7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act 1903-1918. - Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1918, No. 241.
LandsAcquisition Act 1906-1916. - Land acquired at Westernport, Victoria - For Defence purposes.
War Precautions Act 1914-1916. - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1918, No. 247.
SenatorO’KEEFE. - Last week I asked the Minister for Defence for some information in explanation of the withholding from the World newspaper in Hobart Mr. Justice Harvey’s report on the inquiry connected with the Irish internees. The Minister asked me to postpone the question, and I ask it again now, because I understand that he is in a position to supply the information asked for.’
– (By leave) - With reference to the issue of Mr. Justice Harvey’s report relative to certain internees, I desire to furnish the following additional facts: - The original copy of the report was handed by. me to the Secretary late on Saturday morning,’ the 21st September, and certain of the staff were retained all Sunday to make special copies. At noon on the 21st Captain Hayes, who is acting as Deputy Chief Censor during the absence of Colonel McColl on sick leave, was asked by the Secretary to supply a list of the morning newspapers in each State. This list was received about 11 a.m. on Monday, the 23rd, and sufficient copies of. report were forwarded, under registered cover, to Military Commandants (except Victoria) on that date, with instructions to acknowledge receipt by wire. On the Secretary submitting the list supplied by the Acting Deputy Chief Censor to me on the morning of the 24th, I noticed that the Daily Post, Hobart, and the Daily Standard, Brisbane,* had been omitted, and directed that these two publications should receive copies, if they were morning publications.
Inquiries were at once made at the Censor’s Office, and reply received in the afternoon that the Daily Post was now the World, and was a morning paper, but that the first issue of the Standard was not published until 12.30 p.m. The latter was not, therefore, entitled to a copy under the conditions of issue. Copy was sent to the Commandant, Tasmania, on the 24th September, for the World, but as the mail on that date closed for registered letters at 9.45 a.m. it caught that of the 25th, and .was delivered on the 27th. On the Acting Deputy Chief Censor being asked for an explanation in regard to the omission of the World from the list, he states it occurred owing to his being under the impression that the paper appeared in the afternoon, and was not a morning journal. It was decided to present the report to Parliament on Thursday, the 26th September - which was earlier than anticipated - and it became necessary, therefore, to release copies for the morning press on the evening of that day. Thursday was a holiday, and the officer dealing with the matter was absent from duty; otherwise arrangements might have been made for the Commandant in Tasmania to have had a special copy struck off for issue to the World, as the copy sent from Melbourne on the 25th September could not reach Hobart in time. The release of the report on the 26th September also precluded the “Western Australian papers from receiving their copies in time.
– Arising out of the answer to my question I ask the Minister for Defence if ho will instruct the Censor to be a little more careful in the discharge of his very onerous and important duties, and find out what daily newspapers are published in the Commonwealth. The Censor received instructions to issue Mr. Justice Harvey’s report to the morning newspapers, and his reply is that he did not know that the World was a morning newspaper. He might easily have found out, as there are only two morning newspapers published in Hobart. I ask the Minister if he will instruct the Censor to see that such a mistake is not committed again, and to find out what daily newspapers are published in the Commonwealth?
– That has already been represented to the Censor, by my instructions.
Preference to Returned Soldiers
– Is it the policy of the Government to discharge men in their employ to make room for returned soldiers?
– I ask the honorable senator to give notice of his question, since it is not possible to answer it briefly.
Senator GARDINER.^1 give notice of the question; but, arising out of the answer by the Minister- for Repatriation, I should like to ask another question, and I think I shall be in . order in quoting a few words to make my question intelligible. I received a letter from a member of the Government in reply to a communication from myself in connexion with a case of hardship through a’ man being put out of his employment to find room for a returned soldier, in which the Minister said -
The Government have decided, in connexion with casual employment, that returned soldiers shall receive first preference, and shall replace eligibles wherever possible.
I now ask whether, if Ministers intend tq make room for returned soldiers by replacing eligibles, Mr. Groom, Mr. Orchard, Mr. Massy Greene, Senator Russell, and Senator Pearce - all members of the Government of military age - will be asked to make room for returned soldiers ?
– Unfortunately, all the members of the Government mentioned by the honorable senator are beyond the military age, -and, therefore, in fairness to them he should not have made his statement.
– May I ask the Minister for Defence what is the military age?
– The military age is forty-five, and, unfortunately, I am fortyeight years of age. .
– I rise .to apologize. I was under the impression that, for a considerable time past, the military age had been extended to fifty years. I withdraw ‘ what I said under that impression.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
New Guinea Development Company
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
Will the Minister give an outline of the main points in connexion with the law cases brought against the New Guinea Development Company to protect the interests of the natives employed by them?
– The answer is -
The British New Guinea Development Company lodged complaints against twenty-eight native labourers for desertion without reasonable cause. After a hearing of three and a half days, the complaints were dismissed by the magistrates, on the ground that defendants had reasonable ground for deserting, inasmuch as the employers had failed to supply the defendants with good and sufficient food. Two guineas costs were given against the company in each case. An application was then made on behalf of the twenty-eight labourers for cancellation of their contract of service. An inquiry was held, and the contracts were cancelled. The facts disclosed during the course of inquiry were brought before the local Executive Council, when it was ordered that no more labour should be signed on, transferred, or hired to Messrs. Jensen and Nunn, who had been the principal officials of the company on this particular estate, and that no more labour should be signed on to any person or company having either of those persons in their employ.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
What are the approximate net earnings of the Commonwealth Shipping Line for the year ending 30th June, 1918? Has any depreciation been allowed for since the purchase of the steamers ?
– The information desired by the honorable senator will be obtained and furnished as soon as possible.
Tin Smelters and Producers’ Associa tion - Personnel of Metal Associations.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
When will full publicity be given to all particulars of the Tin Smelters and Producers’ Association outlined in the Ministerial answer to question No.6 on the business-paper of the Senate of 2nd October,1918?
– Full particulars of the Tin Producers’ Association will be given at the earliest possible date.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
What are the names, occupations, and addresses of the persons constituting-
The Zinc Producers’ Association;
The Copper Producers’ Association;
The Associated Lead Smelters; and what firms or companies do they represent?
– The Zinc Producers’ Association Proprietary Limited, the Copper Producers’ Association Proprietary Limited, and the Broken Hill Associated Smelters’ Proprietary Limited are proprietary companies registered under the Victorian Companies Act. The names of the shareholders of the two firstmentioned companies were given by me in answers to the question asked yesterday by the honorable senator. The names of the shareholders of the Broken Hill Associated Smelters’ Proprietary Limited are as follow: - Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited, North Broken Hill Limited, Broken Hill South S.M. Company, Zinc Corporation Limited, British Broken Hill Company Limited.
– Arising out of the answer given by the Minister, I point out that I asked specifically, and I shall ask again, for the names of persons who represent these companies on the associations. I assume that the Minister has not the information at his disposal now, but that is what I want to know.
