7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator GRANT presented a petition signed by 303 persons, patrons of picture theatres in Australia, protesting against the imposition of any tax on children’s 3d. admission tickets.
Mr. Carl Hermann Whitorff
– I ask the Minister whether he is aware of the nationality of Mr.Carl Hermann Whitorff, who is holding up the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway at the present time?
– The significance of the name mentioned struck me, in common with other persons, and I am having inquiries made concerning it.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether anything has been done in connexion with a matter to which I directed attention by a question submitted in the Senate some time ago, in reference to a Spanish officer of. one of the vessels captured by the Wolf, who, at very great risk to himself, threw some infernal machines overboard to protect the lives of women and children ?
– The honorable senator is making a statement instead of asking a question.
– I was explaining the matter in case the Minister might fail to recollect it. I wish to know whether, through the Spanish Consul here, anything in the nature of a commendatory communication has been addressed to this officer expressing praise of his action.
– If the honorable senator will give notice of his question, I shallhave an inquiry made into the matter.
– Following the example of Senator Fairbairn, I ask the Minister for Defence whether his attention has been called to the name of Jens August Jensen and that of General Sellheim ?
– My attention has been called to both the names mentioned, and their origin has been satisfactorily cleared up. Neither of the gentlemen referred to is a German.
– I ask the Minister for Defence if, before permitting his appointment to the Meat Board, he inquired into the nationality of one Fritz Lang?
– No such appointment was made.
– Did the Minister grow cold on it when Lang arrived here?
– The Swan Meat Company was asked to send its representative, and they sent a gentleman of the name of Fritz Lang; Immediately the Minister in Charge of. Price Fixing was made aware of this, he had inquiries made as to the nationality of the person mentioned, and I may add that he is not a member of the Meat Board.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister - (1) What has become of the Inter-State Commission? (2) Whether a copy of their report on the evidence recently taken with regard to clothing is available ? (3) Whether the Commissionis dealing, or. intends to deal, if it be still in existence, with the question of the high cost of vegetables?
-It seems to me that Senator Grant’s second question answers his first. With regardto the other question, I shall have inquiries made.
Enemy Aliens in Service.
– I ask the Minister for
Defence what is the result of the inquiry by the Commission appointed by the Government to inquire into the question of enemy aliens in the.Defence Department ?
Will the Minister furnish a report to the Senate showing what action,if any, has been taken on the report of the Commission?
– The question should be directed to the Minister representing the Prime- Minister. I may, however, be allowed to say that the Commissioner was appointed to inquire, not as to the aliens employed in the Defence De-. partment alone, but in all Commonwealth Departments.
SenatorFOLL. - I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister what is the result of the inquiry by the Commission into the question of aliens employed in the different Commonwealth Departments.
– We anticipate the report, and it will be made available as soon as it is completed.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time.
The following papers were presented: -
Bounties Act 1007-1912.- Particulars of Bounty Paid, &c, Financial year 1917-18.
Defence Act 1903-1918. - Regulations amended.- (Statutory Rules 1918, No. 242.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906-1910. - Land acquired at Randwick, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.
Naval Defence Act 1910-1912.-Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 244 and 245.
Navy and Defence Administration - Royal Commission. - Report on Navy Administration; together with Report (adopted) of sub-committee of Cabinet thereon.
Treasurers’ Conference, Melbourne, 17th to 20th July, 1918. - Summary of Proceedings.
Shale Oil Bounty Act 1917. - [Particulars of Bounty Paid, &c, Financial year 1917-18.
War Precautions Act 1914-1916. - Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 246, 248, and 258.
Preference to Returned Soldiers -
Postal Sorters’ Award
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is it the policy of the present Government to discharge men in their employ to make way for returned soldiers?
-The answer is -
The policy of the Government in regard to’ temporary and exempt employees is that, in the case of new appointments or renewals, returned soldiers are to replace eligibles, married returned soldiers to have first preference; whilst individual cases of hardship caused by displacement are to be considered on their merits. With respect to casual employees, returned soldiers are to receive first preference, and are to replace eligibles wherever possible.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– In reply to question No. 2 of Senator Grant, I beg to lay on the table a return showing the area and value of land held, and land tax imposed and paid, 1910-11 to 1917-18 inclusive, Midland Railway Company Limited.
Motion (by Senator Grant) agreed to -
That the paper be printed.
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
What has been the total cost of Australia House to date -
– The answers are -
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice - .
– The answers are -
– Arising out of that answer, can the Minister give the information regarding the salary Mr. Brooks is receiving as Paper Controller for the Commonwealth?
– I have, on previous occasions, pointed out the impossibility of answering questions at this juncture without notice. It is impossible for me to have details connected with a Department with which I am not associated.
– Did you inquire into his nationality?
– It is so obvious that inquiry was unnecessary.
– The answer did not give the information as to the salary attached to the position.
– Thatwas one of the very questions of which I gave notice.
– I can, upon the honorable senator asking another question, direct the attention of the Department concerned to its failure to supply the information sought.
Appraisement of Wool
asked the Minister representing the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Bill read a third time.
Bill read a third time.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd October, vide page 6603) :
Clause 2 (Parts).
gave us to understand that, having reached the Committee stage, he would allow the measure to stand over in order to give the State Premiers and other people interested an opportunity of becoming acquainted with its provisions. It would be as well for the Minister to explain the position before proceeding with the measure.
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria- Vice-
President of the Executive Council) [3.21]. - I do not think there is reason for any misapprehension, because, when the Committee stage was reached, I was asked was it the intention of the Government to go on with the Bill, and I said I would hold over further consideration in Committee till next day of sitting. The Bill has been in the hands of the State Premiers since about 14th September.
As one who opposed the second reading, I understood the. Minister to indicate that upon the resumption of the debate in Committee he would make a statement to honorable senators, and give some further information with regard to communications with the State Premiers. It is hardly reasonable to ask the Committee to proceed with the discussion of the measure at this stage.
The CHAIRMAN (Senator Shannon). Order ! The honorable senator is not in order in discussing the whole question at this stage of the Bill.
– I think the Minister intimated that copies of the measure had been posted to the various State Premiers on 14th. September; but during the debate it was found that they had not received those copies as late as the 23rd September, and I was under the impression that the debate was to be postponed for a fortnight, until they had had an opportunity of considering it and of making suggestions.
– I gave no such promise.
– I hope the Minister will give honorable senators a little more time before proceeding with the discussion of an important measure of this kind. There appears to be some disagreement as to what was actually promised, but I think the Minister did say that if the second reading were carried he would hold over the considerationof the Bill in Committee for a week, which I think is a ridiculously short time within which to communicate withthePremiers in a great country like Australia.
– I am anxious to make the position quite clear. Honorable senators will remember I promised, if the second reading were Carried, to take the Bill no further than the adoption of the formal clauses in Committee, so that the Bill might be properly before the Committee when progress was reported. I think that it was Senator Fairbairn who raised the objection, and I stated that the Bill would be taken no further that day. That was five days ago, and I have already pointed out that copies of the measure were forwarded to the State Premiers on the 14th September, so I think that every fair and reasonable opportunity has been given to those interested to grasp its principles.
– Honorable senators appear to be labouring undera misapprehension. The Minister in charge of the Bill declares now that the State Premiers were advised as to its provisions on the 14th September.
– The letter left Mel bourne on that date.
– I think the Minister must be under a misapprehension, because we had a communication from the Premier of Queensland (Mr. Ryan) to the effect that up till 23rd September he had no intimation of what was proposed. As am atter of fact, I think” that upon an important matter like this, the States should have been consulted, because Part III. of the measure deals with State Advisory Councils of Science and’. Industry, and I hope that the State Premiers and Ministers in charge of those sub-Departments have not been overlooked. I would not like to think that the Minister had purposely done that.
– Certainly not.
– The Minister would be well advised if he further postponed consideration of the Bill. There is very little doubt that the sense of the Senate is in favour of postponement, more particularly as it is proposed to create Departments which will be imposed upon existing
Departments. I am not going to make a second-reading speech now, but I want to say that had I been well enough to contribute to the second-reading debate, I would certainly have opposed the measure at that stage. But as it has got into Committee, I feel sure that the Minister will be acting in conformity with the sense of the Senate if he allows further time to elapse before we proceed to an analytical discussion of the clauses in Committee. I do not know whether it is competent at this stage to report progress and obtain leave to sit again, but, if so, I would respectfully suggest the adoption of that course’.
– It seems, if I may say so without giving offence, that there is a failure on the part of honorable senators to appreciate the stage which we have reached. When honorable senators assented to the secondreading of the Bill, they assented to its main provisions, and I suggest, therefore, that this is not the stage at which any honorable senator should object to its principles.
– But before now measures have been defeated in Committee.
– Yes, and it will be competent for any honorable senator to vote in Committee against any clause to which he objects. And, moreover, there will be a further opportunity, for those who object to the measure to vote against it at the third-reading stage. There never has been, on the part of any Minister, at any rate during late years, a desire to push through the Senate a measure for which the Chamber was not ready. On the contrary, every consideration has been given to the Senate by Ministers, and by the Senate to Ministers. I would suggest, therefore, that having passed the second reading of the Bill, we might properly proceed with the Committee stage on the understanding that consideration be postponed in respect of clauses to which honorable senators object, and regard as vital. Otherwise, we shall be in the posi- tion of having a lot of work thrown on to the Senate in the latter part of the session. I ask honorable senators to proceed with the measure on the understanding that if they wish a particular clause postponed, in anticipation, possibly of a protest from some State authorities, that clause will be postponed. This course will enable us to proceed with the business of the Senate.
