and reforming as another. Power is, therefore, taken, merely by gazettal, to declare an association to beunlawful within the meaning of the provisions above referred to. There is a further proposal to make it an offence for a person to become a member of such an association, or for any one who is a member at the commencement of the Act to remain so for more than one month after it becomes law. There is another alteration in the matter of deportation. The power of deportation was exercisable under the parent Act only with regard to persons who were not natural-born British subjects. It is proposed to go a step further, and attach the penalty to anybody not being an Australian-born citizen; and with regard to the Australian-born the onus of proof will rest upon the accused person. It is also made a punishable offence to contribute or solicit contributions for the associations dealt with in the Bill, or to print or publish, or sell, any literature in the interests of such an association. There is a prohibition against -transmitting through the post any newspapers devoted to the interests of this body, and another clause preventing the employment or the continued employment of members of unlawful associations in the Public Service. I do not think anything more than the mere announcement of that provision is necessary to insure the whole-hearted support of members of this Chamber. The Bill also provides for the seizure of property, and entry into premises of an unlawful association for the purpose of seizing documents, and so on. If a discussion is desired on the various features of the Bill, the Committee is obviously the place in which we can more closely get to grips with them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.
Clause 5 -
After section 7 of the principal Act the following sections are inserted: - 7d. - After the expiration of one month from the commencement of this section no member of an unlawful association shall be eligible to be or to continueto be a member of the Public Service of the Commonwealth, or to hold any office or employment, permanent or temporary, under the Commonwealth or any authority of the Common wealth. 7e. - (1) All property of any kind, real or personal, belonging to an unlawful association, . or held by any person for or on behalf of an unlawful association, may be taken possession of or seized by any person thereto authorized by a Minister of Stateor by a prescribed authority, and shall thereupon be forfeited to the Commonwealth.
– I move-
That after proposed new section 7e (1) the following new sub-clause be inserted : - (1a) All books, periodicals, pamphlets, handbills, posters, or newspapers issued by or on behalf of an unlawful association, or advocating an unlawful association or its propaganda, may be seized by any person thereto authorized by a Minister of State, or by a prescribed authority, and shall thereupon be forfeited to the Commonwealth.
The Bill as introduced gave authority to deal with literature which might have been issued by an unlawful association, but not with literature already in circulation, and this amendment will stop another little gap which the authorities think should be closed. The amendment is a very simple one. . It will give the authoritiespower to seize literature in the possession of any unlawful association, or which has been issued by the authority of such organization.
- His “Excellency the Governor-General having intimated that he, will be in . attendance in the Library at 3.30 to receive the AddressinReply as passed by the Senate, I shall suspend the sitting until twenty minutes to 4 o’clock, at which hour I shall resume the chair, and I invite honorable senators to accompany me for the purpose of presenting the Address to his Excellency.
Sitting suspended from3.27 to 3.45 p.m.
– I haveto announce that, accompanied by honorable senators, I waited on His Excellency the Governor-General in the Library, at twenty-five minutes to 4 o’clock, and presented the Address-in-Reply which was passed by the Senate, and that His Excellency was pleased to make the following reply: -
I receive with much pleasure the Address which has been adopted bythe Senate in reply to the Speech delivered by me on the occasion of the opening of the second session of the Seventh Commonwealth Parliament. I thank you for the expression of loyalty to our most gracious Sovereign.
In Committee (Consideration resumed) :
– I notice that it is proposed to prevent members of an unlawful association being employed in or eligible for employment in the Public Service. I wish to know from the Vice-Presidenti of the Executive Council whether this ban or interdiction is to be applied only to persons employed under the Public Service
Act or whetherit is proposed to go the whole way, and apply it to the employment of these persons in any way by the Commonwealth Government. If it does not go the whole way the clause will fail in its object.
– It does go the whole way. It refers to “ any office or employment, permanent or temporary, under the Commonwealth or any authority of the Commonwealth.”
– Those words hardly seem to me to meet completely what I have in view. I am tempted to raise some form of opposition to this measure, because today the Senate appears to be like an afternoon tea party from the way in which it has received a measure which is supposed to be highly contentious. Instructions have been issued to a big political party that is supposedto be represented here. Sealed orders have been issued in connexion with this proposal, and as our honorable friends have not risen to the occasion, I have been compelled to take upon myself the rôle of finding fault with the measure. There was a time when instructions issued, referring to measures goingthrough this Chamber, were obeyed to the letter. I do not know what can be coming over certain people nowadays. Instructions are issued and entirely ignored. I object to that kind of thing. I find that the proposed new section 7d apparently meets the object that I had in view.
– The honorable senator could not have read it beforehe got up to speak.
– I have no objection to the remainder of the clause, but I should like to say that it is sad that in a true Democracy, such as we have in Australia, there should be any necessity for a measure of this kind. Its introduction is a sad reflection on our common sense and our patriotism.
