7th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at, 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Disturbanceat Port Darwin - Vestey Brothers.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Defence if he has any statement to make concerning the remarks I passed the other day in regard to the administration of the . Northern Territory?
– If the honorable senator has no objection, I would prefer to make a reference to ‘ the matter on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate, when I hope to have an official statement from the Minister for Home and Territories. I sent a copy of the honorable senator’s remarks to the Minister.
– I ask the Acting Minister for Defence whether he has seen a statement published in this morning’s Age, to the effect that Mr. Arnold, of a Sydney firm of solicitors, who acts for Vestey Brothers Limited at Port Darwin, has said that, as Vestey Brothers Limited paid no income tax in Australia, Mr. Carey, while occupying the position of Government Secretary in Darwin, did not prepare an income tax schedule for the firm? Is the Minister aware that Vestey Brothers Limited, the North Australian Meat Company, and the Northern Agency Limited are inseparably interwoven in the operations of the meat works at Darwin and pastoral properties in the Northern Territory, and will the Minister deny the allegation that Mr. Carey, when holding the position of Government Secretary in. the Territory, prepared schedules upon which income taxation was paid in respect of the operations of the Darwin meat works and Northern Territory pastoral properties?
– I can neither affirm nor deny the allegation, because I know nothing personally of the matter. If the honorable senator will give notice of his question, I shall try to anticipate the inquiry and give him a reply at the earliest possible moment.
– Is it the intention of the Government, if the Navigation Bill is carried, to appoint a Director of Navigation?
– As the navigation Bill will come on for consideration at a later hour of the day, I shall then be pleased to supply any information available.
Self-Government for Ireland
– I ask the Acting Minister for Defence whether he will so arrange the business of the Government as to enable a decision to take place this afternoon on Order of the Day No! 5, Private Business, covering the motion asking the Senate to approve of selfgovernment for Ireland?
– The Senate has deliberately suspended the Standing Orders relating to private members’ business. I shall give the matter consideration when I am better able to determine the progress made with Government business, which must, of course, take precedence.
– I move -
That standing order No. 68 be suspended for the remainder of the session.
Standing order No. 68, if it were not suspended, would prevent us taking new business after half -past 10 p.m. The new business which I have in view, in asking for the suspension of the standing order, comprises Bills likely to be received from another place, which I believe will be quite technical.
– Would I be in order in moving an amendment? Perhaps the Minister would himself amend his motion by including the suspension of the standing order limiting speeches.
– The suspension of the Standing Orders moved without notice requires to be supported by an absolute majority of the Senate, or the motion cannot be carried. The question is - That standing order No. 68 be suspended for the remainder of the session.
– As I heard only one “ No,” and there is more than an absolute majority of the Senate voting for the motion, I declare it carried.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act 1911. -
Order of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, and other documents, in connexion with variation of an award in the case of the Australian Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association - dated 3rd October, 1919.
Commonwealth Railways Act 1917. - By-law No. 11.
Economies Royal Commission: AuditorGeneral’s reply to First Progress Report, so far as it relates to his Administration.
Lands Acquisition Act 1906-1916. - Land acquired at Prahran, Victoria -For Repatriation purposes.
Public Service Act 1902-1918. - Appointments, Promotions, &c. -
Seamen’s Compensation Act 1911. Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1919, No. 244.
Waterside Workers’ Dispute.
– I have received from Senator Gardiner a notice that, in accordance with standing order No. 64, he desires to move that the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 10 o’clock on Friday morning, the 31st inst., for the purpose of discussing a matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ Industrial trouble likely to arise in connexion with shipping matters.”
.- I move-
That the Senate, at, its rising, adjourn’ until 10 o’clock on Friday morning, the 31st inst.
Four honorable senators having risen in their places in support of the motion.
– I wish to commence by saying that my motion is not submitted with any idea of taking up Government time. A little while ago, on the motion for the adjournment, a statement was made in the Senate one evening by Senators Fairbairn and Bakhap, with regard to the trouble on the wharfs. I resented most hotly the statement made by those honorable senators, and per haps with more warmth than the occasion demanded. The manner in which I spoke on that evening was due to the fact that I had spent several hours in close conference with the Associated Federal Secretaries of the Labour organizations of Australia, and, although we had not been discussing industrial mattera specially, I came away from the interview with them with a fair amount of anxiety for the future peaceful relations of industries in Australia. On that evening, when both Senators Fairbairn and Bakhap seemed to take the usual old Tory stand that unionists were curs, and hunted in packs, I, perhaps, went a little too far in my expressions of disapproval of their statements.
