7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I could not answer the honorable senator’s question offhand, because obviously the matter is governed by the regulations under which a man is serving. I shall take a note of his question, and will endeavour to have a reply for him- some time during the day.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy - (1) How many ships owned or controlled by the Australian Government have been installed under agreement with the Marconi or other foreign companies? (2) “What may be the cost per ship, if any, for such installation, and what is the cost for maintenance? (3) How many ships owned or controlled by the Australian Government have been installed under agreement with the Amalgamated Wireless Company of Australia? (4) What is the cost per ship, if any, for such installation, and what is the cost of maintenance? (5) How many ships have had plants installed by the Commonwealth? (6) What is the cost per ship, and what is the annual upkeep of such installation? (7) Will the Minister supply me with a copy of the agreement with Marconi and the Commonwealth Government for the installation and maintenance of wireless aboard Commonwealth ships? (8) Will the Government give attention during recess to the question of making wireless the monopoly of the Commonwealth similar to the telegraph and telephone systems? (9) Will the Government take into consideration the agreement between the Marconi, Telefunken, and Amalgamated Wireless Companies with private ships, and if they are found to be unreasonable and exorbitant, will the Government introduce legislation to cancel all such agreements?
– In view of the present position with regard to the sittings of the Senate, I presume that the honorable senator desires that a reply to his questions shall be furnished before we reassemble. If that be so, and he will provide me with a copy of his questions, I shall see that they are placed before the Minister concerned, and will endeavour to have a reply forwarded to him later. It is evident that there must be a little delay in connexion with the replies to some of the questions, which call for Cabinet consideration.
– I thank the honorable senator, and will forward a communication asking for the information.
The following papers were presented: -
Sixth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Taxation, year 1915-16.
Ordered to be printed.
Steel, Iron, and other Scrap Metals: Statement showing Exports from the Commonwealth for years 1014-15, 1915-16, 1916-17, and” 1917-1S.
Naval Defence Act 1910-1912. - Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1918, Nos. 317 and 318.
– I lay on the table -
Lloyd Reed Loom Weaving Patent Rights and Inventions - Correspondence relating to purchase by the Commonwealth of an option of purchase.
In doing so, I propose to conclude with a . motion regarding the papers. I gave instructions recently that a copy of these papers should be obtained in order to inform Parliament as to the steps ‘taken in connexion with this matter. When the papers were brought to me yesterday afternoon, I discovered a discrepancy between a cable and ,a later communication. Certain valuations were cabled for from America, and other particulars regarding the plant and” injunction generally. One of these cables from Mr. Vaughan gave the valuation of a certain plant at $4,000. In the letter which went on to the Board of Trade, and which, of course, covered all the papers in connexon with the matter, the figure of $4,000 became $40,000. Immediately I discovered the discrepancy I sent the following letter to the Secretary of the Board of Trade : -
With a view to informing Parliament of the action taken regarding the Lloyd Reed Loom Weaving option, I gave instructions to have copies prepared of the papers on the official file. iOn perusing these copies I was surprised to discover a discrepancy ‘between the cable as it came from Mr. Vaughan, and its information as conveyed to your Board in the letter of the 4th October last from the Repatriation Department. Mr. Vaughan, in his cable, gave the value of a plant unit as $4,000. This was given in the letter to you. as $40,000.
I take this earliest opportunity of advising your Board of the mistake.
In addition to that, I am, of course, taking steps in the Department to ascertain how the error crept in. I am also cabling to America to learn from Mr. Vaughan - and I am not at present certain where ha is - whether the figures supplied are correct. I should like to add that, in my room, honorable senators will find samples of the work in the shape of a chair turned out by the process to which I have referred, and also certain photographs which are available for their inspection.. I suggest that if they have the time to do it honorable senators will find it interesting to take a look at these exhibits. I move -
That the papers be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate whether he has any information to give honorable senators which will enable them to form even a vague idea of the date at which Parliament will re-assemble after the recess?
– I told the honorable senator yesterday that before the Senate rises I shall make some observations on the matter.
– I saw the paragraph which the honorable senator refers to, and read it with some surprise, because only the day before it appeared we had received a cable from the military authorities in Egypt as to the disposal of these horses, and no suggestion was made in that cable that they should be shot, whilst other suggestions were made for their disposal. I may inform the Senate that the return of the horses to Australia is impossible, owing to the close quarantine of animals. Honorable senators are no doubt aware that some of the countries adjacent to Egypt aTe the homes of almost every kind of animal disease. I have no information that the order referred to by Senator Bolton has been issued, and no means of checking the correctness of the statement other than the fact that, as I have said in the cable re*ceived regarding the .disposal of the horses, no mention of shooting them is made. I am inclined, therefore, to think that the press cable is not correct.
REPORT of Royal Commission on PURCHASE of shaw Wireless WORKS
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.I ask the Leader of the Senate whether the Government will place at the disposal of honorable senators all the exhibits in connexion with the report of the Royal Commission on Navy and Defence Administration on the purchase of the Shaw Wireless Works, as without them the report is very incomplete? Will honorable senators be allowed to inspect the exhibits in order that they may have a proper idea of the nature of the transaction ?
– The papers referred to, in view of the present position of affairs, are necessarily in the custody of an officer attached to the Crown Law Department. Whether it is possible to make them more generally available I cannot say, but I am in a position to state that any honorable senator who desires to see the papers may do so.
– At the Crown Law Offices - the Attorney-General’s Department.
– I ask the Minister for Defence if the Administration will take into consideration the question of stating a case for the High Court in regard to the constitutional validity of the War Precautions Bill which was passed by the Senate a day or so ago?
– I have given instructions through my private secretary to have the honorable senator’s suggestion sent forward in my name to the Acting Attorney-General. I have not yet received a reply to the letter.
Position of Naturalized British Subjects - Case of Mr. Kiely
– I ask the Minister for Defence, in view of the fact that Australian-bom internees are being released from the Internment Camp, will he ask the Crown Law Officers to consider whether the Government can legally detain in the internment camps any naturalized British subjects without immediately bringing them to trial?
– From the information we already have on this subject, I do not think that what the honorable senator proposes is necessary, because, apparently, there is no doubt as to the power we have in this respect.
– Does the Minister claim that the Government have the power to detain such persons without trial?
– I do not claim anything of the kind.
– In keeping them interned the Minister is exercising such a power.
– I ask the Minister for Defence if he will find out during the day whether the reply he gave to me yesterday was correct when he said that the investigation into the case of the man Kiely was being held in Hobart? That was the official reply, but I understand that the man was taken to Launceston.
– Did I not say, in my reply to the honorable senator’s question, that he was remanded to Hobart ?
– The official reply was that the investigation would take place in Hobart.
– I will obtain the information for the honorable senator.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
Have the Government considered the advisability of altering their shipbuilding scheme so that any ships built may not be obsolete before they are delivered?
– The answer supplied by the Acting Minister for the Navy is -
The steel ships at present being constructed under the Commonwealth shipbuilding scheme will not be obsolete for many years after their delivery. They are a high type of cargo boat, and compare more than favorably with the British standard C type ships of similar dimensions at present under construction in Great Britain. The wooden ships are at least equal in design and type to any auxiliary wooden vessels at present under construction in any country.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– Owing to the late sitting yesterday, when I reached my office this morning the notice-paper had not arrived. I left instructions that any questions affecting the Department should be forwarded, with replies, as they became available during the day. If the reply to this question arrives in time, I will give it to the honorable senator later.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Has any order, minute, or recommendation been made prejudicial to Captain T. G. Allen as a result of a resolution of the Bendigo Recruiting Committee expressing disapproval of his appointment as brigade-major of the Bendigo district?
– I must give the honorable senator the same answer in this case as I have just given to Senator Needham.
Employment of Returned Soldiers
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
How many returned soldiers have been employed by the Department in the conduct of the Corangamite by-election?
– The reply furnished is as follows: -
Full consideration was given to the employment of returned ‘ soldiers. It is understood that at least thirty (30) acted as poll clerks at the election.
Objection to Administrator
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Minister is aware of is that the price of beer has been raised by 3d. per bottle.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– The reply has not yet been received, but I have asked that it should be forwarded, and if it comes to hand 1 will make it available later.
Debate resumed from 19 th December (vide page 9813), on motion by Senator Millen -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
I am strongly against the principle of pensions, except in well-defined cases. Everybody agrees that the soldier who has been disabled in the service of hi3 country should be provided for, and we have also established the principle, which I think is a good one, that where that illmatched pair, age and want, come together, it is the duty of the community to provide, perhaps, not adequate support, but at least some amount in necessitous cases. With those two exceptions, our Commonwealth should be kept free from the system of pensions. But here we are asked to indorse the principle for the highest paid official of the Commonwealth, with the exception of the GovernorGeneral, who can hardly be called an official. This special provision is made for the Chief Justice, while certainly more necessitous cases are left altogether unprovided for or are inadequately provided for. We all know the extreme difficulty we have had in this and another branch of the Legislature to induce the Government to make provision for the dependants of soldiers. I remember that last year, when the first Repatriation Bill was before this Cham ber, we had a big fight with the Leader of the Senate over a proposal to allow the benefits of that scheme to be applied to the widows of soldiers.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Does the honorable senator deny that the Government in this chamber opposed a proposal to apply these benefits to the widows of soldiers? I would like a straight-forward answer.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.Did or did not the Government oppose the proposal to apply the benefits of the Repatriation Bill to the widows of soldiers ?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.I am quoting from a report in the Age this morning of a statement made in Tasmania by a member of the House.
I judge that one of the excuses for this Bill is contained in sub-clause 2 of clause 2, which reads as follows : -
The amount of the pension shall be the amount of pension which the Chief Justice would have been entitled, under the laws of the State of Queensland, to demand if he had continued to occupy the office of Chief Justice of
Queensland during the period during which he has occupied the office of Chief Justice of Australia.
There is an insidious attempt to couple this proposal with the section in the Constitution providing that the rights of all transferred officers shall be preserved. That is a supposed right which has been flagrantly violated in connexion with the Postal Department, not by this Government, but by previous Governments. The public servants thought when Federation was brought about that that section absolutely secured them in all the rights, privileges and emoluments which they enjoyed under the State laws. It is notorious that in the Postal Department in South Australia, - at any rate, quite a number of postal officials were, on transfer to the Commonwealth,- reduced in some cases to the extent of £130 per year. The Minister knows that to be a fact, and a list has been published, giving the salaries and perquisites they enjoyed from the State, and the reduced amounts they received from the Commonwealth. Some technical point by the High Court has deprived them of those rights. Various Governments have promised to consider the question, but nothing has been done, and those men, or. in many cases, their widows, are still suffering under that disability.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.That is not the point under discussion. The question is whether certain public servants were deprived of what the spirit of the Constitution intended them to have. By no stretch of imagination can the present Chief Justice of Australia be called a transferred officer. The position was not in existence when the Commonwealth was inaugurated. He was not transferred. He was quite free to take the position or not when it was offered to him. and his acceptance of it was entirely voluntary. This attempt to put him in the position of a transferred officer, and to argue that, therefore, he is entitled to the pension which he would have received as a transferred officer under the provisions of the Constitution, has no force whatever. When the proposal was debated in the first Parliament, and struck out by a majority of twentynine votes to twenty, amongst those who opposed it were two members of the present Ministry. The Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) not only opposed the payment of a pension, but proposed to reduce the salary allotted for the Chief Justice from £3,500 to £2,500 per year, which he said was ample for the position .. I think it was Mr. Mauger who proposed to strike out the pension clause. Among those who voted against the granting of pensions was one of the present Justices of the High Court - I refer to Mr. Justice Isaacs. On the other hand, Mr. Higgins, who is also a Justice of the High Court, voted for the proposal, as did Sir Edmund Barton, who, being a member of the Ministry at the time, was naturally one of its supporters. Mr. Poynton, another member of the present Government, also opposed the principle. The division which took place was entirely upon nonparty lines. That is shown by the fact that amongst those who supported the proposal were two members of the Labour party, one ex-Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, and the other, the present Prime Minister, the Right Honorable W. M. Hughes. But a majority of the Labour party, including its present leader (Mr. Tudor), voted against the granting of pensions. Since then the number of High Court Judges has been increased from three to seven, and in looking through the records of those days one cannot help remarking how the old estimate of the cost of Federation has been increased from a few thousands of pounds to some millions.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.No doubt it was absurd. It has been urged that it would be a calamity if a man occupying the distinguished and onerous position of a Justice of the High Court should attain a state of senility and still hold on to his office. But the remedy for that state “of affairs - and I see no reason why it should not be applied - is to insist upon the occupants of the Judicial Bench retiring, just as do other public servants, when they reach the age limit. There is far more reason why that limit should operate in the case of Judges than in the case of other public servants. If, for example, the head of a Department gets into a doddering condition, and is unable to discharge his duties with the energy and ability of a younger man, his Department is invariably carried on by some of -his subordinates, so that nobody suffers to any great extent. But if a Judge develops a condition of senile decay, he cannot transfer his duties to anybody else, and there is thus the gravest danger to the lives and liberties of the people of the Commonwealth. Consequently, if there is to be a retiring age at all, it should apply to all Judges.