– To what portion of the clause do these remarks apply ? The honorable senator is making a secondreading speech in Committee.
– I realize now that the clause goes as far as I desire it should go, and I have no wish to trench upon the Standing Orders.
– Or Senator Needham’s sensitiveness.
– Knowing Senator Needham’s profound experience of the Standing Orders I am inclined to bow to his opinion. As the clause goes far enough in my opinion, I shall not further object to it, but I do again protest that the instructions which were issued and appear in this morning’s press are not being obeyed as they should have been.
– Senator Lynch appears to be anxious that some honorable senator on this side should oppose this measure. I am not going to do that. It is too late, becauseall the powers which will be conferred by the passing of this Bill are already in the possession of the Government. This measure is only a makebelieve. Onlylast week, in Sydney, the War Precautions) Act was enforced to carry out exactlywhat this clause is intended to give the Government power to do. I think that the Bill has been introduced merely in order to induce some one on this side to defend the Industrial Workers of the World. I am not going to do that. I am opposed to that association on principle, and have been all the time. I cannot explain why at this stage, but I may do so later on, when the Standing Orders will permit. To show that this clause is unnecessary, I have only to remind honorable senators that in Sydney the police raided the rooms of these people one night’ last week and carried out all the powers conferred under this clause by virtue of a proclamation issued under the War Precautions Act in the following terms : -
July 20th, 1917.
I, James Mitchell, Inspector-General of the Police Force of the State of New South Wales, and the principal officer of police in such State, having reason to suspect that a house, to wit, house No. 403 Sussex-street, Sydney, is being used for purposes prejudicial to the public safety of the Commonwealth, by powers conferred upon me by regulation No. 50 of the War Precautions Act 1915, as amended by StatutoryRule No. 75 of 1917, dated 23rd March, 1917, do hereby authorize John Walker, inspector of police of the said State, with such persons and assistance as he may require, to enter the said house and search and inspect the same, and seize all things which he has reason to suspect are being used, or are intended to be used, for such purposes as aforesaid, and, if necessary, search all male persona found therein, and require all female persona to submit to search by a female searcher.
That is exactly what -this clause is intended to give the Government power to do, and it is provided for already under the War Precautions Act.’ Senator Lynch, along with the rest of us, thought it necessary to give the Commonwealth Government very wide powers under the War Precautions Act, and we did so. In the circumstances, I do not know why the honorable senator should now seek to throw muck on honorable senators on this side because they will not oppose this Bill. The powers proposed to be given to the Government under this Bill have already been given to them under the War Precautions Act, and I therefore see no necessity for this measure at all.
.- Senator McDougall has informed the Committee that it is too late to pass this measure now. That statement obviously refers to time, and Ipresumethat the honorable senator believes thatit is too late, since the 5th May. Dealing with his objection that we havethese powers under the War Precautions Act. I would remind Senator McDougall of two things. First of all, the War Precautions Act will cease to operate a few months after the termination of the war, and it is necessary for the Government to have these powers in time of peace as well as in time of war. Further, the powers given under the War Precautions Act are operative only so far as they apply to military and defence operations, but the members of the Industrial Workers of . the World have not limited their offences to that. They have committed offences against individuals and against property.
– Hear, hear ! I know something about it.
– I know that Senator McDougall is as well aware as I am of the operations of this association. There is another view that we take of the matter. Whilst it is true that the War Precautions Act confers upon the Government the widest powers, yet the Government do not believe that they ought to use those powers to supplant legislation. Where it is possible to secure legislative authority for a particular course of action legislative authority ought to be secured. The War Precautions Act is not to be taken as a blank cheque by the Government to supersede the activities of Parliament. It is an emergency measure, to be used on an emergency, and for emergency purposes. I make no apology for presenting this Bill to the Chamber, believing that honorable senators will recognise we are pursuing a proper and constitutional course.
– I wish to correct the statement made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I did not say, as alleged by him, that it was too late for me to oppose this Bill. I stated definitely that I would not oppose it, and I added that it was too late for Senator Lynch to come here and throw “ muck “ at honorable senators upon this side of the chamber.
– I am fairly well satisfied with the explanation given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council on one point. But so far he has not told us whether proposed new section 7d will apply to casual labour employed by the Commonwealth, or to labour employed by any contractor to the Commonwealth. At the present time we are letting some of our public works to contractors who may perhaps employ persons belonging to unlawful associations. I am anxious to know what power the Government can exercise in that event. In reply to the remarks of Senator McDougall, I merely wish to say that I did not throw “ muck “ at honorable senators on the other side, as suggested by him. All I desired to know was why the instructions which have been issued by his party - by his bosses in New South Wales - have not been obeyed. Those instructions have been flouted.
– A lie!
– That remark is quite unparliamentary, and must be withdrawn.
– I withdraw it, and I hope that you, sir,will insist upon Senator Lynch withdrawing his statement.
