7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– By leave, I desire to inform the Senate that His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, has to-day despatched the following cablegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies: -
The Commonwealth Government sends its congratulations to the British- and Allied Governments on the magnificent successes that are crowning the Allied arms in all theatres of operation, and particularly on the surrender of Bulgaria, which ‘these successes have undoubtedly brought about. The Government hails these victories as indications of the early and ultimate success of the Allied efforts in the cause of liberty and civilization.
I desire to add that I feel-quite confident that the message contained in the cable I have just read meets with the hearty indorsement of ©very member of the Senate.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
Functions or Metals Exchange - Tin Producers’ Association - Metals Associations : Firms Represented
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
– The answers are - -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Mr. President, if I am in order, I may now be permitted to state that in regard to the second paragraph of the question I have been advised that tin ore buying has been resumed in Tasmania.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions as they appear on the paper are -
SenatorPRATTEN asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What are the names of the persons and firms represented who constitute metal associations in connexion with which Sir J. M. Higgins is acting, or has acted, as the representative of the Commonwealth?
– The answer is -
Sir J. M. Higgins, honorary advisor (metallurgical) to Commonwealth Government, acts as representative of the Commonwealth Government on the Boards of directors of the Zinc Producers’ Association and the Copper Producers’ Association. The Zinc Producers’ Association consists of the Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd., Broken Hill Associated Smelters, Amalgamated Zinc (De Bavay’s) Ltd., Sulphide Corporation Ltd., Zinc Corporation . Ltd., Mi. Lyell Mining and Railway Co. Ltd., Junction North Broken HillMine N.-L., North Broken Hill Ltd., South Broken Hill Ltd., Junction Broken Hill Ltd., Broken Hill Block 10, Broken Hill Block 14, Electrolytic Zinc Co. of Australasia, and British Broken Hill Ltd. The Copper Producers’ Association consists of Electrolytic B. and S. Co., Great Cobar Co. Ltd., Hampden Cloncurry Copper Mines, Mr Cuthbert N.L., Mr Elliott Ltd., Mr Hope Ltd.,Mt. Lyell Block Copper Mines, Mr Lyell M. and R. Co. Ltd., Mr Morgan G.M. Co., Wallaroo and Moonta M. and R. Co. The Western Australian Government, Abercromby Copper Mines Ltd., Mouramba Copper Mines Ltd., C.S.A. Mines Ltd., and Mr Royal Copper Mines Ltd. are represented by the Copper Producers’ Association, but are not shareholders therein.
SenatorPRATTEN.- Arising out of the question, I point out that-
ThePRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - Order! The honorable senator must not point out anything in asking a question.
– Then, sir, I ask What are the names of the persons, as well as the firms, constituting these associations ?
SenatorMILLEN. - I point out that the time for asking questions without notice has gone, and that I cannot be expected to answer without notice supplementary questions in connexion with a Department over which I have no control.
– But the question, as printed, asked for the names of persons as well asfirms; and I again ask the Minister if he will give the names of the persons in accordance with the printed question.
– Without wishing to appear discourteous, I remind the honorable senator that there is a proper procedure for the conduct of business in the Senate, and if he wished to ask a question without notice, as he is now doing, he should have done so at the proper time, and I would then have asked him to put it on the business-paper.
– But I again point out that the question has not been answered.
– Order! The honorable senator must not argue with regard to this matter. It is quite optional with the Minister whether he answers the question or not. There is no rule that a Minister must reply, although an honorable senator is quite within his rights in asking a question.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The matter is still under the consideration of the Government.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Seniority in Ambulance Corps - Exchange of Captured Australians - Gallipoli Star.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are - 1, 2, and 3. Ten officers and 222 other ranks have, up to date, been repatriated to. England from Germany. In addition, others have been transferred to neutral countries as under -
Holland, 11 officers, 01 other ranks.
Switzerland, 6 officers, 56 other ranks. Negotiations have lately been proceeding between the British and the German Governments regarding the exchange of combatant and civilian prisoners of war; but, so far, no definite information has been received as to any decisions arrived at. Inquiry is being made ‘by cablegram as to the present position of this matter.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government that “ the Gallipoli Star “ shall be issued to all Australian Imperial Force troops (including nurses) who were on duty .in Egypt, or with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces on the 25th of April, 1015, or is such issue to be confined to troops who actually landed on Gallipoli on the 25th April, 1915?
– The Defence Department has not yet been informed as to the .conditions of issue. Inquiry is being made hy cable.
Persons and Firms Advising the Government.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
What are the names, functions,^ and occupations of all persons and firms who have, since 10th May, been appointed in some advisory capacity in connexion with Government regulations, boards, committees, pools, or any other control or regulation of trade, production, shipping, and manufacturing inside and outside the Commonwealth ?
– This information will be obtained and furnished in due course.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice - .
Has any investigation been made into the charges against a man named Kiely, who was arrested in Tasmania a few weeks ago under the War Precautions Act; if so, where was such investigation made, what was the nature, and what was the result of such inquiry?
– An investigation was made on evidence submitted to the Department. It is not proposed at this juncture to make public its nature. The result of the investigation was that it was thought desirable that Kiely should be arrested. Consideration is being given to the question as to whether there should be a magisterial inquiry in this case, and a decision will shortly be given.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Has any money been paid to West Australian fruit-growers as a bonus on apples shipped to the Sydney markets; if so, what is the amount, when was the money paid, and what authority was there for paying it?
– Representations were made by the Associated Fruitgrowers of Western Australia that, owing to their English and foreign markets being cut off on account of their being no shipping facilities, there would be approximately 100,000 cases of apples in Western Australia this season that could not be disposed of in that State. They asked that they be allowed the difference between freight on apples from Fremantle to Sydney, and freight on apples from Tasmania to Sydney, in order that they might be placed on an even footing with the Tasmanian growers in placing their apples on the Sydney market. It was decided that if Western Australian apples of standard export quality, properly graded and packed,- sold on the Sydney market did not average 7s. 6d. per case for the season, the Commonwealth Government would pay the difference up to a maximum of 9d. per case. No claims have been received for payments in this connexion.
The following papers were presented : -
Lands Acquisition Act 1906-1916.- Land acquired at Seymour, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
River Murray Commission - Report for year 1917-18.’
The War. - Report of the Departmental Committee appointed by the Board of Trade to consider the position of the Iron and Steel Trades after the War. (Paper presented to British Parliament.)
Debate resumed from 27th September (vide page 6453), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– In the absence, through illness, of my colleague, Senator McDougall, who moved the adjournment of the debate, I do not intend tospeak at any length on this measure. As I was not present on Friday last, I was denied the opportunity of hearing the remarks made by the Minister in moving the second reading of this Bill, and I have risen now only for the purpose of preventing other honorable senators from being taken by surprise on this occasion. I have no intention of discussing the Bill at this stage.
.- I desire more information in regard to various clauses in the Bill before the motion for its second reading is carried. As I read the measure, it contains several provisions with which - in the absence of some further explanation on the part of the Minister - I am hardly in accord. For example, in clause 6 it is proposed to inflict a penalty of £50, or six months’ imprisonment, for certain specified offences. In the Act as it stands at present, the penalty provided is imprisonment. I cannot agree with the proposal to susbtitute an alternativepenalty except in cases where it is imperative that we should do so. Under this Bill an advantage will certainly be conferred upon offenders who are able to pay. There are many men to whom a penalty of £50 or imprisonment would be tantamount to imprisonment, whilst there are many other men to whom the payment of a fine of £50 would be a mere bagatelle. It is in connexion with matters like these that the British law seems to be open to the accusation that it is a respecter of persons - that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. We should, as far as rossible, be alert to avoid any such imputation. Where an offence is committed the same penalty should be exacted, irrespective of whether the offender be rich or poor. In many cases in which a penalty of a fine’ or imprisonment is imposed, the poor offender has necessarily to go to gaol. That is an evil which we ought not to perpetuate.
Section 10 of the Act lays it down that offences such as mutiny, treachery, or corresponding with the enemy, shall carry with them the death penalty, but that that penalty shall not be inflicted until the consent of the Governor-General has first been obtained. In this Bill it is proposed to add murder to the crimes enumerated in the Act. but with this difference, that the individual who commits murder may be executed without the consent of the Governor-General being first obtained. That is an aspect of the measure which I do not like. A man who commits murder may deprive one man of his life, but a man who is guilty of treachery may be responsible for the destruction of thousands of lives. In the latter case the consent of the Governor-General to his execution would be required, whereas in the former case it would not.
– That is not so.
– I shall be glad to learn that I am in error; but that is the construction which I put on the provision.
– The consent of the Governor-General must also be obtained before the capital penalty can be inflicted upon a man who has committed murder.
– I have comparedthe provision in the. Bill with the Act itself, and I have already stated the conclusion at which I have arrived.
Another amendment of the Statute is proposed in clause 2 of this measure. Under our Defence Act, officers on active service have seniority over officers serving in our home service. But it is now proposed to do away with the seniority of the men who are on active service.
– Quite the opposite.
– If honorable senators can show me that the purpose of the amendment is to Tecognise the seniority of men who are on active service, I shall be surprised, because the Act already provides for that.
– The honorable senator is mistaken.
– Then I have misread the position. These are the points to which I desired to refer, otherwise I have no objection to the Bill.
– In regard to the objection urged by Senator Earle to the Bill on the ground that for certain offences it proposes to substitute an alternative penalty in the form of a fine or imprisonment, I would point out that the measure follows the general rule which has been followed in connexion with our Commonwealth law. I suggest to him that there is no reason why we should select one class of offence under the Defence Act and deal with it differently from any other class of offence committed under our Commonwealth laws. Under any other Commonwealth law an alternative penalty - that of a fine or imprisonmeint, or both - is provided. In the Act itself, imprisonment only is provided. If there be anything, in Senator Earle’s argument that under an alternative penalty the rich man may escape by payment of a fine, whereas the poor man will have to go to gaol, that is surely a reason for an alteration of all our legislation in that connexion.
– Doesnot clause 7 of the Bill mean that?
– As the Act stands, only one penalty is provided’, namely, that of imprisonment. In all other Commonwealth laws the alternative of imprisonment or fine is provided. We are now altering (this clause to bring it into conformity with that practice. Senator Earle objects to this, because he says it means that the poor man will have to go to gaol always. If that is an objection, it applies to the penalty in all our Commonwealth laws. I can see no reason why this offence is the only one to which the penalty of imprisonment exclusively applies. I think it must have been an error.
Question resolved in the afiirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
Section 20 of the principal Act is amended by omitting therefrom the words “ but officers, of the Active Military Forces shall rank as senior in their respective ranks to officers of the Reserve Military Forces.”
Section proposed tobe amended -
The seniority of officers in the Reserve Military Forces shall be as prescribed, but officers of the Active Military Forces shall rank as senior in their respective ranks to officers of the Reserve Military Forces.
.- This is the clause about which Senator Earle expressed doubt; but in the principal Act the words “ Active Military Forces “ mean the Citizen Forces, not the Australian Imperial Force, because the Defence Act of 1903 was passed before the Australian Imperial Force came into being. The officers of the Australian Imperial Force as they return to Australia go into the Reserve, and if we leave that section in the Act as it stands they will, in all cases, be junior to officers of similar rank in the Citizen Forces who may never have been to the war. That is clearly undesirable. This clause, therefore, takes those words out of the original Act; and I am sure Senator Earle will be quite in sympathy with the intention.
.- I accept the Minister’s statement, but I should like to read the section to justify me in making the mistake, if I may so put it. If the amendment gives officers of the Active Military Forces seniority over the home officers, I am satisfied, but does it?
– The officers of the Active Military Forces are the home officers. They are the officers of the Citizen Forces.
– I thought the distinction was between the Military Forces who are doing home service and not on active service, and the Military Forces who are on active service.
– The officers on active service become reserve officers.
– My contention is that if there are positions to be filled within the Commonwealth, those who are doing the fighting now ought to rank as senior to those who have not been outside the borders of the Commonwealth. If the Minister assures me that that is the effect of the clause, I am satisfied.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section 60 of the principal Act is amended by inserting therein after sub-section (3) thereof the following sub-section: - (3a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section the Governor-General may by proclamation -
subject to the conditions specified in the proclamation, temporarily exempt from service or postpone the service of any persons called upon, in pursuance of this section, to enlist and serve; and
divide, according to ago, any class mentioned in sub-section 3 of this section, and call upon such divisions of any class as he considers necessary. Section proposed to be amended -
In time of war it shall be lawful for the Governor-General, by proclamation, to call upon all parsons liable to serve in the Citizen Forces to enlist and serve as prescribed.
A. proclamation under the last preceding sub-section may call upon all the persons liable to service in any military district or subdistrict, who are specified in any one or more of the classes hereunder set out, so to enlist, but so that the persons specified in any class in that district or sub-district shall not be called upon to enlist, until all the persons in that district, or sub-district who are specified in the preceding classes are or have been called upon.
The classes referred to in this section are as follow : -
Glass 1. All men of the aye ofeighteen years and upwards but under thirty-five years, who are unmarried, or widowers without children;
Class 2. All men of the age of thirtyfive years and upwards but under fortyfive years, who are unmarried, or widowers without children;
Class 3. All men of the age of eighteen years and upwards but under thirty-five years, who are married, or widowers with children;
Class 4. All men of the age ofthirty-five years and upwards but under forty-five years, who are married, or widowers with children; and
Class 5. All men ofthe age of forty-five years and upwards but under sixty years.
Senator Lt.-Colonel BOLTON (Victoria) [3.37]. - I am not clear as to the meaning of the clause. Is it the intention to call up citizens in various classes, or portions of classes? There have been some undignified methods adopted of calling upon the men of this country to render service to the country, not only abroad, but at home; and recently many appeals have been made to our men to bring the Militia Units up to their establishment. If the safety of this country demands that the Australian Military Forces should be brought up to their full establishment, I apprehend that, under the Act of 1903, the Minister has power to do it. Does the Minister propose to use this amendment of that Act for the purpose of completing the establishment of the Australian Military Forces as they stand at the present time?
.- The Government have no such intention behind this amendment. It is not the intention of the Government, at present anyhow, to use this power to call up citizens for the strengthening of the Citizen Forces. Of course, circumstances may arise making that necessary, but it does not seem likely. If circumstances should arise to justify such a step, we should have to take it. The intention of the amendment is this : Section 60 of the principal Act sets out the classes which can be called up. Class 1, for instance, comprises all men of eighteen years of age and upwards, but under thirty-five years, who are unmarried or widowers without children. That , is arbitrary. If the GovernorGeneral wished to call up a class, he would have first to call up the whole of the men in that class. When it was decided some time ago, before the first conscription referendum, to call up men in order to have a certain amount of training done in the event of the referendum being carried, we had to call up the whole of the men from eighteen to thirtyfive. Then, by reason of War Precautions regulations, we had to exempt the men from eighteen to twenty-one. That was because it had been decided that only those from twenty-one to thirty-five should be called into Camp. It demonstrates the clumsy nature of this section. The-amendments do not give more power, but provide greater elasticity in using that power.