– Did that happen in the case of Judge Boucaut when the honorable senator was Chief Secretary in South Australia?
– In South Australia pensions to Judges have been abolished.
– After serving for twenty-one years on the bench, the Judges there could claim a pension, and the honorable senator, as Chief Secretary, kept Judge Boucaut on the bench.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.The present Judges of the Supreme Court of South Australia are not entitled to pensions.
– What did the honorable senator do when he was Chief Secretary of that State?
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.I do not want to go back into ancient history. For the reasons which I have urged, I maintain that this pernicious principle of granting pensions to civil servants should not be introduced into the Commonwealth. I entirely oppose the Bill, and I hope that the decision which was arrived at by this Parliament on a former occasion will be repeated.
– I regret that I cannot support the proposal of the Government. But before stating my objections to it I wish to say that, although I do not profess to know sufficient about law to decide whether or not the present Chief Justice of the High Court has been a great lawyer and a great Judge, since his appointment to the distinguished office which he fills, I, in common with many other honorable senators, have heard numerous opinions of him expressed by leading barristers, who have all agreed that he is a brilliant lawyer and Judge. So that whatever objection I may entertain to the granting of a pension to him is not prompted by any suggestion that he has failed to discharge his duties efficiently, because I believe that he has discharged them with conspicuous ability. I happened to be a member of the other branch of the Legislature when the Bill dealing with the question of the salaries to be paid to the Justices of the High Court was introduced. As Senator O’Loghlin has pointed out, the House of Representatives decided that no pension - should be granted to those Justices, and that decision was indorsed by the Senate. The first Federal Parliament laid down the great principle that no pensions should be granted to civil servants. That determination was arrived at a number of years ago, but nothing has since occurred to make me waver in the attitude which I then took up, in common with the majority of the members of this Parliament. If we grant this pension to the Chief Justice of the High Court, we cannot logically withhold pensions from other civil servants, for the Chief Justice, after all, is but a civil servant, able and distinguished though he be. One argument which has been used in favour of the granting of pensions to Judges is that, when barristers give up their profession in order to accept positions on the Judicial Bench, they make very great monetary sacrifices. There are some persons who would have us believe that, as a rule, barristers forego, for the sake of their country, enormous fees in comparison with which the salary of a Judge is a mere pittance - that, prompted solely by patriotic ideals, these legal luminaries “ scorn delights and live laborious days “ as Judges. That idea is a delusion, a snare, and a big bluff. In this connexion I was rather interested in reading the official report of a debate which took place in the New South Wales Parliament many years ago, at a time when the present Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen) was a member of that Parliament. The discussion was inaugurated by Mr. Waddell, who moved -
That, in the opinion of this House, the system of granting pensions to Judges who have retired from the Service is unfair to the taxpayers of this colony, and should be abolished.
– What year was that?
– It is more than twenty years ago, but the Judges in NewSouth Wales are still the recipients of pensions. During that debate I was very much struck by the remarks of the late Mr. Crick, a solicitor with a good prac tice, who was scarcely likely to make statements which he could not substantiate. Mr., afterwards Sir George, Reid, was the Leader of the Government at that time, and he opposed tha motion. He spoke of barristers at the head of their profession in New South Wales who enjoyed incomes of from ?6,000 to ?8,000, and even ?9,500. I quite admit that if there are barristers in our midst who are earning so much in fees, they would have to make a great sacrifice in order to accept a position on the Judicial Bench at a salary of ?2,000, or even ?3,500. Mr. Crick then said -
If Mr. Reid says any barrister in this Colony is receiving ?9,000 the statement is an absurd one.
– Sir Josiah Symon is not earning less than that.
– The honorable senator does not know what he is talking about. Mr. Crick continued -
If it has been said that the present Chief was making ?9,000 a year when at the bar, it is absolutely incorrect.
Mr. Reid interjected, “ It is absolutely correct “ ; and Mr. Crick replied -
I say that it is incorrect. I do not believe that he was making as much when practising his profession as he was receiving as Chief Justice. Although we hear this talk about barristers making ?6,000 and ?9,000 a vear, I am prepared to say that the majority or barristers to-day are making less than solicitors, and I am a pretty fair judge of what solicitors are making. …
It is nonsense to talk of men at the Bar earning incomes of ?9,000. No person at the Bar here earns anything like that. The man who is now making far and away the largest income as a barrister is Sir Julian Salomons, and I think I am safe in saying that, taking one year with another, his professional income did not exceed ?4,000.
Mr. Wilks thereupon remarked ;
The thanks of the Committee are due to the honorable member for West Macquarie, who has destroyed the glamour that surrounds the legal profession. We have too long had this question of sacrifice held up to us.
Sir Henry Parkes stated ;
Now, I am one of those who believe that the present salaries are too high, and that the pensions are too .high. The Supreme Court of America is one of the greatest Courts in the world, and ‘the salaries of the Federal Judges are not equal to the salaries of the Judges of the Supreme Court of this small Colony.
In Victoria the leader of the Bar, at one time, was Mr. Cussen. He was a very able and distinguished barrister. At that time- his fees would not amount to much above ?4,000 per annum. He gave up his practice to become a Judge in this State at a salary of ?2,700. It should not be overlooked that pensions are granted in Victoria. It must be remembered, however, that every Judge does not necessarily receive a pension. A certain amount of money is allocated for pensions, and the sum has to be pooled. If there are a number of Judges already on the retired list, it is possible that another, upon, retiring, would not secure a pension.
– Does that mean, the less pensioners the more each secures?
– Yes. The leader of the Bar in Victoria was prepared to give up his private salary for a judgeship at ?2,700. There is not so much sacrifice as we are asked to believe about this business when men like Mr. Cussen are agreeable to throw up their incomes as barristers and occupy seats on the Bench.
– There i3 a regular struggle for judgeships.
– That is so; but many people say, “ We must pay a high salary and grant a big pension in order to get these good men.” That is bluff. These gentlemen are only too anxious to secure such a position. I will now read a quotation from a book written by Mr. A. C. Plowden, a police magistrate in London. He had been a rising, but not yet really prominent, barrister. He accepted the police magistracy at ?1,000 a year. Mr. Plowden says -
The only really contented barrister is the man who is making ?2,000 a year with little or no variation, and who has a comfortable private fortune to sustain him in case of need. . . There is no standing still at the Bar. Once in the stream you must move with it or be stranded; or, to avoid a metaphor, many have too little to do, a few have too much. Those who have too little are sustained by hope. The success of the few is qualified by the fear of losing what they have. There is no peace to be found except on the Bench; and there is no Bench so humble as not to offer some temptation to the wise man who has come to recognise the truth that success at tha Bar, unless it be very far-reaching, is not worth the candle.
The sacrifices which our leading barristers make by accepting positions on the Bench are not what some people would have us believe.
In moving the second reading of the Bill the Minister Repatriation (Senator Millen) advanced the argument that, had Sir Samuel Griffith remained on the Queensland State Bench he would have Been entitled to a pension; and, that by accepting the Commonwealth High Court Judgeship, he had had to sacrifice that pension. Therefore, he contended, we would be doing no more than justice by granting a pension equal to what Sir Samuel had foregone in Queensland. If that be the case, the same applies to Mr. Justice Rich, for the reason that, being a Judge in the State of New South Wales, he was entitled to a pension. But Sir Samuel Griffith accepted the transfer with his eyes open. There was no compulsion. He was not a transferred civil servant.
The point which has already been stressed by Senator O’Loghlin is really the most important feature of the proposal. The honorable senator rightly stated that it is a dangerous precedent to pay a Judge anything over and above what was granted to him upon his appointment. The effect might be that a Judge would seek to curry favour with the# powers that be. Some years ago, I was talking with a distinguished barrister, and I remarked that I bad often thought it hard that a barrister might be appointed as a puisne Judge, and that, at a later stage, the Chief Justiceship might become vacant. In such circumstances, a barrister - junior in his profession to the puisne Judge - would probably be promoted over the head of the latter. I added that I should have thought that an individual who had been chosen as a Judge would, on account of the experience thus gained, have proved the more suitable occupant of the position of Chief Justice. The barrister replied that such a promotion would never do, because once a Judge had been appointed under our present system, he had no right to look for further advancement. That, is a sound principle, because if a Judge accepted, an appointment with the idea that he might later gain promotion, there might be a tendency to seek favour from those in authority. It appears to me then, to be a dangerous precedent to appoint a Judge on a fixed salary, and with no promise of a pension, and afterwards to grant a pension. There was no secret understanding, in the case of Sir Samuel Griffith that he would get a pension. The Federal Parliament has laid down the principle that civil servants shall not be entitled to pensions. I will vote against the Bill.
.- I oppose thi3 Bill. I remember reading some years ago the history of Sir Samuel Griffith in the Queensland. Parliament, and I recall his subsequent appointment to the High Court Bench of Australia. Though I have not been brought into contact with him, I have been led to conclude that he is a man of very great ability, and that he has performed his duties with satisfaction to the community. But his remuneration has been handsome in comparison with the salaries received by occupants of similar positions in other British communities. I have no objection to Sir Samuel Griffith receiving a fair salary; and, if the occupant of a Judgeship were not being paid what seemed to me an adequate sum, I would not hesitate to support an increase. T agree with Senator Thomas and Senator O’Loghlin that it is extremely unwise to introduce the pension system into the Commonwealth Civil Service. Sir Samuel Griffith may not be regarded as a civil servant, but he is a servant of the Commonwealth, and we should remember that many years ago Parliament laid down the principle that there should be’ no pensions for civil servants. It strikes me as extremely unfair to propose paying a pension to a high-salaried official, while others in the Service - people who have served the Commonwealth quite as faithfully - have no hope of a pension. The introduction of this principle will cause a great deal of dissatisfaction, especially to civil servants in receipt of salaries from £200 to £300 per year, because of the fact that they have no right to expect similar privileges. It is well known that when Sir Samuel’ Griffith was Premier of Queensland he introduced a Bill to increase a salary of the Chief Justice of that
State to £3,500 a year, and afterwards took the position himself, with pension rights. Subsequently, when the position of the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth was created, Sir Samuel sought and obtained it. He took that course of action with his eyes open, as Senator Thomas has said, because it was definitely stated at the time that the position would carry no pension rights.
I have no doubt that Sir Samuel. Griffith has done his work very well. So have hundreds of others in the community, who have little hope of a pension when they retire. Already, many persons are beginning to complain. I have in mind a gentleman, a leading official in the Customs Department, whose time for retirement will come shortly. He was formerly a servant of the State, and, like Sir Samuel Griffith, came over to the Commonwealth Service. He is going to get very little when he retires. The man who is working for 6s. or 7s. a day - and I know a lot of men who get this wage - has no hope of any relief except the old-age pension.
– In what “State are men working for that wage to-day ?
– I know of men who have worked for 15s. a week, but I am not saying they are Commonwealth servants.
– Healthy men ?
– Yes. Of course, they may get a ration with the wage, but that is all the money they receive. A few years ago a large landed proprietor told me he never gave more than 12s. a week to his employees, and I know of one employer who called one of his men “ Faithful John “ because he would work for sixteen hours a day, and was always ready to do anything that- was asked of him. When at last that man lost a little of his vigour, his employer said to him, “ John, don’t you think it is time you applied for the old-age pension?” .He wanted then to get rid of “ Faithful John,” who had always been so willing to work and do things which other men did not care to do. The old man came to me, and I was instrumental in securing the old-age pension for him. Line repairers - men who are out all day and in all weathers - get no pension when they retire, and, generally speaking, right throughout the community the men who produce the wealth can only look forward to the old-age pension.
I believe that when the Old-age Pension Bill was under consideration in the other House some years ago, one honorable member said the working men spent their money on luxurious living. If I. had been in that Chamber at the time I. would have taken the opportunity to tell him that nobody who worked for him ever had much of a chance to obtain luxuries.
– And did not one honorable member of that House declare that the pension scheme interfered with the moral fibre of the nation ?