– If Senator Lynch made any statement to which the honorable senator takes exception, I am sure that he will Withdraw it.
– If my remarks touched Senator McDougall on a raw spot I cannot help it. But only in this morning’s newspapers I read a’ statement to the effect that the junta in New South Wales had issued instructions to their representatives to do certain things.
– In reply to the remarks of Senator Lynch, I would point out that proposed new section 7d makes provision for casual labour. It speaks of “temporary and permanent em ployment,” and temporary employment is casual employment. I have not any doubt of that. As to whether it will cover the cases of persons employed by Commonwealth contractors I entertain some doubt. At the same time I would remind the honorable senator that it would be extremely difficult for the Commonwealth to undertake the supervision of the lists of workmen employed by every contractor. Certain stipulations are already made in our contracts, as, for instance, that preference should be granted to unionists. Am I to suppose from his suggestion that unionists are members of the Industrial Workers of the World?
– I know that thousands of them have voted for Industrial Workers of the World members.
– It would be extremely difficult to provide by law that the Commonwealth should prohibit the employment of any of these men by a contractor. I will direct the attention of my colleagues who have to deal with contracts to the point raised by the honorable senator with a view to ascertaining whether it is feasible to adopt in contracts some provision of the kind indicated. Personally I do not think that any contractor would knowingly employ any members of the Industrial Workers of the World. His own sense of selfpreservation would forbid him doing so..
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That the following words be added to proposed new section 7f : - “ And proof that the defendant has since the beginning of the war repeatedly -
I hardly think that these words need any explanatory comments on my part, and I do not anticipate any hostility to the addition, which I propose shall be made.
– May I suggest that it would be wise to insert the governing word “ unlawful “ in this provision. It speaks of ‘‘an association.” As this Bill is intended to amend the Unlawful Associations Act of 1916, I suggest that the governing word “ unlawful” should be inserted.
– It would be repetition.
– It might be repetition; but I think it would be wise to continue the use of the word “ unlawful “ before the word “ association.” It will be noticed that in every other proposed new section the word “ unlawful “ occurs before the word “ association.” If this provision were allowed to go through as it is it might defeat sub-clause c of clause 2, wherein certain organizations and associations are exempted from the operation of the Bill. Unless an amendment of this kind be made, any association might be roped in whether it was unlawful or otherwise. It would certainly make the provision more definite.
– I have no objection to the suggested amendment being, made, if it will bring, peace to the mind of the honorable senator.
– Not peace to my mind.
– With a view to enabling the honorable senator to act, I ask leave temporarily to withdraw my amendment.
– It will make the measure more complete.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Senator Needham) agreed to -
That in proposed new section 7f after the word “ an,” the word “ unlawful “ be inserted.
Amendment (by Senator Millen) again proposed.
– Does that provision apply to all shopkeepers distributing their literature?
– If it is the Industrial Workers of the World literature it will apply, even to members of Parliament.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments;report adopted.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That this Bill be now read a third time.
– I wish to say a few words in reply to some remarks made at the previous stage. I stated thenthat I was opposed to the Industrial Workers of the World when those who are behind this Bill to-day were associated with that body. I am opposed to the Industrial Workers of the World because of their one-big-union principle. I am a craft unionist pure and simple, and that, I take it, is the only unionism which does any good for the working’ classes in the community. One big union I would always oppose. These men believe in the dilution of labour, and making all men equal, but I do not. I believe that when a man has served an apprenticeship to a trade he has a right to be protected by the laws of his country. The Government of the Commonwealth have given this big union an advertisement. Whereas a short time ago it was only a very small body - just a few men meeting together - it numbers now some 10,000 or 20,000 in the city of Sydney. This Bill, I take it, is not going to interfere with the men at all, but they will go on merrily as they have done, under the one-big-union scheme - the O.B.U. It is” not only the Industrial Workers of the World who are trying to follow the one-big-union scheme. We have the farmers, the agriculturists, and the squatters moving for one big union, a united employers’ union, to fight the arbitration laws of this country. That is what the Industrial Workers of the World believe. They believe in the method of the strike which craft unionism put out of sight many years ago. I wished to makeit clear that I was nob here to oppose this Bill. The men who are framing this measure for the purpose of extinguishing the Industrial Workers of the World were sitting’ with them cheek by jowl in their union not very long ago when I was opposed to them.
– Before the motion is passed I would like to relieve the anxiety of Senator Lynch with regard to what he thought was a lack of opposition to a Bill of this nature, and the instructions which he said were forwarded to the party on this side in connexion with the measure.
– I did not say that.
– Are you trying to excite Senator Lynch to address the Chair ?