– We said only “some unionists.”
– I put that down to the feeling which one has when he knows how nearly the peaceful running of our various organizations is to disruption, which, I venture to say, is deplored alike by unionists and nonunionists, and by employers and employees. It is because of that that. I am moving the adjournment of the Senate this morning. After the remarks made on the occasion to which I refer, I was interviewed by some people better informed as to the position of affairs on the wharfs than I had been. They gave me some facts regarding the relationship between unionists and the so-called loyalists. The statements made to me I promised to bring before the Senate that afternoon. I was prevented from doing so owing to the Senate rising at 4 o’clock, in accordance with the Standing Orders. I called for a division in the endeavour to induce honorable senators to wait for a few minutes longer to hear what I had to say, but, as I was the only senator calling for a division, there was no division. Last night I again intended to bring this matter forward to save the time of the Senate, but, as’ we already had experience of one call for a quorum when the Senate was not counted out only by the narrowest margin, I thought it better to bring the matter up in this way.
The waterside unionists have entered into an agreement with the authorities to work amicably with the so-called loyalists. . They say that they are carrying out their agreement strictly to the letter, and that the occurrence referred to by Senators Bakhap and Fairbairn was not caused by unionists, and did not take place on the wharf. I do not wish to imply that the honorable senators to whom I refer did not speak with a conviction that they were correct in all that they said. The unionists say that the occurrence tookplace in the railway yard; A responsible member of the Waterside Workers “Union informed me that had any qf the members of that union been responsible for what occurred, they would have been immediately handed over to the police, because the members of the union are waiting each morning for employment, ‘ and are quite well known to the other side. Had the disturbance, been caused by any of the union members, their names would immediately have been given to the police, and the offenders would have been brought to justice.
– The honorable senator does not know the first thing about the waterside workers.
– Whether I do or not, I am now making a statement of facts concerning them. These men claim that there is one mau in particular who is the cause of the discord and unrest, and will possibly lead to one of those industrial disturbances which all will regret unless something is done to prevent ‘ him stirring up strife between the parties. The person to whom I refer is G. V. Baker, the secretary of one of the loyalist sections working on the wharfs, and the man from whom, I assume, Senators Bakhap and Fairbairn obtained the information upon which they based their statements.
– What ‘about Cadden ?
– Senator Guthrie is always full of a lot of things apart from the question. I am talking about. If he knows anything about some one else, the Standing Orders give him the same opportunity to express his views as they give me. I. rise, for the purpose of directing attention to this gentleman, the secretary of a loyalist section of men working on the wharfs. I am informed by unionists that his business in life is to stir up trouble because in trouble he prospers There is a record regarding this gentleman which has been handed to me, and I have no hesitation in using it, because it was published in the Brighton Southern Gross of 12th September, 1919. It is as follows: -
About midnight on Sunday last a fire, which is reported to be of a suspicious nature, took place at a residence in Beach-road, occupied by
Mr. G. V. Baker, secretary of one of the loyalist sections working on the wharfs during the maritime strike.
The building, which is owned by the Rev. H. Collier, was insured for £500, and the contents for £315, in the Queensland office. Hie fire started in a front room, but was extinguished by the brigade before much damage was done.
Constable Raven investigated the case, and found that furniture had been piled together in the room. A claim was made for certain clothing’ destroyed, but a systematic search failed to bring to light any buttons.
Application has been made for ‘a detective to prosecute further inquiries.
– A great national question !
– It is, because, after all is said and done, great national disputes may be brought about through the actions of men of the reputation and character of this man .that I mention these facts. I bring this under the notice of Parliament and the Government because the reputation of people for whom I stand has been attacked by a man of this character. I ask the Government to obtain the evidence of the detectives, and further’ investigate this report, that they may learn the value of the man who is trying to bring about industrial trouble, at the present time.
Let me point to one of the conditions that has obtained on the wharfs,, though I do not say it exists at the present moment. This .particular man is working for the shipping companies, and time after time ‘has managed to have his section employed when good jobs have been available, because he has had beforehand information as to the ships coming in, so that his men might be ready for them. Although the compact for a fair deal is loyally carried out’ by the unionists, a fair deal has not been given to’ them. I bring this- matter under the notice of the Government, because there is considerable industrial unrest due to the belief of. the unionists, who are sticking manfully to their agreement to work in harmony on the wharfs, that they are not getting a fair deal, and that the small minority of 60-called loyalists are getting all the plums of the jobs. This man Baker does not work. He manages to live on the work of others; he cultivates and prospers by disputes. It is my duty to call attention to the imminent danger of peace upon the wharfs being broken because of the conduct of an individual whose character may be ascertained ifthe Government care to peruse the reports of the detective who investigated the business to which I have just referred.