– I believe that is so. Senator O’Loghlin, I think, made some reference to the inadequate pensions being paid to some of our returned soldiers. I know of one case in which the parents of a deceased soldier are getting only 7s. 6d. a week. That was the value of that young man’s life, so to speak. ‘
– Of course, the honorable senator knows that the amount of the pension is based on dependency.
– I know that; but the people outside do not look at these matters in that way. They think that provision should be made to meet these cases. The officials of the, Pensions Department are sympathetic, and’ also hold the same opinion. I know of a woman in a delicate state of health whose stepson was killed before he went to the Front. He was not giving her very much, but during his absence his father died, and the woman who was left with some young children was unable to get any pension, because she was only the stepmother of the soldier boy who had been killed. These things, when they become known, touch the hearts of the community, and naturally people will be up in arms at the proposal to pay this pension to the Chief Justice.
I believe that in what I am trying to say I am expressing the view, not only of 1 Labour supporters throughout the Commonwealth, but also of a large number of people who do not support Labour. They do not want this system introduced into the Commonwealth Service. I say that if a man in receipt of £3,500 a year for .a long period cannot make provision for his old age, it is very largely his own fault. If a man getting £4 a week makes no provision for his old age, the bulk of the community express the opinion that it serves him right for having spent his money instead of having put something by for his old age. If it is right in one case to pay a pension, it is right in other cases. Thousands of people are eking out an existence on a miserable remuneration without any hope of relief, except the old-age pension. I suppose the Ministerial party have come to a decision in this matter, and that there is not much hope of the Bill being rejected; but I trust it will not be taken further. Sir Samuel Griffith has no doubt been a good servant, and I sympathize with him in his infirmity; but that is no reason why we should introduce the pension system into the Commonwealth Service, and apply it all round. If we do not apply it all round in an equitable way, we shall be doing something that is unfair. I express in these words my strongest opposition to the measure.
– I must protest against the proposed pension being granted to this man. It was laid down at the inception of the Federal Parliament that no pensions should be paid to the Judges of the High Court. I remember that in the debates of the Federal Convention it was contended that the system of pensions prevailing in the States should not be grafted on to the Federal Service. Honorable senators are aware that it was provided in connexion with the Public Service that, in lieu of the pensions to which many public servants were entitled in the State Services, they should be compelled to insure so that they might provide their own pensions. I remember that the same principle was applied to the police in Victoria, and it was decided that those appointed after a certain time would have to make provision for themselves when they had arrived at the age for retirement.
It cannot be said that by refusing the proposed pension, we should be doing any. injustice to the man who has held the important office of Chief Justice of the High Court, because he has received an adequate salary for his services. This Parliament undertook to provide an adequate salary, so that the occupant of the position might be able to provide for himself when he arrived at the retiring age. Why should not pensions be paid to members of Parliament if it is right to pay a pension in this case? The argument in the case of members of Parliament is that they are paid adequate salaries, and are therefore entitled to no remuneration on their retirement, which may be forced upon them by people outside. Why should not members of this Parliament be entitled to some remuneration when they retire, in respect of the services they have rendered to the country? I have been a public man for thirty years, and when I die I shall leave very little behind me for those who may be dependent on me. If at the end of my term as a member of the’ Senate, I am shouldered out into a cold and cruel world, what sympathy do honorable senators think I will get. The friends I have helped, and those for whom I have worked for over a quarter of a century, will, if I should complain, turn round and say, “ You were damn well paid, and should have made provision for your own old age.”
– Order! The honorable senator is using language which is not parliamentary.
– I believe that is so; but that is the kind of thing that would be said to me. Honorable senators are aware that every member of Parliament is called upon to make many contributions which are not demanded from other people, and he has comparatively little of his salary left for himself. Here is a man who has been receiving £3,500 a year, and has drawn from the public £80,000 for the services that he has rendered the country. Yet we find the party in power in this Parliament are prepared to give him a pension of £1,750 a year to retire upon, so that he will have no cause to fear want in his old age. We were told that the present was a Win-the-war Government, and an economy Government. They were supposed to economize in public expenditure, and yet they do not hesitate to submit such a proposal as is contained in this Bill.
It would be better to provide pensions for all public servants than to adopt this method of providing for a special case. I have rendered services in my small way, probably equal to the services rendered by this man ; but they will not be rewarded in the same way. The general body of public servants are not to be provided for in this way, because it is contended that they are paid adequately for their services and should make their own provision for old-age. It seems to be assumed that this man, who has received a salary of £3,500 per year, and has drawn altogether £80,000 from the community, could not have made any provision for the time when old-age creeps upon him. In his case a grateful country is supposed to say, “ You have certainly been paid an adequate salary for your services. We have paid you £80,000 for those services, but will you kindly take a pension of £1,750 a year. We think that you ought to be properly provided for. We do not desire that the wolf should knock at your door, or that you should suffer the pangs of hunger.” It is a strange world we live in, and one of the strangest things in it is that it is the fat- pig that gets the most grease. I remember the protests that were made against the establishment of old-age pensions, and the difficulty we had to convince people that they should be paid. Personally, I should like the old-age pension proposed under this Bill, and many people outside I know would be glad to accept it. This Parliament provided the Chief Justice of the High Court with a salary sufficient to enable him to provide for his old age, and did so on the distinct understanding that he would not be entitled to a pension.
There is another very serious phase of this question which requires to be considered. We see that the benches on the Government side are practically empty, but when the whip is cracked and a vote is taken on this Bill it will be carried by a vote recorded on party lines. That means, if it means anything at all, that a Judge of the High Court is dependent upon a political party for a pension. Public opinion concerning the present Government is undergoing a change, as has been indicated by the result of the Corangamite election, and in the course of time a different Government will take their place. The members of that Government may, in the case of a Judge of the High Court reaching the retiring age, say to him, “ You have had a royal time. You have been in receipt of an adequate salary, and could have made provision for your old age. We do not propose to give you a pension.” It is not proposed in this Bill that pensions shall be paid to all Judges of the High Court, but to a single individual, and so the other Judges apparently are to be left dependent upon the view taken concerning them by the political party that may happen to be in power when the time comes for their retirement from the Bench. That is unfair and unjust to them. If a pension is to be paid to one, all should be entitled to similar treatment.
When twenty-four or twenty-five years ago I was advocating the payment of pensions to our aged people, I was told that to establish a system of old-age pensions would undermine thrift. It was suggested that if such pensions were granted, men who at that time were getting 4s. 6d. and 5s. per day would not be encouraged to be thrifty. Here is a man who has been receiving £3,500 a year, and apparently it will not in his case undermine thrift if he is given a pension. Under the proposal submitted by the Government it would appear that there is to be favoritism, selection, and preference in the payment of pensions to Judges of the High Court. When Mr. Justice Higgins, for instance, comes to retire there may be a political party in power that will take an entirely different view of his case. The Government then may say, “ You were adequately paid, and we do not think you are entitled to a pension.” This is a vicious procedure to adopt because of its possible party aspect, and it is objectionable also on the ground that if it is right that a Judge of the High Court should be paid a pension, then the Administrator of the Northern Territory and other public servants holding high positions should be treated in the same way. In fact, all in high positions in the service of the Commonwealth should be entitled to exactly the same con.sideration on arriving at the retiring age; otherwise it is unjust. If this Bill is passed, the other Judges will expect the same treatment when they retire, but there may be a change of Government, and a retiring Judge may be disappointed.
– The honorable senator will allow me to remind him that his argument may be very good and cogent, but he has repeated it so often that it is becoming wearisome.
– I protest against this political patronage being conferred on Judges or any one else. If this pension is to be granted, the Government should take into consideration the question of pensions to members of Parliament when they are forcibly retired from public life. I am an old man now, and when my time comes to be retired into private life I shall not have provided for my old age, and may have to knock at the door of the Pensions Office to ask for an old-age pension. I cannot get from a grateful, or ungrateful, country a pension of £200; or even £100, let alone £1,750 per annum. Look outside to the thousands of men and women who are struggling under conditions altogether different from those which this man has experienced, and who have never had the opportunity to provide for a rainy day. When I first had to struggle for my living under conditions that I should not like to detail to the Senate, I was told that I must provide for a rainy day. It has been raining every day with me ever since, and it has rained continuously for many other people.
– And now comes the storm !
– The honorable senator went through it, but he has forgotten it since he reached his present position. I remember when he and I could not jingle one shilling upon another, but times have changed, and some people change with them. I always think of the people outside. I am of them, I come from them, and I owe my political life to them. I never forget, and never can forget, the struggle for life. When I see men who have been in the sunshine for the whole of their lives receiving extra consideration from the Government, after drawing £3,500 per year, or a total of £80,000, from the public-
– Order!. I shall have to ask the honorable senator to discontinue his remarks if he persists in repeating things he has said at least a dozen times.. He himself called attention to the fact that he was going to repeat statements previously made.
– It is well to repeat things here or outside.
– It is unparliamentary to do so here.
– I am going to repeat it as often as I think necessary. It is very seldom that I trouble the Senate.
– I have nothing to do with that. My only desire is to see that the honorable senator observes the Standing Orders.
– I cannot overlook the fact that this is a damnable proposal, and ought not to be carried.
– Order ! I must ask the honorable senator to use more parliamentary language.
– I enter my protest against the indiscriminate granting of pensions to public servants, no matter how high they are in rank. When I was supporting a Government on the other side, I always opposed anything of this description, and while I am here I always shall. A man enters the Public Service of the Commonwealth with the full knowledge of what it means to him, and what the conditions will be when he retires. It is not fair or just that when he is about to retire the Government should bring down a Bill to specialize in his case -for a pension or retiring allowance. I do not propose to compare the recipient of this pension with a returned soldier or anybody else. It is the principle I oppose, as I always have done. Persons in these high positions in the Public Service receive sufficient to protect themselves from want when they have to retire. When this gentleman left the State Service he knew where he was going. He could estimate roughly how many years of life remained to him, and he should have made provision during his working years for himself and those dependent on him. Since the very inauguration of Federation the principle has been laid down that the Commonwealth must be free from that incubus of pensions to public servants which the States have always borne. If we are to have pensions for public servants generally, let us know it. I cannot say that I would very strongly oppose a scheme by which men during the time ‘ of their service contributed a certain amount of their salary, and their employer - the Commonwealth - augmented the fund, to provide pensions for them when they retired. But under present conditions! they know full well when they enter the Service that they have to provide for themselves. If the salary is not sufficient for them to do so, let us give them more. I was sent here specially to help to discontinue the system by which the States have had for many years to provide large pensions funds for public servants. In New South Wales I have Been public servants retire at a very early age, when they were quite capable of giving years of good service. Those who walk in the same paths of life as I do, know full well that during their working years they have to save from their scanty earnings sufficient to keep them in their old age from the asylums of the State. There is no superannuation or pension for them. They are the hard-working members of the community who produce the wealth. That is the principle upon which the foundations of this Commonwealth were laid - the principle that public servants must stand alone, and not rely on the charity of the Commonwealth when their time comes to retire. I have always opposed measures of this description from the highest to the lowest, and so long as I am here I shall continue to do so.
– In the vernacular, this Bill is an effort to “grease the fatted pig.” It is one of the most impudent proposals that the Government have yet submitted to the Senate. If it were a general proposal it would not be entertained for a moment. I disagree entirely with those who say that it would be a good thing to have a general Federal scheme of pensions subscribed to by those in the Public Service, and supplemented by the Commonwealth, unless at the same time an equally satisfactory scheme is made applicable to those who are not inside the charmed circle. Those who have permanent positions should not be continually trying to aggrandise themselves at the expense of the unfortunate small wage earners outside. In New South Wales we had the greatest possible difficulty in getting the local farmers to agree to a general scheme of old-age pensions, not of £5 per day–
– You heard a lot about thrift in that argument.