.- I move-I
That the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
I have looked at the Minister’s remarks on the last day of sitting, and find that he has done exactly what he said he would do, namely, hold over the consideration of the Bill for a week. Therefore, I withdraw the suggestion I made that there was to be a postponement of a longer duration. I was under the impression that the State Governments would have an opportunity of considering the Bill, and I think that if we report progress now, and obtain leave to sit again next Wednesday, that opportunity will be afforded them.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I admit that the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) is respecting the arrangement which he made on Thursday last, but it was the general impression amongst honorable senators that a Supply Bill would occupy our attention this week, and that the consideration in Committee of the provisions of this measure would be postponed for another week. Part III. of this Bill deals with the establishment of State Advisory Councils of Science and Industry, and I should like to know whether the State Premiers have been officially notified by the Minister that the Bill has passed its second reading in this Chamber, and that it is now open to suggestions by them. We know that the State Premiers are busy men, and the fact that this measure has been a week before the Senate does not, in my opinion, constitute a sufficient notification to them that its provisions are now open to amendments which they may, perhaps, deem desirable.
– The honorable senator has the assurance that the measure has been officially before the State Premiers since the 14th September.
– But I anticipated that they would have been formally notified by the Vice-President of the Executive Council that it has now passed its second reading. I should like to know whether that has been done?
– No charge of discourtesy towards the State Governments can be urged against the Ministry, for the reason that, before this Bill was submitted for the consideration of the Senate, copies of it were forwarded to the State Premiers. As a matter of fact, some of the Premiers had written to us regarding the measure prior to receiving those copies. I have looked up the Ilansard report of the statement which I made on Thursday afternoon last, and find that it quite confirms my own impression of what then occurred. In that publication, I am reported as having said - .
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.
If there are any clauses in the Bill in respect of which honorable senators think the State Premiers should be afforded additional time for consideration, I have no objection, either to postponing them, or recommitting them at a later stage.
– I was one of those who was under the impression that the Minister had consented to the postponement of this Bill for a longer period than a week. I find, however, on reference to Hansard, that the honorable gentleman is keeping faith with the Senate. At the same time, I would point out to him that, although copies of the Bill were sent privately to the Premiers of the States on the 14th September, as late as the 23rd September, the Queensland Premier wrote stating that he had not received a copy of it. We know that the wheels of government “grind exceeding slow,” even if they grind exceeding small; and it is quite on the cards that copies of this measure may have only just reached the State Premiers. I think that a reasonable opportunity should be afforded the Premiers of considering its provisions. If they ignore the communication from the Commonwealth after the lapse of a reasonable time, we shall at least have discharged our duty, and shall be at liberty to proceed with its further consideration.
– I must ask the honorable senator not to discuss that question upon this clause.
– The clause is a very comprehensive one, embracing, as it does, the various parts into which the Bill is divided. The Minister in this case has almost created a precedent ‘by consulting the States in matters that affect them and, personally, I am in somewhat of a quandary as to whether we ought to go on with the Bill now or not. However, I see no hurry, and the Minister would he well advised at this early stage to allow the Premiers another week.
– If I read now the statement sent to every member of the Senate by the Hon. T. J. Ryan, Premier of Queensland, it may save a great deal of trouble and delay. It is as follows: -
Brisbane, 23rd September, 1918.
A Bill embodying the constitution of the Institute of Science and Industries is to be submitted to the Commonwealth Parliament early in the current session.
The executive committee of the present temporary Institute, which is not representative of the States or the varied interests which will be influenced by the establishment of the permanent Institute, recommended to the Prime Minister that the absolute control of the policy and funds of the permanent Institute should be vested in three highly qualified salaried directors, of whom one should be chairman, and that their tenure of office should be fixed by the Act for a lengthened period.
It has been recently announced by Dr. Gellatly that he has been appointed chairman of such directors, and that the status provided for the directors in the Bill was almost as strong as that of High Court Judges.
No provision has been made in the direction of the policy or control of the funds in conjunction with the directors or otherwise for the representation of the States or their educational, commercial, industrial, or other varied interests which will be influenced by this important institution.
I desire to bring under your notice that this State, and probably certain of the other States, do not agree with the proposals, and that it is essential that the States and the interests referred to should be adequately represented and possess some controlling influence in the councils of. the permanent Institute, if established.
It has been announced that the Institute would establish bureaux of information in Sydney and Melbourne, and eventually in every capital of the Commonwealth, and that, in pursuance of the Prime Minister’s scheme of trade organization, three bodies had been created to work in unison, viz. : - The Institute of Science and Industry, the Bureau of Commerce and Industry, and the Federal Board of Trade. Whether all these institutions are to be constituted under the one Bill now proposed to be submitted to the Federal Parliament or under separate Bills has not been stated.
The report and recommendations which were made to the Prime Minister by the executive of the temporary Advisory Council of Science and Industry, andupon which the Bill embodying the proposed constitution is based, have neither been submitted for consideration or approval to the Government or any of the institutions 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 has been afforded for a study of the proposed constitution.
The public are under the impression that such interests have been protected by their representatives on the State committees; but this is not so.
You will therefore recognise that, until the proposed draft Bill has been submitted, it is not possible to make any exhaustive criticism thereon.
Your consideration is particularly directed to the following matters when the Bill is introduced to Parliament : -
Enclosed for your information is a precis of work done by this State in connexion with prickly-pear and the cattle tick which discloses large expenditure in varied directions, supported by legislative enactments, which have been prepared from time to time, to enable these problemsdto be more effectivelydealt with. The difficulties experienced by any outside body not directly associated with the State Government or the institutions and interests in successfully dealing with intricate problems created from time to time are obvious.
Much has been attempted during the past three years by the temporary Institute of Science and Industry, but with little, if any, new results beyond the holding of conferences and the compilation and distribution of pamphlets. The benefits likely to accrue to the States by the establishment of a permanent Institute are very obscure, and the proposed expenditure thereon is apparently not justified on the results attained by the initial establishment.
I have brought these matters under your notice in the hope that when the Bill is before the Federal Parliament you will feel disposed to use your influence to safeguard State interests.
I have the honour to be, sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Attached is a summary ofState efforts in connexion with the prickly-pear pest, &c. ; but I do not think it necessary to read that now. I submit Mr. Ryan’s statement for the consideration of the Minister.
.- I was under the impression that the Minister (Senator Russell) agreed to place himself again in communication with the States, if we allowed the second-reading stage to be taken without further delay. I find that he did not actually say that, although it was the impression conveyed to a number of us. The Minister said this afternoon that the Bill has already been before a number of the States, and that some had not replied;but I find that when Senator Fairbairn was speaking on the second reading, the following took place: -
– 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.
According to what the honorable senator ! has told us this afternoon, a number of the States have not agreed to it. I was under the impression that the Bill was being held over for a week, in order that those States might have a chance to express their opinions. When replying on the second reading, the Minister also said -
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..
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. - My desire is that we should act in cooperation with the Queensland and New South Wales Governments to secure the eradication of these pests, and make Australia a better, and more prosperous country.
Throughout the debate on the second reading, the Minister gave us to understand that he was in consultation with the States. It would be fair, before we went on with the Bill in Committee-
– You know what Mr. Ryan thinks about it.
– I am not particularly concerned with what Mr. Ryan or any one else thinks about it. I am endeavouring to say what I think about it.
– Why await a further communication from Mr. Ryan when he has made the view of the Queensland Government very clear?
– There are other States in the Commonwealth besides Queensland, though they are not as important as that State. The Vice-President of the Executive Council -informed honorable senators that the States concurred in this proposal. He told us that the Bill had been sent to the State Premiers, and now we are informed that there has been no reply on the subject from a number of the States. Before we are asked to continue the consideration of this measure, we should know what the State Governments propose to do in connexion with. it.
– By way of explanation, I may be allowed to say that, as a matter of fact, I appear to have been too courteous on this occasion in my endeavour to secure the co-operation of the
State authorities. When it was proposed to establish the Bureau, Dr. Gellately was appointed Director, and as the Minister in charge of the business, I gave him my “full confidence, and asked him to make a tour of the whole of .the States, and to interview members of the Government, and the leading scientific officers in each of the States. He went to New South Wales and interviewed the State Premier and other members of the Ministry, and also the leading scientific officers in the employ of that State. He visited Queensland also, and interviewed Mr. Ryan, Mr. Lennon, and other Queensland Ministers, the representatives of, existing scientific organizations, and the leading scientists in the employ of that State. Mr. Ryan, the Premier of Queensland, is naturally anxious about the destruction of the prickly pear, and he offered to the Institute of Science and Industry the experimental station established at Dulacca for the eradication of the prickly pear. That meant the transference of a big liability to the Commonwealth Government, but we are prepared to take it over, since we regard the eradication of the prickly pear as an Australian matter, and not one affecting only one. State. Dr. Gellately got into touch also with the Western Australian authorities, and they generously, gave us 25 acres of land for the purpose of establishing a forestry experimental station. The South Australian Government are cooperating with us in the same way. After all this, some honorable senators -complain that we are not acting in co-operation with the State Governments. I have received no formal acknowledgment of the receipt of this Bill from the Premier of any of the States, but I attribute that to a mutual arrangement arrived at between the Commonwealth and State Governments that, for the purpose of economy during the war, the failure to forward a formal acknowledgment of the receipt of the Bill is not to be regarded as discourteous. Apart from that, the failure would be justified at the present time, in view of the extreme waste of paper which took place under the previous practice. I ask honorable senators to be reasonable. I have made them a fair offer. If there is any clause upon which they desire to consult the Premiers of their States, I am willing to postpone it. If we pass a clause, and it is subsequently discovered that some big question arises in connexion with it regarding the co-operation of the State authorities, I shall be willing to consider a proposal for the recommittal of that clause. I could not say anything fairer.
– I think that the unbounded generosity of the Minister in charge of the Bill (Senator Russell) must have astonished every honorable senator. At our last sitting, when the Bill went through the second-reading stage, the honorable senator offered an interval before it would be again considered during which the State Premiers would have an opportunity to consider it. I take full ‘blame and responsibility upon myself for assuming that there would be an interval, and it has surprised me to find that, immediately we meet, this is the first Bill submitted to us. I frankly admit that I am not prepared to-day to consider its provisions in detail. I may have wrongly interpreted the statement made by the Minister, but I certainly went away last week under the impression that we should not see this Bill again for some time. The unbounded generosity of the Minister in postponing the consideration of the Bill when the postponement is represented by the interval between the last minute of the last sitting of the Senate and the first of the present sitting has carried me off my feet. In the circumstances, I object to the honorable senator claiming that he has made some sort of concession. Believing that the measure would not come up for consideration to-day, I am quite unprepared to deal with it. I venture to say that the division which took place fairly represented the opinion of honorable senators, and were it not for party considerations, it would more accurately have represented their opinion on this matter. The Minister may press the further consideration of the Bill now; but if he does, its clauses are not likely to receive the consideration they deserve.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Definitions).