– Does it give the right to exempt your own party and call up ours?
– The honorable senator always scents danger. There is no such danger.
– Does it give such power ? Is it so elastic as that ?
– It is not. Let me indicate another difficulty in connexion with that same call-up. It was just before the harvest was being reaped in various parts of the Commonwealth. Pressure was brought to bear to exempt numbers of men so that they might be free to take off the harvest. In the Act as it stands there is really no power to give such exemption. We therefore had to pass War Precautions regulations which, to a. certain extent, were inconsistent with the Defence Act; that was to grant that power. This amendment will give elasticity to enable those things to be done under the Act.
When I was moving, the second reading of the Defence Bill,I said, in effect, that this was the first time the legislation had had to stand the test of war conditions, and that it had revealed certain deficiencies; and now - while we were undergoing war conditions and knew the situation - was the time to amend our legislation in the directions in which it had been found faulty. This is one of those directions, but I pray God that we may never have to operate it. Nevertheless it is well, in the light of our experience throughout the war, that our legislation should have elasticity to meet difficulties that may arise when we do operate it under War conditions. There is no ulterior purpose intended or desired, nor is the amendment put forward to meet the difficulty arising in connexion with the Citizen Forces which have been depleted owing to men from their ranks going to the Front.
Clause agreed to.
Section 61 of the principal Act is amended
by omitting from the proviso thereto the letter “ (a) “; and
by adding at the end thereof the following sub-section : - “ (2) Every person who is called upon to enlist and serve in pursuance of section 60 of this Act, and who is by virtue of this section exempt from service shall, notwithstanding such exemption, do all things required to be done by a person liable to enlist and serve :
Provided that any such person (unless exempt by virtue of paragraph (h) or (i) of the last preceding sub-section) shall not, until he ceases to be exempt, be required to take the oath of enlistment.”.
Section proposed to be amended: -
The following shall be exempt from service intime of war, so long as the employment, condition, or stains onwhich the exemption is based continues: -
Persons employed as medical practitioners or nurses in public hospi tals; and
Provided that, as regards the persons described in paragraphs (g), (h), and (i) of this section, the exemption shall not extend to duties nf a non-combatant nature.
– Under the provisions of the Act, certain persons may have been exempted from service; but, at a later period, their occupation may change, so that they would no longer be exempt. It is necessary, therefore, that when the proclamation is issued, all persons “liable to be called up should register, so that the authorities may ascertain if - the persons concerned havingchanged their employment - they are now liable to be called up, when they canbe called upon in their order.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 5 agreed to.
Clause 6 -
Section 75 of the principal Act is repealed, and the following section inserted in its stead : - “ 75. Any person who -
when called upon in pursuance of this Act to enlist, fails to attend at the time and place appointed for medical examination or enlistment; or
counsels or aids any person who is liable to enlist in the Defence Force to fail to enlist or to evade enlistment; or
counsels or aids any person who has enlisted or who is liable to enlist in any part of the Defence Force not to perform any duty he is required by this Act to perform; or
conceals or assists in concealing any person who is liable to enlist in the Defence Force, shall be guilty of an offence.
Penalty : Fifty pounds, or imprisonment for six months, or both.”
Section proposed to be repealed -
Any person who -
fails to enlist when required by this Act so to do; or
. counsels or aids any person called . upon by proclamation to enlist in the Citizen Forces to fail to enlist or to evade enlistment; or
counsels or aids any person who has enlisted or who is liable to enlist in any part of the Defence Force not to perform any duty he is required by this Act to perform, shall be liable to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for any period not exceeding six months.
.- This amendment raises a point on which I feel that I should test the attitude of the Committee. Senator Pearce has stated, in reply to my contention that there should not be differentiation between two classes of individuals, that there is no reason why we should select one class of offence under the Defence Act and deal with it differently from ‘any other class of offence under our ordinary Commonwealth Statutes. I can understand that penalties for similar offences may be so varied that it would be necessary to have the option of a fine or provision for sentence to terms of imprisonment. But in a case such as this, where some personhas committed an offence under an Act for the organization and. guidance of the defence of our country, I strongly hold that penalties should be alike for all parties. It is unquestioned that aheavy fine upon a spoor man means his imprisonment, if there is the option. I do not pose as an authority as to what the amount of the penalty should be. The Act already provides for six months’ imprisonment. So far as I know, that is sufficient If it is too ‘high, I would agree to an amendment to provide for a shorter minimum sentence. I take it that this is the maximum sentence, so that I do not see any necessity for an amendment of the section as it at present stands. The whole effect of the amendment is to provide the option of a fine.
– No; other references in the amendmenthave nothing to do with the matter of a fine.
– Will the Minister for Defence accept an amendment for the deletion of the words “ fifty pounds or,” and thus provide that the penalty of imprisonment only shall apply to all? I am dealing with a principle, but if the clause contains something more than I see in it necessary for the control of the Defence Force, I shall be prepared to do no more than move that the three words I have mentioned be left out, so that this clause would take the place of section 75 of the existing Act, and the penalty would remain as at present.
– I hope that Senator Earle will not move the amendment he suggests. If he desires to adjust microscopically the difference between wealth and poverty, he should also make it impossible for the Courts to do what I know that they always have done, and that is to send the balance down in favour of the wealthy section of the community.
– I do not admit that.
– I do not care whether the honorable . senator admits it or not, it is the absolute truth.
– The honorable senator should speak for himself.
– One of the most disgraceful things in connexion with the war is represented by the absolutely savage fines inflicted by magistrates. The honorable senator desires the adoption of a system which will prevent the rich man. by paying a fine, escaping imprisonment, whilst the poor man, being unable to pay the fine, must suffer imprisonment. But he should give effect to his views in this connexion in a general way by securing the passage of legislation enacting the principle. It can but make our legislation ridiculous if every time we see what we regard as a principle infringed in a measure submitted to us, we lay ourselves out to assert that principle. The time to assert fixed: principles is not when particular Bills are under consideration.
– Would that not ultimately bring about the desired result?
– No; it would take us further from the desired result than ever. That is One of the evils ot spasmodically fighting for principles for one month and letting them go by the board for eleven months in the year. ‘The honorable senator contends that if we provide for both fine and imprisonment, the wealthy will be able to pay the fine and will never suffer imprisonment. But I can tell him that if we strike out the fine, the wealthy still will not suffer imprisonment. While our laws are administered by the rich, and in the interests of the rich, the wealthy will always escape just punishment.
– The honorable senator cannot argue in this simple matter, without introducing politics. With him it is politics all the time.
– TE suppose that is why I am in opposition, and that that is really the purpose of the Opposition; but in this instance I am showing my generosity by supporting the Bill as introduced by the Government. I am dealing with Senator Earle’s argument that where both fine and imprisonment are provided for, the poorer classes, not having the money to pay the fine, must endure the heavier punishment of imprisonment, and I say that even if we wipe out the fine the rich will still escape, because no imprisonment will be inflicted upon them. With all due respect to Senator Earle’s view of the matter, it may happen that the fine will suit the poor man as well as the rich man. For instance, if a man were brought before a fair-minded magistrate for some merely technical breach of the law, he might be ordered to pay a nominal penalty of ls., instead of being sentenced to a term of imprisonment. It’ would involve much less indignity upon even the poor man. to ‘ plank down his fine of ls. than to suffer a term- of imprisonment, no matter how short. The honorable senator’s amendment, intended to assert the principle to which he has referred, would be. out of place altogether in a measure like this. If, in Senator Earle’s opinion, serious injustices arise from the fact that we have not legislated to give effect to important principles, the course is open to him to submit a motion to the Senate, upon which the merits of those principles may be discussed, and let the decision arrived at apply to small fines and penalties. If the honorable senator adopts that course, and makes out a good. case, I shall show the same willingness in assisting him that I show now in opposing him.
– It is pleasing to hear Senator Gardiner dealing with principle. The principle which has been referred to is involved in more than one paragraph of the clause now under discussion. Senator Gardiner stands up for this principle, but now, when he has an opportunity to give it effect, he proposes to pass that opportunity’ by. His argument has been about the richest to which honorable senators have had the opportunity of listening for some time, and certainly cannot be commended for its consistency. I think that Senator Earle is quite right in what he proposes, but I direct attention to the fact that there is a difference in the seriousness of the offences covered by the different paragraphs of the clause. The offences dealt with in paragraphs a and b are’, for instance, certainly less serious than are those dealt with in paragraphs c and d. A man may be ill or, as the result of an accident, be unable to appear at a particular time and place to- undergo medical examination for enlistment, and he may be fined £50, or sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
– The fine proposed is not exceeding £50.
– I am aware that £50 is the maximum fine,’ but the offender, not being present to .plead his case, may have a verdict imposing the full fine given against him. In another case a man who has enlisted may refuse to perform duties required of him, and that is a much more serious offence. The same penalty should not be applicable to the two offences*. I am prepared to support Senator Earle in his proposal to wipe out the proposed fine of £50.
– When Senator Earle was speaking I pointed out that there is more in the proposed new section than the question of fine or imprisonment. There is grouped in it a number of drafting amendments which will greatly improve the phraseology of the existing Act, and these amendments are the result of experience of several legal cases. I hope, therefore, that, however honorable senators may deal with Senator Earle’s’ amendment, they will not vote against the clause as a whole. Senator Earle has suggested that it might be well to strike out the words “fifty pounds or,” and I should like to comment upon that suggestion. First of all, I take exception to Senator Gardiner’s heated remarks about this law being administered by the rich. This law will be administered by a magistrate in receipt of a salary of £400 a year. I do not know whether that constitutes riches in the opinion of Senator Gardiner, but if a man is “ passing rich “ with £400 a year, Senator Gardiner, with £600 a year, must be a bloated millionaire. A judicial officer will have to try these cases, and I venture to say that in most of them the officer representing the Defence Department will be an Area Officer, a bloated aristocrat receiving the magnificent salary cf £150 per annum, and doing the best he can at some other occupation in his spare time to make sufficient to support him. Senator Gardiner must see that he has given undue rein to his fancy. We have throughout our laws provided for the alternative of fine or imprisonment. If honorable senators will look at section 135 of the principal Act they will -find that it provides that -
Every person who in any year ‘without lawful excuse evades or fails to render the personal service required by this Part shall !><i guilty of an offence, and shall, in addition to the liability under section 133 of this Act, bc liable to a’ penalty not exceeding £100.
I think that section 133 referred to provides for imprisonment as a penalty. If Senator Earle intends to apply his principle to all our Commonwealth legislation, he will be taking on a big contract. Let us consider whether there is a substantial need for what he proposes. A poor man found guilty of an offence under this clause might in many cases find it to his advantage to pay a fine rather than have to go to gaol. He might have to leave his employment to attend the Court, and if he was compelled also to go to gaol he would not only have to suffer the disgrace of imprisonment, but might possibly lose his employment. So that, in the interests of the poor man, there i3 something to he said for leaving to the magistrate, particularly in minor cases, ..the discretion to impose either a fine or imprisonment. With regard to what Senator Senior has said, there might be differences in the degree of seriousness of the offences dealt with in the various paragraphs of the proposed new section; but the honorable senator will see that we must have some regard to the exercise of his discretion by the magistrate. We provide by our law for the maximum penalty, and leave it to the magistrate having heard the case to impose a penalty in accordance with his view of the seriousness of the offence committed. We do not hamper the magistrate by grouping the offences dealt with in the paragraphs referred to, because in the exercise of his discretion he may say that a man has committed an offence the seriousness of which will be met by a fine of £5; or in the Case of a man convicted under (£>), that the penalty shall be a fine of £10. It will be for him to exercise his discretion in the light of the evidence submitted to him. I say, therefore, that the clause provides a convenient form for the grouping of a series of offences of a like nature, although, as Senator Senior indicates, they may vary in degree of seriousness. For this reason I ask Senator Earle not to press his amendment. There is justification for the view the Government took in drafting the clause. I remind the Committee that it will deal chiefly with young men in employment, and if we were to arbitrarily provide for imprisonment, we would be inflicting far more hardship, possibly leading to loss of employment, than if we allowed a magistrate to exercise his discretion to inflict a small fine for the first offence, and, if necessary, imprisonment if the offender came before him again. It would be a very serious matter, in some cases, if a workman were imprisoned even for a day.
– How would imprisonment apply to cases of desertion?
– We are not now dealing with cases of desertion, but with men who fail to come up for enlistment for compulsory training under the Defence Act. A man would probably lose half a day attending the Court, and then if the Court ordered imprisonment, only for a day, the offender would have to furnish some excuse to his employer, and I! need hardly remind the Committee that imprisonment would not be a good recommendation for an employee, whereas if we allow a magistrate to impose a minor fine, if need be, to meet these cases, nobody would be any the wiser, except, perhaps, those who may notice the record in the press. From the point of view of sympathy with the men who may come before the Court, I think the balance of advantage is with the Government proposal, and therefore I intend to stand by the clause.
.- The Minister, when first answering the objections raised by Senator Earle, said he could not understand why the fine, as an alternative penalty, had not been included in the original Act, and that it must have been a mistake. It seems rather peculiar that this mistake should appear in sections 75, 76 and 77. I agree with Senator Pearce that imprisonment might inflict a greater hardship upon, a young man than a fine. Section 75, which this clause repeals, provides for imprisonment for any period not exceeding six months in the case of any person who fails to enlist within the required time when called upon to do so. We can quite understand that a person might quite innocently, and for reasons beyond his control, fail to enlist within the prescribed time, but when brought before the Court the magistrate would not have power to inflict a nominal fine, though lie might regard the offence as merely a technical breach of the Act. Most men would rather pay a fine than be imprisoned even for a day. The original. Act further provides that any person who counsels or aids any person who has enlisted, or who is liable to enlist, not to do so, shall be guilty of ait offence for which the punishment also is imprisonment. It would, therefore, appear that even if one man said to another by way of a joke - “ Oh, I would not enlist. Don’t you do it,” he might, in tho eyes of a magistrate, be guilty of an offence, and although it would be merely technical in character, the magistrate at present would not be allowed to impose a fine. Yet, in all these cases, the magistrate might consider himself bound to inflict a penalty, and, if so, such penalty at present must be imprisonment. These objections will be removed by the clause now before the Committee, and therefore I cannot support the amendment.
Senator O’Keefe seems to have an idea that every person who fails to enlist must automatically come before the Court and there make his explanation; but I feel sure that the area officers and those whose duty it may be to register recruits will do all that is humanly possible before they bring defaulters before the Court. An offence must be committed before any person is charged before a magistrate, and the question then arises, Is it fair to allow one man to buy himself off with a fine, while another man must go to gaol?
– In one case it may be ah act of defiance, while in another a lad may not have known of his liability.