– Order! The honorable senator is not entitled to bring up a Committee matter in that way. Of course, I do not know what took place in Committee; but if any honorable senator made a speech of that kind there, undoubtedly and obviously it was the right, place to reply to the speech. On the motion for the third reading the only thing which is permissible to an honorable senator is to advance reasons as to why the Bill should or should not be read a third time. I cannot allow the honorable senator to bring up any matters which transpired in Committee, or reply to speeches which were made there.
– Well, sir, I will tell the Senate that the party on this side welcome this measure, because in another place provisions were made to insure that it would be acceptable to us. I may be permitted perhaps to refer to the proviso to clause 2 -
Provided that this last sub-section shall not apply in the case of any association registered under any arbitration law of the Commonwealth or any State, or any law relating to trades unions in any State.
That “covers all duly registered trade unions and organizations registered under the Commonwealth and the State laws. I think, sir, that I will be quite in order in saying that the party of which I am a member did move in another place to see that that proviso was put in the Bill. It was accepted by the Government. Hence it is that the measure is not receiving here to-day, and did not receive in another place, that great opposition which perhaps Senator Lynch thought it should have received.’
– But that was not Senator’s Lynch’s point.
– Order ! I cannot allow the honorable senator, by way of interjection, to introduce that matter.
– I am not going to transgress the ruling of the Chair. Without referring to Senator Lynch or anybody else, I will say that no member of the Australian Labour party in this Parliament received instructions from anybody, through the press or anywhere else, to oppose or support this Bill.
– You have not read this morning’s newspaper then.
– If I were to read this morning’s newspaper no doubt the President would call me to order. The honorable senator read the report in’ the newspaper, and placed a wrong construction on it. He tried to convey that members of this party had received instructions regarding this measure.
– Order !
– I tell the honorable senator that no member of this party received instructions in connexion with this Bill, and if he likes to follow me-
– There will be wigs on the green by-and-by.
– Order! The honorable senator is transgressing my ruling. Obviously if Senator Lynch made any such statement in Committee, that was the time to speak, and ample opportunity was afforded to any honorable senator to reply to the speech then. It is not conducive to the orderly despatch of business that any matters of dispute or quarrel between honorable senators in Committee should be brought up in the Senate on the third reading of the Bill. They should always be dealt with at the time.
– I have not the slightest intention to squabble. Senator Lynch and I are good friends, and I hope that we will remain so.
– If you agree with Senator Lynch, there is no fear of any misunderstanding.
– If any honorable senators opposite think that any honorable senator on this side has received instructions, I would like them to bring their proof before the Bill is read a third time by the Senate.
– It is not very considerate treatment of the junta, all thesame.
– Order !
– I know that on the third reading of the Bill the President will not allow me to refer to the junta, of which the honorable senator is a splendid example. The PRESIDENT.- Order!
– Again I am likely to come into conflict with the Chair. Regarding the powers contained in the Bill, and referring to the remarks made by the Leader of the Senate, I venture to say that everything which it gives power to the Government to do could have been done under the provisions of the War Precautions Act. As Senator McDougall has intimated, a raid under that Act took place in Sydney the other day in connexion with the Industrial Workers of the World. Personally, I should’ like to see that organization wiped completely off the face of the earth; and whether I remain a member of the Senate, or go back to civil life, any action I can take to prevent the growth of such a body in Australia will be cheerfully taken. I considered this Bill unnecessary, because the original Act, amplified by the War Precautions Act, provided all the powers. No new principle has been introduced. Senator Millen himself said that the Bill introduced no new principle, and that the War Precautions Act lasted only for the term of the war and a certain period afterwards. We could easily have waited for the expiration of the war. and for . the few months thereafter during which the War Precautions Act operates, before which time the necessity for legislation of this kind cannot arise. Parliament is always assembled, or can be called together. However, in order to take time by the forelock, the party on this side in this and the other branch of the Legislature has assisted the Government inorder to cope with any dangerous organization that may be abroad. Even if there were no War Precautions Act, and no “Unlawful Associations Act on the statute-book of the Commonwealth, there are in existence State laws which, if the States like to use them, can deal with any organization classed as unlawful under this Bill. There is any amount of legislation on the statute-book of every State Parliament to cope with any man, or body of men, who conspire to blow up property, burn it, or damage it in any other way. provided that the State Governments themselves will take action.
– Very much more cumbersome machinery than this will provide for.
– This association is not stopped by State boundaries.
– Its members are resident within the State; and both Senator Millen and Senator Keating know that if there is only one man within one State offending;, the law of that State can operate at once, without waiting for machinery to be provided by the Commonwealth Parliament.
– That would mean six Acts instead of the one we are passing.
– Have those six States to be asleep waiting for the machinery of the Commonwealth?
– They have no right to interfere with war legislation.
– This is not war legislation. Senator Millen said distinctly, a moment ago, that it was not. He stated that the War Precautions Act would cease shortly after the war, and that he wanted this Act to remain on the statute-book of the Commonwealth afterwards.
– Have you just awakened to an understanding of that statement ? Why did you not take exception to it when it was made ?