– If the definition! clause is permitted to pass in its present form, it will subsequently be necessary to take advantage of the offer of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell), and have .it recommitted after we have dealt with Part III. of the Bill. I suggest that the clause should be postponed. I am quite confident that when we have dealt with Part III. the definitional clause will not fit it.
– Definitions are always formally adjusted after a Bill is passed. It is a parliamentary practice to make definitions fit the Bill as finally carried, and that can be done in this case.
– Senator Senior has suggested a reasonable and sensible way of dealing with Bills generally. He proposes that the clauses of a Bill should first be decided, and the definitions applicable to them considered later. I can quite understand that from the point of view of the Government that is a serious proposal. If we carry the definition clause as it stands, and desire subsequently to alter later clauses, the Minister in charge of the Bill may remind us that the alteration cannot be made because we have already carried the definition clause in- a certain form. As Senator Senior’s proposal threatens the alteration of our whole parliamentary procedure, I must stand by the Government. But I have to admit that the honorable senator appears to be proposing the right course to follow.
– I should like to make this matter clear. In accordance with parliamentary procedure, for which Senator Gardiner must accept his share of responsibility, the Chairman of Committees has the power to make formal alterations in a Bill to fit what has been done by the Committee considering. Where the adoption of a clause in a particular form requires an alteration of a definition, that alteration ia generally regarded as a formal matter. If, however, the Chairman of Committees believes that some big question of principle or policy is affected, he will direct attention to it. No Chairman of Committees . would alter the principles of a Bill, but a verbal alteration to make a definition fit a clause is a common parliamentary practice. I can give honorable senators the assurance that no definition will be allowed to remain in the Bill which would be in* conflict with the principles of the measure as carried by the Committee.
.- I think that the VicePresident of the Executive Council is promising too much. He commenced by telling honorable senators that if they desired any clause to be recommitted or postponed lie would agree to’ recommit or postpone it. But immediately Senator Senior asks for the post’ponement of this clause the Minister makes no offer to postpone it.
– What I said was that I would agree to postpone or recommit any clause vitally affecting the cooperation of the State authorities.
– During the discussion on the second clause the VicePresident of the Executive Council said as plainly as possible that if the postponement or recommittal of any clause was asked for he would be prepared to agree to it, and added that nothing could be fairer than that.
– I rise to a point of order. I ask whether Senator Gardiner is addressing himself to the clause now under discussion. Honorable senators seem to be indulging in a sort of amateur “stone-walling”–
– I rise to order. Senator de Largie has accused me of “ stone- walling,” and I ask that the statement be withdrawn.
– If the statement is regarded as offensive by Senator Gardiner, it must be withdrawn.
– I did not charge Senator Gardiner with “ stone-walling,” but said that it appeared to me that honorable senators were indulging in a sort of amateur “ stone- walling. “
– I ask that the words be withdrawn; the imputation that I am “ stone-walling “ is offensive to me.
– As the remark is offensive’ to Senator Gardiner, I ask Sena tor de Largie to withdraw it.
– I comply with the request, and” again ask whether Senator Gardiner’s remarks were applicable to the clause.
– On the point of order, I may say that I have not been quite sure that some of the debate has been strictly within the Standing Orders. The clauses with which we are dealing lend themselves to a wide discussion. Since I have been placed in the position of Chairman of Com- mittees of the Senate I have always endeavoured to afford honorable senators the widest possible scope in discussing any matter before the Committee. If I thought that Senator Gardiner waa out of order, I should have immediately called his attention to the fact.
– I direct your attention, sir, to the fact that Senator1 Gardiner was referring to the postponement of the clause, and was not discussing it at all. Do you rule that honorable senators may discuss the postponement of a clause instead of the clause itself ?
– An honorable senator may ask for the postponement of any clause.
– May he discuss the postponement and not the clause?
– I shall not discuss the matter any longer lest the Government Whip might think I am “ stone-walling.” I have no desire to take up the time_of the Committee unnecessarily.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 4 -
– This is really the vital clause of the Bill. I am opposed to the adoption of the measure at the present time, and it was only because I was suffering from some physical infirmity that I was not present in the’ Senate to utter a. protest and cast my vote against the second reading. My attitude is not due to any lack of appreciation of scientific investigation in regard to its general value. No man with any pretension to knowledge of what education can effect can ‘be blind to the value of scientific investigation, either from the educational or the practical stand-point. But continual complaint is being made by the public - and in some respects it is very well founded - ‘that there is too great a tendency to impose Departments upon our Commonwealth, machinery where State Departments already exist. In almost every State there is some organization having for its objective the scientific investigation of pests and the pursuit of investigation generally, which may have valuable bearing upon Australian industries. By this measure it is proposed to add to those State Departments a Commonwealth Department. I have read the remarks of Senator Foll upon the Bill, and am in absolute accordance with all that he said. In Australia we have States as large as several European countries, and, although we have nothing approaching the extremes of European climate, yet there are zones of clearly defined and widely varied climatic conditions throughout Australia.
I do not suppose, for example, that any one scientist in Australia could, with notable success, investigate the incidence of the growth of the prickly-pear pest at one extreme of our Commonwealth, and at the same time undertake’ micro-biological investigations for the alleviation of orchard pests in such a temperate ‘State as Tasmania. The Queensland scientist specializes in investigations having for their object the reduction of pests peculiar to the tropic zone; and, similarly, the Tasmanian scientist devotes his attention to. matters especially affecting the cooler country in which he resides. “New South Wales is as large as the territory of France and half that of Spain combined. It has its scientific investigation bureau; and it must be remembered that a very large percentage of the population of the whole of Australia resides in New South Wales. Yet, here, it is proposed to start something which the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) stated would cost halfam’illion sterling for a beginning. I do not say that the money might not, in the long run, be well spent; but I call attention to the huge amounts we are ‘being called, on to find for war purposes alone. The principle of compulsion is about to be imposed in connexion with our subscriptions to war loans. At the same time, it is sought to recklessly -spend every year, under the measure before the Committee, the equivalent of at lea3t the interest on half-a-million of money; .and it is to be in the direction of investigations now being ably pursued by State organizations. Can it be wondered at that the expense of administering the affairs of the Commonwealth increases by leaps and /bounds ? If it were necessary to do something in the various States to expedite their activities, we might well say that the proposed new Federal Department would have some value; but such is not the case. If we have the money to spare, let us subsidize the existing State institutions; and, if we have not the money to do so, it logically follows that we should, not spend it at all ; and, as a fact, we have not got the money.
Honorable’ senators, to use an Americanism, have been to some extent.” bulldozed “ in regard to this measure. Many honorable senators, if they could without loss of face, would retrace their steps; and, if the measure were at the present moment in its second-reading stage, it would not be sent into Committee.
– On its merits, it would not have got into Committee.
– That is so. The other day I had an opportunity of reading a production called The Scientific Australian. I do not say that it is devoid of merit, but within its pages will be found a very exhaustive and illustrated article on the biology of the dragon fly; as children, we knew it as the horsestinger. At this time in the affairs of our nation and of the world, money is being spent in the review of an investigation of purely academic interest. I do not say that the article in question is not of valuable scientific interest, in a sense; but it is not valuable in the light in which we should regard matters at this time.
– The proposed committee might prevent such waste.
– It is the very men who would go in for expenditure upon such things who will form the committee. I also read another article dealing with the amount of alcohol that could be extracted from watermelons. It reminds me of Dean Swift, where he writes of the philosophers of Laputa who occupied their energies .in investigating the extraction of sunbeams from cucumbers. I cannot stand this sort of thing.
– Then how does the honorable senator expect us to stand it ?
– The extraction of alcohol from watermelons may be a matter of general scientific interest, but what has such a subject to do with our present national position and requirements? Today, machinery is in existence in the various States, and is equal to all we require in the circumstances. And, as I have just indicated, if we have not the money to subsidize State activities we should not spend it upon the creation of a Commonwealth Department.
From what group of men shall we select the scientists who are to constitute this Institute of Science and Industry? There will probably be a shuffling of the cards, and some of the men now in the employ of the States, and upon whom the States are dependent for scientific investigation of a highly important and practical nature,’ will be placed with” the Commonwealth body. It is not as if we were intending to import geniuses from other parts of the world who might be far ahead of our Australian scientists. Nothing iia to be added to our collective national ability in the way of investigation. This is merely an attempt - and one, perhaps, which cannot be derided, since it is wellintended - to duplicate machinery already in existence, and to open up one more avenue for the expenditure of money which we cannot spare, at any rate, until. the war is won.
– Is not the object of the Bill rather to co-ordinate than, to duplicate ?
– What does a measure such as ,this mean but duplication?
– There is no coordination between the States at present in these matters.
– Will the honorable senator tell me that the scientists in Tasmania are oblivious of what the scientists of Queensland are doing, and vice versa?
– Mutual knowledge is not co-ordination.
– What does the honorable senator suggest is meant by co-ordination, then?
– -Mutual action.
– There cannot be mutual action in regard to the investigation of totally different pests, with totally differing climatic locale. As long as we pursue the principle embodied in this measure, so long will the cost of administration of the affairs of 5,000,000 people soar. ‘
The Institute is to have power to give grants in the way of prosecuting research through existing State institutions. It is to have power to advise State bodies in the direction in which they should pursue their investigations. It is to have power - putting it bluntly - to “ teach its grandmother how to suck eggs.”
– How to do it scientifically.