– I feel confident that the magistrate would act leniently in the latter case, and that very little inconvenience would be caused to the offender, who would get off with a light punishment, say, incarceration for an hour, or until the rising of the Court. Under the amendment offenders would all be treated alike. Under these circumstances I commend the proposal to the Committee. I think no injustice will be done, and that a great deal of Senator Gardiner’s doubt as to the partiality of the Courts will be removed. I move -
That the words “ Fifty pounds or “ be left out.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 19
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clause7 agreed to.
Clause 8 (Offences connected with desertion) .
.- This provision deals with more serious offences, and I should therefore like to know whether the Minister can take a more favorable view of my proposition in connexion with it?
– I intend to stand by the Bill. If the offence committed by any men of our Forces on active service be a serious one, it can be met by the infliction of a fine and imprisonment.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 9 -
Section eighty-five of the principal Act is amended by omitting the word “ wilfully.” Section proposed to be amended -
Any person who wilfully contravenes any provisionof this Act or the Regulations, shall, when no other penalty is provided, be liable to a penalty not exceeding Ten pounds for each offence.
– I think it might be wise to retain the word “ wilfully.” Its omission will leave it open to the Defence authorities to place intent upon the action of any person where no intent was involved. A man may unintentionally contravene section 85 of the Act. If we omit the word “ wilfully,” the offender who does so innocently will be placed in the same category as the individual who wilfully contravenes it. In other words, he will be deemed to have “wilfully “ done something which he did not intend to do.
– The reason for the omission of the word “ wilfully “ is the practical impossibility of proving intent on the part of any person. To prove that a man did something wilfully we should require to get into his mind. How can we do that? The person himself will be at liberty to submit evidence to show that he broke the law in ignorance. But under the Act, as it stands, the boot is on the other foot, and the prosecution has to get into the mind of the person charged and to prove that he wilfully broke the law. That is an impossibility. In no other provision of our penal laws does the word “ wilfully “ occur. Why it was inserted in the Defence Act, I do not know.
– Have the authorities experienced much trouble in this regard ?
– Yes; we. have found it impossible to prosecute in many minor cases. For this reason, it is proposed to eliminate the word “ wilfully.”
Clause agreed to.
Clause 10 -
Section ninety-eight of the principal Act is amended -
by inserting after the words “except for “, the word “ murder,” ; and
by inserting after the words “any court martial” (second occurring) the words “ except for murder “.
Section proposed to be amended -
No member of the Defence Force shall be sentenced to death by any court martial except for mutiny, desertion to the enemy, or traitorously delivering up to the enemy any garrison, fortress, post, guard, or ship, vessel, or boat, or traitorous correspondence with the enemy; and no sentence of death passed by any court martial shall be carried into effect until confirmed by the Governor-General.
– I am obliged to Senator Earle for having discovered a defect in this clause. The notes from which I spoke in moving the second reading of the Bill were prepared when the measure left the drafting office, and my instructions then were that this clause should provide that the death penalty, in the case of murder, must be confirmed by the Governor-General before it could be executed, just as it is in connexion with other crimes which are punishable by death. Therefore, I interjected, while Senator Earle, was speaking, that his contention was inaccurate. But noticing that he reaffirmed his position, I have taken the trouble to compare the clause with the principal Act, and I found that his contention is correct. The clause as we desire to have it framed will prevent the death penalty for the crime of murder being carried out without first being approved by the Governor-General. I therefore move -
That the letter “(a)”, line 3, be left out, that the word “ and “ bc left out, and that paragraph (!)) be also left out.
– It was just that phase of the question which has been mentioned by Senator Pearce to which’ I had intended to address myself. The clause as drafted would have placed very great powers in the hands of -the military tribunal where men had committed murder. In the light of the remarks made by the Minister, however, I have nothing further to say. . .
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clauses 11 to 13 and title agreed to.
Bill” reported with an amendment.
Debate resumed from 27th September (vide page 6460), on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I was very pleased to hear the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) say that. this Bill is not a party one, because I fear that I am opposed to the Government upon it. In the first place, I wish, to congratulate the Minister upon having put his case fairly well. But we all know that this is a Bill which was really instigated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes). Now, whilst we all recognise the splendid quality of that gentleman’s leadership, we also realize that he possesses the faults of his great genius. One of those faults is that he never seems to carefully scrutinize the cost of any proposal. I think we shall render the Commonwealth good service if we exercise that function for him. I am very disappointed to find that almost the first Bill we have to consider is one that involves an increase of expenditure. It is proposed that we shall expend £20,000 a year upon this Institute of Science and Industry. To me, and to the public, that announcement is most disappointing. We were promised that there would be a great reduction in our expenditure, but the saving to be effected, as revealed in the Budget, does not amount to much more than £200,000 a year. The question which naturally presents itself to my mind is, “What assurance have we that this Department, if created, will not continue to grow in precisely the same way as every other Commonwealth Department has grown?”
– Does the honorable senator think it would be true economy for a man” to neglect to pay his fire insurance premium upon his house?
– Certainly not. At the same time, I quite fail to understand the application of the honorable gentleman’s, question. Any man who owns a house has naturally been paying a fire insurance premium upon it for years, whereas we are being asked to sanction the creation of a new Department. So far as I can gather, there has been practically no discussion of this Bill with the various State Ministries. As the Senate is essentially a States’ House, honorable senators are naturally expected to look after State interests, and it is our duty to see that the States are consulted iu regard to this matter. They have had this class of work in hand for many a day, and we ought to see that they are consulted, but we have never consulted them in any way.
– A copy of the Bill has been before the whole of the States for over a fortnight past, and we have not received a single protest.
– Does the Minister think a fortnight is long enough for an important matter of this sort, involving a tremendous change of policy? The States are spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on the various matters touched by this Bill.
The Bill seems to me to cover three main points: the combating of pests, the giving of more education and enlightenment on various industries which might advantageously be started here, and the helping of the poor inventor. To deal with the last first, although it is a comparatively small matter, I have tried in the past to help the small inventor, and take him by the hand, but I have found that it is very difficult to let go of his hand. A little while ago Mr. Watt, the Acting Prime Minister, who is a very shrewd business man, gave a hand to Mr. Balsillie. I do not know whether he is a poor inventor, but he wanted help to make rain, and Mr. Watt gave him authority to spend £800 in experiments. We have not heard any more about that £800. Has it been spent yet.?
– If it could be done as easily as that, I could float a syndicate on any invention. You would not want a Government institution to put down £800 in order to pick up a million.
– As a matter of fact, we all know, as business men, that these inventions are, as a rule, absolutely useless. Only the other day a man proposed to send up an “aeroplane with a load of salt, and shoot the salt out to bring down rain. In fact, he proposed to put salt on the tails of the clouds. It seems perfectly ridiculous to expect the Council of Scientists to be able to pick out one invention here and there out of the hundreds and thousands that are offering. Sir Thomas Tait’, who managed our railways here very successfully for a number of years, told me he thought we had more inventors in Australia than all the rest of the world put together. It would be impossible for these gentlemen to assist every inventor who came along. If the Government want to help inventors, the proper way is to provide scholarships at the University, so that the most promising of the students could take advantage of them. Probably we should get scientists in that way.
– Do you know of one original invention that was not ridiculed prior to its adoption ?
– Yes, I have known plenty, but 999 out of every 1,000 of these supposed inventions are ridiculous. What likelihood is there of this governing Board of Science and Industry being able to light on the one good invention out of. 1,000? The odds are 999 to one against it, and the one good one which comes along is generally so good that it forces itself forward, and would succeed in any case.
– It would be a pity to miss that one for want of a little investigation.
– Does the honorable senator say that we ought to support 1 ,000 inventors with the idea of getting one invention, which is sure to come by itself? Does he think that a man like Edison, or Liebig, or Marconi, is likely to be kept down by anything on earth? Of course not. The proper common-sense way is to give bonuses for successful inventions, or, as I have said, to provide scholarships at the Universities, so that promising students may be educated. The idea of handing out help to all the inventors in the country, as the Minister seemed to suggest, is a perfect wild -cat scheme.
– I did not suggest it. But take the case of the tick pest: Because we cannot lay down a remedy at once are we to say that there shall be no research ?
– The honorable senator is referring to the question of combating pests. We have certainly tremendous scope in that direction in Australia to-day. I looked around my garden in Toorak the other day, and saw in that area alone the red spider, the thrip. the aphis, the black spot, the codlin moth, the curl leaf, the harlequin beetle, the shell snail, the slug, and the woolly aphis.
– What are you going to do about them ? Are you going to sit down and grin at them ?
– No; that is what T deplore about the apparent ignorance of the Minister on the question. He is so busy fixing prices, and the whole Ministry are so busy that they have no time to ascertain the facts.
– You are so busy that you do not know that I have been out of the Price Fixing Department for twelve months.
– I was thinking of the Minister’s other activities, such as the “Wheat Pool. These pests . are being tackled by every State. There is an experimental station at Burnley, Victoria, where these matters are being thoroughly gone into every day. Every gardener in the country is trying to combat the pests, and every tool-shed is rapidly becoming a chemist’s shop. All sorts of chemicals are used for sprays and washes, and I think poisons enough to kill half the people as well as all the pests in the community are being employed. My point is that, all these things are being looked after at present, and I cannot see why iri the middle of war the Government should seek to create another big Department, which is sure to expand. I suppose in next to no time there will be a fleet of motor cars connected with it. One of the more serious pests is the blow-fly, the ravages of which on sheep at the present time run into millions of pounds. The Government, apparently, believe that the new Council of Science and Industry is going to cure it. I believe that Mr. Lefroy, who is a very excellent gentleman, and did good work in Mesopotamia on the flies, is to be imported, at a salary of £3,000. In Mesopotamia he certainly did good work, but it was by improving the hygienic conditions, for h’e did not invent any special way of dealing with the flies. It was by his work there that he got a great name. I believe he is in every way an excellent scientist, but the blow-fly has been for generations i n the Old Country. Why did not Professor Lefroy cure it there?
-By- his discoveries in regard to the treatment of wheat he saved the British Government thousands of pounds in connexion with the wheat, they have stored in this country - enough to pay for this Institute five times over.
– I understand that he is being brought out here to deal with the blow-fly.
– He has been out here already to deal with the wheat.
– I understand that one of his. methods of curing the weevil in wheat is to turn the wheat into flour.
– Weevil and all?
– I suppose bo. I think that is his main cure. It is useless to expect the professor, who is to be brought out here at a salary of £3,000, aud a whole heap of expenses besides, to cure the blowfly pest, because the blowfly has” been in existence in the Old Country for generations, committing ravages of exactly the same character on the sheep there. Why did he not cure it in the Old Country ?
The cattle tick commits fearful ravages, but most honorable senators have had a paper from Mr. Ryan, the Premier of Queensland, this morning, showing what the Queensland Government are doing about it.- To hear Senator Russell speak one would think that these problems had never been touched.
– The States, have touched them, but owing to the expense it has been impossible for individual States to make much progress, and all that we propose to do is to link up the three States interested. Have you any objection to that?
– No, if it is done with the concurrence of the States.
– The States have agreed to it.
– It does not look as if they had agreed to it, to judge from Mr. Ryan’s communication. I have also had a verbal statement on the same lines from Mr. Mcpherson, the Treasurer of Victoria.
– Do they say they have not had sufficient time to investigate the details of the proposed new institute?
– Yes, they have not had nearly enough time to look into the proposal to see if it is going to be of any use to them.
I need not go into the question of the prickly pear. There is also the rabbit pest, which is a terrible scourge to Australia. Through the action of the States and of private people, two young scientists were sent out by the Pasteur Institute, of Paris, to make experiments. They were given the use of an island off the coast. They had everything they wanted, and as much money as they required, but they gave it up. They said they could find nothing that would kill the rabbits off. Nothing will keep them down except wire netting, poisoning, and trapping.
– Has not an Australian Frenchman named Rodier devised some method for the extinction of rabbits?
– I hardly like to go into his proposal.
– Was there not a scheme for giving all the rabbits influenza, and was it not found that it would kill off all the sheep also?
– That was what those two scientists I referred to were afraid of, and that is why they conducted their experiments on an’ island. They feared that some of their “ cures “ might interfere with human life.
There are many other things. Take, for example, the investigations with respect to the nodule which destroys the briskets of cattle. One would think, from the Minister’s statement, that nothing had been done in that regard. Dr. Cleland, principal Microbiologist of the Department of Public Health, New South Wales, and Dr. Stephen Johnston, Professor of Zoology, Sydney University, who fair several years have been working on the life history of the worm which causes nodules in cattle, with a view to ascertaining the means of the conveyance of the worm from one animal to another, have recently been conducting inquiries in Queensland. It is said that the work has reached a stage that seems to incriminate a species of March fly. Dr. Cleland and Dr. Johnston are on the look-out for a situation where both the March fly and the worm cyst can “be readily procured, for there are one or two points which they hope to clear up that may possibly lead to important results.
– Whom are they working for, and under whose control?
– Under the State’s control.
– Certainly not, but under the Science Bureau which you are condemning.
– The State pays thom.
– No; they are acting in an honorary capacity.
– The Bureau has been in existence for only about eighteen months; these gentlemen have been working for three years. It cannot be said that the Science Bureau started them upon the track.
– We have linked up the States, in order to take common action.
– I am in agreement with the Minister there, that is, if the matter has been thoroughly thought out; but this is the rawest Bill I have known to be placed before the Federal Legislature to deal with a very great question. This is not the proper time to bring forward such a matter. We should be in possession of the full facts with regard to our financial outlook. It is disconcerting to realize that we ate not paying our way at present; and to saddle the public with another big Department to-day is little short of midsummer madness.
We are told such things, for instance, as that “ They are doing something in
America,” and that, therefore, we should be doing the same here. They are murdering people in Russia, but who will say that that- should be a precedent for us to follow? I agree that, eventually, the State activities should be co-ordinated; but a great deal more thought and discussion are required. We need to be informed of all that the States are doing. We should have schedules before us concerning State industries. An enormous amount of work is being done by the various States along the lines of education. There are -highly efficient Agricultural Departments, and technical and agricultural training colleges. Facts concerning all these things should be fully placed before the Federal Legislature. We have various highly educational publications throughout Australia. There is the Agricultural Journal of Victoria, which I read carefully month by month ; and I can testify that it keeps those having to do with agriculture right up to date. The same mav be’ said of the official agricultural journals of other States.
– The South Australian journal is the best of the lot, and I have read them all.
– It must be very good if it beats several others that I am acquainted with, and I am quite prepared to accept the statement. There is also the Pastoral Review, which gives a very fair grasp of all doings with respect to sheep and cattle farming. There is the Farming Gazette, and other similar papers, which provide a liberal education in their respective spheres.