– I want to say, with all due respect to honorable senators, that I do not feel that I am called upon to answer, without notice, questions which are allegedly based upon answers given to questions on notice.
– That is not fair. The honorable senator asked for leave to give notice yesterday.
-Since that is the position, as stated by Senator O’Keefe, I shall appeal to you, Mr. President, and ask if the honorable senator is in order in asking that question?
– I understand that Senator Pratten obtained leave yesterday to ask the question which appears on the notice-paper to-day, and the Minister has given his official reply. Beyond that I do not think the Minister should be asked to go, except on further notice.
– Is it possible, Mr. President, to give notice now?
– Only by leave of the Senate.
– Then, may I ask for leave to give notice ?
– Is it the pleasure of the Senate that Senator Pratten have leave to give notice of the question indicated ?
– There being one objector, the honorable gentleman cannot have leave.
– I objected because I think the honorable senator should make himself acquainted with our Standing Orders.
Motion (by Senator Needham) agreed to-
That the Order of the Day be read and discharged, and the Bill withdrawn.
Debate resumed from 2nd October (vide page 6538), on motion by Senator Russell -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
– I welcome the introduction of the Bill, because I consider it one of the most important measures than can occupy the attention of the Senate, and because it will be far-reaching in its effects. There is not the slightest doubt that research work carried on in connexion with the proposed Institute will do very much for the development of Australia. Up to the present time much of our work in this direction has been done by ruleofthumb methods rather than upon results of scientific investigations. I do not know why it is so, but in the minds of many persons there seems to be a prejudice against the scientist - a feeling that his researches have something in connexion with the long distance of the stars, or with the minutest of molecules, or with some tiny bacteria that cause disease. They forget that science, as the handmaiden of industry, has given to us many of the advantages that we enjoy to-day. Indeed, there are few business men who would be prepared to dispense with the advantages for which they are indebted to science. Where is the business man who would feel satisfied with the condition of things that obtained at the beginning of the nineteenth century? Assuming Australia had beensettled at that time, it would have taken four or five days for a letter sent from Melbourne to reach Sydney, and if it had been addressed to a person living farther north he might possibly have received it some time before Christmas. To-day he knows that within a very brief period of his communication being posted it will be read by its recipient in Sydney. But should he desire even quicker means of communication, he has merely to use the telephone in order to be brought practically face to face with his correspondent at the other end of the line. The student who in those times was obliged to use a tallow candle at night now has’ the advantage of the electric light. Yet the business man does not think that science has assisted him. He fails to realize his obligations to it. He does not appreciate the swift sea carriage and the rapid locomotion by land which is possible to-day. As a matter of fact, many of the remedies which assuage our physical ills and make life more endurable than it would otherwise be, have been gifts from the hands of science. Why, then, should science be treated so scurvily by those upon whom she has conferred the richest benefits ? There was a time when the merchant was obliged to wait months for his oversea merchandise, but to-day, if it is a few hours late, he is very loud in his complaints. He is loath to acknowledge what science has done for him. But surely it is incumbent upon us to recognise that it is the discovery of to-day which makes possible a solution of other problems that immediately confront us. I fail to see why the scheme which is embodied in this Bill should be regarded as too costly for the Commonwealth to undertake. If, for the defence of our homes, we are prepared to raise hundreds of millions sterling, surely we ought to be no less niggardly in our regard for the development of our country and the betterment of the conditions of those who will come after us. I do not forget that the result of one research undertaken by the British Science and Industry Committee in connexion with an improved process for the extraction of tin, was to increase the returns of the Cornish tin mines by 5 per cent. - or an equivalent in value of £30,000 per annum.
In Australia, it must not be forgotten, we are not called upon to deal with one metal only. The field for research is so wide that one scarcely knows where to begin. The more closely the position is studied, the greater are the possibilities which present themselves to our gaze. In connexion with the extraction of metals from ores, we recognise that posterity will be confronted with precisely similar obstacles to those which we encountered in dealing with some of the older metals. We all remember when the extraction of silver at the Broken Hill mines was an extremely difficult operation. Not until a scientific man came to our aid was that difficulty removed. Though it may be to our shame to confess it, the solution of the difficulty was not the result of British research.
– Others took the credit for it.
– And very largely it was honestly due to them.
– I dispute that.
– Will the honorable senator name one single improvement in connexion with the extraction of metal from crude ores, during the past twenty years, which can be credited to an Englishman.
– Stewart did more for Broken Hill than did any other man.
-Where did the marvellous improvements in connexion with our dyes come from? I admit that the first discovery was that of an Englishman, but I know that one firm in Germany spent £750,000 in the discovery of a single dye. I know, too, that the very bunting which we so proudly fly in Australia was probably produced with the aid of dyes that were made in Germany.
– The honorable senator did not confine his observation to dyes.
– The internal combustion engine of the Diesel type was perfected, not by a Britisher, but by a foreigner. It is characteristic of the Englishman that he is more conservative and moves more slowly than do the men of other races. The perfection of our system of electric lighting came from Faraday. When Faraday explained it to Mr. W. E. Gladstone, he asked, “What use will it be? “ and the reply was, “ It will be something you will be able to tax by-and-by.” That has been characteristic of the history of our industries, and we cannot wonder that the hard-headed business man has frequently felt that the difficulties confronting him in improving his industry were too great. Only when the conviction is forced on him that his business is being taken from him by another nation does he begin to take notice.
In a book called The First Principles of Production, by Taylor Peddie, F.S.S., a quite recent publication, it is stated -
A manufacturer will naturally and properly seek to obtain a reasonable profit on his costs, but these should be -costs determined not by the use of obsolete plant, but of an equipment designed and intended to produce the most economical results, so that if present exigencies give him admission into new markets, he may in the future be able to retain them on his merits.
Then, contrasting German methods with English, the author says -
For instance, colonial and foreign buyers complain that the British manufacturer will not supply what they want, but what he thinks they should use, because it is what he is in the habit of making.
Will my honorable friend say that that has not been characteristic of the British manufacturer ?
– Not to the extent suggested.
– Very largely it has been.
– Yet our Government charge income tax on scrapped machinery.
– Such a tax might induce a hard-headed business man to install superior machinery, which would help him to earn a still greater amount. The Bill is at least a step in the right direction, and should aid Australia very largely in the development of its resources. With regard to dye-stuffs, which I mentioned just now, it was an Englishman that made the discovery, but it was the German chemists who perfected it.