– What is the use of talking about co-ordination of scientific establishments in respect of States, including Queensland, for example, which is bigger than four or five European countries? To talk of co-ordinating the investigations proceeding throughout the Commonwealth is so much humbug.
I am sorry, indeed, that I did not have the opportunity to vote against the Bill at its second-reading stage, since I believe the whole matter is an unnecessary example of the creation of Commonwealth Departments when State Departments of equal value are already extant.
I intend to move an amendment having for its object, at any rate, during the period of the war, the preclusion of the possibility of saddling the Commonwealth with machinery of this kind. I move -
That after the word “be”, line 1, the words “ established five years after the passing of this Act,” be inserted.
The adoption of this amendment will enable us to know where we are financially and otherwise before any steps are taken in the direction of spending large sums of money for a project of this nature.
– You are trying to kill the Bill.
– I would have voted against the second reading had I been present, because I am convinced Parliament will be pursuing an unwise course if this measure is adopted, and be adding to the Commonwealth expenditure to meet which we have already to resort to compulsory finance.
4.23]. - Senator Bakhap’s candour leaves no doubt that the object of his amendment is to kill the Bill. He speaks about duplication and the lack of coordination, and in reply I tell him that the whole object of the Bill is to bring about co-ordination.
– I did not complain of any lack of co-ordination.
– The object of the measure, as I have already emphasized, is to insure co-ordination amongst all the scientists in Australia in dealing with the various problems that will come before them. Queensland is doing magnificent work in combating the tick pest and prickly pear, but unfortunately those pests spread beyond the borders of that State, and it follows therefore that, unless there be co-ordination in other States, notably Kew South Wales, any expenditure by Queensland will be a waste of money. It is this lack of co-ordination that probably has permitted the spread of these pests to a greater extent than would otherwise have been possible, thus constituting a grave danger to Australia. The right way to bring about unity of action in the various States is by means of this Commonwealth. Institute. Senator Bakhap said that probably State officers would be called upon to undertake work in connexion with this Institute. I hope that, if any State officer is good enough to be a leader of this Institution, he will be transferred to the Commonwealth Service, because he will then have a larger sphere of operation.
– Then the inference is that he is not doing his duty at present.
– No. Under the Bill there is power for the GovernorGeneral, which, of course, means the Commonwealth Government, to get into touch with any of the States in regard to any problem they may be interested in. Take prickly pear and the tiek pest asan illustration. Queensland, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales are equally interested in these problems. If Queensland spent £1,000, 000 in the eradication of these pests, and if New South Wales and the Northern Territory failed to cooperate, every penny of Queensland’s expenditure would be absolutely wasted. It will be the duty of the Institute to advise the Minister, who, in turn; will advise the Government that it is necessary to tackle certain problems, and, having got in touch with the States, and gathered information from all parts of the world where research work has been carried out, certain definite proposals will be made. We might say to New South Wales, for instance, that it was proposed to spend £6,000 a year for five years on research work, with a view to eradicating a certain pest; that the Commonwealth contribution w’ould be £3,000, that New SouthW ales would be expected to provide £2,000, and, perhaps, Queensland £1,000 a year. An expenditure of £100,000 in a twelve months campaign against the tick pests in Queensland and New South Wales would be a sheer waste of money. There must be a great deal of continuous scientific research work in order satisfactorily to cope with many of these problems. The whole country will participate in the benefit following a successful campaign. Surely there is no crime in a proposal like this ? There is no desire to dissociate Commonwealth activities from those of the States; but, on the contrary, to insure scientific co-operation. If it is decided to handle the tick problem, the research work will be carried out, not in Melbourne, but in Queensland, which is the home of the tick pest and the prickly pear, the work being subsidized by the Commonwealth Government. At present there is not adequate co-operation between the States. New South Wales might have one proposal to cure the tick pest, and Queensland scientists might advise another course. Naturally both Governments would be guided by their sicentific advisers, and, perhaps, neither course would prove the correct one; but we believe it will be possible by means of the Commonwealth Institute to find the solution of these problems. E ask honorable senators not to be prejudiced against the Bill, or to regard it from a party stand-point. It will be the object of the Government to co-operate with the State authorities irrespective of party views, and it is hoped to get the same co-operation from them, in order to eliminate the various pests to which I have referred, and benefit the future generatioas of Australia. It ia true we cannot definitely state just how we are going to do this, but we are going to try, and no people in the world ever succeeded in doing anything unless they had the courage to make the attempt.
SenatorFOLL (Queensland) [4.33]. - I intend to support the amendment for the same reason that I opposed the second reading of the Bill, namely, on the ground of unnecessary expenditure. I was afraid, when I was speaking last week, that mine would be the voice of one crying in the wilderness for economy, but I find that I was under a misapprehension, and that other honorable senators on this side of the Senate are also desirous of seeing practical economy effected in Government administration. Senator Russell spoke of the need for coordination, and said it was necessary to do certain things in order to make Australia great. I am just as anxious as any other honorable senator to see these problems dealt with effectively, but I am opposed to the proposal, because 1 consider that an unnecessary expenditure will be involved. The Minister has stated that at present there is no co-ordination of effort between the States; but I know that there is in existence a border agreement betweenNew South Wales and Queensland in regard to the tick pest, and that it is impossible for stock to be moved over the border without first having been dipped under proper Government supervision. That is one direction in which coordination is being practised to-day; and I fail to see why mutual action of that kind cannot be extended without the appointment of three highly-paid officials, such as is contemplated by this Bill. I am satisfied that if any State is in a position to confer a benefit upon the Commonwealth by co-operation with it, no effort will be spared by it to bring about the desired result. To suggest otherwise would be ridiculous. Matters in which the States are jointly interested are usually discussed at the Premiers’Con ferences.
– Has the honorable senator ever read the report of the proceedings of one of those Conferences?
SenatorFOLL. - I have. I entirely fail to recognise the necessity for the creation of a new Commonwealth Department for the purpose of performing work which is already being well done by State experts. The Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that probably the directors of the Institute will be appointed from the experts in the various State Departments. That admission means, if it means anything, that the Commonwealth is to be saddled with a further expenditure in connexion with work which is already being admirably done by State experts.
– Take the case of wheat as an illustration. There is a possibility of a big development of weevil occurring in our wheat during the next few months - a development which may cost the Commonwealth hundreds of thousands of pounds. What would the honorable senator suggest should be done to meet that difficulty?
– I think the State Premiers, who are concerned in the eradication of that pest should be called together for the purpose of devising a scheme with that end in view.
– That is precisely what is contemplated under this Bill.
– I repeat that the measure provides for the appointment of a Board of Directors, thus incurring further expenditure in connexion with work which is already being well performed by the States.
– The Queensland Government refused to co-operate with the New South Wales Government in respect of the tick pest, and the New South Wales Government refused toco-operate with the Queensland Government in respect of the prickly pear pest.
– Need I remind the honorable gentleman that at the Tweed Heads provision is made for the “ dipping “ of stock preparatory to its crossing the New South Wales border? It is absolutely impossible to take any stock across that border until it has first been “ dipped “ under proper supervision. That is one illustration of practical cooperation. The Board of Directors of the Institute, if appointed, will probably take certain administrative functions out of the hands of the Government.
– Somebody must be responsible for doing things.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has stated that it is the intention of the Government to appoint the Board from the experts in the various Departments.
– What does the honorable senator suggest should be done with Queensland molasses? Should they be used to poison fish?
– It may be interesting to Senator Senior to Enow that those molasses are to-day being utilized in a way which is of great benefit to the Commonwealth, and to the cause of the Allies. The Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that it will be the function of the Board of Directors of the Institute to scour the highways and by-ways of the world in an effort to obtain the best experts to deal with the various questions which will come within the purview of this Bill.
– It will pay us handsomely to do that if we can get good men.
– I do not dispute that. But will the honorable senator say that the State Governments are not prepared to pay equally well for the services of experts who are qualified to deal with the pests that affect our primary industries? As a matter of fact, experts have already been secured from other parts of the world to combat certain pests peculiar to Queensland, and some of these officials have rendered very admirable service. If it were possible for the Queensland Government to secure a man who was able effectually to deal either with the cane beetle or with the prickly pear pest, it would not hesitate to spend millions of pounds with that end in view. Already thousands of pounds have been offered by way of reward in this connexion. Yet we are now told that it is necessary to call into existence a new Commonwealth Department to deal with these very problems. The Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that it will be the function of the Board to purchase various appliances for the States. That means that the States will be relieved of a certain amount of expenditure.
– I do not know where the honorable senator gets that statement from.
– The honorable gentleman said that there were a lot of appliances at Dulacca which had been acquired by the Commonwealth. As those appliances were previously the property of Queensland, I presume that the Commonwealth has paid for them. I fail to see how the new Department which it is proposed to establish under this Bill, will confer any benefit upon Australia. At the present time it is quite competent for the Government to take action in any desired direction, either in conjunction with the whole of the States or otherwise. There is nothing to bar effective cooperation with a view to the eradication of recognised pests. I protest against the Bill on the ground that the expenditure proposed is unjustifiable, and I trust that the time is not far distant when the Ministry will make some attempt to practice that which they are so continually preaching, namely, economy.
– I rise to a point of order. I desire to know whether the amendment is in order, seeing that it does not seek to amend the principle of the Bill, but merely to postpone the period when it shall come into operation.
– I rule that the amendment is in order. Had I thought otherwise I would have ruled accordingly when the amendment was submitted.
– I congratulate the Government upon the introduction of this Bill, and my attitude towards it has been considerably strengthened by the speeches which have just been delivered by Senator Bakhap and Senator Foll. Their remarks served to accentuate the wisdom underlying the introduction of a measure of this character even more than did the observations of the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell). Senator Foll mentioned, amongst other things, that a border agreement exists between theGovernments of New South Wales and Queensland - an agreement under which all stock crossingthe border has to be dipped with a view to preventing the distribution of tick throughout other States. That agreement is all very well in its way, but I would remind the honorable senator that the necessity for it was due to the inadequacy of the State efforts to deal with the tick pest. Now the opposition to the Bill proceeds from a desire to confine the operations of each State to the territory within its own borders.