All the State Governments, no doubt, are in touch with scientific research and such activities in practically every part of the world. No cure could be found for tick, for instance, without our State Departments being advised, in the course of the post, if not by cable. We are in constant touch with the scientific people of other countries. The Government should look far more closely into the whole subject before presenting such a measure as this, by which time honorable senators can have had full opportunity to acquaint themselves with all the particulars available. The outcry against expenditure year after year is becoming more and more acute, and to bring in as almost the first measure of another session a Bill which involves the expenditure of a further £20,000 per annum-
– Has there not been reference to an appropriation of something like half-a-million sterling in connexion with this or some such proposal ?
– Mr. Hughes saidit would be half-a-million.
– Well, if we do not make the Germans pay it, I do not know where it is to come from.
– Is the honorable senator aware that they have cleared 140,000 square miles of America of tick ?
– The authorities in Queensland are following on exactly the same lines.
– Through our Bureau.
– The State Departments are admirable, and are doing splendid work in curtailing the ravages of many of these plagues. The Minister (Senator Russell) stated that it is necessary to train chemists and scientific men. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company employs seventy-one chemists. Every big meat company has its chemists, analyzing its various products. Every artificial manure concern has chemists attached to its laboratory.
– That shows how it pays those companies to keep chemists.
– They are just as necessary as the man who is driving the engine.
– Then, would it not pay the Government?
– We have that work already provided for. If it is necessary to expand it we should do so by giving greater facilities for education at our universities, and not by having a whole army of additional professors. The public feel that the various Departments should be amalgamated rather than expanded or duplicated.
– That is the object of this Bill.
– We desire, for example, that the Income and the Land Taxation Departments of the Commonwealth and States should be amalgamated. We should not start another Federal Department, and then talk of amalgamation afterwards.
We are always told that the Federal Government can do the work far better than a State Government. That was the idea when we took over the Northern Territory. I did my best to prevent that. I held that the South Australian authorities were far better able to deal with the Territory.
– The South Australians were glad to get rid of it.
– No doubt about that.
– Why not hand itover to Queensland?
– In those days we called the South Australians “O.T.M.’s “-which is to say, “On the makes.” The work contemplated by this measure is already being well done by the States. The States should be consulted, particularly at this period when the Government have not the time, to look after their present duties - let alone handling new ones. I suppose the end of it - or shall I say the real beginning of it - will be the creation of a new Minister.
The measure requires a great deal more consideration. Let us look more deeply into the financial condition of the country.
– What about referring it to a Select Committee?
– I do not think that would be a complete answer. Let the Government get into thorough touch with State Departments which have been handling the subject so far very well. We are likely to interfere with the States just when they are doing much useful work, and doing it economically. I urge the Government to defer the measure, and give themselves time to ascertain exactly, what the State authorities think about it. I would suggest that we wait for Mr. Hughes to come back in order to give it the financing touches, since it was he who started it.
– I am afraid it is the honorable senator who requires an extension of time to look into the whole subject, seeing that he has been reading one of our own publications to bolster his case against us. Both of those doctors whom he has mentioned are acting under our cooperation. We are paying the whole of the money in connexion with our Science Institute.
– They did not start their investigations under your Bureau.
– They were started by the Customs Department in New South Wales, and their activities have been taken over by the Institute.
– Will the Minister say that anything practical is to come out of the whole project?
– I cannot promise that; hut I certainly can promise that millions of pounds’ worth of damage will continue to be done unless we attempt something. While I cannot guarantee anything in the future, I nevertheless put very few limitations upon the possibilities of this work.
– I agree that millions of pounds’ worth of damage is continuing to bs done. But has not something been achieved by the Queensland Government?
– In New South Wales, in Queensland, and in the Northern Territory certain activities are being carried on, but only in sections. Our sole object now is to link up in cooperation, and to make one united attack upon the subject.
– Has not Queensland been ignored in this matter ?
– I do not desire to do anything that might curtail proposals for the betterment of our industries. There is now a good opportunity for the establishment of new industries in Australia, but I do not think that it is likely that we shall establish the manufacture of opera glasses here, as the Vice-President of the Executive Council suggested.
– I did not suggest any such thing. What I said was that Great Britain had neglected that industry, and was now foremost in the world in the production of field glasses.
– What the Minister said conveyed to my mind the impression that he thought we might start a large factory here to make field glasses for our troops.
– I referred to the fact that the British people neglected the industry, and that many a poor man went down in the war as a result of that neglect.
– I do not think that it can be said that Australia has neglected any opportunity to deal with its pests and plagues. This is a new country, and we have not yet launched into the more highly scientific manufactures. The time has not yet come for us to do that. I take, for instance, the manufacture of field glasses for the troops, and I say that we should first of all get into touch with the manufacturers elsewhere, and see whether they think it feasible to establish the industry here. Does the Minister know whether it is at all possible to establish the industry here?
– 1 know that it took a war to make the people of England think about it, and evidently it will take a war to make people here think of it.
– All these matters require a great deal of consideration, and what I dread is that the result of this measure may be that while we shall find ourselves no better off in respect to the activities suggested in connexion with the Bill, we shall have another huge Department established, and be involved in huge expenditure in connexion with it, a result which, at the present time, I contemplate with horror.
– Whilst I agree that we should have an Institute of Science and Industry, and should have the efforts of the States in this direction linked up with the Department under supreme Commonwealth control, I believe that the proposal outlined by the Government in this Bill is for the present altogether too elaborate, and as Senator Fairbairn has already pointed out, it will ‘certainly be very expensive. I do not know whether it is intended to embrace in the Institute to be created under this Bill other bodies about which we read in the newspapers, such as the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, and the Federal Board of Trade.
– They will work in co-operation.
– But will continue to be separate bodies?
– I notice that another such organization is promulgated in the newspapers to-day. During the last four years, and particularly during the last two years, we have had almost innumerable instances ‘of the appointment of separate Boards to deal with different matters. At the head of each of them we find a highly-paid official, and in some cases more than one.
– In connexion with the Board of Trade there has not been a new man appointed in any capacity.
– I was about to give an illustration of the kind of thing to which I allude. The launching of the
Inter-State Commission may have occurred more than two years ago, but is there any member of the Senate who will contend that its usefulness has justified its establishment, and that the expenses involved by its operations has been warranted ? I feel sure that no one will support such a contention. Let us be candid and honest about this proposal. Report after report has been circulated to members of this Parliament from the Inter-State Commission, in which they have dealt elaborately and exhaustively with the question of the Tariff. The reports which members of the Parliament receive are varied and numerous, but 1 must say that I have never examined those reports, and I should like to know how many of the members of the Federal Parliament have done so.
– Any number of them. I have read every one of the reports on the Tariff.
– Other bodies established have sent in long reports, and I arn sure that no member of this Parliamenthas perused all, or nearly all, of them. It is provided under this Bill that another report shall be furnished by the proposed Institute of Science and Industry. It appears to me that if an Institute of this kind is to be established it should at present be upon a comparatively small scale in keeping with the small population of the Commonwealth. I consider the proposals outlined in this Bill altogether beyond those from which we might anticipate an immediate productive return. I am in sympathy with the idea, and I believe that it should be carried out.
I dispute the Minister’s statement that the temporary Institute, upon whose recommendation I take it this Bill has been formulated, has worked in unison and agreement with similar bodies in the States. That is not so. It may have done so within the last few days, and the State authorities may have separately or collectively agreed to the proposals of this Bill. We do not know that, but we do know that if the proposed Institute is to follow on the lines so far adopted, working in conjunction with the States will mean that it will be rolling over the State institutions.
– That is not correct. Let the honorable senator give an instance.
– Our information from Queensland is that no representations were made to the Queensland authorities as to what the Commonwealth was doing.
– We have written to the Government of Queensland on several occasions, and have had promises of cooperation in connexion with nearly’ every pest problem in that State.
– Do the Government propose to give the State authorities any share in the responsibility or control of this institution?
– The Bill does not provide for that.
– There will be a full council in the State of Queensland.
– Who will appoint the members of the council?
– The Commonwealth Government will do so.
– Then how will State influence have effect or the desires of the State Government be consulted? They will be ignored, notwithstanding the fact that they are prepared to give the whole of the appliances of their Institute for the purpose.
– That is the position. If the Governor-General in Council appoints the Central Committee will he also appoint the Advisory Council?
– The Government will ignore the State authorities if that course is followed.
– No, we shall con suit the State Governments.
– But they will have no power of appointment.
– Surely we have hada sufficient experience of the evil of divided control.
– That is so; but consultation with the State authorities does not necessarily involve action in accordance with their desires, if we are to be guided by our experience up to the present time. If the State authorities are prepared to hand over all they possess, and they have done so in the past in this connexion, they should at least have some powers of recommendation to the Commonwealth Government.
– They will be consulted in all cases.
– I do not think that they have been consulted so far.
– Yes, they have.
– Were they consulted about this Bill ?
– Yes, they had the Bill over a fortnight ago.
– It is news to me that they have been consulted about it.
– The whole of these matters dealt with in Queensland have been handled on excellent lines.
In addition to what has already been mentioned, I might say that the Queensland Government have done a very great work in the efforts made to overcome the spread of the prickly pear, and to bring about its eradication. It is well known, as the circular sent to Honorable senators points out that settlers have acquired under (leasehold, and under various forms of tenure, prickly-pear country to the extent of 4,600,000 acres. They retain to themselves the right to acquire by resumption any country upon which the lessee does not do a sufficient amount of work to prevent the spread of the pear. They have despatched to various parts of the world a Scientific Committee of Investigation, at a cost of about £6,000, in the endeavour to discover some means of effectively preventing the spread of prickly pear. They have also, at a place called Dulacca, in the south-west of Queensland, established an experimental station with laboratories and chemical and other staffs, where excellent progress has been made in the destruction of prickly pear by the application of arsenical gas. When we consider the effects of that gas, one wonders whether it is not the same as that which has been used during the war.
– No; the gas used in the war is chlorine gas.
– It has been found that the arsenical gas destroys the prickly pear leaf and clump, and makes them actually fit for burning. The result of the experiments with it have been very successful so far as they have gone. But the gas has never been found to penetrate so far as to have effect upon the bulb. The gentleman at the lead of the experimental station and others are hopeful that in the process of time a means mav be found by which the bulb mav be affected, and if such a means is discovered there will be great hope of successfully eradicating the pest. In referring to the use of this gas, I may mention the significant fact that all the chemists stationed at the Dulaoca Experimental Station for the destruction of prickly pear were German chemists, and at the outbreak of the war they went backto Germany. It has not been possible to continue the experiments, because of the cost of material, and for other reasons. The Queensland Government are now going in for mining their own arsenic, and they are very hopeful that they will be able to produce it at a cost of £20 per ton for use in this national work of the destruction of the prickly pear. At the present time, I believe as much as £120 per ton has to.be paid for this material.
Again, in the north and centre of Queensland great work has been done by the State Government in dealing with the cane grub. Investigation has been going on of the cane beetle, which is responsible for the presence of a grub found at the root of the sugar cane, which has been very destructive to our cane fields. Whilst the State Government have not been successful in overcoming that pest, so far, they have for years been pursuing a definite line of attack upon it, and hope that, in time, success will be achieved. In other directions, scientific investigations are going on in that State; and it does seem to me that, unless provision is made for co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States in these matters, it will be a mistake to undertake such a comprehensive proposal as is outlined in this Bill.
– The Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Mr. Crampton are both members of our Committee in Queensland; and the Queensland Government have asked us to take over the Dulacca Experimental Station, to which the honorable senator has referred.
– So we are informed by the circular I have mentioned. I do not altogether agree with Senator Fairbairn when he says that . until some remedy has been proved successful on the other side of the world, it would not be worth our while to consider it. There may be something in the contention that climatic conditions have an important effect upon scientific experiments, and that while experiments may not have been successful in cold countries, there is no reason why they should not be tried in tropical or sub-tropical countries like Australia.
In regard *to the proposal to assist inventors or would-be inventors, I realize that sometimes embryo inventors are a little fantastic, and occasionally take a lot of shaking off; but I am not one to deride anybody who has a proposal to make. I may quote one incident that came under my notice recently. “While in Kalgoorlie a gentleman came to the hotel to see me, with the intimation that he had a patent to bring under my notice. Before he went any further, I asked him if he had consulted any of the Western Australian members about it, and he informed me that he had placed the matter before Senator Pearce, Senator Needham, Mr. Mahon, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Tudor, Mr. Anstey, and some others, who all took it up to a certain point and then dropped it. ‘ I do not think it right to look lightly upon any indention proposition, but this was done for many years by the Governments of Australia and of Great Britain, with the result that many inventions which had their birth in Australia or Great Britain were eventually finalized in Germany, because it was the policy of the German Government to encourage inventors. It appears to me, however, that the proposal to grant sums of money to firms or businesses to pursue their scientific investigations is not one that should be countenanced by the Government.
– It is not proposed to give any firm money in that way.
– It is proposed to make grants -to associations of persons engaged in industry for the purpose of furthering scientific investigation. .This authority is to be invested in a council to be constituted under the Bill, and I say it is too great a power to be given to any such body.
– It is to be given really to three men;
– Who will be subject to the Minister.
– On former occasions I have advocated the nationalization of inventions, patents, and ‘ such matters, and I think it would be a good idea if the proposed Institute were established ‘ on these lines with’ the special function of encouraging the inventive spirit among our people.
To me it does not appear to be a sound proposition to establish elaborate machinery at this stage in anticipation of something being dis covered. The scheme, in my judgment, is altogether too cumbersome. It is safe to say that the salaries of the members of the Inter -State Commission total about £5,000 a year, and that the cost of carrying on the work of that body is nearly another £5,000, or a total of about £10,000 a year.
– More than that.
– I have accepted the figures submitted to me by Senator Guy; and, as we are a comparatively small population in a big country, it seems to me quite wrong to establish an expensive machine like that contemplated under the Bill. No man starts a business iu that way. On the contrary, he commences in a small way, and expands his machinery to meet the growing requirements of his enterprise. In the case of this Institute, however, three directors are to be appointed and paid a large salary. For what? Apparently to wait for something to turn up in order that the proposed Institute may get a move on. That is what it amounts to. I believe the inventive spirit should be encouraged, but on lines somewhat different from those suggested by Senator Fairbairn. I do not hold with the view that it would be wise to establish a few scholarships at our universities, because, while in the case of our educational systems - I know that- it is so in Queensland, and I presume the same applies to the other States - it is possible for a student to work his way from the kindergarten to the university, there are many parents who are not able to keep boys as students for that length of time.
– It takes a little bit to keep boys now.
– Exactly, especially with the present cost of living, and under the price fixing arrangements with which the Minister is connected. I hold that, while we very closely approach to a democratic system in our educational institutions, it is not entirely democratic, because there are not equal opportunities for all boys to work their way upward from the kindergarten to our universities. It seems to me that there should be one supreme authority - and I admit that it should be the Federal authority - to co-ordinate the educational work of the respective States. In the past the States have not been fully consulted in these matters.