The difficulties in the way of the hearty reception of this measure may be classified in this way : First, there is the tendency to regard science as divided into pure science and applied science. Science is really the accumulation of facts, and not the deduction of theories from facts. When it has acquired the facts and tabulated them, its conclusions are just as certain as the conclusion of a syllogism. Science accumulates facts, not theories, and there is no difference between pure and applied science in the application of those facts. Another difficulty is the absence of co-operation to secure the benefits of science for more than one person or one company. If business men engaged in related businesses throughout the world were to co-operate and enlist the aid of science, we should see a great advance both in discoveries and in the method of carrying on business. I hail the introduction of this measure, because in some ways it follows very largely the lines of the British Act. The intention of the British Institute of Science and Industry was to effect a linking-up in any trade where there was similarity of experience and similarity of difficulties to be overcome. For instance, after the war began England was brought face to face with the fact that her markets had been flooded with German pottery. The British pottery makers joined together, and asked the new Institute of Scienceand Industry to undertake certain research work, at the same time offering to pay part or the whole of the cost, on condition that the results should be common to all those in the combination.
– Have not the English manufacturers the lead in pottery?
– Not at present. Their trade has largely been divided, and we find other nations leading in various kinds of ware. In this country there is an even wider field for the development of the pottery industry than there was in Great Britain. According to the report, that question has already been gone into here. I was talking the other day with a gentleman engaged in the pottery trade down our way, or at least in the industry of drain-pipe making, which is a very simple form of the pottery trade after all. I asked him why we were so largely importing crockery when we ought to be making it ourselves. I pointed out the enormous freights that were now being charged, and the large amount of space occupied in the ship’s hold by such bulky packages. That would lead, I said, to a considerable amount being added to the cost for carriage and I asked why we were not making these things in Australia, because we could never hope for a protective Tariff that would raise the costs on imported ware as high as they were now.
If ever there was an opportunity to start new industries, there are favouring circumstances surrounding us to-day which cannot be repeated when peace shall have come.
– Except the absence of security of tenure.
– Not that; unless we are prepared to confess that after we have started an industry it may be taken from us by the competition of another; and that would be <a confession that business men of Australia are not prepared to meet the open competition of the world. Take the circumstances of a local potter. Such an individual, in setting out upon pottery production in Australia, has the advantage of the experience of centuries. He is aMe to profit by early mistakes, and may take advantage of the most up-to-date research; but what is the result to-day? It is that Flinders-lane - to epitomize the Australian merchant - wants to acquire as profit on the local production the whole of the difference between what it would pay for the same article in England and what it pays for carriage here, plus the fact that the local manufacturer must deliver to Flinderslane all goods in sound . condition - a stipulation which the local merchant can never exact from the English manufacturer. Flinders-Lane no more expects to have to approach the local manufacturer than to be required to go to the maker in England. . I know that the local maker would be prepared to divide that margin of profit; but the merchant asks for the whole. And can it be wondered at that, when the Australian manufacturer sees, his articles sold by the local merchant at the same prices as -are applied to the English manufacture, he says, “ This is not a fair deal for Australia “ ?
– He always has the right to go to the retail distributor.
– But the merchant does not go to the retail distributor. The retailer comes to him. Might not the local merchant huyer say, “ Why does not every maker of goods come to my shop ? Why does not the English maker come here to me?” But he does not say so. He extracts from the Australian maker more than he would demand from the manufacturer overseas, and that does not tend to the carrying out of our motto, “ Advance Australia.”
– I think you are unfair to our local wholesale distributors.
– Not at all.
– I ask the honorable senator not to pursue that line of argument. It has nothing to do with this Bill.
– I am using it as an argument that when science has assisted and research has resulted in, the’ establishment of industries of this kind in . Australia, it is no more than right that the manufacturer should share in the benefits accruing, just as the merchant does.
The cry is heard, “We could get this before science stepped in, and why go to all this trouble now? Why should the Government incur the expense of establishing this institution when we can get the same results without such expenditure?” People who advance that argument should ask themselves, “ Is that the way Australia, oan advance? ls that the way to bring population to Australia, and security with population ? “ It must be patent to all that if we are to hold Australia for Australians, it can only be when our empty spaces are filled; when we cease to be producers of raw material only, seeing that no nation in the world’s history has become wealthy by producing raw material alone. It is a fallacy and a short-sighted and idiotic policy to spend our strength in excavating ore from the earth, and then send it to the other side of the world to be treated and made into goods, which goods eventually return to us. And, as we buy, we know full well that we shall have to pay for the labour which treated that ore and turned it into goods - labour that is not living in our midst, and with regard to which we might just as well have paid our money away, to local manufacturing citizens, who would be helping us, as well as themselves, all the time. .
When we say that we are compelled to send our metals, and our wool, and other products to Europe, and to look to their return in- the form of foreign-made goods, it appears to me that that is quite unlike Australian initiative. It looks as though we had not the pluck to launch out for ourselves and compete with the world. Personally, I prefer the Australianmade article every time; but, unfortunately, it is not always easily obtainable. It is argued that Australia covers a wide area, and that it will be very difficult to apply the assistance of science to our manufacturers, seeing that they are scattered over so huge a space. One man may be making a certain class of article in Perth, and his nearest neighbour turning out the same line of goods may be established in Brisbane. In England there are, in almost every town, groups of manufacturers who could ‘be linked up and easily assisted by the Government.
It seems that the world struggle in which we are engaged is going to quicken the thought of men by enabling them to realize the value of co-operation, not in the sense of a co-operative store, but the co-operation of merchant with merchant and manufacturer with manufacturer for the common good. There may be some force in the argument that because our population is small and widely scattered over a large area it may be difficult here to work upon these lines. But there are many industries which may be so linked up, and the larger enterprises able to carry out research on their own account may be stimulated to further efforts by a knowledge of the research carried on in other industries.
There are certain industries which may be called key industries, that depend largely on others with which they are associated. In introducing the Bill the Minister made reference to the industry of the manufacture of dyes, and I refer to it as an illustration of the way in which industries are linked together. The amount of money which Great Britain has expended on the manufacture of dyes is from £2,000,000 to £2,500,000, but the value of manufactures affected by that expenditure runs into £200,000,000. The possession of the manufacture of dyes by a foreign country involved a practical control by that country over the whole of” the related industries carried on in Great Britain. Let us consider the skill and thought by which Germany got the power into her own hands to control practically the woollen, cotton and other industries of Great Britain. We are aware that these dyes are largely extracted from gas tar. For many years the only element which we extracted from coal was heat. It was used to provide warmth in our homes. Many years later a second element, gas, was extracted from coal to supply light, and it was not until then that such a thing as gas tar was known, except, perhaps, to scientists, who’ may possibly have discovered it in the course of their experiments. Germany became the purchaser of all the gas tar that she could procure from England for the sole purpose of extracting dyes from it, and through the manufacture of these dyes she controlled the manufacture of cotton and woollens in Great Britain.
But the story does not end there. Germany had not sufficient gas tar to meet the demand of her dye trade. She was importing iron, but decided to use her own iron ores, and by the establishment of coke ovens for the smelting of iron she gathered, not only from England, but from the products of her coke ovens, supplies of -the gas tar she required for her dye industry. By the adoption of this course, she imported less iron, and had more for export. To such an extent did her industry in this direction advance, that to-day, whereas Great Britain is manufacturing about 7,000,000 tons of steel each year, Germany is making 18,000,000 tons. Following up the development of one manufacture, it is found that its by-product becomes the principal element to another manufacture.