– Yes, the pension was going to sap the moral fibre of the workers. Their backbone was to fizzle out, and they would not be able to stand up. We were always told that we ought to stand on our own resources, to make provision for the rainy day, and not- to rely upon the State for a pauper dole. Many things might be said against even a general scheme of old-age pensions, but the weight of argument is certainly on the side of those who favour a scheme of oldage pensions to be paid from the Consolidated Revenue, and to apply to all citizens alike. At the present time the old-age pension fund is being administered by the Commonwealth, and the payments from it run into between £3,000.000 and £4,000,000 per annum. Invalid pensions, also amount - to a substantial sum every year, but this Bill is an effort to make special provision for one man. I do not know how long the present Government may be in office, but if ever I have an opportunity, I shall certainly make one to repeal this measure. Why should the Commonwealth be called upon to pay a pension of this kind, and when I say “ the Commonwealth,” I mean the men and women who constitute the nation? It is a humiliating, disgraceful fact that the Commonwealth Administration is raking up coppers from the whole community at every possible point, largely from the poorer sections, to give this money to a man who has been drawing at least £10 per day, not for one day or one month, but during a long period of years. What an impudent proposal it is to levy a tax upon the whole community year after year in order to provide an annual pension, contribution, or dole to a- man who has been getting so substantial a salary for so long a period ! If such a proposition were submitted to a vote of the electors, not one man on the other side would be returned who made it a vital plank of his platform. He dare not do it; and honorable senators opposite support it only because their party happens to be temporarily in office, and they think they can get it through. There are tens of thousands of people in this country who do not average an income of £3 per week. The Chief Justice of the High Court, however, has for many years been receiving far more than that amount per day. Yet it is now proposed to give him a pension which represents daily very considerably more than the average weekly earnings of the workers of this country. A pension of £1,750 a year is equivalent to more than £5 per day. That is a proposal which ought not to be entertained for a moment. There is no justification for it. If a man expends his money f foolishly, that is his affair. I do not know the Chief Justice, and I do not know whether he has been unfortunate in his speculations, or otherwise. That is not my business, nor is it the business of this Parliament. But I do know that he hap received enormous sums from the Commonwealth. He is, I understand, the highest paid official in Australia. Yet, through his friends here, he comes along, and begs, and prays, and cadges, asking that the pennies collected from the widows and children of deceased soldiers should be handed over to him.
– Are not the pennies collected also to be handed over to the relatives of deceased soldiers?
– Apparently, they are to be handed over to the Chief Justice first. It is quite true, as Senator Bakhap suggests, that the taxes levied on the small people are to be paid into a Commonwealth fund, but whereas the widow of a deceased soldier after a long struggle may get a pension of £2 per week,- we are invited to grant the Chief Justice a pension of more than £30 per week. Why should Sir Samuel Griffith get a pension of that amount, while the widow of a deceased soldier receives only £2 per week. If men -will squander their money, and act foolishly, that is their business. There are many public servants who do that sort of thing just as there are many other persons outside the Service who do it. But we do not go to their assistance, and why should we go to the assistance of the Chief Justice of the High Court? What steps have been taken by Sir Samuel Griffith and his friends to bring such pressure to bear on the Ministry as to induce them to commandeer this money ?
– The honorable senator must recollect that he was one of the framers of our Constitution.
– I understand that the Queensland Constitution was amended for the purpose of increasing the salary paid to the Chief Justice of that State by £1,000 a year. When that had been done, Sir Samuel Griffith appointed himself to the job. I hope that there will be sufficient honorable senators opposite to defeat this proposal.
.- The Bill now before honorable senators leads me to believe that the system of pensions operating in Australia, is based upon wrong lines. I believe in a pension system - a system by whichevery citizen of the Commonwealth, upon attaining a specified age, should be entitled to the advantage of a pension. Inother words, I believe in a system analogous to our old-age and invalid pensionssystem.
– But the honorablesenator does not suggest that those pensions are sufficient at the present time?
– No. The menand women who have pioneered Australia, and who have made it possible forgentlemen like the Chief Justice of theHigh Court to be appointed to such a. position, are entitled to some consideration. If that gentleman is in necessitouscircumstances in his old age, let him take- advantage of the system that is operating in Australia by accepting the old-age pension. If that pension is not sufficient for him, it is not sufficient for other people, and should be increased. I recollect that, some years ago, the Chief Justice of the High Court was the Attorney-General of the State of Queensland. Seeing that this Bill has been submitted for the specific purpose of providing a . pension for that gentleman, it is impossible, in discussing it, to ignore the personal aspect. “When Sir Samuel Griffith was Attorney-General of Queensland, as the result of an arrangement which was arrived at, the salary of the Chief Justice of that State was increased from £2,500 a year to £3,500 a year. As soon as that had been done, he accepted the position.- The increase was made in order that the then Liberal Government of Queensland might get rid of his opposition to them. It is a noteworthy fact that most Judges seem to have their eye firmly fixed on the main chance. It reminds me of the way in which Sir William Irvine used to preach about conscription and the war. But as soon as he was offered the position of Chief Justice of Victoria, he accepted it, and said no more about conscription.
When Federation was established, Sir Samuel Griffith had served on the Judicial Bench in Queensland about one-half of the term necessary to entitle him to a pension of about £1,500 a year. Suggestions were then thrown out that he should be granted a pension of £1,750 a year as Chief Justice of that State, notwithstanding that he had served only about onehalf the statutory term, to enable him to enter the first Federal Parliament. He was a statesman, and a great constitutional authority, and he desired to enter that Parliament if, in addition to the salary of £400 a year then payable to its members, he was guaranteed by the State of Queensland a pension of £1,750 a year. Remembering these things, it is galling that we should now be asked to pay him a pension of £35 a week for doing nothing. Queensland has had some experience of highlypaid pensioners who have retired do civil life. Many of them have immediately be taken themselves to London, where they have drawn pensions of £S,000 or £9,000 a year, without ever giving a thought to the State they had left. The same thing may happen if we grant this pension. Sir Samuel Griffith may say good-bye to Australia. We all know that some of the individuals who have been pensioned did not really require the pensions which they received. But they nevertheless accepted them. Whether they gave the money to their relatives in Australia or elsewhere is not known. But it is known that the money was taken from the taxpayers of Queensland. We have heard repeated homilies in this chamber on the necessity for the exercise of economy on the part of the Government. I think that I may fairly call Senator Fairbairn the leader of the Economy party in this Senate. Is he going to support the Bill, and thus give evidence of inconsistency? If he does, he should for ever abandon the preaching of economy. It must be very edifying to returned soldiers, who, in many cases, are not being fairly dealt with, to realize that a pension of £35 per week is to be paid to a gentleman who, at least, is not in want. I was rather surprised - indeed, I was pained - to hear an expression which fell this morning from the lips of an honorable senator opposite. I am one of those who made no lavish promises to our soldiers before they went to the Front. I did not promise them the moon on their return. But lavish promises were made, and when this morning Senator O’Loghlin quoted the case of a soldier who has lost both his legs, and complained that this unfortunate man has not been provided with suitable employment, or with an adequate pension, an honorable senator opposite interjected that perhaps he would not work before he went to the war.
– I do not think that he was the same man. It was a case of two different men.
– I do not think it is the function of honorable senators to decide whether or not a returned soldier, who is in necessitous circumstances, was a good worker before he went to the war.
Silting suspended from 1 to 2.S0 p.m.
– However high may have been the qualifications of. Sir Samuel Griffith, there is one attribute which he cannot claim - eminent jurist though he be. He has never been and never would have been a good Australian, in the Federal sense. In the interpretation of constitutional questions he always adopted the narrowest and most immovable aspect of the Federal Constitution. When the Judiciary Act was passed in 1903, it was specifically stated that no pension would attach to a Federal Judgeship. That having been laid down, a rate of salary commensurately high was fixed. All the Judges of the High Court, including the Chief Justice, accepted their appointments with their eyes open. It is not fair that a position which was guarded against at that time should now be established by means of a side issue. The subject of this measure has demeaned himself by permitting it to come before the Federal Legislature; and, if he accepts the pension, his attitude will not be in keeping with the dignity of his office, nor will it be justified by the amount of salary he has drawn since his elevation to the Federal Bench. It is an unwarranted proposition to confer upon any individual a pension at the rate of £35 a week. When we are asked to pass such a measure as this, and when at the same time we realize the tense times ahead of Australia financially, we might well be led to believe that the disposal of these odd thousands is a mere pagatelle to the ruling powers. We are well aware of the hardships suffered by many people to-da- . We fully recognise that the rate of payment for old-age pensions, though it has been increased to 12s. 6d. per week, is nothing like adequate. I cannot appreciate the attitude of those honorable senators who preach economy. I can only describe their support of the Bill as inconsistent; I do not wish to employ a harsher term. In view of the evident intentions of honorable gentlemen in this chamber; and recollecting the numbers upon the division in another place, I am forced to believe that the matter is being decided on party lines. The most urgent phase of the pension question to-day has relation to returned soldiers. I intend to draw the attention of all returned men who come to me with their complaints of unjust treatment to the action of the Government in granting a pension of £35 a week to one man in Australia.
– I would not have risen but for certain remarks of Senator Ferricks, in which he referred to some interjections made when Senator O’Loghlin was speaking. Those were in reference, particularly, to a paragraph in the Age to-day. Senator O’Loghlin mentioned three cases of hardship in which Tasmanian soldiers were concerned. Senator Ferricks has stated that an interjection was made to the effect that a man who had lost his leg would not work. No such interjection was made. There were three cases alluded to in the report, and it seems that Senator Ferricks has got them mixed. The first case quoted by Senator O’Loghlin was reported as follows: -
Mr. Newton’ brought under the notice of the Premier the dissatisfaction existing in the matter of pensions to returned soldiers. One man with both legs amputated received 30s. a week and 12s. from the Repatriation Fund, which was insufficient.
If that man had dependants, they would receive a further sum from the Repatriation Fund. In addition to the money mentioned in the report, incapacitated soldiers are provided with necessary medical attention. I do not say that that is adequate to meet the case of a man who has lost his legs; but I point out that the payments and attentions which this man receives are just what were set out and agreed upon by Parliament. The next case mentioned was that of a man who could not work, having been shot three times in the leg, and it was. stated that he was in receipt of 7s. 6d. a week. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator Millen) has informed me that a man in those circumstances is entitled to a pension of £2 10s. a week, with free medical attendance until he can work. The pension would continue until he was able to do work of a remunerative character; and, in fact, he would get such a sum from the Repatriation Department as would insure that his receipts did not fall below £2 2s. per week. The third case recorded in the Age has to do with a blind man who is getting 40s. a week. I understand that blind returned soldiers receive £3 10s. per week, and there is a proposal now for the sum to be increased to £4, which is little enough.
– And they may secure an attendant to wait upon them.
– I believe that is so. I am pleased that the Minister intends to put these matters straight. He has undertaken to send a telegram to Tasmania to ascertain the exact facts with repect to those cases. We have pledged ourselves that every soldier requiring help shall receive the fairest possible treatment.
– The person to be dealt with in this Bill is not a returned soldier.
– In Victoria there are only fourteen blind returned soldiers at present, so that any addition of payment to them would be but a small matter.
Senator Ferricks has appointed me leader of the “Economy party.” The need for economy is very great, particularly in view of the fact that we must give full and fair treatment to our returned men. It may appear strange, therefore, that, holding those views so sincerely, I should support the proposed pension for Sir Samuel Griffith. I take the stand, however, that men in public positions are entitled to our sympathy. If they are doing their public duties justly, they can find little time to look after their private interests.
– A man receiving £3,500 per annum need not bother much about his private interests. All he need do is to ,put his money into the war loans.
– That is so. But many men in public positions have little enough time to look around for giltedged securities in which to invest their means.
– Is that the reason why you support the pension for the Chief J Justice ?
– That is one of the reasons. We should treat our public men generously. We would be regarded as a penurious people if we did otherwise.
– Hear, hear ! Economy does not mean meanness.
– I am glad to have that confirmation of my views.
– You do not want your economy campaign to extend to a man getting more than £3,000 per annum?
– I can imagine men who have received even that sum requiring assistance. There have been cases of men who have made over £3,000 a year eventually needing as much hel,p as a person who has drawn a weekly salary of £3.
– Hear, hear! Many of them are getting the old-age pension to-day.
– Quite true, and I am glad that I have arrived at an age when I oan claim the old-age pension any day. A man who has served Australia as well as the Chief Justice of the Commonwealth High Court should receive generous treatment from the people. It is true that I am very much in favour of economy, and I point out that if we capitalize, at 5 per cent., the whole of our liabilities for pensions, and add that to the municipal, State, and Federal debt, it will be found that the burden on Australia is £1,000,000,000. But I do not want to be mean, and I think it would he mean and unworthy of Australia if we failed to treat decently, in his declining days, a man who has given Australia of his immense ability.
.- I want to say that we should treat generously and well all public men who serve this country faithfully and honestly. Because I belong to the class which can never expect anything but a small pension, it is not my desire to withhold adequate recognition from those who occupy high positions in the Public Service. My desire is not to drag them down to the level occupied by the people of the class to which I belong, but to lift the latter to the higher levels.
– And pay pensions of £1,000 a year?
– I do not care very much how big it is; it is not more than good enough for the people who do the work of this country.
– We have never heard you advocating pensions like that before.