– Senator de Largie has not reached the dignified position that you occupy, Mr. President. When he does, Iwill answer his question. In the meantime, I shall vote for the third reading.
– I heartily support the remarks of the honorable senator who has just sat down. I welcome the Bill, and, with Senator Needham, am pleased that an opportunity has arisen . to deal in a more thorough fashion with a problem which is of more than passing importance. I most firmly hold the opinion that there is a sad necessity for the Bill. We live in the freest Democracy that ever existed, a Democracy the equal of which has not been recorded in ancient or modern times, a Democracy that allows the meanest unit that composes.it to utter any opinion that he holds for the good of that Democracy without let orhindrance; and when this agency arose, with all the sinister signs of an evil agency, the fact that it did not receive condemnation was a sad feature of our industrial development. I can recall when a member of that organization in Queensland obtained a majority when standing against one of the staunchest exponents and truest friends that Labour unionism ever had. At the time I referred to, an Industrial Workers of the World man stood against Mr. W. G.. Spence for the presidency of the Australian Workers Union in Queensland and the northern portion of New South’ Wales, and actually beat him. Trade unionists flocked to the standard of the Industrial Workers of the World on that occasion, and put the Industrial Workers of the World champion at the head of the poll. The records of the Australian Workers Union show that Mr.
Naughton, a self -avowed and self acknowledged mouth-piece and champion of the Industrial Workers of the World, obtained a majority amongst the Queensland and northern New South Wales members of that body.
When such a false sentiment is abroad that champions, mouth-pieces, and ad- herents of this evil organization get such strong support, it is about time the common sense of the community asserted itself. We have been all too slow in asserting ourselves.
I have a certain amount of sympathy for the Industrial Workers of the World in this way, that those who were covertly associated with it in the past, and who never condemned it, are now tumbling over one another to leave it high and dry. I am not, and have never been, friendly towards it, because I have too bitter a recollection of what it sought to do with me and mine. Its leading mouth-piece threatened to burn down our farm in the West. If he had only come along and paid the debts on the farm, it could have started the blaze next day. However, that plot was bowled out in time. I am entitled to find fault with the fact that those nien .who have given their covert sympathy to the organization in the past are now only too ready to leave the organization to defend itself. I have been against it from the start; but those false friends of the Industrial Workers of the World, when they saw public sympathy veering against it, did not come out into the open in their true colours and’ publicly confess that they had been wrong in the past. They could see that an overwhelming public opinion was repudiating and banning the organization; and so, after being, if not hand-in - glove -with it, at least moral supporters of it, they are leaving it to fish for itself.
– They did not mind getting its votes.
– They did not.
– They were against it from the start. ‘
– Against it from the start! It is about time we had a clean up, and about time we had some plain speaking. The object of my few previous remarks on the Bill was strictly utilitarian. My motive was to harmonize the difference between those who were giving instructions and those who ought to obey. We are living in a war-like age, and when instructions are given I do not see ‘why they should not be obeyed. They were obeyed in the past by certain honorable members of this Parliament. Instructions of a very stern character were issued from Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland on the question of the referendum, one of the leading planks in our platform, and those instructions were obeyed to the last letter.
– By some. ‘
– It is the noble exceptions that prove the golden rule. That incident showed where true manhood lay, where independence of character lay, and where something more than the mere craven hypocritical samples that we see abroad to-day in public life were to be found. Instructions were actually issued on that occasion not to vote for one of the leading planks and principles of the Labour platform. Those instructions were not to dare to vote for the Conscription Referendum Bill under pain of expulsion. Instructions have just been issued once more, and my anxiety and curiosity is to know why, seeing that the former instructions about the referendum were obeyed absolutely and subserviently by certain members, these later instructions are not being obeyed now. There must be something rotten in the State of Denmark. Here is a high authority in Sydney issuing in- ‘structions about this Bill, and yet they are flouted! I object to that altogether. The War Precautions Act ought to be put into operation to make these people obey. I find, on reading this morning’s paper, that it was decided -
– Order! So far as I have been able to follow the honorable senator he is endeavouring to pursue some argument that occurred in Com- * mitte - for which I promptly ruled Senator Needham out of order. Senator Needham could not be. out of order in alluding to that matter, and Senator Lynch in order in alluding to another portion of the same debate. Therefore I ask him not to pursue the subject.
– I realize that your ruling is unchallengeable. One of the most deplorable developments that I have ever seen in the public life of this country is to find instructions issued by the High “Commissioner at the Trades Hall in Sydney about this Bill disobeyed at the critical moment in this Chamber. As I mentioned before, the instructions in the case of the referendum were implicitly obeyed, although if one shut his eyes and pointed his finger at the Labour platform the first thing he would strike would be the referendum plank.
The PRE SIDENT. - The referendum is not now under consideration.