SenatorFoll. - The opposition to the measure is based on theground of economy.
– I shall deal with that phase of the matter presently. The Queensland Government, being a generous Government, had no desire to confine the tick pest to Queensland territory. They desired to spread it over the Commonwealth, and it was because of protests by the other States that the agreement to which Senator Foll has referred was entered into. It is nota scientific agreement in any sense of the term. It is a purely political agreement, and one which was arrived at between the State Premiers. But the Bill which is now under consideration is intendedto co-ordinate the various efforts on the part of the States-
– “ Co-ordinate “ is like “ Mesopotamia “ - a blessed word.
– Then I will endeavour to substitute another word for it.
The endeavour is to get the States and their scientists to put their heads together as a great Commonwealth machine to combat the various pests that affect this country.
There are many things besides pests to deal with. Indeed, I take it that pest eradication will be a comparatively small portion of the work of the Institute when it is established.
– If you get rid of the pests, you will be doing a wonderful work.
– We shall. Every State in the Commonwealth for many ‘years has been making disjointed, disconnected, spasmodic efforts to cope with pests. They go on for a certain period in a certain direction with the idea of eradicating some pest. A change of Government takes place, an economical Administration comes into power, some great economist gets up in his place in Parliament, and the money which has been put aside for the purpose is cut off, with the result that the pest has a good time of it forever afterwards. That is one of the effects of the disjointed efforts that have been made in the past so far as science is concerned. Senator Bakhap said money was being spent in following to its source the dragon-fly, or horsestinger, as we have been in the habit of calling it, and he seemed to suggest that some scientist might waste his time and energy in attempting to extract sunbeams from cucumbers, and whisky from watermelons. I should not be surprised, because many scientists have a kink of some kind or other in their brain. There is no telling to what extent scientists will go, although I believe, even if successful, the attempt to extract whisky from watermelons would be unprofitable.
The Minister (Senator Russell) referred to the possibility of an invasion of weevils, which attack wheat. During the last three or four years, since we have been unable to export our wheat, and while we have been storing it by the imperfect methods at our command, due to our lack of scientific knowledge on the subject, we have lost hundreds of thousands of tons of wheat, representing millions of pounds sterling.
– Hundreds of thousands of tons?
– Yes. I have seen thousands of tons of wheat carted out from stacks in South Australia alone, and spread on the roadside, or burnt when it could be burnt/ Had the scientists been at work in connexion with that wheat, some valuable by-product might have been discovered. The wheat that has been wasted in this country during the last four years would have paid the cost of this Institute for the next ten years at the least
– What guarantee would you have that the Institute would have discovered anything in that connexion?
– We cannot give guarantees. At any rate, simply to sit down and say that we shall not extend our scientific research, is not the way to find out.
– Is not the wheat under the authority of the Wheat Pool? Had the Pool no authority to engage scientists ?
– The Wheat Pool authorities are not scientists.
Every State in Australia has its own little set of scientists, and each is as jealous of the other as are rival politicians. In their opinion, no good ever comes from the man over the border. That is the kind of handicap under which Australia has been labouring for many years, and this Bill is the first practical attempt to overcome these difficulties. No one can overlook the tremendous waste of money that has taken place in this country because of the lack of long, continued scientific application to the pests that have afflicted us; but there is another aspect of the question even more important. We must look to the future. Men are going up and down this country condemning Australia because it does not manufacture its own requirements “ Why,” they ask, “ have we been dependent on Germany for the last hundred years for the bulk of our scientific requirements?” The reason is simply that we have been too parochial and too parsimonious. We have been looking at every threepenny-bit that ought to have been spent in scientific directions, while pouring out thousands of pounds in other directions where they did no good.
– Have we been looking at every threepenny-bit?
– W.e have been attempting to save money instead of looking for scientific outlets. After all, money is required to develop” science fu every way. We have been depending on Germany for many years. We all hope that from this moment onward we shall so develop our scientific research that we shall be able forthwith to provide for ourselves, with the aid of science, everything that Germany and other countries have been finding for us. We shall not succeed in doing so, however, if every State is left to pursue its own investigations in its own way up to a certain point, only for the scientists to find, when on the verge of making some discovery, that the money is stopped, on the ground that they have been too long in finding out what they set out to discover. This Bill, I take it, is a practical, common-sense way of linking up the scientific work of Australia, so that no Inter-State jealousies, no State parsimony or State interference, shall come in to stop the work when it is nearing completion. Let us not blab here about economy. There are many ways in which the Government can economize if they like.
– Especially the Queensland Government.
– I believe the Queensland Government are as much to blame in that regard as any other.
– Queensland is the only State that has sent a report to the Commonwealth on this proposal.
– I believe their silence shows that the other States are well satisfied to let the Commonwealth go on with this work. Queensland, apparently, is the only bugbear, the only stumbling-block in the way. I believe the Queensland Government are not very anxious to help the Commonwealth in this direction.
– There ia no indication that any other State Government is anxious to help the Commonwealth.
– The indications are that the other States are willing to let the Federal Parliament do the work it was elected to do. This is the first time in my recollection since I “have been in the Senate that it has ever been suggested, particularly by members of the Opposition, that the States should be consulted in this or any other matter.
– What did Mr. Holman say the other day?
– I have never heard. Apparently, certain honorable senators are saying that this Parliament ought to subordinate its functions to the opinions of the State Premiers and State Parliaments. -
– You said the Queensland Government was the only Government opposing the Bill. I am pointing out that Mr. Holman is also opposing it on behalf of New South. Wales.
– I have not said that the Queensland Government is the only one opposing it. I said the Queensland Government was the only one that -had sent a reply to the Minister’s communication.
– And that was written before they saw the Bill.
– I could not say. I am arguing’ that the fact that the other States have not sent in a protest is an indication that they are agreeable to the Commonwealth Parliament going on with the work that it finds to its hand.
– The Queensland Government are not against the Bill. They only want protection.
– I am not sure what position they take up. I read into Mr. Ryan’s letter that he is against the Bill. I do not say that the people of Queensland are against it, because in this matter I do not believe that Mr. Ryan represents them.
We must look to the future scientific development of our industries. The question of the eradication of pests, big though it may be, is comparatively small in relation to the possibilities of the future. It is high time the Federal Parliament carried a measure of this kind. It ought to have been on the statute-book years ago. The States and the Commonwealth should link up their scientific efforts so that Australia may progress and become independent of other countries for much of the goods and materials which she has hitherto drawn from them. It is necessary for our national salvation to develop our industries, and there is no greater force in the development of. the resources of any country than science. The brains, energy, and research of the scientist, if properly and intelligently applied to the problems of the future, will do more than anything else in that direction, t see no reason why the consideration of the Bill should be postponed. I see no reason why an attempt should be made to consult the States on this Bill more than on anyother. The Government, in this matter, are on right lines. There may be a little opposition in the Senate, but those who are opposed to it have as much right to their attitude as I have to mine. After all, it is by honest opposition and fair criticism that we find out the imperfections of a measure. Opposition to any measure tends to improve it as it goes through Parliament. I trust the Minister will persevere with the Bill, and that it will ultimately be carried. If it is, I believe it will be of tremendous benefit to Australia.
– I wish to raise a point of order as to whether it is competent for Senator Bakhap at this stage to submit an amendment of this nature. If honorable senators will turn to standing order 194 they will find that it provides, dealing with the question “ That this Bill be now read a second time “-
Amendments may be moved to such question by leaving out the word “now” and adding “ this day six months,” which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the Bill; or by referring the Bill to a Select Committee; or the previous question may be moved.
It was at the second-reading stage of the measure that the postponement of its operation could have been brought about by an amendment of the character moved by Senator Bakhap. As the Senate decided that the Bill should be read a second time, as it has been read a second time, and as we are now in Committee considering it in detail, I wish to take your ruling, sir, as to whether an amendment may be moved at this stage which will have the same effect as would have followed the carrying of an amendment submitted to the motion for the second reading of the Bill, “That this Bill be read a second time this day six months.” Senator Bakhap having failed to take advantage of the opportunity afforded under the Standing Orders to postpone this measure at the second-reading stage is, in my opinion, not in order in attempting to do in Committee indirectly what the Standing Orders provide shall be done in a definite manner on the motion for the second reading.
– Senator Gardiner is confusing two distinct questions. Had I been present at the time, and had I moved in the direction indicated by him on the motion, “ That this Bill be now read a second time,” and had that amendment been agreed to, it would have involved the disappearance of the measure from the ambit of parliamentary action. I remind the honorable senator, however, that this Bill has passed the secondreading stage, and the effect of my amendment, if carried, would not be to destroy the measure. It could still be placed upon the statute-book, but it would be a legislative enactment which, because of the exigencies of the nation, would not become operative until the lapse of a certain time after its passing. I claim, therefore, that my amendment is perfectly in order.
– As Senator Gardiner has pointed out, the carrying of the amendment will mean the defeat of the measure. It cannot, therefore, be regarded as in any sense an amendment of the Bill. Usually when those opposed to a Bill desire to defeat it they submit to the motion, “ That this Bill be now read a second time,” an amendment to provide that it be read that day six months. If to postpone a Bill for six months involves its total defeat, how much more forcibly oan it be contended that it will be defeated and destroyed by carrying a motion for its postponement for five years.
– The Bill would not reach the statute-book if the other course were adopted, but it would under my amendment.
– I submit that the amendment is not in accordance with our Standing Orders, and I support the point of order raised by Senator Gardiner.