– I do not think the honorable senator has heard me advocate pensions at all before to-day. Here is a man with a magnificent record of public service in Australia. I ask honorable senators to consider what have been his functions during his career. Important union actions, upon which, perhaps, millions of pounds have depended, ma> have been brought before him for decision as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. I do not mean to say that, to such a man, the prospect of a pension at the end of a career is calculated to make him dishonest; but I do say that if a man knows he has something to fall back upon in his declining years he will, perhaps, be kept out of temptation. As far as these pensions are concerned, I would like to see an immense increase in the amount given to all our people. I cannot expect, of course, that the amounts will be raised to the dizzy heights contemplated by the measure now under consideration; but I am plodding along to do what I can to make the position better. What better argument could I have from the public platform than to be able to point to the magnificent pension given to a gentleman who has occupied such a high position in the Commonwealth Service, and then ask the Government to treat as generously the mother who, having reared a family well, has thus rendered equally good service to this country?
– .But would this Parliament do that?
– Parliament would if the Labour party had command of it, with a majority supporting us outside; and the sooner we have that majority outside the better it will be for Australia’.
.- Iii my opinion, it is outrageous to propose paying a pension of £1,750 a year to a man who has had such a long career in the public service at a salary of £3,500 a year, which, honorable senators will recognise, is somewhat more than a living wage. Surely we should expect a man, who has been so highly eulogized during the course of this debate, to have sufficient moral fibre to recognise that this country expects him to furnish an object lesson to the rest of the community, and that at the end of his days, unless some extraordinary circumstances arose, he should not require any assistance in the form of a pension.
– That is exactly the argument that the old Tory press used against the payment of the old-age pension.
– And the people who are supporting this proposal would use the same argument again in regard to pensions for the other sections of the community. What justification is there for this Government to pay a pension to a man who has been drawing such a high salary, when a majority in this Parliament declares that 12s. 6d. per week is enough to keep another member of the community? I am willing to admit that the man who shears sheep would not, at the end of his days, expect to be placed in a position of being able to spend £35 a week; but I do say it is not fair to ask him, as one of the taxpayers of this country, to share the burden involved by this proposal. Parliament provided a salary sufficient to enable people in the position occupied by the Chief Justice to make their own provision for their old age. If all other sections of the community had been treated as generously as , has the Chief Justice, there would be no need for the old-age pensions scheme. I am quite certain the working people of this country would have scorned the idea of drawing pensions at the. end of their lives if they had been paid decent wages during their earning period.
– Decent wages will not always save a man from necessity in the closing years of his life.
– I know that; but I remind Senator Bakhap of what happened in the State of Tasmania some years ago. Members of the State Parliament were paid £100 per year, and when one member had the audacity to move that the amount be increased to £150 a year, he had all the Tory element in Tasmania, per medium of the Tory press, following him for months. Exactly the same element is behind this proposal.
They would deny this privilege- to one section of the community, but their friends occupying high positions can spend what they like, and after they have done it all in, and find at the end of their lifetime that they can earn no more, all they have to do is to come along to their representatives in Parliament, who will obligingly hand out to the extent of £35 per week. This outrage, I repeat, should not be tolerated. The amount involved in this proposed pension would provide for seventy old men and women. These old-age pensioners are expected to go to the old-age pension office, in the rain or any other kind of weather, to draw their 12s. 6d..a week, but in the case of the Chief Justice, if this Bill be carried, he will have a cheque for £1,750 a year paid’ into his account, without having any trouble about the matter at all. The thing is worse than an outrage. Twenty of our brave men who have lost their limbs and eyesight in the war could, when they come back to this country, be kept upon the same amount as this one man will draw. It is nearly time the country awakened up to the fact that there are in power people who are prepared to dip their hands up to their elbows into the pockets of the taxpayers and hand out pensions to their pals. It is all very well to say, as some people do, that we all ought to get pensions. We know we cannot all get them.
– The Labour party would not approve of that.
– No. Only people with cast-iron cheek would dare to bring forward a proposal” like this. The Labour party would not dream of committing such a crime against the people of the country. The whole thing is so outrageous that it should not require two minutes’ discussion.
– But you have been more than two minutes on it already.
– That is because it is necessary I should be able properly to express my objection to the Bill. Such a proposal is usually to be expected from those who mostly hold the reins of government all over the earth. They are generally in a position to he able to do what they like. Their friends can go on the “ razzle “ every day, and they mostly do, and then, when they get to the end of their tether, their pals will hand them out as much, and, indeed, more than ever they were worth when they were fit to work. I do not believe the Bill will be carried; at all events, I hope it will not he. And I want here to say that there has been a rumour abroad lately that the Government contemplated robbing the women who, in travail, bring forth a man child for this country, of the £6 which at present is paid for them.
– That is quite incorrect.
– That has been reported in the Senate, anyhow. I think I have said enough to condemn this Bill.
– Although I feel some resentment at the meticulous obstinacy of the Administration in refusing suggestions with regard to amendments of measures which would be good for the producers of this country and for their own political health, I nevertheless am going to support this Bill, and I have no hesitation in giving a few reasons in justification of my attitude. I feel sure that no words of mine of the most emphatic eulogy could add to the lustre of- his Honour the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. His great services have been admitted. In an historical sense he will be a very great figure, for, quite apart from his high qualifications, he is the first Chief Justice of the High Court of this young nation, whose territories embrace the area of a whole continent. I hope I am not going to unfeelingly speculate on the length of years to which he may attain, but undoubtedly when a man is seventy-three years of age, in the ordinary course of nature, the shadows must be long upon the hill of life for him.
A great deal has been said about economy, and it is absolutely essential in the conduct of the financial affairs of the Commonwealth. But has it struck honorable senators that it might, in this and similar instances, be the very perfection of economy to do what this measure eontemplates doing ? I cannot imagine anything more uneconomical or dangerous than to have on the High Court or any other Bench in the Commonwealth a Judge whose vital powers may have been considerably impaired, who may be almost in his dotage, but who, for a Judge, may be in a state, financially, of practical penury. Such a man would naturally retain his seat on the Bench until such time as Parliament cared to remove him, which is a thing that Parliament would be very reluctant to do, except in the case of one who had acted improperly. Let me say that I am in favour of a pensions scheme applicable to the whole of our High Court Judges. But, in the absence of a pensions scheme, such a Judge as I have referred to might retain his seat on the Bench very much to the disadvantage of the proper construction of the terms of the Constitution and of the interests of litigants in such important actions as might be carried as far as the High Court
– Is there any guarantee that if a pension were provided such a Judge would retire from the Bench?
– There is the guarantee which should be apparent to any man of normal common sense that a Judge conscious of deterioration of his powers, and aware that a decent pension awaited him if he retired from the Bench, would almost invariably have the good sense and decency to take advantage of the pension, and make way for some younger and more vigorous man, whose powers would be less impaired.
Honorable senators, in debating this Bill, have contrasted the pension proposed with the pensions paid under our old-age pensions system. I understand that the Chief Justice of the High Court is seventy-three years of age. If the .age entitling a person to receive an old-age pension were fixed at seventy-three years, I venture to say, without very close reference to the conclusions of mortuary tables, that we might, out of the amount now dispersed for old-age pensions, raise the amount of the pension to £5 per week.
– We might make it nothing at all if all were getting £3,500 a year.
– Honorable senators opposing the Bill have referred to the apparently high salaries paid to Justices of the State Supreme Courts and of the High Court. But the salary paid is not so very high when we’ consider what is demanded of a Judge, and bear in mind the state of social isolation in which he is compelled to live. There are friends of mine in civil life who have become Judges, and while I differentiate between reserve and courtesy, there is no one whom I address with so much reserve as a Judge of my acquaintance. I feel that on his becoming a Judge something has intervened between him and me which makes just the old relationship between us impossible.
– All criminals feel in that way.
– Not being a criminal, I cannot he so exact on the point.
The parliamentary allowance made to honorable senators is, in the eyes of most people, a very large sum of money. But how many of the members of this Parliament are financially better off than when they were in civil life? There were years long before I contemplated entry into parliamentary life when I made a smaller income than my parliamentary allowance, but there have been years also when I easily made a great deal more, and I can say that I was very much better off before I became a member of Parliament than I am now. What is the ordinary experience of a member of Parliament? I venture to say that on every day in the year except Sundays he is in receipt of a request for a subscription. Do honorable senators think that Judges are exempt from such importunities?
– Generally speaking, they are.
– I do not think so. I have little doubt that similar requests are made to them and are granted more often in secret than openly.
It is necessary, not only that the business of our tribunals should be conducted in at atmosphere of unimpeachable integrity, but that a lack of integrity may not be suspected because of the impecuniosity of any particular Judge or number of Judges. I hope I shall not allude in any improper sense to recent happenings in connexion with this Parliament. I suspend my judgment upon them because proceedings may supervene of a character which can only at present be indicated. But I feel sure that every member of this Legislature regrets very keenly the imputation that has been put on the honour and integrity of certain of their fellowmembers. If we regret such a thing in connexion with our Legislature, surely we should avoid the very appearance of it in connexion with a High Court Judge.
– That is an argument in favour of pensions for legislators.
– One might very easily argue in favour of such pensions. If pensions should be paid to those who administer our laws it is not a great stretch of the argument upon which such a conclusion would be based to claim that those who make our laws might legitimately claim to be similarly treated. In an advanced Democracy in which the true principles of Democracy would be properly appreciated, such a scheme might very well be introduced.1 I believe in a scheme of pensions for Judges all roundI hope that when the burden of the war has been somewhat reduced it will be possible for us to increase our old-age and invalid pensions. I believe in pensions for widows, and long ago supported such a proposal.
It is absolutely essential that I allude in the most delicate terms to a feature which will determine my vote in support of this Bill, apart from any consideration of general or fundamental principles. T think that His Honour the Chief Justice of the High Court, long before he was placed on the Bench, did what all of us have done with success or with failure in the course of our lives. He made investments which turned out to be merely speculations of an unsuspected- kind. Many a thing which a man regards as an investment turns out to have been only a speculation. It is an open secret that the Chief Justice of the High Court- did make investments of that character, which have involved him throughout the whole period of his occupancy of a seat on the Supreme Court Bench of Queensland and on the High Court Bench in financial liabilities which a man of his high sense of honour could only attempt to discharge.
– We should have plenty of applications for pensions if that is a valid argument.
– It is an argument. There are bankruptcy laws, and the Bankruptcy Court is often the refuge of the financially afflicted, though, unhappily, it is in some cases, also the refuge of the knave and the scoundrel. We should not expect Judges to adopt the attitude of libellous miscreants of the Critchley Parker standard, and seek to discharge their liabilities through the Bankruptcy Court. A Judge can only suffer in silence and pay. All his debts are debts of honour, and he must pay them, though he might perhaps legally repudiate them if he cared to do so. I believe that the Chief Justice of the High Court has done what a man like him might reasonably be expected to do, and during the long course of his life on the Bench has endeavoured to discharge, to the extent of his financial ability, the liabilities which he incurred and which many fairly honorable men of the ordinary community would long ago have repudiated.
Some honorable senators speak of the amount of money the Chief Justice of the High Court has received. -It is a mere matter of arithmetic to show that he has received a large’ sum of money. Where has it gone? It is an open secret that it .has gone in the discharge of the liabilities which he incurred and which he has discharged as a man of honour. It is for that reason that, without making of this case a precedent, I am prepared to vote for the Bill.
– Heis not the only man who has done that.
– A Judge lives in a much more isolated atmosphere than does a member of Parliament. If I go down the street and familiarly address an acquaintance with the words, “ Come and have a drink,” no one will regard that as a sacrifice of dignity on my part. But if a Judge were to do the same thing we can well imagine what a wringing of hands there would be and the holy horror that would be’ expressed that His Honour should so forfeit the dignity of the Bench and degrade its status. Thousands of Mother Grundys would give utterance to such remarks, and I repeat that a Judge is compelled to live in an atmosphere of isolation and restraint.
Can we not strain a point, even those of us who profess a slavish regard for principles which may, after all, not be very excellent? Can we not regard as exceptional the case of this old man seventy-three years of age, who has done most honorable service in the civilian life of his country, and will stand in history as the first Chief Justice of the High Court of this nation of which we are so proud? I say that, irrespective of the fact that a superficial misapprehension of this measure may make it an unpopular one in the country, I am prepared to do what I think is right, even though my action may be criticised. Knowing what I do of the circumstances, knowing the great abilities of this great man, knowing that in the evening of his life he is beset .with considerations which he thinks may force Lim to adopt a certain course of action,- and to let his remaining years flicker out in a state of penury- unbecoming to the dignity of the position of a man who was once Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, I vote for this measure with alacrity.