– I am much concerned about this outside influence that is sought to be exercised over members of Parliament. That influence has been at work all too successfully in the past. Instructions were issued, and members came to heel. Poor old dog Tray was only a circumstance compared with so-called independent members of Parliament when instructions were issued regarding measures passing through this Chamber. I rose on this occasion with the object of reconciling the differences between those! who issue instructions and those who refuse to obey them, I do not like to see any men get into trouble, or the harmony of the home disturbed in the least, and I do nob wishto see the mouthpieces in this chamber of those who give instructions rushing madly to their doom by not obeying those demands. It was for the purpose of saving them from this fate - from the wrath to come - that I referred to the matter at all. It is almost beyond my comprehension that they should now flagrantly ignore these instructions, which were to the effect that they should leave no- stone unturned to oppose the passage of this Bill - this, a measure which glided through the Senate with the utmost celerity . Surely there is something wrong.
This Bill touches the very vitals of our. industrial and social life, and unless it had been passed I do nob know what would have happened to this country, for we had reached the stage when men who pretended to rely on constitutional means for the redress of their grievances were trying to overturn our normal state of society. From the constitutional aspect alone, the position so lately created was sufficient to warrant the introduction and the passage of a measure even more drastic than this. But there is a difference of opinion. Honorable gentlemen on this side of the chamber believe that every word and line of the Bill were justified, while the power outside - represented by the honorable gentlemen on the other side of the chamber - is of the opinion that it is not required, and this power issued instructions that the Bill must and should be opposed. Honorable senators opposite, Senator Grant included, were required to both speak and vote against the Bill, but to-day Senator Grant is shirking his duty.
– Your statement is quite incorrect.
– I want to know why these senators are not obeying. I want to know, for instance, why Senator Maughan and Senator McDougall are not obeying instructions issued to them.
– It is a lie.
– Order ! I must ask Senator McDougall to withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it, Mr. President.
– On a point of order, Mr. President, is Senator Lynch in order in making a statement that, in relation to me, has no foundation in fact?
– The matter raised is not a point of order, for I am not to judge whether what Senator Lynch has stated is a fact or not. I should be very sorry for myself if I had to be the judge of the accuracy of every statement made by any honorable senator.
– I have very little more to say except that, with Senator Needham, I welcome the measure, and will support its third reading wholeheartedly. At the same time, I took occasion to refer to the commands thai were issued to an importantsection of members of the party, opposite. They were, told to- oppose the Bill, and to leave no stone unturned - to use the official words - to prevent its passage through this Parliament, and I want to know now why they do not oppose it. I want to know why they are shirking their duty. If they fail to do their duty direct action will be taken in their case. I can only say that as they have not obeyed those instructions I am unable to suggest what will be form of wrath which will overtake themin the future, but probably they will be obliged to face their masters, and perhaps lose their heads. It is, however, pleasing to know that at last there is some evidence of manliness on their part, since, on their own showing, they intend to ignore instructions issued to them by their bosses in Sydney.
– In reply to the statement made by Senator Lynch, that instructions have been issued to members on this side of the House to oppose this Bill at every stage, I can only say that it is untrue so far as it concerns me, for I have not received instructions from anybody.
– I have a copy of the paper here.
– I know that Senator Lynch is exceedingly anxious to advertise one of the Melbourne papers every day, but I prefer -to advertise the Standard. I do not mind Senator Lynch repeating the statement as frequently as he chooses, but his remarks, so far as they apply to me, are without any foundation in fact.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Clause 1 (Short’ title).
– I would like to know from- the Leader of the Senate if it is possible to postpone consideration of this Bill in Committee until we have had time to look at the amendments that are to be moved by Senator Bolton and other honorable- senators. We have just received copies of these amendments, and it. is not possible to ascertain how they affect the measure itself. As this is one of the most important matters that we have beencalled upontodeal with in this Parliament for many years, I hope further time will be given to consider the effect of the amendments.
– I recognise the force of the suggestion made by the honorable senator. I certainly had no idea of pressing on with a Bill of this character, containing, as it does, entirely novel provisions, until honorable senators were fairly in a position to discuss the proposals. At the same time, I have a very strong desire to get on with the Bill, and to have it placed on the statute-book, in some form or other, at the earliest possible moment. In expressing that opinion, I feel I am voicing the wish of every honorable senator, but whilst we are anxious to get on with the Bill, I recognise it is desirable, even at the expense of a few extra days, to make it as perfect as possible. If honorable senators feel that they would be in a better position to deal with it tomorrow, I am prepared to meet their wishes, bub I would like to ascertain their views. May I ask Senator McDougall if he is speaking individually, or for honorable senators on his side of the chamber?
– I am speaking for honorable senators on this side.