– The amendment moved by Senator Bakhap is taken exception to as being out of order, because its purpose is to postpone the operation of the Bill for a period of five years. It has been pointed out that one of the means adopted for the defeat of a Bill is to submit an amendment to the motion for the second reading that it be read that day six months. It was argued by Senator de Largie that if the effect of carrying such an amendment was to defeat such a Bill, how much more would the effect of carrying an amendment, postponing its operation for five years, be to defeat it. But the argument does not hold. An amendment that a Bill be read this day six months is moved to the motion, “ That this Bill be now read a second time.” The whole force of the motion for” the first and second readings of a Bill is in the use of the word “ now.” If an amendment is carried that a Bill be read a second time this day six months, the effect is to take the control of the measure out of the hands of the Minister in charge of it. Where that is done the Minister. drops the Bill. The Government do not go on with it six months later. They do not literally give effect to what has been resolved. This “Bill has reached the Committee stage. It has been read a second time, and its principles have been approved by the Senate by carrying the motion for the second reading. We are now in Committee upon the Bill, and it is open to honorable senators to submit amendments to modify the operation of any particular provision or of the whole of the provisions of the Bill.
– Modify, but not strangle.
– Senator Maughan may describe the effect of the amendment in any terms he pleases, but the amendment is merely a proposal that the operation of the different clauses of the Bill shall be suspended for a period of five years. I am not speaking as to the merits of the amendment, but solely on the point of order. It has been quite customary for us in regard to many enactments, on the second reading, in Committee, and even on the third reading, to provide that the operation of a measure shall be suspended indefinitely. I have in mind a Bill which was discussed in this Senate for years, session after session, and also in another place. I refer to the Navigation Bill. It was passed years ago, but it has not come into operation yet, because we provided that it should come into operation “ on a date to be proclaimed.” The date has never yet been proclaimed. The measure is in suspension, like Mohamet’s coffin. It may not be proclaimed in operation for another ten years. To provide that a Bill shall come into operation only after a certain date is not to ignore the fact that its principles, and even its details, are affirmed. Senator Bakhap’s amendment has been moved at the Committee stage, and its effect, if carried, would be that, while we should have approved of the general principles of the Bill and of its details, as they stand, or as1 they may be modified by discussion in Committee, the whole scheme would not come into operation until a definite .date. That is really the amendment now submitted to the Committee, and I contend that it is perfectly in order. It is not at all comparable with an amendment moved to the motion for the second or third reading of a Bill which has the effect of taking the control of the measure out of the hands of the Minister who has charge of it. When an amendment to the motion for the second reading of the Bill, to the effect that it be read this day six months instead of now, is carried, the Minister in charge of the measure may bring on the Bill again at the close of the six months, but in practice that is not done.”
– In most sessions it would not be possible to do it.
– That is so, but it is a question of policy for the Government to decide. If the Minister in charge of the measure chooses to swallow the amendment to his motion for the second reading and bring it on again six months later, he can do so. That does not touch the effect of Senator Bakhap’s amendment moved in Committee. We may approve generally of the principles, and it may be of the details, of the Bill, and the effect of Senator Bakhap’s amendment would be merely that its operation would be postponed for a period of five years. It would not matter whether he suggested five years or twenty years, his amendment would still be in order. What the Government may do if it be passed is quite another matter - a matter of policy and of Government responsibility.
– I submit that this is not the stage of the Bill at which such an amendment as Senator Bakhap has submitted , can be moved. If the amendment be carried, the Bill will be destroyed.
– No, its operation will be postponed:
– The object of the amendment is to destroy the Bill.
– Even if that be granted, its destruction will rest, not upon the amendment, but upon the subsequent action of the Government if the amendment be carried.
– If Senator Bakhap desires to destroy the Bill, a more direct way would be to take a division on this clause, and stand or fall by that.
– In that event, would Senator Bakhap have the honorable senator’s vote?
– I am asked whether I would give my vote for tie purpose of destroying the Bill, and my answer is that I voted for the second reading of the Bill. I propose to assist the Committee to improve the measure where possible, but not to give a vote to destroy it.
– The honorable senator wanted progress reported a little while ago, and with what object?
– I “supported the proposal to report progress, in order that honorable senators might obtain a better knowledge of the measure. If it had been carried, Senator Bakhap would, when the Bill next came up for consideration, have had a better knowledge of it than he appears to have now.
– In five years’ time the people of Australia will have a better knowledge of it.
– By that time many of the people to whom the honorable senator refers will be dead for the lack of scientific research. If there is a desire to postpone the operation of this measure, it could be given effect by submitting a new clause to provide that it shall come into operation at a time to be gazetted; but I am not sure whether a private member is at liberty to submit such a clause.
– An honorable senator has the right to move any amendment.
– Then, I suggest that Senator Bakhap move a new clause to the effect that the Act shall come into operation on a date to be gazetted. That would be the fairer and- better way. Senator Keating has mentioned the Navigation Act. It is true that it took about ten years to get that measure, in both Houses of the Legislature, through the labyrinth of all its many phases; but the Navigation Act is not in operation now because of the war. It was about to be gazetted-
– It was in abeyance for several years before the war.
– On account of international complications. During the passage, at any rate, of portion of that Bill, Senator Keating himself was a Min ister, and he must know the circumstances.
– It was held up for years because the thousands of regulations necessary under it were being prepared.
– And on account of international complications.
– It was mainly for the reason I have just mentioned. The British Government gave its consent.
– At any rate, when all those things had been smoothed over, and the Bill was about to receive assent, it was announced that, owing to the state of war which then came about, the measure could not be proclaimed.
– That does not get over the point that it contains a provision of itself that it shall not come into operation until a date to be proclaimed.
– That is the point which I take, namely, that if Senator Bakhap wants this measure postponed after it has become an Act, he should move for that object at another stage, and not by way of amendment of this clause. I support the point of order raised by Senator Gardiner, and I think, Mr. Chairman, that you should rule Senator Bakhap out of order in moving his amendment.
– A point of order has been raised by Senator ‘Gardiner, namely, that the Committee stage is not the proper time for the insertion of an amendment such as that of Senator B’akhap. I rule that the honorable senator is in order in moving the amendment at this stage.
– Then I dissent from your ruling, Mr. Chairman, and, pursuant to the standing order, I hand in my objection in writing. The matter is very important, and is one on which we should have the President’s ruling. I have taken this stand merely to get the matter cleared, up, since the Standing Orders provide, at the second-reading stage, for dealing with the postponement of a Bill, and because I hold that we should not do. in Committee what the Standing Orders state should be done at the second-reading stage. There is only the difference of degree between the six months’ period referred to in the Standing Orders, and in the five years set out in the amendment of Senator Bakhap.
In tl>& Senate:
The Chairman of Committees (Senator Shannon). - I have to report that in Committee, upon clause _4. Senator Bakhap moved, after “be” (line 1) to insert the following words - “ established five years after the passing of this Act “ ; to which Senator Gardiner asked my ruling whether Senator Bakhap was in order in moving his amendment at that stage. I ruled that the honorable senator was in order, whereupon- Senator Gardiner handed in a dissent from my ruling, framed as follows: -
I desire to disagree with the ruling of Mr. Chairman on the ground that an amendment of this nature should have been moved on the second reading ; that it is not open for the Committee to do in an indirect way that which the Standing Orders provide shall be dealt with in the manner provided in standing order 194.
– In taking exception to an amendment of the nature of Senator Bakhap’s, I have done so because the effect would be to postpone the operation of this measure for a period of five years. That is admitted by Senator Bakhap to be the intention of his procedure.
– Do not make too much of the fancied admissions of Senator Bakhap. I was addressing myself to an entirely different matter.
– Then I withdraw that suggestion; but I made it because I think Senator Bakhap said that that was his intention. Of course, if the honorable senator will not stand up to it now-
– - I said that if I had had an opportunity of speaking upon the second reading I would have expressed my intention to oppose the Bill in toto.
– I beg the honorable senator’s pardon; but Senator Keating admitted that, in his view also, that was the intention of the amendment.
– I took it to be the honorable senator’s intention.
– I took that to be the case. Standing order 194 provides for dealing with the postponement of measures at the second reading stage. It states -
Amendments may be moved to such Question by leaving out “now” and adding “this day six months,” which, if carried, shall finally dispose of the Bill. . . .
That really defeats the Bill. It seems improper to do in Committee what the
Standing Orders definitely provide shall be done in a direct way at another stage.
– As this is a matter of some importance, “and your ruling, Mr. President, will establish a precedent, may I state my views on the point of order. I am not a fine discriminator with regard to our Standing Orders; but it seems clear that Senator Gardiner, in his objection to the Chairman’s ruling, is confounding and confusing two entirely different facts. The effect - when a Bill is at the secondreading stage - of moving for its postponement for six months is to prevent it becoming an enactment at all. It does not get as far as the statute-book. The effect of my amendment would not be the same. It would establish a period during which the Act could not become operative. The measure would be placed upon the statute-book. It would contain an express provision to the effect that its objects could not be consummated until five years had elapsed.
– The course taken by Senator Bakhap has come before the Senate for the first time, at all events, to my knowledge.
– I point out that that has nothing to do with the point of order.
– You should be prepared, I think, sir, to hear arguments where an extraordinary step has been taken with regard to our Standing Orders. Your ‘mind should be open to hear all arguments- in reference to it.
– All relevant arguments.
– If I am correct, an amendment such as that presented by Senator Bakhap ha9 never before been moved in regard to any Bill which has come before the Senate. . It is fair, therefore, to describe it as a most extraordinary amendment. If to move that a Bill be read “ a second time this day six months “ means the shelving of that measure, how much more definitely would a Bill be shelved, and the efforts of the Government be practically stultified, if one could successfully move that a measure come into operation five years hence ?
– The one proposition condemns a measure to a period of inactivity, while the other condemns it to sudden death. Which do you prefer? ‘
– I do not know that there is much preference in either. The underlying principle is the same. I hold that an amendment cannot be moved to a Bill in this manner. It would stultify legislation, and would take the power of governing out of the hands of the Government of the day, and would be in every way out of harmony with the Standing Orders.