– Is the honorable senator not exaggerating Germany’s output of steel?
– No. I have a book here from which I can give the honorable senator the exact figures.
– The output of Germany is not nearly so great as stated by the honorable senator.
– I think that Senator de Largie will find that ft is, but at the moment I am unable to find the reference. I am calling attention to the development of these industries, to show how science may be used for the development of matters quite outside its immediate research. ‘ It is often said that quite as much is due to chance as to science. That is to say that some chance discovery has led to wonderful developments in particular directions. It may be that it was only by a chance discovery in connexion with the revolution of a small dynamo that Faraday noticed the power generated) and we have to-day the dynamo which is the source of our electric lighting. But I say that there had to be associated with the chance the scientist who was able to observe the effect. It may be that it- was only by chance Perkins discovered the secret of the manufacture of dyes in England, and came suddenly upon it when he was looking for something entirely different. But it required the scientific man. to detect the discovery at the time. If the effect which disclosed the secret were observed by a person who did not possess scientific knowledge, it would have passed without notice. The increase in the manufacture of steel and the smelting of iron in Germany involved an increase in the production of the material from which dyes were made. Prom that’ gas tar material other things were shortly produced. The chemists set to work and obtained from it naphthaline and a large quantity of benzol on the one side, and on the other side creosote and pitch.
– Those things are obtained from coal, and not from iron. .
– I do not say that they are obtained from iron, but from the product of the coke oven used in the smelting of iron. The refuse from the coke is shown to be the raw material of the dye manufacturer, and the manufacture of dyes gives the key to the control of the larger industries of the manufacture of cotton and wool.
But there is still more to be said. Prom these materials the German chemist has been able to extract some of the most powerful explosives known to the world to-day. Whilst increasing her output of steel and thus increasing her power to produce materials necessary for the manufacture of dyes, Germany obtained the power also to produce explosives to be used when “ The Day,” of which we have heard so much, should come.
– Germany has not discovered a single thing in connexion with the manufacture of steel.
– I am not dealing with that just now, but illustrating the remarkable discoveries which follow from chemical research. Working on the lines to which I have referred, the German chemist found that there was another element with which he might deal. It was a liquid which came from the process of clarifying gas. It contained ammonia, and up to 1878 in Germany this substance was cast aside as of no value. It was then carefully examined, and ammonia extracted from it. At that time Germany was importing sulphate of ammonia to the value of something like £300,000 per annum for her beet industry, and was also importing potash from Chili. With the introduction of improved conditions of manufacture, the extraction of the sulphate of ammonia from the liquor obtained in the purification of gas, Germany was enabled later to develop the wonderful deposit of potash at Strasburg, and was no longer dependent upon the importation of nitrates or saltpetre from Chili. She did this by attacking the atmosphere and making war, so to speak, on the very air she breathed. She did it first of all by extracting the ammonia, and then by a chemical process converting the ammonia into nitric acid. She succeeded at one blow in converting three materials previously regarded’ as waste materials into a valuable product, which she had been importing largely from other countries. , I take that as an illustration of what this Institute may be able to do in other directions.
We want potash in Australia, and I noticed, in the No. 3 bulletin issued by the Institute, that alunite deposits occur in New South Wales, and also’ in South Australia. Alunite, a substance somewhat like clay, might come under the observation of the average person without exciting any in- terest ; but to the trained eye it contains very many other valuable products. Australia imports largely of potash salts from other countries, but we learn from the bulletin to which I refer that potash may be extracted from alunite by a simple process, and, moreover, that when the potash has been extracted there remains aluminium, another valuable product, and the clay itself may then be used by the potter.
In connexion with this matter, I had a very interesting experience a few months ago, when on a visit to Queensland. For the first time in my life I had an opportunity of inspecting her wonderful cane-fields, and her still more wonderful forests, and of handling many good specimens of Queensland products. In conversation with men who were handling cane for sugar production, I learned that they had a very considerable amount of molasses as a by-product, for which they had no immediate use. .It has been demonstrated, however, that molasses play an important part in the extraction of potash from alunite.
Lt. -Colonel O’loghlin. - By using it as fuel?
– No; not by using it as fuel, but by mixing it directly with alunite ‘ crushed to a £-inch mesh. It has been found that as molasses contain carbon, the disintegration of alunite is more effective when mixed with molasses. Here, then, is an answer to our business friends who are always asking what science has done for our industrial enterprises. This bulletin shows that the byproduct or waste material of one industry, such as molasses from sugar production, may be of real value to another - the extraction of potash from alunite.
The results of these experiments demonstrate the truth of the axiom, that no man lives to himself. We do not lead independent lives from a social stand-point, and even when a man enters business it is not possible for him to work for himself alone. I do not want to labour this question, but I wish to interest my fellow-legislators, for I feel that we stand upon the threshold of important events; and that, by the encouragement of scientific research in connexion with our metals or refractory ores, there is before us a vista of possibilities never seen before.
But here let me say that it struck me as somewhat strange that at the outset the Institute did not set about taking stock of Australia’s potentialities. If a merchant intends to purchase a business, his first concern will he to obtain stock-sheets in order to ascertain what the proposition may be worth. It seems strange, therefore, that, so far as I know, there has never been any computation of the products of Australia, or of any district or State of Australia. I notice by a British report for 1916-17, presented to the Privy Council, that South Africa proposes to take a census of her stock, including minerals, and this, I presume; will cover the numerous chemical byproducts as well. Let me quote a case in point to demonstrate what 1 mean. When travelling from Adelaide the other day in company with Senator Guthrie, my colleague placed in my hand a piece of heavy-spar, and asked me if I could tell him to what use it was put. I informed him that it has a variety of uses, and that it enters into various manufacturing processes, such as the loading of leather, glass manufacture, some process of paper-making, and other industries. I presume this is one of the minerals of which South Africa proposes to take stock, and it seems to me that the proposed Institute, with which we are now dealing, should also do something in this direction.
– But have we not geological reports from various experts of the different States dealing with these matters?
– Yes, but as a rule our geological reports belong to another age, and cannot be relied upon for uptodate information. We should have a consolidation of all these different reports so that we may know just exactly what our possibilities are.
South Africa, I understand, intends also to take a stock of her botanical resources. What about Australia’s potentialities in this direction? There is scarcely a plant growing anywhere in the world that cannot be successfully cultivated in some part of Australia. Indeed, some of them are indigenous to our soil. Very few of our indigenous plants have been tested for their medicinal value, and who can say that sheltered beneath their leaves, or contained. in their bark or roots, there may not be something of immense value to mankind? The contemplation of these possibilities .certainly opens up a wide field for scientific research in this fair land of ours.