Turning to the Bill itself, I maintain that the powers proposed to he given to the directors are far too great. They are to be appointed for a term of years at a salary to be decided by the GovernorGeneral in Council, which, of course, means the Cabinet or the Minister in. charge, and once appointed they will be pretty hard to shift. It is difficult to remove the Judges of our Supreme Courts, and in my opinion it will be more difficult still to remove the directors of this proposed Institute.
– I thought the provisions for the removal of the directors was a modification of the Supreme Court system. You can have the other if you like.
– Speaking off-‘ hand, I think Supreme Court Judges may be removed for incompetence.
– By a vote of Parliament.
– A director, so * I understand, may be suspended by the Minister, but he will have the right of appeal before an Inquiry Board. What appears to be another fault in the Bill is the power to be given to the directors to make grants of money for the purpose, I presume, of encouraging scientific investigation. This is a pretty big power to intrust to any body of three men. As I interpret the Bill, whenever any establishment or recognised association of persons engaged in industry has received a grant from the Institute, the results that may accrue from such investigations, encouraged by the financial assistance given by the Institute, will be the property of the association of persons engaged in the industry; but when an officer of the In- stitute is responsible for any invention, he may be paid a bonus by the directors, and the results accruing from the invention will become the property of the Institute. If it is right to make a stipulation that any invention by an officer of the Institute shall become the copyrighted property of the Institute, surely it is fair also to make the same provision when any grant is made beforehand to an association or body of persons engaged in an industry ‘for the purpose of making investigations. A body of persons may be organized, for the purpose of carrying out an investigation upon certain lines, and, in such a case, the directors of the Insti tute will possess the power- to make them a grant. If, as the result of” such a grant, the persons in question succeed in their investigation, they alone will reap the fruits of it. As an illustration, take the case mentioned by Senator Fairbairn - I refer to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. It possesses a big staff of technical employees, including no less than seventy-one chemists. Suppose that these men desire to make an investigation upon new lines. Under this Bill they will be at liberty to apply to the Council, which will have power to make them a monetary grant for the purpose.
– The Council will not have that power.
– The Council, I repeat, will be empowered to make them a grant, and in the event of the investigation proving successful, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company alone will be the gainer. But admitting for the sake of argument that Senator Senior’s contention is correct, and that the Council will not possess this power, I say that it is a power which the Government ought not to possess. No Government should possess it - not even a Labour Government.
– Why should a Labour Government have it any more than any other Government?
– Because I have greater confidence in a Labour Government.
– To whom would the honorable senator give the power to make a grant ?
– I know it will probably be contended that any such grant will be made by the Minister. But there is a big doubt in my mind as to whether the Minister will have power to make it. Certainly he should not be clothed with any such authority. Neither the Government nor this Parliament should have power to make grants to private individuals to enable them to conduct investigations by which they alone will benefit in the event of such investigations proving successful.
– This is the first time I have heard it suggested that the benefits will go to private people.
– The Bill provides that any association of persons in industry can be made a grant for the purpose of enabling them to undertake further scientific research.
– That means an association that is organized, say, in the leather trade, the wool trade or the jam trade.
– Seeing that the temporary executive committee of the Institute, which has been in existence quite two years, if not longer, might have taken over the responsibility connected with the case instanced by Senator Fairbairn - a research case-
– It was the case of nodules in cattle.
– I should like to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council how much work in the way of new investigation that executive has initiated since its birth more than two years ago?
– They have never had any money. A temporary Institute was established really for the purpose of preparing the machinery necessary for the creation of the permanent Institute.
– I remember when it was established with great eclat.
– Does the honorable senator remember its votes of money ?
– No. It was a long time before it did anything to warrant any expenditure. But now it is proposed to incur a huge expenditure upon the establishment of a new Institute. My colleagues from Queensland will be able to recall many instances in which great sums of British capital have been spent in connexion with the operations of mining companies. The first thing those companies proceeded to do was to spend about half their capital in the purchase of machinery, plant, &c, and in the erection of palatial residences for general managers. Then, when nearly all their money had been frittered away in this fashion, they would commence the work of sinking a main shaft to look for the reef. The mining history of Australia is studded with instances of this kind, and I can best liken the proposal to establish this huge Institute of ‘Science and Industry with those notorious failures.
I do not say that this project should be a failure. Indeed, it is one which will have my whole-hearted support so long as it proceeds upon right lines. But I do not believe in establishing it before anything recoverable is within reach. If Australia can proceed along proper lines of investigation, and can make one investigation successful, it may compensate for the expenditure upon research in a great many directions. One success may account for one hundred failures. But before we embark upon the creation of this Department we should make some provision which will be calculated to induce people to conduct research in numerous directions. That cannot be accomplished by the appointment of three lordly gentlemen as directors of the proposed council, by giving them powers over the head of Parliament, and by failing to insure that they shall be as active as they should be in co-operating with the Advisory Councils of the States. We have been told that one member of the Institute must visit each of the States once a year.
– It would take him a year to go through Queensland for investigation purposes.
– There are only six States in the Commonwealth, and as three directors are to be appointed, it naturally follows that each director will have to visit two States annually - a visit every six months. That is not enough.
– That would leave large powers in the hands of the States.
– If the States had control it would be all right.
– Many a chemist has done good work without travelling at all.
– I am quite aware of that. But the members of the Centra] Institute will have to supervise the operations of the Institute in the States. Take the case of the experimental station at Dulacca. When a member of the Central Institute visits Brisbane he will naturally go there. If he does so, he will not be able to visit Cairns in order to see what has been done there in regard to investigations for the destruction of the cane beetle. Similarly, he will not he able to go out west to learn what has been accomplished in the destruction of the blow-fly, or to visit the central country to ascertain what has been done in connexion with the tick pest. It does appear to me that the Prime Minister may have left the framework of this Bill behind him. When he returns from the Old Country, with the cooling of the mental atmosphere which will have taken place, I am of opinion that if more consideration were then devoted to it, not merely by the Cabinet, but by the Ministerial party, some shearing of the proposal now before us might be brought about. I think that the measure contemplates too extensive an undertaking. It is fraught with too much lordly building-up of further officialdom in Victoria.
– We are not treating this Bill as a party measure at all. The Government have only one desire, namely, to develop Australia, and if the honorable senator can help us to do that, we shall be glad of his assistance.
– In my opinion, the Bill, in its present form, will add to the already overburdened load of officialdom in Australia. While it is essential that we should have the advice of business men on matters of government and finance, I am not a blind worshipper of the business man, either from the standpoint of his judgment or foresight.
– Business men are grand chaps.
– . In matters affecting their own businesses they are. But take the successful business man outside his own business, and he is often the rankest of failures. Let me cite as an illustration what I have often said in friendly argument whilst travelling in trains. People have frequently told me about “ the good old days when there were no professional politicians,” when “there were business men in Parliament - men with business training, who could look ahead and see things.” To those who talk in that strain to me my reply has invariably been, “Yes. Is that why we have in Australia to-day six different railway gauges between Brisbane and Perth ? Is that condition of things due to the acumen of business men?” I shall stop with that illustration for fear I shall be called to order for transgressing our Standing Orders.
– The honorable senator must not forget the irritation which was caused by the too great unification of government in those days.
– The unprofessional politician was responsible for the six breaks of gauge in Australia.
– It was fear of unification which was responsible for the establishment of those gauges.
– I am not advocating unification.
– I thought that the honorable senator might be doing so later on.
– For this reason I say that the business man should not be put above Parliament, and too many avenues of expenditure ought not to be taken from the control of Parliament. Yet that is the trend of events to-day.
I learn from the newspapers this morning that still another Board is to be appointed to investigate the expenditure of our Commonwealth Departments. The tendency of the Government is to create Boards and more Boards. This is the wrong time to do that. For the first ten or thirteen years of Australian Federation the Federal Governments did not conduct the affairs of the nation very badly. I know that a great song is often made about the money which has been spent in the Northern Territory. But there are many persons in Australia - and I am one of them - who believe that, with proper administration, the Northern Territory will become one of the finest parts c-f the Commonwealth. This slavish following of the opinion of the “great business” man “ outside his own business is neither sound nor palatable. I believe it is defended on the plea of economy. Senator Maughan mentioned a rumour that the Government proposed to appoint another Auditor-General to audit the accounts of the Auditor-General in the interests of economy. I will not vouch for that assertion, but that is the tendency of the policy which the Government are pursuing.
I commend to the Minister my few remarks, which have been made in the best spirit. I am not opposed to the principle of the Bill, and will attempt to improve it in Committee by a few simple amendments, although I would much rather see the Minister accept Senator Fairbairn’s suggestion to withdraw the measure, and start the Institute on a much more modest scale.
.- This Bill, I take it, is to legalize the creation of an .Institute of Science and Industry of which we witnessed the beginnings about two years ago. It brings into force machinery to go on with the good work that has already been started, and with its principles I entirely agree. We must ever remember that this is a big land, unused and un- occupied, and to our own personal knowledge in many directions little more than scratched. A tremendous amount of waste is going on owing to the profusion of our products, and this Bill will put into shape an organization not only to cure some of our “evils, but to help to develop many and much, I hope, of our riches. I understand that it will be helpful in the direction of scientific development, about which there has been so much talk all over the world in recent years, lt will also help in the direction of organization and standardization, which’ must, and will, come with the development of Australian industry .
The Minister (Senator Russell) has made out a case for the acceptance of the Bill by the Senate, and, personally, I give its broad principles my hearty support. There are, as already pointed out, some defects that may be remedied in Committee, but its general principles can well be agreed to by the Senate. I am glad to hear the admission that it is not a party measure, and hope and believe that before it is through.” Committee honorable senators will endeavour, to the best of their ability, to perfect it, so that it may achieve the objects for which it is introduced. It is a measure for starting certain work, and for that purpose machinery has to be created. I gather that the Institute is to be initiated on an expenditure of not more than £20,000 for the first year.
– That is a very outside estimate.
– I am glad to have that confirmation, in view of the criticisms by Senator Fairbairn and others from the stand-point of economy.
In its early days the Institute is to create national laboratories for investigation into the following branches of science and technology. It will investigate: (1) Plant industry, especially in relation to cultivation in arid and semi-arid regions, and the control of weed pests; (2) Animal industry, especially in connexion with the control of pests and diseases; (3) Industrial chemistry and metallurgy (technological research) ; (4) Industrial standards, particularly scientific instruments,electrical apparatus, and materials used in industry; (5) forest products, especially the preservation and seasoning of timbers, and the utilization of waste wood. At the outset, it is not proposed to establish very elaborate buildings. The intention is to develop as time goes on and as experience teaches.
I am very much struck with the wide scope of the suggested subjects for research. It will be generally admitted that, if through the instrumentality of the Institute we can discover a deposit of commercial potash, it will be worth all the money that is to be spent on it for many years to come.
– We have got it.
– Yes, but not enough. If we can put upon a commercial basis the manufacture of power.alcohol that is another direction in which much further wealth may be accumulated for Australia. I understand that the Institute will investigate and endeavour to develop electrical- methods for prospecting for ore. In this direction alone there are illimitable possibilities, and it is obvious to all of us who have had any experience in mining, such as was outlined by my friend, Senator Ferricks, that if we can begin to develop some sort of electrical apparatus that will prospect .for ore, a considerable amount of time, suffering, expense, and weary work will be saved to the Australian prospector, and our metal development will come very much earlier than would otherwise be the case. 1 am entirely in sympathy with the suggestion that we do not want too much bookiness about the Institute. We do not want men with too many letters after their names entirely to control what is to to go on. We do not want to hitch our waggon to a star in this regard, or to spend the much-needed money of the Commonwealth altogether on theoretical research. We all know there is gold in the ocean, and even along the white sands of New South Wales, but it has been demonstrated that it does not pay to extract. We all know that Queensland can grow cotton, and that some parts of the shores of Australia will grow cocoanuts but not yet can we compete with the cheap labour of other countries that are throwing these products on to the world’s markets.
I hope the appointments that will be made by the Government to the directorate of the Institute will “be practical. The success of what is going to be done will largely depend on those appointments, and I urge on the Govern- ment that at least one director should he a hard-headed practical man of very lengthened experience, so that when we get these scientific discoveries and inventions down to the ground he will be able to bring a practical intellect to bear on the question of what we shall carry on and what we shall not. 1 am very sympathetic indeed with the suggestion that the Institute should help individual inventors. I am well aware that the inventor, as a class, is a bit of a crank, and that practically only one out of twenty patents is of actual use, while the owner of that one generally has to fight a lawsuit before he can claim it as his own.
– Are you referring to the real or the imaginary inventor?
– Many impractical inventions are very ingenious. At the same time, we do not say that we do not want any inventions in Australia. I am urging the point merely that the directors should be able by their general knowledge of the world’s affairs to differentiate between the crank inventor and the inventor whose work is likely to have some practical outcome. We have already shown in Australia that we have some inventive genius as compared with the rest of the world. We all remember the Brennan torpedo, which has been a standard for a long time, and which emanated from Australia. Australian mining men, too, have contributed more than their share towards mining inventions and processes now in use all over the world.
-reading speech, gave a little too much praise to the inventiveness and organization of Germany. I have not been able to see the report of his remarks in Hansard, but the impression left on my mind is that he unduly praised ‘the inventiveness and organization of our enemies at the expense of our own race.
– Rather I emphasized their steady plodding over long years of hard work and organization, rather than their brilliancy.
– I am glad to hear it. I entirely agree with the Minister’s last observation. The industrial success of Germany has not been achieved by the inventions of Germans, but through other circumstances that have been matters of national policy. The world was flooded with German goods during the few years before the war. That was not attributable to German inventiveness, but was due to German policy in the direction of Tariffs and preferential railway charges from works to ports ; to the cartels among German manufacturers, to the long credits which they gave to the world’s purchasers, and to the shipping subsidies which enabled German vessels to carry German goods cheaply to any part of the world.
So far as I can see, the Germans can be described only as imitative, and not as inventive - as people with a good deal of application and thoroughness. But they are known to have exploited the world’s inventions, and to have taken advantage of them owing to the large amount o? cheap labour which was at Germany’s command prior to the war. Anglo-Saxon and British brains are quite as good as those of any people in any part of the world.
– If they get a fair chance.
– I agree there. Against the gigantic military equipment and organization of Germany, can we not fairly place the grand British Navy? Put the one against the other, and the Anglo-Saxon certainly does not take second place. What organization is going on to-day in carrying on the war on the side of the Allies, headed by Britons? Germany has been working always upon internal lines, but one of the wonders of the war, and of the world, is that perfect organization which is keeping our enemies busy in the four corners of the earth - not only in France, Italy and Macedonia; but in the White Sea, in Palestine, in Mesopotamia, and in Siberia, as well. German organization under the same circumstances could not approach nearly to what Britons are achieving as the result of lessons learned from four years of war.