– There is one aspect of the matter which does not appear to have excited as much attention in the course of this debate as its importance warrants. We all recognise that beyond legal obligations there are moral ones, and it is a poor individual, and a still poorer nation, that would rest contented and satisfied in its legal obligations, without regard to its moral ones. When Sir Samuel Griffith came over from the service of the Queensland Government, he was actually, although not technically, a public servant. In leaving the one Service for the other he abandoned and sacrificed certain rights that would have been his had he remained in the employ of the State.
– He did that with his eyes open. - Senator MILLEN.- Of course, but that is no reason why we should pass it over with our eyes shut.
– Then this applies to Mr. Justice Rich as well?
– I do not know. I am not familiar with the circumstances. Had Sir Samuel Griffith been a clerk in the Public Service of Queensland at £400 a year, and come over to the Commonwealth Service, he would have brought his pension rights with him. It was merely owing to the technicality that the Judges of the State, as of the Commonwealth, are outside of the scope of the Public Service Act, that it is not possible for him to obtain a legal transfer from one Service to the other. The principle that made us include in our Public Service Act the provision that where officers were transferred they should bring with them their rights, imposes upon us a moral obligation-
– They were compulsory transfers.
– Even to-day we have passed a Bill which provides that where a State public servant” comes over in the staff to be created by the Commissioner of the Housing Scheme his rights shall be honoured and respected by us.
– That matter was taken into consideration in 1903, when Parliament fixed a higher salary than it would otherwise have fixed for the Chief Justice to make up for the fact you have mentioned.
– Parliament did not fix a higher salary than Queensland was giving. The principle is exactly the same. Sir Samuel Griffith came over, as he did, sacrificing those accrued interests which were his, and the fact that he was willing to do it ought not to be any justification for us to avoid what I regard as a moral obligation resting upon us. It is not so much a question of whether we -wish to pay a pension in this case to a Judge or not, but whether we shall accept that obligation which I think was involved- when we invited Sir Samuel -to come over and take this office, which he has filled with so much distinction and satisfaction during his occupancy of the Bench.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
B ill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 -
The first Chief Justice of Australia shall be entitled, upon resigning his office, to demand a pension by way of annuity ….
.- I move-
That after the word “ Australia” the words “ and all recipients of old-age pensions “ be inserted.
This will test the principles of some of those gentlemen who profess to be anxious to do the right thing by the workers of the community.
– Is this limelight?
– It is not. My object is to see whether honorable senators opposite are prepared to extend to the men and women of Australia the same generous treatment as is given to those who have drawn a magnificent salary for the best part of their lives. We were told a few minutes ago that if the age limit for old-age pensions was extended to seventythree, we - without any further expenditure - could pay the recipients £5 per week. If we increased the old-age pensions to the rate proposed in this Bill, the cost would run into from £60,000,000 to £70,000,000 per annum. Apparently, we are not prepared to do that, but I wish to give an opportunity to those here who are anxious to feed, feast and fatten one man who hasbeen well fed and fattened all his life, to deal out evenhanded justice to the rest of the people. We are now paying a miserable pension of 12s. 6d. per week under the Old-age Pensions Act, and the Minister recently told us that the present was not an opportune time to increase it. There are tens of thousands of people who would be delighted if we could only increase the pension to 15s. per week.
– I cannot accept the amendment, as it has nothing to do with the Bill.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3, preamble, and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Motion (by Senator Millen) proposed -
That the report be adopted.
– I wish to move -
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause2, with a view to inserting after the word “Australia” the words “ and old-age pensioners.”
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) . - Order ! The honorable senator cannot move that amendment, because it is outside the scope and purpose of the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Millen) put -
That the Bill be now read a third time.
The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a third time.
Sitting suspended from 8.S0 to P-m.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, Standing and Sessional Orders suspended, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I desire to point out that it is merely a temporary measure. It has not been brought forward with the object of reviewing the Arbitration Court. Briefly stated, the position is that the law advisers of the Government entertain a good deal of doubt as to the power of the President of the Arbitration Court to authorize his deputy to act during his absence. It is proposed to overcome this difficulty by vesting in the Governor-General direct power to appoint the deputy. The amendment is not being introduced because of any desire to make an alteration in the principal Act, but merely for the purpose which I have outlined.
– Its introduction has been necessitated by recent happenings?
– Yes. Then, in the case of Alexander v. the Wharf Labourers Union, the High Court decided that, whilst the Arbitration Court had power to make an award, it had no power to enforce it. In this Bill it is provided that, where any organization or person bound by an order or award of that Court has committed any breach or nonobservance of any term of the order or award, penalties may be imposed - by any district, County, or local Court, or Court of summary jurisdiction which is constituted by a Judge, or a police, stipendiary, or special magistrate, or by any Court specified in that behalf by proclamation.
– Why not empower the Arbitration Court itself to inflict the penalty ?
– Because the High Court has already ruled that we have not the power. It is of no use the Arbitration Court making an award unless there is some power to enforce it. In my judgment, one reason why the principle of arbitration has become somewhat unpopular is because of the centralization of business in the Arbitration Court.
The third principle embodied in this Bill is that no preference in relation to any industrial agreement shall adversely affect the position of a returned soldier or sailor who has been engaged upon active service during the period of the war. Honorable senators are thoroughly familiar with that principle. It has been generally approved by Parliament, and has been embodied in this Bill.
.- Knowing that the Government possess a majority, I am content to allow the responsibility for this measure to rest upon their shoulders. It is only a reasonable thing that the Arbitration Court should have power to inflict penalties in order to enforce its awards. But if we cannot constitutionally endow it with that power, the Government ought not to lose a single moment in attempting to acquire the power to do so. But an,defect in our constitutional powers should be disclosed by the High Court.
– It has been disclosed.
– Then I must again direct the attention of honorable senators to the fact that the powers of this Parliament are limited by a decision of the High Court. My idea of a National Parliament is a Parliament possessed of - absolutely sovereign powers from one end of Australia to the other. I enter my protest against this Bill, because, owing to our constitutional limitations, we are not in a position to give effect to the opinions which we hold.
.- - Of course, I recognise the necessity which exists for doing something in the direction that is outlined in this Bill. The Government appear to he attempting to do something without accomplishing anything. What is the position? The Australian Workers Union, to which I belong, and which possesses branches all over the Commonwealth, as well as other large industrial organizations, may bo absolutely wiped out of existence if this Bill be passed in its present form.
– That is the object of it.
– I would not like to say that. The most peculiar feature about the present position is that while the Arbitration Court may make awards, it has no power to enforce them. Of course, the reply of the Government is that the High Court has decided that their enforcement would be unconstitutional. Assuming that the position taken up by the Government is unassailable, I ask them to amend the principal Act by empowering a Justice of the High Court to enforce any awards which may be made by the Arbitration Court-. If it is alleged that that course would also be unconstitutional, by all means let the question be tested. It will be a very serious thing to the biggest industry in this country if the Australian Workers Union is obliged to send lawyers miles over the back country in order to plead its cause. In such circumstances, it would be practically tied up; and the union, which has loyally stood by the principle of arbitration in the settlement of all its disputes, and which desires to continue to do so, will be forced to take other action.. The Government will lose nothing by agreeing to the amendment which I intend to submit. But the Australian Workers Union will then shoulder the responsibility of securing from the proper tribunal an authoritative decision as to whether that amendment is constitutional or otherwise. We shall exhaust all constitutional means within our power to achieve our purpose, and we shall not resort to other measures unless we are compelled to do so. This is a very serious question, and I ask the Government to take a serious view of it. The insertion in the Bill of the amendment which I intend to submit will not in any way affect the remainder of its provisions.
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria - VicePresident of the Executive Council [4.30]. - In moving the second reading of this Bill, I pointed out that it “is merely a temporary measure. It is not intended to interfere with the good features of the Arbitration Act. It is designed to overcome a temporary difficulty until we are in a position to deal with that Act in a more comprehensive way. But the Court has been robbed of its power to enforce awards. We nave no alternative but to deal with the Courts now in existence. The delays which have occurred when various organizations have sought to approach the Arbitration Court have been a source of great inconvenience, and have proved one of the principal causes for the unpopularity of arbitration to-day. The easier we can make it for the people to secure a hearing in the Arbitration Court for even the lightest grievance the better it will be for all. It is not desired that any section of the public should be forced to go to the High Court with a plaint. The Bill does not intend that the lower Courts shall have power to impose penalties, but that they shall merely act as policemen to enforce penalties. The nearer the people are to the Courts with which they have to deal, and the cheaper the cost of approaching those Courts, the better it is, of course, in the interests of the public generally. If the Bill is lost we do not know where the Arbitration Court will stand during the next few months, before Parliament meets again. I emphasize that this is only a temporary measure.
– Is the power of the lower Courts to enforce penalties unquestioned ?
– According to the best opinion of the legal advisers to the Government, yes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 -
Section forty-four of the principal Act is amended by omitting sub-section (1) and inserting in its stead the following subsection : - “ (1) Where any organization or person bound by an order or award has committed any breach or non-observance of any term of the order or award a penalty not exceeding -
the maximum penalty fixed by the Court for any breach or nonobservance of any term of the order or award; or
if no maximum penalty has been so fixed, the maximum penalty which the Court has power to fix therefor, may be imposed by any District, County, or local Court, or Court of summary jurisdiction which is constituted by a Judge or a police, stipendiary, or special magistrate, or by any State Court specified in that behalf by proclamation.”
Section proposed tobe omittted.
Where any organization or person bound by an order or award has committed any breach or nonobservance of any term of the order or award any penalties which the Court has power to impose may be imposed by any Court of summary jurisdiction constituted by a police, stipendiary, or special magistrate. .
.- I move -
That after the word “by,” line 18, the following words be inserted : - “ a justice of the High Court.”
The acceptance of the amendment will cost the Government nothing, but will mean a great deal to our industrial organizations. Surely the Government do not wish to victimize those organizations which have done their best to keep the laws of the country. The organization with which I am concerned, and similar bodies, will be handicapped by the restrictions sought to be imposed.I desire by my amendment to give those organizations the power to test before the High Court whether, from that source, we can establish our claims at less expense and inconvenience than is the case to-day.
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria - VicePresident of the Executive Council) [4.37]. - Senator Barnes is evidently not quite clear in regard to the powers of the Courts. They are intended to act in the sense of policemen by enforcing the awards of the Arbitration Court. Where organizations to-day are limited to the Arbitration Court, they are now to be given opportunity to approach any Court.
– But our complaint is that we are largely cut off from the Arbitration Court.
– Greater accessibility will now be afforded, and I am sure the public will appreciate that.
.- I am not concerned with the trouble which the Government will bring upon themselves, but with the trouble in which the Bill will involve many worthy people outside. The country itself will be involved, and I want to avoid that if possible.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 7 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– Senator O’Loghlin yesterday asked me for a further explanation with regard to a question put to me as to the rule governing applications for appointment in the Ordnance Branch of the Defence Department. He asked what is the rule, and, if applications are required, why are they dispensed with in certain cases, and why was the rule abrogated in the case to which he referred. The answer is, applications for appointment to positions in the Defence Department are invariably invited. The case under review was a promotion, in which no supersession of other employees was involved.
– Senator Barnes this morning asked -
Has any order, minute, or recommendation been made prejudicial to Captain T. G. Allen as a result of a resolution of the Bendigo Recruiting Committee expressing ‘disapproval of his appointment as Brigade-Major of the Bendigo district?
The answer is No.
Action Against the Commonwealth Government.
– On the 13th instant Senator Gardiner asked the following questions: - ‘
I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information: -
– Senator Needham asked this morning -
The answers are: -
Motion (by Senator Millen) agreed to-
That leave of absence be granted to every member of the Senate from the determination of the sitting this day to the day on which the Senate next meets.
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 3 p.m. on a date to be fixed by Mr. President, which day of meeting shall be notified by Mr. President to each senator by telegram or letter.
Honorable senators will observe that we are following the practice adopted on previous occasions when an adjournment, rather than a prorogation, has been decided upon.
– The motion is very vague. I should like the Minister to insert in it some provision by which honorable senators would have at least a week’s notice, because some members of the Senate, when notified, might be in Western Australia or Port Darwin. I move -
That the following words be added to the motion: - “ and that at least seven days’ notice be given.”
– The amendment, not being seconded, lapses. I may add that I always see that every honorable senator gets ample notice.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Sitting suspended from4.55 to 9.57 p.m.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with a message intimating that the House had made the amendment requested by the Senate.
Bill (on motion by Senator Millen) read a third time.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that the House had agreed to the amendments made by the Senate.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives with amendments.