There is no reason why we should not have definite information as to the wealth of our forests. For the first time in my life, while in Queensland recently, I was in what might be called a jungle - so dense that it seemed strange that trees of such great height ‘ and immense girth could grow so closely together; with between them smaller trees of different varieties. Then as if Nature intended that not one single inch of space should be left unoccupied, therewere twining plants creeping up the trunks of the trees, and away up on the bark, 100 feet or more, were to be found many varieties of ferns, all luxuriating towards the sunshine. We are face to face with infinite possibilities in Australia, but in connexion with our timber resources I do not think there has ever been any survey, though it is quite likely that properly and scientifically controlled our forests may be the source from which we may draw wealth enough to extinguish our war debt. In Australia, there is abundant room for an Institute such as it is intended to establish under this Bill. South Africa, I learn, is about to obtain a computation of the water-power that is available there, and that power will be utilized for industrial and other purposes. Unfortunately, there is not in the Commonwealth water-power of equal magnitude; but that is no reason why we should not ascertain our potentialities in this respect. South Africa further proposes to undertake investigatory work in connexion with its fisheries. We have already conducted investigations upon similar lines, and consequently are aware of the possibilities of the fishing grounds to be found within our territorial waters. It is clear, therefore, that the establishment of this Institute ought to wonderfully stimulate the development of our resources.
I come now to the Bill itself. I confess that I am not in love with it. It partakes too much of the nature of a skeleton. It is clothed with too little flesh. Take, for example, its provisions in regard to the establishment of Advisory Councils. I believe it is the intention of the Government to create State Advisory Councils. But, if one may judge of the position from the provisions contained in the Bill, the Commonwealth does not want any assistance from the States. There are only three clauses dealing with this question. Clause 11 says -
No provision is made as to what should be the representation on these Councils. The Bill does not set out whether the agricultural industry, the pastoral industry, or any other industry shall be represented upon them”; nor does it say how far manufactures shall be represented upon them. Sub-clause 2 of the same clause reads -
The members of the Advisory Council in each State shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral, and shall receive fees and travelling expenses as prescribed for attendance at meetings.
Clause 12 provides -
One or more of the directors shall meet and confer with each Advisory Council at least once a year.
I know that in my own State there is an Advisory Council, consisting of four members. One of these gentlemen is connected with the School of Mines, another with the University, and there are two gentlemen from outside.
– What about clause 14?
– I am now dealing with the Advisory Councils of the States. In my opinion, the Bill discloses an utter lack of that grip which the Minister should have upon this Institute, and upon the representatives of our various industries. If representatives are to be appointed from the primary and secondary industries, the measure should provide for a visit of one of the directors to each State more than once a year.
– The Bill says “ at least once a year.”
– The honorable senator has to come here once in three months, or he has to forfeit his seat; but he attends oftener than that.
– Three directors are to be appointed, and they will have six States to visit. These directors will have full control of the central committee.
– Subject to the Minister, and to the regulations approved by the Minister.
– I know all about that.
If the Minister asks me where the essence of the Bill is to be found, I say that it is in clause 22 which says -
The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters which are to be prescribed or permitted to be prescribed, or which are necessary or convenient to be prescribed, for carrying out or giving effect to this Act, and, in particular, for prescribing such additional powers and the duties of the directors as he deems desirable.
Seeing that the creation of an Advisory Council in each State is recognised as being necessary or expedient, I hold that provision should be made in the Bill for the interests which are to be represented upon those bodies.
– Surely the honorable senator can trust the Government of the day.
– If we can trust the Government in the way that the VicePresident of the Executive Council suggests, he might also reason that we can trust the Government without considering the Bill at all. Why do we assemble here if it -be not to enact laws for the control of such Institutes as that which it is proposed to establish ? Why does Parliament belittle itself by consenting to a Bill which is merely a tag or label, while the essence of it is to be embodied in regulations?
– If the honorable senator will help me to tighten up its provisions in any direction -I shall be very glad.
– I have been through the. Bill carefully—
– So have I. I have been going through it for twelve months.
Senior SENIOR. - I am in thorough sympathy with the measure, but I maintain that the State Advisory Councils should be something more than consultative bodies. It appears to me that they will be merely the medium of (conveying some ideas to- the directors whenever the latter visit them.
– The State Advisory Councils will be asked to perform specific functions, and to supervise the carrying out of certain work.
– Then the fact that they are to be vested with administrative powers should be clearly set out. Just as it is necessary to link up industries which are co-related, so it is necessary to link up the different States, and that can best be done by giving every, substantial industry representation upon these councils.
– Suppose we asked the Advisory Councils of New South Wales and Queensland to co-operate in regard to the destruction of the tick pest. How could we embody that in the Bill 1
– When I interjected on a previous occasion, the Vice President of the Executive Council said that I desired to obtain details. I do not. But
I want generalities, and I require something specific in order that I may know exactly what is meant by this Bill. The Minister might as well reason that the agriculturists should not be represented here simply because sugar-cane does not grow in Victoria, whereas it does grow in Queensland.
– If I were to put a sugar expert upon the Advisory Council in Victoria he would be a beet-sugar expert. If I were to put a sugar expert upon the Advisory Council of Queensland he Would be a cane-sugar expert.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council will agree with me that all. our main industries should be represented upon these bodies.
– Under this Bill wo shall practically link up, and secure the co-operation of, all the scientists in Australia. If the honorable senator can produce a’ few more scientists from his own State he will greatly assist us. We cannot find them.
– Is it difficult to procure scientists outside of Victoria ?
– In South Australia, it is.
– In the persons of Professor Rennie and Mr. Hargrave, who represent South Australia, the Government have two of the very best men whose services could be requisitioned.
-Colonel O’Loghlin. - Victoria had to send to South Australia to secure a scientist .for its Agricultural Department - I refer to Mr. Richardson.
– The difficulty that I would impress on the Minister with regard to chemical research is this: there is no power to give a man who goes through a course of chemistry, with special attention to research work, a diploma which will be of advantage to him.
– This Bill is not to give diplomas, but to make use of the men who have been able to obtain them. ‘
– Then what is the use of offering bursaries, or bonuses, or opportunities for training?
– Wealthy men may leave money to the Institute, and this may be used to endow scholarships. We do not want to build universities, but to cooperate with the States.
– I agree that it is not the intention to duplicate or overlap, but it will be the duty of the Institute to see that such students as it has assisted in that way have something to show on the completion of their course.