Talk about German industrial organization ! There is” nothing finer or more perfect and complete in the whole realm of industrial organization, from whatever aspect it mav be viewed, than the sewing-cotton industry of Coates, in Scotland. Not only has this firm organized production and distribution all over the British Empire, but in Germany itself before the war. British losses in the sugar industry came about not through, any deficiency on the part of Anglo-Saxon brains. It was the result of the deliberate Bismarckian policy which bountyfed Continental producers in the British market, and did not enable Free Trade British producers to compete. The glass industry went from England to Germany largely on account of the Tariff, and the policy of the country. We have heard much, also, regarding Germans and the metals. Analysis will show, however, that, owing to the determined policy of Germany with respect to military equipment and development, the discoveries and development in the metal industry in Germany were the result of that nation’s preparation for war. My experience of German goods is that, before the war, German productions were bought largely over the world, not because they were better or more suitable, but generally for the reason that they were a little cheaper.
– It was chiefly because they were more suitable.
– No; they were a little cheaper. They may have been a little inferior; or, may be,, the buyer could get a longer credit. In no case, broadly speaking, have I seen English manufacturers displaced at the same price as the Germans. 1 do not think a Bill of this nature is anything more than an adjunct for a national policy. In my opinion, the industrial decadence of the Mother Country has been brought about, not by any deficiency in the matter of British brains, but through British policy. And if that CobdencumManchestercumGladstonian doctrine had not been foisted upon and maintained by the British people for so many years, we would not have talked of British decadence, but British manufacturing supremacy would have held its own.
– That doctrine left Great Britain so poor that she has financed the world for three years!
– It is not the ownership of money that makes a nation great, but the manner of its distribution. I am sorry the’ honorable senator should bring forward any capitalistic arguments at this stage.
I wish to prove that German inventiveness is not responsible for German industrial development. With respect to mining machinery, particularly such things as table concentrators, the diamond drill, the stamp mill, the flotation process and the cyanide process, and the electrolytic process, recently I went through a list of twenty-eight prominent mining inventions which had aided the development of the mining industry, and I found that Germany was responsible for only two of these. Australia was also responsible for two, Great Britain for five, and the Americans for eighteen. In electrical engineering, from a list of sixteen of the most important inventions in that direction, including overhead and underground transmission, arc lamps, heating and cooking appliances, and traction appliances, I noted that Germany was responsible for only two, and that the rest were the product of English and American brains. Take the thirtyone inventions which have made the modern automobile possible as we see it to-day. Ten of these are to the credit of Great Britain; seven of them are from France; six are to the credit of the United States, and only five emanated from Germany. The invention of the pneumatic tyre, which revolutionized modern cycling and made the automobile possible, is the invention of a Britisher. In cotton, woollens, and pottery, Great Britain leads. .Domestic appliances come chiefly from America; and, although we get the tall building from that country, re-inforced concrete and ferro-concrete were discovered and invented in England.
Some reference has been made to optical goods. I am not quite clear about the argument; but, speaking from memory, I understand, that the Minister (Senator Russell) said that at Jena there are big works which practically monopolized the manufacture of almost the whole of the optical instruments of the world before the war; but microscopes, telescopes, and photographic lenses were all invented in Great Britain, and large firms are manufacturing them to-day. Germany has certainly led us in the manufacture of “toys; and there is an hallucination among the community that if we cannot get German Aspirin there are no other chemicals to be procured, now that the war is on, since it is Germany that has made them all. We have seen, since the outbreak of war, how much we can do without the assistance of Germany. This Bill is to aid us further to be self-supporting and self-contained, and to do without those people who, by bluff and camouflage, .sought to make- us regard them with awe.
One lesson which we can learn from Germany mav be best illustrated by recounting an incident that occurred two or three years ago. After the outbreak of the great conflict, I was in Holland, and in that neutral country .one would see Germans fairly regularly. I heard a story of what occurred in 1915 or 1916. There was a young German in Holland, a “hefty,” healthy-looking man in civilian clothes. A Dutch friend asked why he was not in uniform - why he was not fighting. He answered, “I am a chemist; the Germans never send their chemists to the trenches.” That illustrates the value of the chemist to the modern community.
A Bill of this . character, which impresses the necessity for better attention to chemistry upon the present generation, will perform good service. I do not think industrial leaders or captains of industry in Australia pay sufficient attention to the technical scientific men. In America, particularly, the technical scientific man is very often in charge of the works; but here, and in the Mother Country, we appear not to pay that attention to the scientific side of our industrial and manufacturing life which we should. In Germany, no such weakness was exhibited in the days before the war; hence a certain proportion of their success.
I am glad to see that this Institute is intended to stress the factor of standardization. That has been brought to a high pitch of perfection in the United States of America. By their standardization of automatic machinery, and the use of increased horse-power, and power of all sorts, the output of most of the United States factories, despite high wages, is two or three times per worker higher than that of English factories. I shall present some figures which I have collated in relation to clothing. In the United States clothing to the value of £484 is turned out every year per worker as against a value of £158 per worker in the United Kingdom. In boots the American turns out £516 in value as against £171 by ‘the Britisher. The production in America of paper per worker is double that in the United Kingdom, as is also the production of soap and candles, and in hats and caps the worker in England produces £149 in value per head per year as against a value of £414 per worker in America. It is evident from these figures that the Americans have brought standardization in manufacturing, and the development of automatic machinery, to a much higher degree of perfection than have the British manufacturers. For that reason, in spite of the fact that wages are double and treble what they are in similar English industries, the cost of production in America in many lines is so much lower than it is in England that American manufacturers compete in the markets of the world, at an advantage against manufacturers in Great Britain.
-. - If hats are standardized, how are they to fit heads of different sizes ?
– I am speaking of the standardization of machinery and methods of production, and not so much of the standardization of articles of manufacture.
I remind the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) that, although ., is rightly proud of the modest success that this young Institute has achieved in the direction of flax-growing, something more than the growing of flax is required before we can have canvas for the use of our people. One of the difficulties with which we are faced in this connexion is that the changing of the flax into fibre for the making of canvas is done in other parts of the world by very cheap labour. Consequently, iri order to perfect the manufacture of canvas ultimately from flax grown in Australia, we shall have to invent or adopt some special labour-saving machinery which will help us to overcome the wall set up by the use of cheap labour in the industry in other parts of the world.
– I can inform the honorable senator that there is something more than a reasonable chance that the industry will be established straightway in Australia.
– If that be so the Institute will have justified its first twelve months of existence by what it will have done in connexion with that matter alone. There are many matters in connexion with which there may well be a practical application of science to industry, and I” do hope that the Government will very seriously consider the appointment of a practical man to ‘help the two scientific men to constitute the full board provided for under this Bill.
There are many possibilities other than those to which reference has been made in this Australia of ours. “When going up through Manchuria some years ago I was much struck by the profusion in which the soya bean is produced in that practically arid country. There are great possibilities, also, in the growth of tobacco in Australia.
– It is grown now in Queensland.
– We grow tobacco in Australia, but very little of it, and if we can so develop that industry as to be able to supply our own needs it will be worth millions of pounds yearly to Australia. I repeat that this is not the time for dreamers. In the development of Australia this is also not a time only for scientific men. We hope that in this Institute they will not be looking for the philosopher’s stone or the elixir of life, but will come down to the consideration of the practical wants of the nation If that be understood the proposed bureau will be justified, and its establishment will be one of the best pieces of work this Parliament has ever done. The only fear I have regarding the matter is that in establishing this Institute we may create what may possibly ultimately become another water-logged Federal Department. Somehow or other Government services have not been complete successes in the past, and I rather welcome some of the features of this proposal, because it goes outside the red-tape governmental methods, and the directors who will be appointed under it will not be placed in a certain groove.
I am quite aware that when we establish this Institute the directors may take credit to themselves for everything that goes on in Australia in the way of invention and discovery, whether they had anything to do with it or not. If there is an invention developed by a private inventor or a discovery made by a private industrial scientist or analyst, the Institute may possibly lake credit as similar institutions have done before for having a hand in it. But all the same, I believe that with three practical appointments to its management, the proposed Institute is likely to be of much assistance to the community. Not only will it develop and extend scientific research on its own account, but it will, I hope, help the individual inventor, and will take us some distance in the standardization of industries as there are illimitable possibilities before us in many directions.
There is one feature of the Bill which, I think, has not been stressed as much as it might be. In my opinion, the estab lishment of a bureau of information is a matter of very practical value to our industrial population. The idea, as I understand it, is to collate technical and scientific journals and data from all over the world, so that any manufacturer or person connected with trade and commerce in Australia will be able to apply to the bureau for scientific information, and, if that information is in print in any part of the world, the bureau will be able to supply him with it. That will be a very practical part of the work of the Institute, and should do much to insure its success.
– That feature has reached a very advanced stage under the temporary institute.
– I believe the conception of this Institute to be a very fine one, and that it is a wise step on the part of the Government, to bring it immediately into action. If the directors only know how to do things Australia will be the better for its establishment.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– It is somewhat regrettable that there is, apparently, no provision made in the Bill to co-operate with the Institutes of Science now existing in the several States. Institutions of a similar” character in Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria have been doing very good work for many years.
– And in South Australia, too.
– Yes, in South Australia also. I know there is a feeling abroad in the States that the Federal Government are attempting to usurp the functions which the several State Governments have more or less satisfactorily carried out in the past; and that by virtue of their powers they are endeavouring to supersede, not only tlie work that- is being done by the States, but the persons who are doing work. I know that, inevitably, after the war, in view of the burdens we shall have to bear, there must be an increasing tendency towards Unification, especially of common services of this character; but I feel that some attempt should have been made, in drafting this Bill, not to swallow the States and their institutions “ willynilly “ and, tiger-like, to say to the Iamb, “ Come inside”; but rather to cooperate, improve, and increase the organizations already existing.
I have before me a circular which. I believe, has been sent to every member of this Parliament by the Premier of Queensland. In it Mr. Ryan makes a specific charge against the Commonwealth Government that his State Government have not been consulted, nor has their approval in any shape or form been asked concerning the provisions of this measure. Mr. Ryan states -
The report and recommendations which were made to the Prime Minister by the executive of the temporary Advisory Council of Science and Industry, and upon which the Bill embodying the proposed constitution is based, have neither been submitted for consideration or approval to the Government or any of the Institutes of this State, nor to the State Advisory Committees of the temporary Institute, the members of which were appointed by Order in Council to safeguard State interests. Consequently, no opportunity hasbeen afforded for a study of the proposed constitution.
– What is the date of that circular?
– The 23rd September - about nine days ago.
– A copy of the Bill waa sent to the State Premiers at about that date. The correspondence must have crossed.
– I do not consider that is adequate consideration to the States.
– I find that a copy of the Bill was sent on the 14th September.
– The Minister now makes a definite statement that a copy of the Bill was sent to the Premier of Queensland on the 14:th September, and yet. on the 23rd September, the Premier of that State makes a definite complaint that he knew nothing about the measure. I understand, also, that the Premier of New South Wales (Mr. Holman) made the same complaint, and I feel very strongly that the States, which already have Institutes of this nature, should have been consulted, and an endeavour made to get the co-operation and collaboration of those concerned in such Institutes with what is now being proposed to be established by the Commonwealth.
– It is not too late now.
– May I point out that one of the directors, Dr. Gellatly, has been to every city in Australia during the last month, to tell the people all about the scheme and to meet the local committees and experts.
– That is not the same as consulting the State Governments, who control the present State Institutes. I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Gellatly address a meeting of the members of the Chambers of Manufactures in Sydney with regard to this Bill. Approval of the scheme was given by that meeting, but that is not what I am urging, namely, that the Commonwealth Government, should have sought the cooperation and collaboration of the State Governments. I regret that the Government did not, by a little delay, endeavour to remove some of the causes of irritation that exist among the State Governments concerned .
Although the Bill makes provision to help, not only scientific research, but the development of primary and secondary industries, so far as the members of the New South Wales State Advisory Committee are concerned, there is no representative on that body directly of either the primary or secondary industries, so it cannot be said that the Committee is complete within the meaning of the Act. This oversight should be remedied at once, and I hope that the Government will see their way clear to co-operate with the New South Wales Government with regard to membership of this permanent Advisory Committee.
There is provision in the measure that the directors of the Institute shall not be associated with any company. I think we might expand that principle, and go so far as to insert somewhere in the Bill a clause preventing the directors from having any financial interest, directly or indirectly, in any scheme with which they may be concerned. Another matter I should like to mention is the fact that clause 13 gives ‘power to the directors to grant aid only in regard to research proposals of a purely scientific nature, and
I suggest that the power be enlarged so that they may grant aid to schemes for practical developmental research which, perhaps, may not come within the narrow category of purely scientific investigation. I should also like to see clause 17 enlarged so that the directors would have power to subsidize, not only inventions under “their control, but other inventors working independently of the- Institute, so long as the invention, in the opinion of the directors, is likely to be of practical benefit, if successfully accomplished.
I believe Australia will not be heavily burdened with all the costs of the war, if we set ourselves seriously to tackle the question of extra production and industrial expansion. I am one of those who believe that, so’ far as the potential wealth of Australia is concerned, this land of ours has scarcely been scratched. An illustration confirming this view came under my notice recently in that small bit of the earth’s territory, known as the Malay Peninsula. The rubber industry there is an enterprise of only about fifteen years’ growth. The population of the country is small - only about 2,000,000 in all, including Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Europeans- - and yet the rubber industry, controlled practically by British capitalists and worked by the coloured population, produces 130,000 tons of “cultivated rubber per year, worth, at 2s. 6d. per lb., nearly the normal value of the Australian wool clip.
– And the rubber industry is exotic; it is not indigenous to the country.
– I may mention also that the tin production of the Malay Peninsula amounts in value nearly to the total of the whole of the metal industry in Australia. It will be seen, therefore, that we have good reason to believe that, in this continent, with over 5,000,000 of people, the potentialities of production are almost illimitable, and I think this is one of the means by which we shall aid in its development.
I do not regard the Bill as representing the whole of the duty.of the Federal Parliament towards Australia and its people. I regard it as a part of a harmonious circuit, and as a means to an end. Personally, I refuse to accept any idea that scientific research, organization, or standardization is a substitute for a fiscal protective Tariff. That Tariff, in my opinion, must be imposed in due time. We have to remember that this is a country where, and rightly, too, tlie artisan and the worker gets high wages, and that high wages have to be considered in connexion with world competition and cheap labour. This proposed Institute will help; a Tariff will help; standardization will help in the development of Australia. I hope the Institute will, metaphorically speaking, make two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, and if it does that, one great writer has said, it will do more good for Australian people than the whole race of politicians put together. We have in Australia the best brains that can be secured for this particular work. There are no finer scientific men than those young men who have been turned out, technically trained, from our Universities in all branches of industry and organization. Most of them are away fighting for us in Flanders, but when they come back the development of Australia will be assured, provided they are given reasonable encouragement.