That the Message be taken into consideration in Committee forthwith.
The Commissioner shall receive a salary of £1,500 a year…..
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Leave out all the words after the word “ receive,” and insert “ such salary as the Governor-General determines.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
A doubt has arisen as to whether it was competent for this Chamber, in view of the constitutional limitations, to include the salary in this Bill. I am not expressing any opinion as to the merits of that doubt, but as it has arisen it was thought that this wasthe quickest way to set the matter at rest.
– He will get the salary all the same?
– He will; and in view of the discussion which took place here previously, no appointment will be made at a salary over £1,500 unless the matter is again referred to Parliament.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 19 (Sale of dwelling-houses).
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Add the following sub-clauses: - “ (8) The cost and expense of any transfer or mortgage executed in pursuance of this section shall be borne by the purchaser. “ (9) In this section, ‘Capital cost’ in cludes the price paid for the land and dwelling house, and such sum as the Commissioner determines as sufficient to cover the cost of acquisition and subdivision, together with interest on expenditure for purchase of the land and purchase or erection of the dwelling house up to the time of the sale of the dwelling house.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The first new sub-clause is to make clear a point about which some doubt has arisen in a previous sub-section, which entitles the mortgagor to obtain a transfer. It was not clear then whether he would be under the disability, which ordinarily attaches to mortgagors on obtaining a transfer, of having to pay the cost of it. This sets the matter at rest. It was deemed necessary by the legal officers to insert new sub-clause 9, in order to have in the Bill a definition of “ capital cost”. ‘
Motion agreed to.
Clause 26 -
No advance shall be made on any property which is encumbered by any previous mortgage or charge, other than a mortgage or charge under this Act, but a second mortgage may be taken as collateral security.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Leave out “but a second mortgage may be taken as collateral security,” and insert “unless the advance is applied for the purpose of discharging the previous mortgage or charge.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This amendment was put in for the sake of clarity. The clause was designed first to prevent the Commissioner from advancing money upon a second mortgage. The amendment makes it clear that that is the intention, but leaves him free to advance the money to lift the mortgage already existing.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 31 -
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Leave out “ the expiration of two months “.
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The notice referred to in this clause was to be given by the Commissioner to the occupant or tenant to effect repairs. It might be necessary to have repairs, such as those to a leaky roof, made at once, and, therefore, it was thought desirable to leave the notice to the discretion of the Commissioner.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 32- the land or land and dwelling house, as the case may be, shall not be let or sublet by the purchaser or borrower without the consent in writing of the Commissioner; and every lease, sub-lease, or agreement…..
If the purchaser or borrower lets or sublets the land or land and dwelling house, or any part thereof, in contravention of the provisions of this section, the Commissioner may cause to be sold the estate and interest of the purchaser or borrower in the land or land and dwelling house. // ouse of Representatives’ Amendments. - Omit “or sub-let” insert “sub-let or mortgaged”; after “sublease” insert “mortgage”; omit “ or sub-lets,” insert “ sublets or mortgages,”. Leave out “ may cause to be sold the estate and interest of the purchaser or borrower in the land or land and dwelling house “ and insert “may -
– I move-
That the amendments be agreed to. As previously drafted, the Bill gave the Commissioner power to sell the estate and interest of the customer with whom he was dealing but it is possible that the latter might have no estate or interest, leaving the place, or falling into arrears, after a week or two. In that case, he would have built up ho interest to sell, and the proposal is to give the Commissioner discretion to cancel the agreement. There is a difference between the purchaser who buys under the conditions referred to and the applicant who becomes a borrower. In the latter case, the necessity of proceeding by the usual legal procedure is continued.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 49 -
House of Representatives? Amendment. - Leave out “ such terms and conditions as are agreed between the Commissioner and the bank or institution “ and insert “ the same terms and conditions as are provided by this Act.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
When the Bill was before the Committee previously, Senator Bolton drew attention to an ambiguity in the clause. He said it was not quite clear whether the Commissioner, in any arrangement he made with the State Savings Banks, would be in a position to oblige them under that agreement to give the applicant the same terms as he himself would give. This amendment makes it clear than any arrangement with the Savings Bank must be on those terms.
Motion agreed to.
Remaining amendments agreed to.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
Appointment of a Minister in London.
– In reply to a question put by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) yesterday in regard to the demobilization of our overseas troops, I intimated that before honorable senators dispersed I would probably be in a position to make a short statement to the Senate. I shall now proceed to -redeem that promise. Since the termination of hostilities, the demobilization, embarkation, and repatriation of the Australian Overseas Forces has received the unremitting attention of the Government. Intimate consultation by cable has been conducted between the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and the Cabinet. As the result a scheme for handling the important problem involved has been adopted. This necessitates the creation in Britain of a control embracing military and civilian personnel. The work to be accomplished at the other end includes - in addition to the “shipping, feeding, and clothing of our men between the period of actual demobilizaton and embarkation in Britain - the great task of providing suitable occupation and training for so extensive a Force during the inevitable period of idleness. This period, it seems, will cover from nine to twelve months, however excellent may be the shipping arrangements to return our men to Australia. The “Government’s desire is to see that to men who desire, during this period of waiting, to secure training in the primary or secondary industries to which they formerly had been engaged, or wish to be engaged, the opportunity will be available. This phase of the question must be regarded as preparatory to repatriation. After reviewing the whole matter, the Government have now decided that this work must be presided over by a responsible Minister. Official, or indirect, responsibility for matters affecting so closely the interests of the men who have splendidly fought for the safety of Australia will not be satisfactory to the people or Parliament of the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister will return as soon as the duties of t”he Allied Conference and the Peace Conference permit. It is, of course, impossible to fix a date at the ‘present moment. The Minister for the Navy (Sir Joseph Cook) must return for the visit of Lord Jellicoe, who is leaving England in February to review the naval programme and outlook of the Commonwealth. It will, therefore, be necessary to despatch a Minister to Lon- don to arrive in sufficient time to take over the organization and administration there. This will be arduous work, with little opportunity to learn the elements of the business. The Cabinet has, therefore, requested Senator Pearce, the Minister for Defence, to proceed to London to discharge this important undertaking. Senator Pearce has consented, and his departure will be conditioned by the receipt of more definite information as to the movements of the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Navy at the other end of the world. This statement deals, as honorable senators will see, with the problem as it presents itself in Great Britain. As indicated on former occasions, the Government is developing, with proper care, suitable machinery at this end to deal with the reception, training, and reabsorption of the Forces from overseas. It is hoped that the measures adopted will satisfactorily cope with this most important question.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives, with amendments.
That the message be taken into consideration forthwith.
Clause 4 (Military Estates - how dealt with)-
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Add the following as sub-clause 2 - “In this section, ‘prescribed authority’ means the Minister, or any of the following officers of the Department of Defence, namely, the Secretary, the Finance Secretary, the Assistant Finance Secretary, District Paymasters, or the Chief Paymaster of the Australian Imperial Forces abroad.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
It was thought desirable that the officials who will be charged with the administration of these estates, so far as the Department is concerned, should be named, and hence this amendment has been inserted elsewhere.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 11 (Medals) -
House of Representatives’ Amendment. -
After the word “person” first occurring, insert “ or institution.”
.- I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The clause in which this amendment has been made relates to the disposition of medals and decorations. The provision, as it left this Chamber, provided that, in cases in which no legatee or other beneficiary had been prescribed by a deceased soldier, the Minister could authorize his medal and decorations to be handed over to some specified person. It was intended that this power should also extend to any institution, such as a museum, public library, or art gallery; but, through an oversight, we neglected to do this.The other branch of the Legislature has now remedied this omission.
Motion agreed to.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
Bill returned from the House of Representatives, without amendment.
Sitting suspended from 10.19 to 11.54. p.m.
Bill returned from House of Representatives without amendment.
Bill returned from House of Representatives with amendments.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
That the message be taken into consideration forthwith.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clauses: -
After section 20 of the principal Act the following section is inserted : - “20a. Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act an officer who is eligible for promotion toa higher rank and who has served on active service abroad shall, other things being equal, be granted preference in promotion to an officer of the same rank who is eligible for promotion to that higher rank, and who has not served on active service abroad.”
After section 40 of the principal Act the following sections are inserted : - “40a. In time of war any person who is employed under articles of apprenticeship may, notwithstanding any provision of or obligation under the articles, enlist in the military forces, and any person who so enlists shall not be liable, during the. period of his service in the forces, and until a reasonable period thereafter, to be claimed for service under the articles. “ 40b. (1) Any person employed under articles of apprenticeship who has in time of war enlisted in the military forces shall, upon discharge from the military forces, unless the Minister otherwise determines, be entitled, within a period of three months after the date of his discharge, or, in the case of a person discharged before the commencement of this section, within three months after such commencement, to resume his employment under his articles of apprenticeship, andthe period served by him after discharge shall be deemed to be a continuance of the period served by him prior to enlistment. “ (2) If any master, upon the application of an apprentice who is entitled under the last preceding sub-section to resume his employment, refuses to re-employ him, he shall be guilty of an offence. “ Penalty : Fifty pounds.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The first of the two clauses will commend itself to honorable senators. It is to the effect that an officer who has been on active service shall have preference, with regard to promotion, over an officer who has not seen active service. With respect to the second clause, under the Army Act, enlistment releases the obligation of an apprentice to his employer. That has not been provided for in our Act, and, in the course of the present war, it has been found that if an apprentice enlisted he was liable to a civil action for breaking the terms of his apprenticeship. And, if he went to the war and returned, he could not call upon his employer to complete the teaching of his trade. This proposed clause will embody both those considerations. In the one case, enlistment will not be regarded as a breach of apprenticeship on the part of the employee; and in the second circumstance if the employee returns and wishes to complete his articles, the employer must re- employ him and complete the period of training.
Motion agreed to.
Amendments in clause 7, and amendment to omit clause 10 agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clause: - “ 11a. Section 119 of the principal Act is amended by omitting therefrom the words ‘ without the authority of the Minister, be entitled to ‘ and inserting in their stead the words ‘ except as prescribed ‘.”
– I move - .
That the amendment be agreed to.
The amendment relates to the stoppage of pay of members of the Forces if they are absent without leave. Under the law, they cannot have their pay stopped without the authority of the Minister. It is proposed now to have the matter dealt with by regulation. That is to say, the approval of the Minister will not be required.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clauses: - “ 12a. Section 135 of the principal Act is amended by omitting from sub-section (5) the words ‘ detained by that authority,’ and inserting in their stead the words ‘handed over by that authority to military custody for conveyance to and detention ‘. “ 12b. Section 135s of the principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead: - 135b. ( l ) Notwithstanding anything contained in the next two preceding sections, a person shall not be liable in any one year to confinement in excess of thirty days in respect of offences committed by him against the provisions of sub-section (1) or paragraph a of nub-section (1a) of section 135, or of costs awarded in proceedings for such offences, and any order or other authority issued by a Court authorizing confinement for a period in excess of such thirty days, shall, in so far as it relates to the period in excess, be void, but nevertheless proceedings shall not be maintainable against the - Commonwealth or any person in respect of the order or authority or of any act or thing done in pursuance of the order or authority.’
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to. These new clauses deal with minor breaches of the compulsory ‘training provisions of the Act, under which convictions are mostly recorded by magistrates whose acquaintance with the law is not too extensive. The purpose of them is -to make the intention of the Act clearer, so sis to avoid difficulties of interpretation.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clause : - 12a. Section 138 of the principal Act is amended by omitting from sub-section (3) thereof the words “ undergo such equivalent training as prescribed, unless exempted by some provision of this Act”, and inserting in their stead the words “become liable for training as prescribed, but shall not be required to perform additional training equivalent to the training from which they have been exempted under this sub-section.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
The purpose of the amendment is to correct an anomaly in the Act. At present theological students studying to enter the priesthood or become clergymen are exempted from training; but, nevertheless, they are, at present, required to complete their training. As clergymen are exempted from the combatant provisions of the Act, it is desirable that theological students should not subsequently be called upon to complete their training, and the amendment is to give effect to this purpose.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives’ Amendment. - Insert the following new clause : - 12d. Section 142 of the principal Act is amended by inserting the following sub-section after sub-section (1) thereof-: - “ (1a) If any such male inhabitant of Australia is not registered in the manner prescribed in sub-section (1) of this section, he, and the parent, guardian, or person acting in loco parentis, shall severally be guilty of an offence.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
This refers to the registration of senior cadets. As the Act stands at present a boy is liable for an offence under these provisions of the Act, but as the boy may be only fourteen years of age, and, therefore, under parental control, it is probable that in some cases parents use their influence to prevent a boy from complying with the provisions of the Act. In such cases punishment should fall, not on the boy, but on the parents. This amendment seeks to accomplish that purpose.