– I think the matter has been sufficiently discussed. There is no doubt in my mind with respect to the question itself, and I have taken the opportunity to look up, as authority, the latest edition of May. In my view, it would be a comparative waste of time to further debate the subject. The only question is whether the amendment is or is not in order. I am not concerned as to what may be the motive of the mover of the amendment, or as to whether the action of the honorable senator is extraordinary. I have, nothing to do with what the effect of the amendment -might be. My duty is simply to decide whether the amendment is in order under our Standing Orders and according to the usual parliamentary practice. The only rules laid down in regard to an amendment, either in Committee or at the second-reading stage, are that it must possess three qualifications. First, it must be relevant; second, it must be intelligible; and, third, it must be consistent with the measure and with itself. Our Standing Orders say nothing at all contrary to that. Therefore, the question with which I am concerned is - Does the amendment of Senator Bakhap comply with those three qualifications?
Senator Gardiner has stated that the more proper course would have been to take such-and-such action. With that I have nothing to do, although probably it might have been more acceptable had the action been taken in that manner. But, because Senator Bakhap did not avail himself of his right to do a certain thing at a certain stage, he is not deprived of his right to take some other course at a later opportunity. After all, should an honorable senator feel that he has lost his chance of proposing a certain course of action, the Senate always has its own remedy, seeing that a Bill may be recommitted.
There is no question in my mind but that Senator Bakhap’s amendment is relevant. There is no question, either, but that it is intelligible; and that it is consistent is also equally clear.
– Do you think, sir, that it is consistent to deal with a Bill which cannot be brought into existence for a period of five years?
– Certainly I The Committee have the right to negative every clause in the Bill. They could make it a blank sheet of paper, and therefore have a right to insert any amendment they think fit. The matter is entirely for the Committee to decide. I am only concerned with the question of whether the. amendment is in accordance with the Standing Orders and parliamentary practice. I rule that Senator Bakhap is within his rights, and that his amendment is in order.
– On the objections taken by the Minister (Senator Russell) to my amendment, it will be remembered that in the course of my remarks I stated that I believed the time was singularly unfortunate in a financial sense for the operation of this measure. I am not going to be placed in a position of having it charged against me that I am opposed to scientific research and scientific education generally. I believe that no member of this Chamber values scientific research and education at a higher standard than I do. But we must remember that this 13 a Federation, and that the activities which this measure allegedly, .and probably honestly, seeks to stimulate, are already in existence, and are being applied vigorously every day of our national life. One would think that the States were jealous legislative entities, and that they were in the habit of erecting a kind of Chinese wall against the progress of scientific investigation. No assertion of the kind could be further removed from the truth. I remember, in connexion with the bitter-pit disease that is troubling Tasmanian Orchardists to the present day, that the Tasmanian Government had recourse to a Victorian scientist, or investigator, in the person of Mr. McAlpine. They took him over to
Tasmania, and lie gave the island orchardists the benefit of some very exhaustive researches, which he carried out there and on the mainland.
– Who took him over, and who paid for him?
– The Tasmanian Government. Was that not evidence of practical co-ordination between State activities? I do not believe in being a slave to formal phrases, though I know some people can erect a phrase into a kind of fetish, but I remember also that when the Irish potato blight broke out in Tasmania the State Government sent to New Zealand for a man who had had experience of the disease there. He was brought to Tasmania, taken through the affected districts, and a3 a member of the Tasmanian Legislature I helped to vote a considerable sum of money in payment for the investigations.
– It was a clear case of co-operation. The Commonwealth paid half and the Tasmanian Government the balance.
– And the Commonwealth could do the same now, without creating this unnecessary machinery. That is exactly my point. The Minister knows that I am not offering factious opposition to the measure, but at the risk of repeating myself, I say again that at a time when we are resorting to compulsion to find the financial sinews of war, we should not seek to duplicate State activities or to superimpose a new Commonwealth Department on any State activities.
In the underground- chambers of the Tasmanian Legislature will be found great piles of scientific communications from the Congress library, the proceedings and debates of the Smithsonian Institute, and other similar institutions. Scientific men are cosmopolitan in their correspondence. I venture to- say there is no scientist in Australia, be he never so obscure, who does not receive week by week, and month by month, a most voluminous correspondence from scientific investigators in all parts of the world. In connexion with the Queensland tick pest, one would have thought it was a comparatively late discovery, but twenty years ago, when crossing the Queensland border, 1 had evidence of the fact that there was tick” pest in that country, be cause stock had to be dipped before they were admitted into New South Wales. And we all know that our scientific knowledge with respect to the pest comes from Texas, in the United States.
I freely and frankly admit that the” intention of the measure is a -laudable one, but once more I say that at the present time, when the Commonwealth taxpayers are subject to increasing taxation, and when compulsion” is being resorted to in regard to the Commonwealth’s financial schemes, it is politically criminal for us to duplicate well-established State activities. It is not for me, with so many able representatives from Queensland in this Chamber, to boast of the scientific researches of the great northern State. Abundant evidence of this fact may be found . in the rewards offered to scientific investigators for satisfactory methods of eradicating Queensland tropical or sub-tropical pests. If the Commonwealth Government have money to spend, let them give assistance in this direction. If, however, they have not the money, they should not endeavour to put unnecessary legislation on our statute-book. While the machinery of the Bill may in itself be desirable and commendable, the present is not the time to put it into operation. I am not one of those who seek refuge behind the phrase, “ the time is not ripe,” but I do urge that the Commonwealth Parliament would render itself liable to be placed in a politically criminal light if it authorized the disbursement of this money, not along established channels, but along a new channel which will add to the expense of administration.
In the Northern Territory the Commonwealth Government have under their own jurisdiction an area as large as seven American States. What are they doing with it? Has Commonwealth administration stimulated the people there to grow enough European food for themselves ? Practically everything they use is imported. Do they grow horse feed, rice, or wheat? There is a Territory which under Commonwealth jurisdiction is nothing more than a sink for money. Let economies be effected there, and some of that* money be devoted to promoting scientific investigations in the Territory. In the Capital City Territory also there is room for scientific activities for the destruction of rabbits.
– I was there last week, and I saw only one rabbit in the whole of the Territory.
– Well, I remember reading in the press a few days ago that the rabbits had made their appearance in the Capital Territory. Australia territorially is equal to the superficies of the United States, but yet we have only six States. It is true that we have not the population of the United States, but when we have, no doubt many of our problems will have been satisfactorily dealt with.
Now, as opposed to this co-ordination argument, I want to suggest that in variety we get versatility. I do not think it wrong for two Australian States to be experimenting independently for the eradication of the same pest, because these experiments may lead to some valuable scientific discoveries.
– But that would 110t be economical.
– I can mention one public utility, the administration of which has been co-ordinated, with the result that the electors of the Commonwealth do not now derive from it anything like the same services that were enjoyed prior to Federation. I allude to the Post Office.
– But it has produced a scientist.
– I dare say we could ‘ jest pleasantly about the attainments of the present Postmaster-General (Mr. Webster) in relation, to a recent exhibition of his activities; but I may say that, since Federation, the Post Office is not so valuable a public utility, nor is it so readily available to the people, as it was in pre-Federation days, because in country districts nowadays the post-office is shut for half a day during the week, and it is always closed at 6 o’clock.
– I admit, Mr. Chairman, that I deserve the reproof, and that my remarks are not relevant, but I am endeavouring to show that coordination may be valuable or valueless, and, indeed, sometimes it may be pernicious. Variety in scientific investigation, and in research work generally, may be that versatility needed to produce the desired result. We may have three or four, or even seven or more, directors of this proposed Institute, but the Director himself may exercise a paralyzing influence on the genius of investigators in the various Departments. There is no royal road in science. It is only by studious experimentation and well-considered research that valuable results may be obtained. It would be a dangerous innovation for the Director of the Institute to say to scientific investigators, “You are proceeding on wrong lines. You must work along lines suggested by me.”
There is nothing valuable in the Minister’s assertion that co-ordination is imperative. I repeat that the Northern Territory, which is under Commonwealth jurisdiction, is supposed to be fertile and blessed with an abundant rainfall suitable for the growth of dozens of tropical productions. The Commonwealth Government have abundant sphere for their scientific activities, and until they can show better results there they will not be justified in creating an Institute which will override existing State activities. I really believe the best way to develop our tropical territories would be to give independent representation to the people who are interested in their progress, and that scientific experiments and activities should be directed on the spot instead of from the Commonwealth Capital thou: sands of miles away. That is my prognostication in regard to Australian political and national development. In the United States of America there are dozens of scientific departments of research.
– But they have one central organization.
– Yes, and they have over 100,000,000 people in the United States.
– But the principle is the same.
– The principle may be right enough; but the United States did not establish their central organization when they were in the throes of a most extensive and vital war. While the general principle of the Bill may be logical, the present time is undesirable to make the measure operative. I” hope therefore the Committee will agree to my amendment.
Senator SENIOR (South Australia) utterances of Senator Bakhap because the views which he expresses are pretty sound. But I am astonished at his attitude towards this Bill. His main contention is that this is the wrong time to establish an Institute of Science and Industry because we are in the throes of war. But what have been the effects of the war? The struggle has entirely dislocated our commerce, it has cut us off almost entirely from the other side of the world, and it has shown us clearly the remarkable degree in which we are dependent upon the products of other people. Now, when we feel our need most acutely and possess the essential raw materials, why should we-deter action?
– The honorable senator is misinterpreting the argument of Senator Bakhap.
– I do not think so. According to Senator Bakhap we should not attempt to make use of our own products for a period of five years.
– Why not twentyfive years?
– Exactly. “Senator Bakhap has affirmed that the motive underlying this measure is a laudable one. Then, why should we not enact this legislation at a time when it is most urgently needed ? We have been told that we cannot spare the money that will be required under the Bill. But, as a matter of fact, a measure such as this will probably result in the saving of very large sums indeed. As Senator Newland has already pointed out, if an Institute of Science and Industry had been in active operation a year or two ago, the Commonwealth would have saved many thousands of pounds in connexion with the ravages wrought by the mice plague. Had such an institution been in existence at that time a scientist would at once have laid hold of the damaged wheat, from which he would have extracted alcohol, which could have been used in connexion with motor traffic. It is being largely utilize! for that purpose in America to-day. Senator Foll has merely to travel through Queensland in order to discover immense quantities of timber, together with millions of tons of sawdust, which are now going to waste, and from which alcohol could be extracted. There are plenty of other materials available in Australia the utilization of which would open up new avenues for the .profitable investment of capital Senator Bakhap’s argument, however, is that variety is better than coordination. He might just as logically contend that an army without a general is preferable to an army with a unified command. The effect of his amendment, if carried, will be to make the Bill a dead letter. Why did he not attempt its destruction upon the motion for its second reading ?