There are hundreds of avenues in which this Institute may benefit Australia; but may I say again, in conclusion, that tlie success or otherwise of the proposed Institute will’ depend entirely upon its personnel. The Government must be most careful to select without bias, without favour, and without patronage, the directors of this Institute. These gentlemen should be chosen simply because they are the men to do the job. If the Government do this, I think that the Institute will achieve success. But if they do not, we shall get back into red-tape, methods, and the whole of this much-vaunted and highly desirable Institute will go for nought. Wisdom has been exercised in the conception of the idea. We must now acquire the knowledge that is necessary to enable us to give effect to that idea. I do hope that we shall not get too much of the scientific dreamer in connexion with the Work of the Institute. It is idle to tell us that the Northern Territory will do so-and-so, .until it is in communication with the centres of population. My own view is that the Institute should do the things that are nearest to. its hand for the benefit of. the whole people. At this late stage I again beg of the Government not to adopt arbitrary methods so far as the States are concerned. Now is the time for the exercise of conciliation so that we may obtain the smooth working of this Institute for the benefit of Australia. I do trust, that we shall find some way whereby this bantling of the Commonwealth Parliament - for the- Bill is not a party measure - will have the blessing of the Premiers of the States.
– Like Senator Pratten, I wish to congratulate’ the Government upon the introduction of this Bill. From that remark it will be at once gathered that I am heartily in accord with its object. It is a skeleton measure, and, as has already been said, it will place very great powers in the hands of the directors of the Institute. I hope that those powers will be used in the direction of expanding as far as possible the industries of Australia. A great deal has been said by honorable senators who have preceded me regarding the results which may possibly flow from this Bill in the matter of scientific research in connexion with our agricultural products. ‘ But I intend to confine my remarks to another phase of this question. It seems to me that of all the good which, may be conferred by such an Institute, no branch of industry is likely to derive a greater benefit from it than is the mining industry. I have in my mind chiefly the application of increased mineralogical, and metallurgical knowledge to that industry. I propose to limit my remarks to this phase of the subject for the simple reason that I have had more experience of the mining industry than I have had,, say, of the sugar industry, which has been touched upon by Senator Pratten and others.
But, first of all, I desire to answer the objection which has- been urged to the Bill by Senator Fairbairn On. the ground of ‘economy.. We ought certainly to he as ‘economical in our expenditure as is consistent with the due advance of Australia and with the advance of its industries, without which we shall be in a sorry plight within a very few years. Senator Fairbairn affirmed that we .have no money available for the purposes of this Bill. But the money must be found, and I venture to say it will be found. If the measure be passed, I believe that wthin a very few years the expenditure incurred under its authority will be recouped to the Commonwealth three or fourfold. We want to establish big openings for that influx of population which we believe will come to our shores upon the termination of the present war. We need to provide opportunities of employment for the hundreds of thousands of our gallant troops who will be returning to us before very long. Taking our natural resources, it has been very truly remarked that there is not a single article within the- category either of necessaries or luxuries which cannot be produced within Australia.
Why are we so far behind other countries in the matter of scientific knowledge ? I recollect that some twenty-five years ago a mining discovery took place on the west coast of Tasmania. The size of the ore body disclosed there appealed to mining experts, who unanimously affirmed that the proposition would become one of the world’s biggest mines within a very brief period. Yet to-day that proposition is still, in a primitive stage by reason of the refractory nature of the contents of the lode. During the intervening quarter of a century various .experiments have been conducted with a view to reducing it to commercial value. Some of these experiments appeared to- open up very fine prospects, but in the .long run all of them failed. To-day, however-, the Mount Lyell Company has taken over this particular proposition, and is quite assured that, owing to the advance of metallurgical science, it will become- one of the world’s biggest mines. That company claims to have solved the problem which other companies have failed to solve. The zinc contents of that mine are. greater than its metallic- contents in- gold, silver, lead, and copper, yet, because of the al*Bence of scientific knowledge, the whole of that zinc has had to be wasted. To-day quantities of it are mixed up in the slag or waste adjacent to the smelting works in the vicinity. But within the last year the Mount Lyell Company sent its manager to America, and that officer has returned with an assurance that the entire difficulty has now been overcome, and that the latest processes for the extraction of the full metallic values of this particular ore are thoroughly successful.
– Has not the Mount Lyell Company made a great number of experiments locally?
– I am glad of that interjection. During the course of this debate the names of America and Germany have been frequently mentioned. When one recalls the leading men who have been connected with the metallurgical industry in Australia during the past quarter of a century, he must be struck by the fact that they have been either Germans or Americans, or men -who have come from those countries. Why should we have to send our ores half way round the world in order that they may be tested ? Why should we have to go to Germany or America to import the brains to show us how to successfully treat these refractory ores ? Obviously because those countries have paid more attention to scientific research and to the scientific treatment of these ores than Australia has done. Seeing that we have the raw materials on the. spot, does it not seem strange that so far it has been impossible for Australia to successfully treat our refractory ores?
– What about thu many generations that those countries were in business before we commenced operations ?
– Quite so. But we .must make a start.
– How many of our leading mining men have been Cornishmen ?
– 1 do not think there have been many Cornishmen compared with the number of Americans and Germans who have been connected with the particular branch of the mining industry to which I am now referring. Take, for example, the present Mount Lyell Company - one of the biggest mines in Australia. ‘ Dr. Peters had to be imported from America to demonstrate to that company that its ores could be successfully treated on a commercial scale. A scientific man, named Schlapp, an American with a German name, was here at the time, and was asked to report. I believe he was one of the big holders in the company. He was quite satisfied that the process known as pyritic smelting, then only in its infancy in America, could he successfully applied to the ore bodies of the Mount Lyell mine. He told the company that he was absolutely satisfied that the mine could be made to pay by this latest process, but that, as a capital of £300,000 or £400,000 would have to be raised to build railways and establish big smelting works, it would be necessary to get some one with a world-wide reputation to recommend the undertaking, as his (Mr. Schlapp’s) reputation was, after all, more Australian than anything else. On his advice they got Dr. Peters, then recog- nised as the leading man in America, to come out, and he conducted experiments on the ores on the spot. I had the pleasure of being with him and watching him conduct those experiments about the year 1893 or 1894. Then followed a succession of men from America, notably Mr. Sticht, who is to-day recognised as one of the leading metallurgical scientists in Australia. The basis of the process recommended by Dr. Peters was that the ore itself could be used to supply portion of the fuel necessary to get the metals out of it. If it had not been for that discovery, that mine would not have been working successfully to-day.
– It would not havebeen working to-day if Dr. Peters’‘ methods and recommendations had not” been improved on.
– I am not giving the whole of the credit to him. I am simply showing that we had to import Americans to establish the works in the first place, and that the leading men there up to date have been Americans. The point is that we had to go out of Australia for them. When the first smelting works to reduce our galenas or silver-lead ores were established at Zeehan, ,the first man they had to get was Dr. Haber, a German. He chose .the site, and recommended the establishment of the smelting works. The .next man they got was named Haberlein, who was believed to be a German, but, I understand, was really a Russian or German Pole, but he was distinctly German and American .so far as his scientific and metallurgical education was concerned. Then followed Kapp, Kunze, and a number of other Germans in charge of those works. Thus, either Germans or Americans predominated when it came to the question of the successful treatment of certain classes of ores in Australia.
– -In Tasmania.
– I believe the same thing applied to Australia generally. Mr. Delprat, to whom Broken Hill owes so much, is, I am informed, a Belgian. The Australian people have not yet advanced to that stage of scientific knowledge in connexion with ‘this’ industry that older countries have reached. Surely, therefore, it is time we made a start, because we have the raw material to work on in much greater profusion than some other countries have.
– You must not forget the mining engineers now in their thirties born and trained in Australia.
– A large number of splendid young Australians have graduated from our Schools of Mines and made good in other countries, but they had to go to the other side of the world to complete their education in that branch of science, because we had not the facilities in Australia, particularly in connexion with the successful treatment of refractory ore bodies. The facilities for getting to the top of the tree in those branches of science did not exist then, and do not exist to-day, in Australia for our young men. I believe the establishment of this Institute of Science and Industry will tend to provide those facilities. That is why I am a whole-hearted supporter of the Bill in principle. As to its details, it may .be fashioned differently when it gets into Committee.
It has always appeared significant to me that, from the erection of the first reduction works at Broken Hill until this day, a very large proportion of the men who have taken the lead in directing the works should have been Americans or Germans. The reason is undoubtedly that those older countries have given their young men better facilities to perfect themselves in the various branches of metallurgical science.
– I believe it was largely because, before the war, our metal industries were controlled by Germany.
– That may be so to a certain extent, but it is also largely because the German people are’ great copyists or imitators. It was not that the Germans were cleverer than Americans, Britishers, or Australians, but because they were more prone to seize the opportunities that they saw in other countries, and lost no chance to copy anything they fancied they could improve on. To any man interested in mining the name Freiberg was a household word in Australia before the war. Nowadays, we do not look on German things as we did before the war, and God forbid we ever should again; but the fact remains that Freiberg, and similar institutions, were regarded all over the world as, perhaps, the last word in connexion with the teaching of certain branches of metallurgy. It is time that Australia, with its vast natural resources and great stores of raw material, took every possible step to give its young people the same facilities as older countries have offered in this direction, so that we shall not have to go all round the world when we want leading captains of industry or leading scientists.
The other day I was asked to bring to Victoria from my own State a bottle of oil for scientific analysis, to ascertain its value. It was supposed that it could be used as a substitute for something else. I got in touch with the secretary of the bureau here, and was immediately confronted with the fact that the bureau had no laboratory. Wide powers are given in the Bill, and one of them enables the directors to establish laboratories. It occurred to me then that there were, perhaps, thousands of other people in various parts of Australia who wanted natural products analyzed to ascertain their commercial value, because they had not the means at their command to have the work done locally. As a matter of fact the secretary ‘here told me that it would cost proba’bly five guineas to obtain a complete chemical analysis of the sample I submitted to him, which was an oil distilled from one of our Tasmanian timbers. He very kindly interested himself in the matter, and I was able to give the Tasmanian concerned sufficient information as to the value of the product without his having to pay five guineas for an analysis, a sum ihe would have been unable to pay, because he was a poor man. I believe that the proposed Institute will be in a position to deal with such cases as I have mentioned.
– It will not analyze everything and anything free of cost.
– That might be a very big order; but still it might he money well spent. The Institute will have its own scientists, and it is probable that, in the case of mo3t samples submitted, a very preliminary test will enable those scientists to say whether the samples are worth spending any more time upon.
I take now the question of dyes. We read every day in our newspapers, and, amongst others, in those opposed to this project of the Government on the ground of expense, that it is a remarkable thing that, whilst in Australia we produce the finest wool produced in any part of the world, we do not manufacture the woollen goods required by our own people, not to mention exporting woollen goods to other countries. People are now beginning to ask why this should be so. If you go to the manager of a woollen mills, you will be told, as I have been, that the reason why our mills cannot turn out woollen goods of the same quality as the best imported goods is largely a matter of dyes.
– The woollen mills at Geelong turn out an excellent article.
– That is so; but I believe I am correct in saying that no milk in Australia turn out woollen goods that will command the same price as the more expensive imported tweeds. .
– That may be due to the Australian prejudice against the home-made article.
– I know the meaning of Australian prejudice, and I hope that the day will soon come when the surest passport to the pocket of the Australian consumer will be the sign upon any article, “Made in Australia,” instead of the signs to which we have been accustomed - “ Made in Germany “ or “ Made in America.” The fact remains that we do not in Australia manufacture sufficient woollen goods to meet our local consumption, and it is quite time we did so.
– Perhaps the importers prefer to sell imported goods.
– I believe that a great many of them do, probably because they are able to make a bigger profit upon them than they could make upon the local article. I hope that the time will soon come when, if that be their reason, heavier duties will be imposed upon some of their imported goods.
I cannot subscribe to the idea that the proposed Institute of .Science and Industry will prove a panacea for all our industrial difficulties; hut I do believe that it is a necessary, and should prove to be a successful, adjunct to the operation of a scientific Protectionist Tariff. We are not dealing with the Tariff to-night, and, no doubt, when a scientific Tariff is introduced we shall have some very lively debates upon it.
– No; there are no Free Traders here.
– Ye3, there are many in the Government. Half the members of the Government are Free Traders at heart. I do not believe that they have been converted, although the Leader of the Government says that he has been converted. Half the members of the present Government, it may be said, are Free Traders, and the other half fiscal atheists.
– I believe that 1 was getting somewhat off the track. I do not see why the establishment of the proposed Institute should not lead to the spread of information which will enable Australian woollen manufacturers to produce the better classes of cloth. I believe that its establishment will, not immediately, hut within a reasonable time, lead to the creation of some magnificent industries, which Australia should- be carrying on to-day.
We are threatened at the present time with a famine in paper, and I invite honorable senators to consider what a catastrophe it would be if they were unable to obtain the daily papers. That is a disaster with which we are threatened just now. There has been some research made into the question of the manufacture of paper from Australian wood pulps. We have been told by a few who have investigated the question that our Australian woods aTe not nearly so suitable for the manufacture of .pulp as are those which can he obtained in other countries. I believe that many people are not satisfied that this is really so, seeing that, in the matter of weight, texture, and colour, we have almost every variety of timber in the Commonwealth.
– If we have not the right timber, we can import the plants and grow it here.
– That is a very pertinent interjection; though the newspapers made from trees which will yet have to.be grown here will not trouble us very much. They will be of interest to those who come after us. It is remarkable, in view of the immense variety of timbers we have in the Commonwealth, that, so far, our scientists have not discovered any timber that is thoroughly suitable for the manufacture of wood pulp. It may be that the proposed Institute will be able to assist in this direction.
– Or may find some substitute for wood pulp in the manufacture of paper.
– Just so. There are many directions in which the proposed Institute can assist to place Australia in the position she ought to occupy as a self-sustained country. Our eyes have been opened to many things, and we have learned something of many questions since the outbreak of. this terrible war. Because of it more people are turning their attention to Australia’s natural resources; but we have been very slow in making progress in these matters.
Very wide powers are proposed to be given to the directors who will preside over the Institute. I find that in subclause 3 of clause 4 it is provided that -
The Institute shall, subject to this Act, have power to hold lands, tenements, and hereditaments, goods, chattels, and any other property for the purpose of, and subject to, this Act.
Then in clause 13, it is provided that -
The powers and functions of the directors shall, subject to the regulations, and to the directions of the Minister, be -
the initiation and carrying out of scientific researches in connexion with, or. for the promotion of, primary or secondary industries in the Commonwealth.
That should give to the Institute a scope of operation wide enough for any one; but I do not think that it is too wide. I hold the view expressed by Senator Pratten that, as we are launching out upon an unknown sea, the powers given to the directors may very well be extensive. On the question of expense, I am inclined to say “Hang the expense.” I do not believe that any very great expense will be involved, as I do not see the necessity for any very big establishment for. some time to come.