– As the honorable senator gives me that assurance, I feel under an obligation to meet his wishes.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I should like to get some statement on behalf of the Minister dealing with the issue of passports concerning the way in which the regulations are applied to different people. I have a letter from a lady whose home is in London, and whose husband is fighting at the Front. She came out to the Commonwealth twelve months ago, with a passport from the British Government, in order to visit her sister in Australia. Her passport wastaken from her, and she cannot now get it returned. Her house in London is let for twelve months, and she cannot be there to look after her affairs. I am not taking any exception to the regulation preventing travelling by women, because of the danger from submarines, which, I believe, is the reason given for the regulation. But I do say that if some ladies are permitted to visit the Old. Country for pleasure, and as a matter of fact that has occurred, a lady desiring to return to the Old Country on business should not be refused a passport for the purpose. The wife of the Premier of New South Wales and her sister have been permitted to leave the Commonwealth, and, according to the newspapers, they are now in England.
– When did they leave the Commonwealth?
– They left after the issue of the regulation referred to. I believe they received a passport only to visit Colombo, but the modus operandi followed was that they secured at Colombo, from the British authorities, permission to travel to Egypt, and subsequently from the French authorities permission to travel from Alexandria to Marseilles.- If the regulation is to be set aside to enable one or two ladies to visit England on pleasure, it is very unfair that the lady, whose case I am referring to, should not be permitted to use the British passport which was issued to her. It should be returned to her, and she should be given an opportunity to travel to her home in the Old Country. I have said that the husband of this lady is fighting at the Front. The reply given to her request was in these term® -
With reference to the statutory declaration made by von in connexion with your desire to obtain permission to proceed to England, which YOU laid before the Collector of Customs, Sydney, I regret that, under existing conditions of ocean travelling, you cannot be permitted to travel to England at the present time, and you must be asked to defer your departure until present restrictions are removed.
As a rule of general application I have no objection at all to that, but I should like to know why one lady is permitted to travel for pleasure, and another is not allowed to travel on business. I hope that the Prime Minister’s Department, which deals with the issue of passports, will take this case into consideration. It is unfair that a lady should be prevented from travelling on business whilst others related to persons in high places are permitted to travel to the Old Country for pleasure.
– I wish to bring under the notice of the Senate a complaint arising in connexion with the operation of the censorship. I have received the following letter from Mr. W. Francis Ahern: -
St. Andrew’s-place, Sydney, 23rd July, 1917.
For. some reason or other, not explained, a most vicious censorship has been instituted over my mails. I learn confidentially from friends in the Postal Department that orders have been issued to the censor to most carefully watch the mails of about fifteen persons in New South Wales, my own name being included in this list. This has been in force since the anti-conscription campaign, and seems to be growing worse than ever.
As you know, besides my work on the Worker, I am representing in Australia several of the American Labour Socialist newspapers - including the Vancouver Federationist, New York Labor Call, Milwaukee Leader, and one or two smaller papers. I keep them fully informed of the political happenings here, which matter is reprinted largely in the English papers, and, consequently, show our political opponents up in bad form at Home. This seems to be resented on the part of the powers that be, with the consequence that my mails are searched and overhauled as if I were some person in the pay of the enemy.
I would find no objection with the censorship if everybody was treated the same way. But, alas, this is not so. As a case in point, there are other people here who get the same papers as I do from America. What appears strange to me is the fact that they can get their papers within a day or two after the arrival of the American mail, free of all censorship, while my copies of the same papers have to go before the censor, be opened, examined, cut about, and refused delivery if necessary, and I have to wait perhaps a full fortnight before the papers are delivered to me. I have at times made complaints to the censor here, but every reply I get is a denial of the facts that I, fortunately, can prove only too well.
Then there are several papers banned altogether from the mails, and while these are taken out of my mail and destroyed, it is somewhat annoying to find that others can get the same papers, without any evident interference on the part of the censor.
My news and letters from America deal with political matters only, and, while I do not deny the censor the right to examine to his own sweet will, I do not think it fair that I should be singled out for special treat? ment in this manner. I object, too, to the cunning manner in which it is done. Letters are steamed open and gummed down again, to make it appear that they have not been opened - instead of the regulation slip being gummed along them to show that they have been “ opened by censor.”
Another thing I object to is the fact that while my mails are being searched in this manner, other people in this city - business houses - can get through their uncensored mails information of the highest military value. For instance, business firms here in Sydney were allowed to receive the information that Marshal Joffre, speaking before the United States Congress while in America, said that, whereas the- Allies had reached’ their maximum in strength, Germany was 1,000,000 men better off than when the war first began. Then, again, another statement allowed to pass into this country was that of Mr. Herbert Hoover, late Food Commissioner for Belgium, to the effect that, unless the Allies could get 00,000,000 bushels of wheat,’ in addition to millions of tons of pork, beans, and secondary foods, with:n the next four. months, they would lose the war.
– No, I do not. The letter continues -
Also statements made before the United States Senate by confidential inquirers to the effect that if Germany kept up the submarine warfare at the same rate, Britain would be beaten in six months.