If men are required to go into chemical research it is not druggists that are wanted. Under present conditions a man can be trained in chemistry only under the Pharmacy Act, and that requires him to spend four years of his life in a druggists’ shop, beginning at 10s. a week, and ending up at 25s., before he can get a diploma. It is possible that we may start growing sugarbeet in the south. If we do, sugar-boot chemists will be required in the manufacture of the sugar. Where are those chemists to be trained? If they are sent to a School of Mines, the school authorities will produce the Pharmacy Act, and point out that they can train chemists only under the conditions laid down in that Act. I thought I saw the opportunity in this Bill for some of our returned soldiers to do useful work- in chemical research, but the State laws shut them out from entering on such a career. I sincerely hope that an attempt will be made to remove these difficulties, so that the bursaries, when given, will not be used for the purpose of filling up an already crowded industry like that of the chemists and druggists, or to create more doctors. What is wanted in Australia is au opportunity to train men to undertake chemical research, or the chemical oversight of industries. One firm in Germany engaged in the manufacture of dyes employs 150 chemists. A gentleman who once travelled through Germany told me of an incident which he himself witnessed. He was going through a factory. There had been a serious railway accident just previously, and the manager of ‘the factory was busy examining a piece of steel. He explained that the steel axle which caused the accident had been manufactured in that factory. He had just had a piece of it examined under the microscope. He had had another piece tested as to its breaking strength, and another as to its crushing strength. He had had another piece polished and submitted to the acid test. He was able, after going through the reports, to put his hand on the man who had charge of the branch when that steel was in a molten condition. He was able also to find the man who forged it into its axle form. He was able to trace every step in the history of the axle before it left the foundry, and the man whose fault it was that the breakage occurred would lose the bonuses that would otherwise be added to his wages. This was related to me as an example of the scrupulous care exercised by some nations in matters of that kind. Just the same care will be necessary under this Bill. It may be necessary to obtain chemists from somewhere else to conduct the investigations that the Bill foreshadows.
I sincerely hope we shall not be content with passing the measure and publishing a huge mass of regulations and statutory rules for it, thus creating half a dozen more Bills bigger than itself, and sit down with the comfortable feeling that we have done all that is necessary. If the research that such an Institute makes possible is carried out, the wealth in this land of ours will be exploited, and Australia will experience even greater prosperity than in the past. I shall do my best to assist the Minister when the Bill is in Committee.
To give another instance showing how research and consequent development is possible in Australia, I shall quote the importance of the salt industry and its branches. A short time ago I asked a number of questions about the embargo that had been placed on the export of salt. We have large deposits of salt in various forms in Australia, and the manufacture of table salt has been carried on here. It has been exported to some countries near by, and it should also be remembered that there are a large number of other products connected with the industry. In a work called The Salt and Alkali Industry, the following appears: -
These industries are not only among the oldest, but they are also among the largest and most important of all chemical industries. They form, so to speak, the basis or groundwork on which are erected most of the great trades of industrial countries. A few instances will make this clear. The world’s annual production of salt amounts to well over the enormous total of 10,000,000 tons. From this salt, as parent substance, there spring the huge industries which are concerned with the manufacture of sodium sulphate, hydrochloric acid, sodium carbonate, caustic soda, chlorine, hydrogen, &c. Out of these industries, in their turn, spring the industries concerned with the manufacture of soap, glass, glycerine, dynamite, and other nitroglycerine explosives, bleaching powder, chlorates, &c. These products, in their turn, form the raw materials of great trades, which ramify one into another in a way which it is difficult for the non-technical reader to realize. For example, a stoppage in our supplies of salt would cripple the house-building trade, because window glass would be unobtainable in quantity, since sodium sulphate or sodium carbonate are used in glass manufacture, and these products are derived from salt. The production of explosives would suffer, because glycerine (and incidentally soap) would cease to be producible in quantities; and so mining operations would become difficult, and coal would become dear. The textile and paper trades would be crippled, because bleaching, sizing, cheap soap for scouring, and other necessary chemicals- -all derived ultimately from salt - would cense to be obtainable in quantity. These trades would re-act on other trades in a way altogether difficult to foresee.
In view of our immense deposits of salt, the possibilities of the alkali industry, and the fact that we are up against a paper famine which may force us to manufacture our own paper, the importance of the work before the new Institute in this direction alone is manifest. If it can draw attention to the opportunities for opening up new industries, it will gradually help to build up a large manufacturing population in Australia. I am convinced that under good control, properly supervised, and with a broad outlook and a firm faith in its success, the measure now under consideration will become one of the most useful that has been placed upon the statute-books of the Commonwealth.
– I desire to say a few words regarding this measure particularly, because I consider that, so far as the eradication of pests is concerned, Queensland is probably suffer ing more than any other State.. We have the tick very badly in certain areas of Queensland. The prickly pear flourishes, probably more widely, than in any other part of Australia, and there is also the cane tick-beetle. I am not opposed to the Bill on the ground that it is not the duty of the Government to do all in its power to assist scientific research, but because in Queensland - and its activities are moTe or less typical of what is going on in all the States - we have a Department of Agriculture and Stock and a Lands Department. Both for yeaTS have been doing good work in the direction of eradicating various pests. We have in our State Service experts who have .given their best years to this important subject - men who are second to none in ability and experience. I fail to see the necessity, when all the machinery already exists throughout Australia, to create fresh machinery under a Commonwealth Minister.
Yesterday the Minister (Senator Russell) stated, by interjection, that this Bill was going to become law with the concurrence of the States; but I fail to see any clause wherein the States are to be given any say at all. Some provision should he made in the measure to cover the position and the rights of the States; and probably an. amendment having that object will be introduced at the proper time. We have laws upon the statute-books of Queensland - thanks to past Liberal Administrations - to deal with prickly pear and other such problems. We all realize that the Labour Government is not the friend of the primary producer. Honorable senators on this side generally are more likely to deal in a fair and square manner with the primary producer than honorable senators opposite.
– More likely to deal out to them than with them.
– Order ! That matter has nothing to do with this Bill. I see no reference to it in the measure before the Senate.
– I had intended merely to mention the attitude of the Labour party qf Queensland by way of passing reference, and to point out that the Statutes in existence are very largely the work of former Governments. It is only recently that a further Bill was introduced in my State to deal with the question of the fly which attacks fruit trees. All persons having fruit trees, whether orchardists or the possessors of a few in their back yards, have been called upon to register those trees with a Government Department, in order to compel spraying and, if possible, to eradicate the pest.
This subject generally is one that should not come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. It should be dealt with by some such tribunal as the Premiers’ Conference. There are various State experts and Departments already actively engaged in this work. Senator Fairbairn yesterday rightly said that we should view with alarm the appointment of any further Boards or Departments. The result of almost every whim and fancy on the part of members of the Federal Government appears to have been the appointment of an expensive Board.
– I do not know of one Board which is highly paid, except the Business Board of the Defence Department.
– If those various Boards are not well paid for their services, perhaps it is a reflection on the Government that they are not remunerating the experts whom they have appointed as they should do.
– Now you want to have it both ways. The “Wool Board, the Shipping Board, the Wheat Board,, the Leather Board, and other such bodies are all honorary.
– Even if they are not actually drawing large salaries, their expenses amount to a considerable aggregate per ‘annum; and the individual expenses allowed by the Government are generally very considerable. In view of the Government having stated times without number that they are pledged to a policy of economy, this is one direction in which they might put their preaching into practice. The individuals and Departments of the various States already doing good work should be permitted to continue it. Let the Federal Government confer with the State authorities and go no further towards committing a big error.