Motion agreed to.
House of Representatives? Amendment. -
Insert the following new clause : - 12e. After section 142 of the principal Act, the following section is inserted: - “ 142a.. Any male inhabitant of Aus tralia, who has resided therein for six months, and is a British subject, and whose bond fide residence is within a distance of 5 miles, reckoned by the nearest practicable route from the nearest place appointed for training, and who is, at any time after he has attained the age of fourteen years, and before ho has attained the age of twentysix years, not registered for naval or military training, shall be guilty of an offence.”
– I move -
That the amendment be agreed to.
These two provisions deal with the same matter, and are expressed in somewhat the same way, except that one deals with the liability in the year in which the boy becomes fourteen years of age, and the other extends the liability until he ceases to become liable under the compulsory training provisions.
Motion agreed to.
Resolutions reported; report adopted.
Valedictory - The Northern Territory: Attack on Administration.
– I move -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
During the session which has just closed I have submitted many motions, but none with the same degree of pleasure which I experience on this occasion. I should like to take the opportunity, on behalf of the Government, and, if I may presume to do so, on behalf of honorable senators, to tender you, sir, our hearty thanks for the assistance which you have rendered in the discharge of public business, and to the unfailing courtesy and eminent fairness with which you have presided over our deliberations. I should like, also, to include in this expression of our thanks the officers of the Senate for their unfailing courtesy and the assiduity with whicli they have striven to lighten our labours. I desire, further, to include the gentlemen of the Hansard staff. We have to remember that those who report our speeches in this Chamber are members of a staff charged with the duty of reporting speeches in both Houses; and whilst, on many occasions, as during the last week, the strain upon them has been extremely heavy, consequent upon our extended sittings, their labours have been intensified by the extra pressure imposed by the sittings of the other House. May I also be permitted to extend the thanks of the Government to members of this Chamber for the assistance they have given during the session, and particularly do I wish to thank those members who at great inconvenience have remained tonight in order to complete the business programme of the Government. Perhaps, without wishing to create any invidious distinction, I might be permitted to extend our special thanks to members of the Opposition. I should like, also, to wish you, sir, and honorable senators, the best wishes in connexion with the approaching season. I trust honorable senators will have an enjoyable Christmas, and that they will enter upon a prosperous and satisfactory new year.
The meeting of Parliament which is now being concluded has been memorable for the fact that during its progress we “ were heartened and cheered by the signing of the armistice; and I hope that before we assemble again, peace terms will have been agreed upon, and peace treaties signed, sp that we may be able to turn our attention to the consideration of those after-war problems which already are beginning to take shape in our minds.
There is one other matter which I should like to mention, and that is, it is probable, if circumstances fall out as it is likely they will, and the intention of the Government materializes, that when next we meet Senator Pearce will not he with us. I feel I shall express the feelings of honorable senators if I take, this opportunity of assuming that the trip he will undertake has been successfully accomplished, and that he will have entered upon his responsible duties in England. I have, with Senator Pearce, been a member of the Senate since the inception of this Parliament. I was thinking tonight of the changes which we have mutually undergone during that period. When the Senate first opened, Senator Pearce. and I sat on the benches opposite, with just the gangway between us. After a while, in the whirligig of politics, the honorable senator deserted me to occupy a seat on the benches on this side. With very much greater consistency, I remained opposite, a consistency for which I do not take too much credit. After a while, other changes occurred, and brought Senator Pearce and myself side by side on these benches. I must express my appreciation of my association with the honorable senator, and my firm conviction that, if he should go to London, he will discharge the heavy responsibilities which will fall upon him there with advantage to the country, and with credit to himself.
– I take advantage of the opportunity, in seconding the motion, to indorse, in the main, the remarks which have been made by the Leader of the Senate. I join, with him in his references to you, sir, and to the officers of the House, including the members of the Hansard staff, and others who assist us to conduct the business of the Senate. We are just at the close of one of the most arduous meetings of Parliament within the recollection of most honorable senators. Speaking on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), who is unavoidably absent, I may say that it has been a pleasure to us, while criticising the measures brought before the Senate, to assist in the expeditions conduct of the business of this Chamber. I think I should be failing iri my duty if I did not indorse the remarks made by Senator Millen in reference to
Senator Pearce. We have had differences of opinion with the honorable senator, but I hope that if he goes to London he will arrive there safely, and be spared to come back to Australia. If Senator Pearce while in London assists in the great work of demobilization, in which we are all vitally interested, and especially those of us who have our own flesh and blood across the seas, I am sure that he will perform his duty well. I need only add that I cordially wish honorable senators the merriest possible Christmas, satisfied that it is sure to be more merry than was Christmas of last year, and a bright and prosperous New Year.
from any responsibility for that reply, as the matter does not come within his Department. It represents, either a departmental attempt at flippancy, or a woeful lack of knowledge of the conditions that exist, and have existed, in the Northern Territory for the last three or four years. It is generally known that there has been a condition of seething discontent there during that period. The increase in the price of beer is not the cause of the trouble. As a matter of fact, the hotels in the Northern Territory have been closed for the last fifteen days.
– Is the discontent due to the closing of the hotels ?
– I do not think so. I believe it is due to the want of tact of the Administrator. I should not have referred to the matter at this stage only that I do not desire that it should go out to the country that the trouble in the Northern Territory is. due to a rise in the price of beer. That is not true. Personal friends and schoolmates of mine, who have worked in the Territory, tell me that there will never be harmony while Dr. Gilruth remains there. They say that he is deficient in tact; and we know that an ounce of tact is often worth a ton of bounce. The trouble, it appears to me, is that Dr. Gilruth does not understand the Australian temperament. As an evidence of this, I may mention that he employs at Government House, Port Darwin, a staff of Chinese servants, whilst Australian, white girls have to leave the Territory for want of work. The policy of the Commonwealth does not stand for that. Before the war, and before the establishment of any censorship due to the war, Dr. Gilruth initiated and established a censorship in the Northern Territory. The Judiciary and the whole of the civil servants there are in the palm of his hand, and not a letter could leave the Territory without its contents being known to the Administrator. That kind of thing is not in harmony with Australian ideas of freedom. Any civil servant who falls foul of Dr. Gilruth might as well leave the Territory. I may mention that Mr. Carey, the Government Secretary, seeing an opportunity to advance himself, applied for, and obtained, a position as submanager of Vestey’s Meat Works. When he accented the office, the whole of the staff, including the manager, promptly resigned, because they would not work with Mr.- Carey. We have received sheaves of correspondence and personal communications from residents of the Territory, which lead us to believe that there will be no harmony there while Dr. Gilruth is retained as Administrator. I commend to the Government the suggestion to appoint a more tactful man, and one more conversant with the developmental policy of Australia, if the occupation of the Northern Territory is to be a success. I am convinced that Dr. Gilruth does not desire it to be a success. I believe that there is an Australia-wide conspiracy in certain quarters to make a failure of it. I hope that when Dr. Gilruth next comes to Melbourne the Government will seri ously cross-examine him on the. results of his administration. Since he has been in the Territory there has not been a Minister in charge of it, and not even a Labour Minister, who has been able to grapple with the position and assert the authority necessary for the proper conduct of affairs there. Each Minister appears to have taken all that the officials say as gospel, and no representations to the contrary have had any weight: Until there is a change in the administration there will not be harmony in the Northern Territory.
With respect to the felicitations that have been uttered, I am sure that I wish honorable senators the best of all that is going. Regarding the departure of Senator Pearce for Loudon, might I sum up my feelings on the matter in three or four words, and say that I am glad that he is going. I can indorse all that has been said (by Senator, Millen and Senator Maughan regarding the officials of the Senate. I trust sincerely that by the next time we. meet peace will have been signed, and there will be an, end to the bickering which sometimes has passed across the floor of this Chamber. So far as I am concerned, there is no member of the Senate to Whom personally I bear any grudge.
– May I be permitted to say a few words. It is just possible that for some time I may not be here again. I should like to thank Senator Millen, Senator Ferricks, and Senator Maughan for their words. In view of what Senator Ferricks has last said, it has occurred to me that possibly the interpretation which should be put upon an earlier remark may be different from what some honorable senators might expect. I should like to go away feeling that, although honorable senators criticise and think I have made mistakes, they, like Senator Ferricks, do not bear any personal grudge against me. That expresses my own feeling towards them, towards Senator Ferricks, and the members of the Opposition generally.- The work I have been asked to undertake is heavy and responsible, and I hope that
I shall be able to carry it out satisfactorily in the interests of the men who have done so much for us. I join in the felicitations that have been expressed by other honorable senators, and trust that the season’s greetings will be hearty and well enjoyed.
– Before putting the motion, I desire, on my own behalf, to express my appreciation of the kindly remarks which were made regarding myself by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Millen), and which, I believe, were indorsed by most honorable senators present. I have received all the assistance, unfailing and generous kindness, and courtesy that the Government - and especially the Ministers in’ this Chamber - could render me. I must thank the Leader of the Senate for that unfailing kindness and generous treatment which are characteristic of him in dealing both with myself and with the officers of the Senate. I indorse and can re-echo what Senator Ferricks said regarding Senator Pearce’s mission to London. With him, I say I am glad Senator Pearce is going - because I believe Senator Pearce is the man of all men in Australia best fitted to do the very important work that has to be done there. In the interests, not only of Australia, but of those splendid men with whose welfare he will be charged on the other side of the world in connexion with the important task of demobilization and repatriation
– What I meant was that I was glad he was leaving the Defence Department.
– I have expressed only my own opinion in my own way. I do not presume to express the opinion of anybody else. I have also to thank all honorable senators on both sides of the Chamber for their unfailing kindness, generous treatment, and uniform courtesy towards myself, and the assistance they have always given me in the discharge of my duties. It has been a pleasure to me to preside over the deliberations of the Senate, because of the good feeling that I believe has always existed between myself and every member of it. I reciprocate that good feeling towards all honorable senators. I wish, also, to express my appreciation of the assistance we have received in our deliberations from the officers of the Senate, and from alt the servants of the Senate, down to the humblest cleaner. From these I believe every honorable senator has received nothing but ready respect, ready attendance, and a prompt desire to do everything necessary for the convenience and comfort of honorable senators generally.
I desire, also, to express on behalf of the whole Senate our appreciation of the splendid way in which the Hansard staff have discharged the very important work with which they are charged, because the keeping of an absolutely impartial, full, accurate, and fair account .of the proceedings of the Senate is the most important of all work. They have performed their duties in a manner which, I am sure, has earned the full commendation of every honorable senator. I have never heard a complaint from any honorable senator of the way in which the Hansard staff have done their work, and I think we can all pay them the compliment of saying that no complaint, would ever have been justified.
In speaking on a similar motion last, session, I expressed the hope that by the time another year had rolled by, the angel of peace would have unfolded itswings over a tortured world, and that we should be able again to enjoy the blessings which peace alone can bring. I believe we can now congratulate ourselves that, if peace has not already been reached, it is at any rate within measurable distance, and likely within the very near future to be an accomplished fact. A great portion of our thanks for bringing about that peace must be due to thosesplendid sons of Australia, who went overseas to take part in the giganticstruggle. They have worthily upheld the name of Australia while fighting side by side with the sons of the Mother Country and of the Allied Nations in th& dreadful struggle which has just terminated. Side by side with them theyhave endured all the horrors of this terrible War. Together with them they havemarched into the mouth of hell in some of the dreadful battles of awful and gigantic proportions that have taken place. Together with them they hare sometimes endured the tortures and humiliations that accompany a retreat, and now, after a glorious victory, they are enjoying a triumphant march side by side and step by step with the sons of the Mother Nation and the Allied countries to take possesssion of German territory across the Rhine, and .insure that the Huns shall no longer torture the world. We ought to felicitate ourselves on the great services our splendid sons have rendered to the Allied cause, and in defence of the integrity of Australia. Their services should always be held in grateful remembrance by this Parliament and by the people of Australia, and the debt that we Owe to them should be repaid in generous measure, nor should we ever cavil at the cost, no matter what it may be.
I hope honorable senators will enjoy a happy time when they reach the bosom of their families; that their Christmas will be one of unalloyed enjoyment, and the coming year a period of uninterrupted prosperity. I trust that before we meet again the blessings of peace will be finally accomplished, so that the world may again enjoy that, calm prosperity, and that industrial and social development, which are possible only in time of peace.
Question resolved in the. affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.3S a.m. (Saturday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 December 1918, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1918/19181220_senate_7_88/>.