– I was not present.
– The honorable senator has referred to the control of the Northern Territory, and contrasted, it with the control of the southern part of Australia. But no analogy can be instituted between the two places, because there are very few white people in the Northern Territory. There is not the variety there for which the honorable senator yearns. The Northern Territory is merely a challenge to us to solve the pressing problems that there confront us.
– It was through the Northern Territory that Queensland got the cattle tick.
– I need scarcely remind honorable senators that it is not many years since the citrus-growers of America found that their occupation was practically gone, owing to their orchards being attacked by a certain pest. What happened? They directed the attention of scientists to what was taking place, and the introduction of the ladybird followed, with the result that the citrus-growers were saved millions of pounds annually. Some honorable senators appear to be obsessed with the idea that it will be necessary for the scientists appointed under this measure to be permanently located in Melbourne.
– That will be the effect of it.
– Why ? In my judgment, the locality where a .pest is to be found will be that in which the scientists will study it. If the argument advanced by Senator Bakhap had carried any weight, the Panama Canal would never have been built, because the time for its construction would never have been opportune.
– It cost the United States of America a large sum of money through the time when it was first undertaken being inopportune.
– Because the first attempt to construct that canal failed, according to the argument of the honorable senator, failure was inevitable on the occasion of the second attempt. But the huge undertaking was, nevertheless, carried out successfully. Scientists got to work, and, by the destruction of the mosquito, made it possible for men to live in that malarial zone. Senator Foll urged the rejection of the Bill upon the ground of economy.
– He has been reading the Age lately.
– No doubt that journal will welcome him as the apostle of economy in this chamber. I ask the honorable senator: What is .being done with Queensland molasses to-day? I have been assured by a Queensland resident that they are being poured into the river, and that the fish are being poisoned in consequence.
– That may have been true thirty years ago.
– I know that, to a large extent, they are a waste product in Queensland to-day. Now, if molasses can be made to serve some useful purpose, they will easily pay Queensland’s contribution towards the establishment of this Institute.
– That is a commercial, and not a scientific, problem.
– In discussing the motion for the second reading of this Bill, I pointed out how Queensland molasses might be profitably utilized. I showed how potash might be extracted from them, thus making us independent of supplies from Germany. We cannot afford to close our eyes to these vast possibilities. When Senator Bakhap urges that this is not the time to establish the projected Institute of Science and Industry, seeing that we are about to enforce subscriptions to our war loans, my reply is that it is the time, above all others, when we should take action in the direction indicated. I trust that the amendment will be negatived.
.- During the course of this debate a considerable amount of light has been thrown upon the activities of the States in the direction of eradicating recognised pests and of developing scientific research. I have already pointed out how the Queensland Government have endeavoured to deal with various pests peculiar to that State, and Senator Bakhap, in the course of his eloquent address, showed that years ago Tasmania also made an equally serious attempt to effectively combat certain pests and to promote scientific research generally. It is not correct, as Senator Senior seems to imagine, that I and others are opposing the Bill because we are against scientific research. No one here is more anxious than I am to see pests eradicated, and science progress in this . country. I believe the development of science in a country stands for the development of the country itself, and insures its future prosperity. But. I shall always protest, as I am protesting now, against the duplication of offices, and against the Commonwealth Government spending money that should be spent by the States. I am against the Commonwealth taking activities away from the States when the States are discharging them satisfactorily. I have here a summary of State efforts in relation to certain questions in Queensland, and when I have quoted it, honorable senators will see that the State Governments are not simply sitting back and doing nothing, as the Minister (Senator Russell) would have us believe. The State Governments are just as interested as is the Commonwealth Government in the eradication of pests. No matter which side the Government come from, it is not likely that they will let an opportunity pass of dealing with a question that affects their own State, nor are they likely to quibble over the expenditure . of a few pounds, or to be influenced by petty State jealousies when the welfare of their State is at stake. I do not believe such petty jealousies exist between the States, as one honorable senator would like us to believe. I am confident that politics in the States have not reached such a stage that one Government is jealous of the other regarding the discovery of scientific methods of dealing with a pest that affects a number of the States. State Governments would always be willing to cooperate, and New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland, are cooperating now in regard to the eradication of the tick. The following is a summary of what has been done in Queensland in recent years in relation to the prickly pear : -
The Crown has the right to require any holder of a pastoral holding or selection to destroy pear within a specified period, or the lease may be forfeited, but the difficulties surrounding each case are recognised and consideration is given thereto.
– And it is not enforced.
– I think the honorable senator is quite wrong.
– “Why is the prickly pear spreading all over the place, if that power is enforced?
– Even if it is spreading, the experts in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock are doing all they possibly can to prevent it. They are doing exactly what the Minister intimated would be done if this Board of Directors were appointed. The State Departments have made quite a number of experiments, and one was giving satisfactory results just prior to the war; but, unfortunately, the war made the_ particular commodity they were using almost unprocurable. The next paragraph should appeal to the Committee, because the Minister stated that when the new Board of Directors was established, the Government would endeavour to obtain from other parts of the world the best possible advice on the eradication of pests.
Evidently, therefore, the State Administration has not spared money in its efforts to procure the best advice possible. If the Queensland Government were unable to secure the desired result with a reward of £10,000, it is not likely that any action of the Commonwealth Government in offering a similar reward will meet with more success. If the States were neglecting their duties, it would be time for the Commonwealth Government to step in, but this document conclusively proves that Queensland Governments, past and present, have made honest attempts to deal with the pests that are causing such ravages. The statement continues -
An arsenic mine is being developed now in Queensland, and the best results are hoped for. I trust that it will be successful, because it will help to a great extent in dealing with the curse.
Unfortunately, all these efforts to eradicate the prickly pear have not been as successful as could be wished; but, apparently, things are on a somewhat better footing now, and there is hope that the trouble will be dealt with more satisfactorily in the near future.
I have referred to the border agreement - between the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales, to cope with the tick. Its effect is that practically no animal infested with tick can pass from one State to another. The following information is supplied by Mr. Ryan on that subject: -
Between the years 1891 and 1899 the cattle tick spread rapidly throughout Queensland. This was caused primarily by the passage of cattle from the heavily infested districts to the principal markets and meat-works at Rockhampton, Brisbane, and Townsville. The rapid extension of the area infested was mainly due to the fact that in the early nineties it was impracticable to dip, as the majority of the runs in the unsettled districts were unfenced, and the value of cattle had depreciated to an amount only equal to the value of the hides.
Operations in controlling the pest were, therefore, practically restricted to the thickly infested districts and in the prevention of an extension to the western areas and to adjoining States.
Until the active co-operation of stockowners was obtained, the methods employed were those of quarantine and a gradual extension of dipping operations. The calls made upon the Stock Department were very heavy, and the funds raised by assessment were inadequate to provide for the initiation of a vigorous campaign, which would have necessitated an expenditure of some hundreds of thousands of pounds.
A vigorous campaign is now being waged againBt the_ tick menace, and the stockownersinclosely settled Southern districts are co-operating with the Department in carrying out cleansing operations in areas adjoining territory not infested. The Warwick area is now considered free from ticks, and other districts embraced in the scheme have been materially cleansed.
There are at present three cleansing areas in this State, namely -
The Coolangatta area, adjoining the New South Wales border at Tweed Head;
The Helidon area, which forms a buffer to clean the. Darling Downs and Western Districts;
The Southern Burnett area, comprising the districts of Kingaroy and Nanango.
I have shown that the States are not idle, and that practical co-operation does exist between them. There is no reason why that co-operation should not be continued, with the help of the Commonwealth, without the introduction of a new board and new machinery. Surely it is possible to bring the machinery at present in existence under one head without creating further expensive machinery, which is unwarranted, and simply means duplicating the work that is already being satisfactorily carried out.
– It seems to me that when introducing this Bill, the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) failed to remove a great stumbling- block in the way of its progress. A number of honorable senators seem to be convinced that one result of the measure, if passed, will be to duplicate the work now being done by different State authorities, and consequently to duplicate the expense of that work. If that is so, the Bill should not be further considered. If, on the other hand, the Minister can make it quite clear that the work and expense now undertaken by the State authorities will not be duplicated by the Commonwealth Government, and that the effect will be to bring the different bodies of scientific men employed in the States into cooperation with a central body established by the Commonwealth, he may look for some progress with the measure. It is inevitable that a central establishment must be set up if the Commonwealth is to take this matter in hand. That must involve the establishment of a highly-trained and highly -paid central committee; and before honorable senators pass this Bill, it is essential that the Minister should make it perfectly clear that it will not mean a mere duplication of efforts now being put forward by the State Governments. “We were assured years ago that if we only had Federation, the cost of government in Australia would be greatly reduced. Many people thought that the abolition of State Governors and State Parliaments would follow Federation almost immediately, and that consequently the cost of government after Federation would be merely nominal compared to what it was before. But nothing of the kind has happened. We have no assurance that if this measure is passed the work now being done by the State Governments in this direction will be discontinued. On the contrary, we have good reason to believe that it will be continued independently of the Commonwealth Government, as it is at present.
– Undoubtedly it will.
– It may be that the pests are so numerous and vigorous that it will require all the efforts of both State and Commonwealth Governments to successfully combat them; but, so far, we have not been furnished with information to prove that that is so.
– I move -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn until Wednesday next.
In submitting the motion, I should like to say, in explanation of a statement I made last week, that the financial measure which I anticipated would reach the Senate before the close of last week, is not likely to reach us before Wednesday next.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 6.25 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 October 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19181010_SENATE_7_86/>.