I oppose the Bill, because I view with alarm the continual increase in our Public Service. In the past five or six years the total number of people employed in the Commonwealth Public Service has been practically doubled. The result will be, before long, that, instead of public officers being servants of the Government, the Government will have become practically the servants of the public Departments, which will have grown to such strength, possibly, as to be able to intimidate the governing authority. I oppose the measure particularly on the ground of economy. Senator Fairbairn correctly stated that it was not necessary to have a Board appointed by the Commonwealth to discover such men as Edison and Marconi. If there is an individual who believes he has made a discovery likely to bc beneficial to the country, and incidentally to himself, he will immediately approach some Government official to have his idea tested. In the Railways and various other Departments there are expert engineers and others who are quite competent, when any new proposal is submitted to them, to test whether or not it is of value.
I have a circular before me, copies of which have been sent to honorable senators by the Premier of Queensland. It contains a summary of what is being done in that ‘State, and what has been achieved in the past with respect to the prickly pear and tick. The present Queensland Government cannot take upon itself credit to any great extent, because this legislation was launched before Labour came into power.
– The present Queensland Government has done more in five years in that direction than otho? Governments have managed to do in twenty -fi ve years.
– This legislation was all introduced before the Labour Government secured the reins of office. The list of legislation containing provisions relative to the eradiction of the prickly pear pest consists of the Crown Lands Act 1895; the5 Lands Act 1897; the Prickly Pear Selections Act 1901; the Land Act 1902 ; the Land Act 1905, 1908, 1909, and 1910; the Prickly Pear Destruction Act 1912 ; the Land Act 1913, 1916, and 1917 ; and the Pear on Roads, Reserves, anc! Freeholds Act.
– ‘Prickly pear is spreading at the rate of millions of acres a year in Queensland. The job is too big for one State. It is an Australian question.
– I am ready to admit that it is an Australian matter, and probably could be brought under one head ; but there are already experts in existence in the various Staters, and surely it is possible to bring those Departments together instead of creating a fresh Board to do work that can already be accomplished with the machinery available. The way in which these Boards have been multiplied during the last two or three years has been something alarming, and we have been wondering whether it was going to stop. I think that Senator Fairbairn was quite right in opposing this Bill, on the ground of the necessity for economy. I believe that the Government should make some honest attempt to redeem their pledge of economy, and for that reason I intend to oppose the Bill.
– I do not wish to. enter into a general discussion concerning the appointment of Boards, but I think it is well, since reference has been made to the number and cost of these Boards, to say that nearly all that have been appointed are engaged in carrying out work which is not ordinarily undertaken by the Government, and which has previously been carried out by private enterprise. In most cases the members of these Boards occupy honorary positions, and they very seldom incur expense in travelling, because their work is chiefly centred in the Seat of Government. In many instances the Boards that have been? appointed have charge of the operations connected with the different pools with which they are associated. I have been actively connected with the work of most of the pools, and the income from the operations of some of them has amounted to more than three times the expenditure incurred The Rabbit Pool, > for instance, made £240,000. I refer to this merely in order to remind honorable senators that in the application of science to industry, which is the object of the establishment of the proposed Institute of Science and Industry, a single discovery may pay for the C03t involved, not once, but ten times over.
I do not object to the criticism which the Bill has received, and I may inform honorable senators that I do not regard the measure as a party measure, and do not intend at present to take it beyond the second reading.
– That is very satisfactory.
– In introducing it I have had only one object in view, and that is to do the best that is possible to bring about the eradication of pests in Australia and the development of our industries scientifically. In carrying out that object, I invite the co-operation of every member of the Senate. As soon as the second reading of the Bill »j agreed to and the Committee stage reached, I propose to suspend its further consideration for a time, in order to permit scientists in all of the States to offer criticisms and suggestions which in their opinion will lead to the framing of the measure in such a way as to secure the accomplishment of the object for which it has been introduced.
– Will the Minister, consult with the State Governments?
– Yes ; I have already done so. On the 14th of last month I sent a copy of the Bill to every State Premier, and I am hopeful that I shall receive their criticisms of it. With my colleagues and others who could assist me, I have given a great deal of time to the consideration of the Bill, and it is submitted with the one desire, to remove obstacles to settlement and to build up Australia industrially.
Senator Fairbairn, in discussing the Bill, talked of extravagance, and suggested that what is proposed is “ midsummer madness,” but he will admit that in connexion with his own particular business, that of a pastoralist, the prickly pear is a curse to the country, and that the ravages of the blowfly and the tick pest are costing millions every year to the Commonwealth.
– All these pests are being scientifically dealt with by the States.
– They are not being effectively dealt with. It is true that at times the Queensland and New South Wales Governments have made honest efforts to deal with such pests as the prickly pear and the tick, but these are national questions, and the limited population of a State like Queensland should not be asked to bear the whole of the cost of dealing with them. We will co-operate with the Queensland and New South Wales .Governments in the endeavour to combat these pests. Already to a great extent it has been agreed that there shall be a co-operative effort by the Commonwealth and the States interested. It is suggested that the Commonwealth should contribute a certain amount to the expense involved,- and the New South Wales and Queensland Governments will also contribute to the expense in an endeavour to deal with these questions that affect the whole of Australia through an Australian organization. It is complained that the Bill proposes to give the Commonwealth organization’ control in these, matters, but the most serious obstacle to successful results from the experiments so far made in Australia has been divided control. If honorable senators can suggest improvements to the Bill, and still retain unity of control, which I regard as essential, I shall be prepared to accept them, because they will aid in securing the object I have in view.
If we take, for instance, the tick pest, most of the experts who have looked into the matter say that what ought to be done is to begin to fight the pest at the southernmost portion of Australia in which the tick has been discovered, and by quarantining certain sections of the country, drive it gradually further north. It is.unreasonable to suggest that one State should carry the whole burden of the cost of the operations necessary for the final eradication of that pest: The pastoralists - have themselves endeavoured to grapple with these pests, but they have not succeeded in spite of all their efforts. The blowfly was worse in Australia last year that it ever was before, and we know that the prickly pear is spreading at the rate of 1,000,000 acres per year. 1 The tick is now in the Northern Territory, and the northern parts of Queensland, and its spread is certainly not being, effectively checked. My desire is that we should act in co-operation with the Queensland and New South Wales Governments to secure the eradication of these pests, and make Australia a better and more prosperous country.
Reference has been made during the course of the debate to the great work which it is said has been done by the States in this connexion, and reference was specially made to the great work done by the Agricultural Department in Victoria. We have just formed a Flax Com.mittee, whose operations will be financed by the Commonwealth, because the States are unable to find the money, and the two men I first invited to accept positions on that Flax Committee were Dr. Cameron, the Director of Agriculture in Victoria, and Mr. Richardson, the agricultural expert who has just returned with the latest information from a visit to the* United States of America. Honorable senators need not be afraid that we shall not utilize, as far as we can, the services of any scientists in any of the States. We need, in order to carry “out the work before us, the co-operation and help of all the State Governments, all the scientists, and all the organizers we have in Australia.