– Has one man caused all the trouble?
– One man; and he has brought about this trouble owing to the fact that the ship-owners are deliberately playing up to the few, and disregarding the many.
– My experience of twenty-seven years as President of the Seamen’s Union was that the ship-owners were always prepared to meet us in a fair spirit; but since you and your like have taken charge the situation has gone to hell.
– It is pleasing to learn from Senator Guthrie himself that there were no industrial troubles while he presided over this union. My recollection of the affairs of the past, however, does not bear out his statement. Troubles were as grave then as they are to-day.
– There were none.
– That is why you ran away from Sydney.
– No; it was because your I.W.W. men came over from San Francisco to shoot me. .
– I can quite understand Senator Guthrie’s anxiety to bolster up a false position. The fact that he was president of this union, of course, made industrial trouble impossible; but, nowadays, at any rate, there will continue to be industrial unrest until the workers get all they earn. While we are not living in a state of perfection it is the duty of the Government to do all in their power to save this country from industrial outbreaks engineered by any one individual; and, if I am in a position to bring under public notice circumstances the investigation of which will prove my accusation, that the man chiefly responsible is suspect, then I feel that I am doing no more than my duty.
– Baker is only a bubble, on the surface of things, anyway.
– Whether it is he, or some one else, who has carried garbled reports of incidents . in which unionists are concerned to members of this Senate, so that they have been inspired to make statements of a partisan nature, I am not in a position to say.
– I assure the honorable senator that, to the best of my knowledge, I have not seen Mr. Baker. I do not know the man.
– I am glad to have that assurance; but I would like to know who gave Senator Bakhap the information of which he has made use in this chamber.
– That individual was one of the loyalists; but Mr. Baker did not communicate anything to me.
– It should not be lost sight of that, at the most, there are but a couple ofhundred of these socalled loyalists, while there are at least a couple of thousand genuine unionists who have undertaken to maintain the peace, and who are endeavouring to honour their word in very difficult circumstances. If the minority are to secure the pickings of the work on the water frontage, it is but natural that industrial disturbances will break out afresh. We all deplore them, but they are bound to occur. The so-called loyalists are getting’ inside information, and are able to pick and choose the best of the work. The choice jobs’ are going to the few, while the worst are being foisted upon the many. If the Government do not consider that cause for bitterness of sufficient importance to engage their attention, then I certainly do.
– No one regrets more than I do the outbreak of trouble and disputes upon the wharfs. The Government have done their best to adjust those difficulties, and have succeeded in securing a clear-cut and definite agreement. It is never an easy matter to determine the merits or demerits of an industrial struggle. In this instance, however, the Government have been actively engaged in mediation, and have secured- an agreement. We have been hopeful that the spirit of that agreement would be observed by all parties concerned. I may say that I have the agreement before me, with signatures attached thereto. It provides for preference to the original loyalists, who were recognised as being in a different position from those who came in later. Preference is to be given up to the earning of what is deemed a living wage, namely, £2 12s. 6d. per week, after which all conditions are to be equal. Neither the great body of unionists nor the mass of the loyalists are responsible for what individual anarchists in their ranks may seek to. do. Yet there is responsibility on all parties to endeavour to maintain industrial peace. There is responsibility upon all public men. Legislators should be especially careful not to make statements of a serious nature which they may not be able to verify in every respect. If Senator Gardiner will supply me with all the particulars regarding matters mentioned to-day, I promise that the Government will investigate them. It should be to the interest of all to avoid scenes such as have recently occurred. We should neither say nor do anything likely to disturb industrial harmony. With respect to the personal character of Mr. Baker I am not prepared to enter upon a discussion. It is not the duty of the Government to investigate the private life of any individual unless therein he is deliberately setting up discord where harmony should prevail. Where there have been distinct abuses of the agreement the Government will be prepared to institute inquiries, and I trust that Senator Gardiner will lay before me the whole of the facts in his possession.
– I was not present when Senator Gardiner introduced this matter, but I understand that he made certain references to myself in relation to the loyalists who have bee’n working on the wharfs. These men interest me only because they came to the rescue of the community at a time when it was held up by those organized forces whose cause Senator Gardiner so warmly espouses. I am not an enemy of those men who are his especial friends ; I am the servant of no particular class. The capitalist is no more to me than the working man. All units in the community possess the same value in my eyes.