– ‘There will be three high salaries for the directors to start with.
– I have always believed that if you -want the best brains you- must pay the best salaries to secure them. It would be a mistake, in launching a project of this kind, to risk the spoiling of the ship for a ha’porth of tar. I do not believe in refusing to secure the best brains obtainable because to do so may involve the expenditure of a few extra pounds.
Senator Fairbairn has said that tha present is not the time to start this Institute. Senator Ferricks gave the proposal a good deal of support ; but he wished tr> know whether it was intended that the Institute should work in conjunction with the State Institutes of the same kind. These are matters of detail; hut I believe that the Commonwealth authority is the proper authority to ‘be vested with, these powers. I believe that this is one of the Departments which can be centralized, in the interests of Australia. I have no doubt that the proposed Institute will be able to work in conjunction with similar establishments now existing in some of the States. I believe that its functions as set out in paragraph a of clause 13, which I nave just quoted, will cover practically everything/ necessary. Another wise provision is contained in clause 17, which provides that the directors may pay such bonuses as the Governor-General determines for. successful discoveries by officers of the Institute.” I believe that in the past State Governments - and since the establish ment of Federation, the Commonwealth Government- have not offered sufficient encouragement to inventive people in Australia, with the result that probably we have not as many inventors in proportion to our population as are to be found in other countries of the world.
I have nothing further to say except that I congratulate the Government on the introduction of the measure. It has not been introduced one day too soon. Now that the war outlook has brightened, we are justified in the hope that peace may come within a year, and, perhaps, within six months, -so that large numbers of Australian soldiers will have to be repatriated, and it must be the duty of the Commonwealth Government to see that their position is not worse than it was before the outbreak of war. Unless we take the fullest advantage of .our natural resources we will not be able to do this important work satisfactorily, and at the same time to carry the heavy burden of pensions which the Australian people will always cheerfully carry for those who have suffered at the Front.
– I am somewhat reluctant to address myself to the Bill, but I cannot allow such an important measure to pass without a few remarks. I congratulate (Senator Ferricks on his somewhat critical analysis of the measure. The principal note of criticism by Senator Ferricks and Senator Pratten appeared to be that there was not adequate co-operation between the Commonwealth and the States in this matter, but as one who was closely associated with the temporary Science Committee, being its first chairman for a considerable period, I know that every effort was made, and I have no doubt is being made, to insure co-operation of the various States. At the outset I know that everything that could be thought of was done in this direction, and I may add also that the States willingly co-operated with the Commonwealth Government. Every business concern in the world that is worth considering aims at getting the best brains possible to advise the management as to the best means of scientifically expanding.
I do not think that the establishment of the proposed Institute will remedy all the evils that Australia is heir to, from unscientific Tariffs down to unemployment. As far as a scientific Tariff is concerned, as an ardent Free Trader, I have been praying all my life that a Protectionist Government would give to Australia, a really scientific Tariff, if only to expose the fallacy that it will improve our conditions.. I am. not anticipating, therefore, that the Institute will remedy the defects, of the British character, which enabled Great Britain, impoverished, shall I say, by threequarters of a century of Free Trade, not only to finance herself during four years of the most gigantic war in history, but to finance most of her Allies as well. The Institute will not effect that.
– Order !
– I .am merely using the British character as an illustration for . my argument, and I hope you, sir, will allow me to continue.
In making a comparison between the British mind and the German mind- I do not pretend that I have given much thought to the subject - I may say that, as distinct from the attitude of the British scientists, the object of the German scientists always has been to link up discovery and invention with industrial production to a greater extent than has been noticeable in the Mother Country. By this I do not mean to suggest that Great Britain has done less in the realm of discovery than
Germany ; but it has appeared to me that British scientists have been more satisfied and absorbed in their own lines of discovery and invention, and have not, to the same extent as Germany, profited by the marvellous discoveries that have been made in various parts of the world.
I deny that the States have been overlooked by the Commonwealth in the matter of establishing this Institute of Science and Industry. If it is true that Mr. Holman and Mr. Ryan say otherwise, then all I can say is that I believe, any apparent lack of courtesy on the part of the Commonwealth Government can soon be remedied. There is a desire on the part of the Commonwealth Parliament - I am not speaking for the Commonwealth Government - to’ work hand in hand with the States in all these matters, and this, I believe, has been the attitude since the first Committee was appointed about three years ago.
Most of the States have been doing excellent work in scientific research; but, naturally, they have been expending most of their energies in the direction of coping with pests that have been menacing their staple industries, such, for instance,, as the blowfly pest, the cattle-tick pest, the prickly pear, and many others. When the Commonwealth temporary Committee came into existence, the first step taken was to get into communication with all the scientific bodies of the various States to ascertain how far they had1 gone with their investigations, and how much further the new organizations could assistthem. I have no. doubt that this work has progressed as it commenced. It may not te possible to represent the profits in £ s. d. on the balance-sheet of the Institute, but it may be represented by money that will be saved by preventing . other scientific investigators going twice over the same ground. Let me quote as an illustration the case of a man engaged, it may be, in the baking industry. Perhaps he has made an important discovery, as the result of which bread production may be cheaper and purer, but for want of scientific knowledge he is up against some little obstacle which he is unable to overcome. His discovery .may be of immense importance to the industry, and. in order to perfect it, he will have every confidence in approaching the Institute, because he will know that its members will not attempt to fleece him of the fruits of his research. It may be that the man. has been able to produce an article just as he had conceived it should be, and at other times, perhaps, he has failed, but it is quite possible that, as soon as he has laid the position before the scientific members of the Institute, they will be able to place their fingers on the weak spot, and perfect a discovery of world-wide importance. These are the lines upon which the’ Institute is working. In connexion with the gold-rnining industry, the Committee are giving earnest attention to the system by which gold deposits at certain depths can be tested scientifically, so that any further research in this direction will not be necessary. If their investigations fail, there will be no need for any one else to fail in the same field of research; but if, on the other hand, they are successful, the results will be found ia the balance-sheets of the mining companies.
I mention these facts in order to remove from the minds of honorable senators an impression that there is any desire on the part of the Commonwealth authorities- to ignore the States. I am speaking, of course, of my association with the Committee in the earlier stages of its work, and I have no hesitation in saying that there has not been the slightest desire to overlook the importance of the work which the State Governments have been doing. We know that the war has caused a great scarcity of cotton, and the fact that it can be produced in many parts of Australia is worthy of the attention of our best scientific men.
– In some-parts of Australia ‘cotton grows without cultivation.
– Exactly. And the _ problem that . the ‘ industry is up against is the perfecting of some scientific method for gathering the cotton, so as to bring its production within the realm of possibility in Australia, where high wages prevail. I know that the whole Committee were devoting much attention to a very ingenious machine which had been submitted by one inventor whose work had been greatly aided by the suggestions he had received from some of the practical men upon it. The result was that we were then within measurable distance of securing a cottonpicking machine which seemed, destined to place the cotton industry in a position, perhaps, not second to that occupied by the woollen industry. These are the directions in which the Institute will tend to bring science to the aid of industry.
I listened with very great attention to the remarks of Senator Pratten in regard to the necessity for choosing hard-headed practical men as directors of .the Institute. Personally, I do not care how many letters are attached to the names of the directors. The more the better. But, after men have been selected who because of their accomplishments are known to possess certain qualifications, it will be very difficult to choose practical men. Sometimes it happens that the practical man is too hard-headed. In matters of discovery, I think that what is required is a man of fairly wide imagination and large sympathy. By way of illustration, I may mention an episode which occurred during the early stages of the war, when the Defence Department was being practically inundated with inventions. One inventor had evidently been reading something about the use of steel helmets for the purpose of protecting the heads of troops. He submitted a model of a very ingenious helmet. The outer lining of it was composed of zinc, and this lining worked on a pivot. The military objection urged to it was that the bullet upon striking the helmet might be thrown in any direction. But the hard-headed genius who had to deal with it at the Defence Department put it up at a distance of a few yards and fired several shots into it from his revolver. The result was that he riveted the . outside lining to the inner shell of the helmet, so that the former would not revolve. He then brought it into the Department to show what would happen to the helmet under service conditions. He was altogether oblivious of the fact that the outside zinc lining in the model was merely a substitute for the steel that would be used in the real article. There was the hard-headed military man.
– He was so hardheaded that an idea could not penetrate his head.
– At any rate, what I have related is a fact. I am quite sure that no scientist would do what that military officer did.
I am not at all surprised at the speech which was delivered this afternoon by Senator Fairbairn. It was typical of a man of his class. Here is the Commonwealth about to establish an Institute of Science and Industry for the purpose of enabling industry, aided by science, to make greater progress. Naturally, be at once asks, “ Is not private enterprise “already doing that? Has not the Colonial Sugar Refining Company seventy-one chemists in its employ ? “ Certainly it has, but that company takes very fine care that the public shall not benefit, save indirectly, from its labours. Senator Bakhap. - Does the honorable senator think that the whole of the sugargrowers have not available to them many of the discoveries made by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company?
– So far as discoveries and inventions are concerned, it frequently pays big companies to keep new inventions off the market. If Senator Fairbairn’s argument meant anything, it meant, “Here are great companies with their scientists and their chemists. Therefore, we should leave the work to them. Private enterprise should be sufficient.”
– Private enterprise has done a great deal in Australia in the way of scientific research.
– No doubt; but wherever I have seen a successful business man I have seen a man who has been able to purchase -the brains of scientists and others, and to make use of them. Then he has patted himself upon the chest and has talked about his capacity to make money. These individuals are alarmed when they hear an entire community saying, “ We are not going to depend upon you, because you may withhold inventions which “would have the effect of making food cheaper.
We intend to establish an Institute of Science and Industry in the interests of the whole community, and with that end in view we propose to harness industry to science.” That is what this Bill aims at accomplishing. From the day that itpasses, this Parliament will be able to say that it has taken the initiative in the direction I have indicated, and that it has done so in the interests of the whole community. I have no particular “set” against private enterprise. Senator Pratten knows perfectly well that he and the companies with which he is associated will make all the profits they legitimately can, until the people have sufficient intelligence to take those profits unto themselves. I do not blame him for that. But. Senator Fairbairn well voiced the fears of the section which he so ably represents in this Chamber. In this new departure he sees that private enterprise is about to be displaced by public enterprise. I can see a huge expenditure in connexion with this proposal. To talk about an outlay of £20,000 a year on the Institute is ridiculous, The Department which we are about to create will grow, and, if it does not, it will not be worth calling into existence. I do not believe in shutting my eyes to the fact that we are about to create a huge Department, for which the people of the Commonwealth will have to pay. Anything which can be obtained for nothing is worth nothing. A good thing one must always pay for.
– And a good thing pays for itself.
– A good thing will pay for itself indirectly, and in many ways directly.
In connexion with this Bill, let me point to the cattle industry and to the sheep industry. Suppose that either of the pests attacking these industries were successfully dealt with as the result of the united effort of the proposed new Institute. Suppose that it successfully combated the prickly pear pest, the result would be that the Institute would pay for itself ten thousand times over. I do not think that the Institute will be one to which any person will be able to go and say, “ I have been working upon this invention. Tell me whether there is anything in it or not.” Rather will it be a bureau for the collection of information. Why, one of the first duties undertaken by its secretary was that of collecting a library. Letters were sent out to the four corners of the earth, with a view to securing the latest books upon all manner - of inventions. How often does history show that two great minds are simultaneously working upon the same invention, and practically along similar lines? What assistance it would be to a man to be able to obtain the latest literature dealing with any particular invention! What untold labour might thus be saved to him ! This Science Committee has already accomplished, much in that direction.
I put these facts before the Senate in the hope that honorable senators will banish from their minds all idea that the Institute will accomplish anything in the way of . devising a scientific Tariff. We have had an adequate measure of Protection during the last four years. During that period most of the industries which have been called into existence by the generosity of the people of Australia have seized the opportunity to double the cost of their products, so soon as they found the consumers in a tight corner. I wish well to the Institute which it is .proposed to call into existence.
If I may be permitted to touch upon the question of the salaries that are to be paid to the gentlemen upon whom will devolve the direction of this Institute in its early stages, I would say, “ By all means let us have the best men available.”
– Where shall we get the best - from the States?
– I am quite world-wide in my views upon that aspect of the matter. If there are 100 good men available in the States, and there are only three or four positions to be filled, I am quite sure there will be a number of persons who- will think that they could lo the work much better than can the gentlemen who will be appointed. I suppose that the Government have already chosen their first- directorate. If we require the most highly trained brains in the Commonwealth to ‘do our work we shall have to make up our minds to pay for them. It is idle to say that we must have second-rate men, because we cannot afford to pay first-class salaries. We must pay salaries commensurate with the abilities of the directors, and of the services which they will render to the Commonwealth. We need to recognise that under this Bill we shall be linking science to industry .just as has been done in connexion with the introduction of the Taylor system in industrial circles in America. There a number of experts are given charge of a factory-
– Is that a scientific discovery ?
– Quite. These men have been scientifically trained to avoid waste. A man who has been running his factory probably for twenty years with the best brains he can get hears of this new system. One of its experts is put in. He makes himself known to the manager in charge, and the manager tells him there is no room for any saving, yet in a few weeks ‘or months practically a saving of 25 per cent, in waste is made.
Fortunes are made by the fact .that- scientific management is brought into the factories. The system has been applied even to such an unscientific matter as the carrying of pig iron by labourers to the wharfs. Men have been known, under scientific training, to do about ten times “the work of men undirected, although the latter bave been at the work all their lives. Under successful scientific management every rest possible is given to the man to enable him to continue his arduous labour, and the savings are enormous. I remember the little steel ball bearings which it was the work of the girls engaged in one factory to fin et the flaws in. A scientist was put in, and, instead of those girls working ten hour* a day, their hours were reduced to eight, they had two intervals during the day for rest, their wages were increased by something like 25 per cent., and about three, times the amount of work was accomplished. Those, are the results that have been achieved, when scientificmethods have been applied to factories whose management believed that it wa,s above all improvement.
In a great young Commonwealth like this, where the whole of the business management has been left to people who have been trying to get rich quickly, and who have never had time to consider the question of linking up science with their businesses-
– The honorable senator’s complaint is that so many have succeeded in getting rich.
– All my . com. plaint has been, that so many have been left poor. I have never shown. here, or on the platform outside, any envious feelings against the rich, but at a time like this, when we see the very poorest, including many whom some of us would probably at one time have felt inclined to hold in contempt, not only doing their share, but more than their snare, to make our positions secure for us here, my complaint rightly is that too many of the most deserving are left poor. When I see in the proposal to establish this Institute the desire of Parliament expressed to get the best for the nation by linking up science to industry, I wish the ‘Government well with their Bill, and wish success also to those who will be called upon to direct the early days of the new body.
Debate (on motion by Senator Senior) adjourned.
Seriate adjourned at 9.35 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 October 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19181002_senate_7_86/>.