On the question of expense, I am personally hopeful that the expenditure in”volved will be small, and the greater the measure of co-operation of the States the smaller’ will be the expense involved. The three proposed directors will be organizers, and probably their first duty will be, in co-operation with the .Minister in charge, to get into touch with the New South Wales and Queensland Governments, and the authorities in the Northern Territory- in the preparation of a cooperative scheme by which we shall be able to make a systematic attack . upon the tick pest. I hope that the States will contribute a certain amount to the expense to be incurred, and that the Commonwealth will not be found niggardly in assisting to carry on the campaign. We ‘ shall keep records, and be in touch with developments elsewhere. It may quite possibly happen that a man in America, to whom we shall pay nothing, but whose experiments we shall watch, may prove to lie a great benefactor to Australia by developing an effective method for the eradication of prickly pear. The difficulty is that to-day the effective eradication of these pests is nobody’s business, and what we need is that a few keen men should concentrate upon the best solution of these problems. We must organize the scientists and the Governments in Australia to deal with them,, because certainly Federal Ministers cannot give the necessary time.
If the pastoralists of Australia are prepared to do this work we have no objection to them doing it. Let them subsidize the operations carried on- under this measure. Let them put their thousands and tens of thousands of pounds into this work, because if, for instance, we succeed in dealing effectively with the blowfly pest our pastoralists and graziers will be the persons who will gain most from the result of our operations. The moment we secure the co-operation of the States in organizing a campaign against the tick pest, I expect the pastoralists - of Australia to come along with a heavy contribution to meet the expense involved. I say that it will be their duty to do so in the interests of the country, and because they are the persons who will benefit most if the campaign is successful.
SenatorFoll. - We do not wish to see. all the money spent in Melbourne. The people of the different States want to have some say as to how it is to be spent.
– In connexion with operations undertaken to deal with the tick pest, I do not suppose that any more will be spent in. Melbourne than the cost of postage stamps upon correspondence with those controlling the campaign in the States chiefly affected. I do not know that Senator Foll has had so long an experience of Government Boards as to be an authority upon their working, but I say that the directors of the proposed. Institute can do good work for Australia in an office 12 feet by 12 feet if we can only secure the full cooperation of the States. Is the honorable senator aware that we have not in the whole of Australia to-day, in spite of all our universities, a modern up-to-date laboratory ? Senator Senior referred to what he considered weak points in the Government proposal, and I may inform the honorable senator that on the reports of experts the Government hope to establish a Commonwealth laboratory, not as a novelty, but in the interests of the Commonwealth. We might, for instance, say to the New South Wales Government, “The laboratory connected with the Sydney University is very nearly complete, but it is hot quite up-to-date for the conduct of modern scientific experiments. It will take £10,000 to bring it up-to-date.” The New South Wales Government might reply that they would gladly do what was suggested, but they had not the money, and we might say, “ Go on with the work, and we will meet half the expense.”
It has been suggested that inventors are cranks and not practical men, but who will contend that a man. who has discovered an invention which is beneficial to the world is a crank? I have met hundreds of men in connexion with the operations of the Wheat Pool, for instance, who have suggested all sorts of schemes for the preservation of wheat. Some of these may be plainly said to have “ rats,” but we can deal with these people with a penny stamp to cover a polite reply and an expression of sympathy.
It is not proposed that the Institute of Science and Industry shall be established in order to train lads, and give them degrees, but it will take hold of the men who have been trained, organize them, and give them specific research work to do in the interest of Australia.
It has been said that the Bill is a skeleton. It is designedly a skeleton. I have no hesitation in saying that prior to undertaking a campaign to deal with the tick pest or the prickly pear, my idea is. that, in consultation with the best advice available, we shall organize a definite scheme and complete regulations to give effect to it will be prepared. That can be done in connexion with each investigation undertaken. If we were to begin now to deal with the tick pest the first difficulty we would be met with would be that there is no one in Australia, or, so far - as we know, in the world, who is acquainted with the life history of the tick. We have not found out yet what -the tick pest is, and we must do this before we can take effective measures to cope with it. One of the first duties of the Institute will be to obtain the services of some scientist to study its life history, and, having done that, to find the remedy.
– Surely they have done all this in the United States of America, where they have been carrying out research work for years.
– But they have not yet succeeded in discovering a remedy. If they had, I have no doubt that the honorable senator and his fellowpastoralists long ago would have brought men to -Australia to save them the millions that this pest has cost the industry. I may quote the phylloxera pest as another disease which did damage to the extent of £200,000,000 sterlingin the vineyards of France, and it was America that produced the resistant stocks which now prevent the development of that disease in our vineyards.
I now ask honorable senators to remove from their minds any prejudice they may have against the scientific man or the Bill itself. We boast, from our public platforms of Australia’s illimitable possibilities, and our potentialities in production. I say that Australia can only be great in proportion as her potential wealth is. developed by practical work. This scientific work must be organized, and though many scientific institutions are in existence in the different States to-day, this proposed Institute is a genuine attempt to organize them into one collective whole, with the development of the resources of Australia as the only object. If honorable senators will be good enough to give me the second reading to-day, I shall allow the Bill to go over till next week in order to give the various State Governments and individuals interested full opportunity to criticise the measure.
– Make it a month.
– The Commonwealth Parliament is not a futile institution, and it would not be wise to hold the Bill up for that length of time. Those most interested have had a copy of the’ measure since the 11th of September. The Premier of Queensland is fully alive to the situation, because he issued acir - cular of protest in advance of the receipt of the Bill. However, I am not going to say that as a Government’ we are bound to the particular form of the Bill, but we are, determined to make an earnest effort, by means of this Institute, to discover the life history of the many pests that at present hamper Australian production.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Bill read a second time, and reported with verbal amendments to clause 4.
Bill read a second time, and reported without amendment; report adopted.
– I move; -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till Thursday next, at 3 p.m.
My reason for submitting this motion is that there is so little business on the notice-paper requiring completion. There are only two motions for the third reading of Bills, and I do not anticipate that any measure will arrive from theother branch of the Legislature before Thursday next. It will, I think, be more convenient to honorable senators if we meet on that day, instead of on Wednesday, when there would probably be insufficient business to occupy our attention.
. - I quite agree with the proposal to adjourn until Thursday next: But, as one who is accustomed to watch indications, I am of opinion that even Thursday next is too early for the Senate to expect fresh business to be available.
– May I tell the honorable senator what I ought to have told the Senate, namely, that there is a Bill which must go through the Senate next week - a financial Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 5.38 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 October 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19181003_senate_7_86/>.