These statements may be true, or they may not be; but the fact remains that they have been allowed to come into this country through business and financial letters uncensored, while the poor censor is looking most carefully through my mails to find out that nothing is said to me. I do not discuss matters like this in my mails, as a matter of fact, being content to deal with politics only:
I have no fault to find with genuine censorship - what I object to is political censorship, which has no bearing on the military situation whatever.
As a case in point, there were extracted from my American mail of the middle of June no less than about thirty newspapers, while copies of the same papers were allowed to reach other people uncensored.
There is this other matter that concerns, not me, but the Worker. We have transmitted to the censor reprints for publication in the Worker. We have been refused publication of these matters, notwithstanding the fact that papers in other States have been allowed to publish them. This surely seems the height of absurdity, and I think it is a matter that might well be ventilated. In Sydney the censor seems to take it for granted that the very fact of submitting matter to him is enough proof that it should not be allowed publication. Seemingly, he takes the line of least resistance.
I am, yours fraternally,
This letter seems to disclose that Mr. Ahern is not getting a fair deal from the censor. I shall be glad if the Minister in charge of the censorship would take such action as may be necessary to see that in future Mr. Ahern’s mails are not unfairly dealt with. He appears to me to deal only with’ political matters, and personally I am unable to understand why his mails should be treated differently from those of other people.
– I do not doubt that there are a’ good many people in this community who would like to know what are the arrangements made regarding the censorship of newspapers and letters coming from outside Australia. I do not propose to allow Mr. Ahern or any one else to know what they are. I do not propose to say whether Mr. Ahern’s correspondence is or is not censored. If honorable senators will consider the matter for a moment they will easily recognise why this should be so. With respect to the newspapers, certain newspapers are prohibited from entering the Commonwealth. The same papers are prohibited from entering other parts of the Empire and India. We know that certain people in this community do attempt to smuggle these newspapers into the Commonwealth, and that at times they are successful. It is because they are successful that we do not propose to let Mr. Ahern or any one else know what action is taken by the censors.
– There should be no differential treatment of Mr. Ahern.
– There is no differential treatment in regard to any of the newspapers on the prohibited list. But, as I have said, some people are successful occasionally in smuggling them into the Commonwealth, and merely because certain persons have been successful in this we do nob propose to allow Mr. Ahern or any one else to get these newspapers.
– The Government would catch the smugglers it they could.
– We certainly should do so. There are substantial reasons why these newspapers should be prohibited from entering any part of the Empire. They are written in the interests of Germany and Austria. With regard to the differential treatment complained of to the effect that some statements, prohibited from publication in the Sydney Worker, have been allowed publication in’ journals in other States, I must say that that is a general statement, and it is possible therefore for me to give only a general reply. The instructions issued to the various censors in each of the States are the same. I would not contend for a moment that six people receiving the same instructions in six different cities will each read them in the same way. I am well aware that men’s minds are nob all alike. It is therefore possible that the same matter submitted to the censors in the different States may have different interpretations placed upon it. We meet that difficulty so far as we can by providing that the instructions to the censors shall be the same. It is obvious that different censors may take a different view of the same instructions.. As I have said, the statement made in the letter quoted by Senator Grant is a general one, and there is no particular instance given, so that I am unable to say whether it is correct. If a specific instance is given of an article submitted to the censor in Sydney, and refused publication in the Worker, and the same article submitted to a censor in another State, and allowed publication in that State, I shall undertake to find out which censor overstrained the instructional or did not carry them out. In the absence of specific instances in support of the complaint? I can only say that the general instructions to the censors are the same. If Senator. Grant will supply me with specific instances, I shall have inquiries made into them.
– Senator McDougall has brought under notice a question bearing upon the issue of passports. The honorable senator will understand that I have no personal knowledge of what takes place in connexion with the issue of these documents. I shall see that the remarks he has made are brought under the notice of the Minister in whose Department the matter is dealt with. , I shall endeavour to place myself in a position , to give the honorable senator an answer to his inquiries before the week is out. There is a . matter to which I think attention ought to be directed, arising out of a portion of the letter which hasjust been read by Senator Grant. It struck me as throwing a rather serious light upon what is going on in some of the public Departments of the Commonwealth. Senator Grant quoted from the letter he received from Mr. Ahern to the effect, “ I learn confidentially from friends in the Post Office that a most vicious censorship prevails.” I think that Senator Grant should help the Government to find out what officers in the Post Office have been so false to their trust as officers of the Department as to make communications of . that kind to people outside. It is known that there are leakages of the meet confidential information from differentpublic Departments. As SenatorGrant has given us this information, I think he should go further and ascertain from his correspondent from what officials private and. confidential information is conveyed to people outside.
SenatorGrant. - The complaint is that Mr. Ahern has been subjected to differential treatment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 5.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 July 1917, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1917/19170725_SENATE_7_82/>.