– But you do see one-eyed sometimes.
– I always endeavour to look facts fairly in the face. Whoever Mr. Baker is, or whatever may be his character, I am bound to state that he will be dealt with very unfairly if the Government agree to institute an investigation into his private life incompatible with the position he occupies at present. This questioning of a man’s bona fides should be very carefully considered. Among honorable senators who is there that would care to have the whole of his private life held up to the gaze of a critical public? Is there no baseness that we would hide? Is there no wrong that . we would have the public remain in ignorance of ? Why, then, should this man be pilloried on the assumption that he came here to tell me something regarding disturbances on the wharfs? . To the best’ of my knowledge I have never seen Mr. Baker. If he has been among those who have visited honorable senators, and have called attention to unpleasantness occurring on the wharfs, I frankly state that I am unable to distinguish him. I do not recall him by name, and I would be unable to place the man. Some of the loyalist workers have ‘been assaulted while endeavouring to carry on their duties. One man - and I cannot even tell his name at this moment - showed me, in the Queen’s Hall, his wrist which had been permanently injured by an attack on the part of some of the waterside workers. He had to remain in hospital for several weeks, while his wife and children were compelled to fend for themselves. Without making reference to the dispute itself, and with no shirking of responsibility on my own part, I feel inclined to accuse both the Federal and Victorian State Governments, as well as the employers’ associations, and the community generally, of having failed to recognise the merits of the services rendered by these loyalists a couple of years ago. I believe they have been treated in such a way as to militate seriously against any future exhibition of loyalty by volunteer workers in a great national emergency. They have been relegated to the national scrap heap. The system under which they were being given employment has been favorably commented upon by a Commissioner, whose report the Government have studiously withheld.
– Who appointed that Commissioner ?
– The Government. It appears that the new system under which these men were ostensibly to be granted a preference has been provocative of nothing but unpleasantness and personal danger to them. So much has this been the case that for weeks past honorable senators have been besieged by the loyalist workers, who find their present position an impossible one, and who are therefore asking the Government to grant them some monetary compensation to enable them to relinquish their pursuit of an objective which is impossible of at- . tainment, namely, fraternal association with the unionist members of the Waterside Workers . I have advised them to seek pecuniary recognition of the fact that they rendered valuable service to the community in a time of special stress and’ danger. I am sorry that I had to tender them that advice, but I was obliged to do so, because I realized that the Governments, both State and Federal, have not stood behind them with the steadfastness which they should have exhibited. Under cover of this motion, Senator .Gardiner has indulged in the hope that the workers will yet be able to secure the benefit of all that they produce. May I point out to him that our present system of society will enable any association of workers, if it possesses proper organizing capacity, to secure all that its members produce. What is there to prevent any union, big or small, from banding its members together co-operatively, from becoming a producing association, and thus securing for themselves the benefit of all that they produce? There is only one thing needed, namely, organizing capacity, and it is well for us to recognise that this is about the scarcest factor in any civilized community. Unless, any corporation possesses at its head organizing capacity of the finest quality, success cannot be achieved. Otherwise, what is there to prevent the seamen owning all the ships trading round, our coast, or the Australian, Workers Union owning all the sheep stations of Australia, or the coal miners owning all. our coal mines? There is absolutely nothing but their lack of economic perception along proper lines, and the absence of organizing capacity. During the recent seamen’s strike the working men lost £3,000,000 in wages. Where is there any capitalistic combination which possesses such a fund? The company law of any State will favour the registration of any body of workers which has for its objective the securing to its members of the whole produce of their labours. All the aims which are now being prosecuted with such unnecessary acridity are quite possible of achievement by the workers of Australia in present circumstances.
– They are not. The banks are against us.
– Who puts the money into the banks except the thrifty workers of Australia? The men who go on strike for three and four months at a time, and who consume the stored up. resources of the unionists, are not the thrifty workers of Australia. It is the depositors in our Savings Banks who can be grouped in that category. There is room in this country for Labour leaders who will decline to pander to halfeducated mobs, and who will take up the role of instructors by telling the workers how easy it is for them to secure for themselves the full product of their labours if they will only develop the necessary organizing capacity.
– That is rather rough on Senators Gardiner and McDougall.
– I intend it to be rough. The boilermakers should have been working their own ships ten or eleven years ago. But the truth is that they have, not what is vulgarly called “ the guts “ to do it. I have no hesitation in saying, that wise Labour leaders would, long ago, in perfect peace with the rest of society in Australia, have secured a large number of those objectives which are being pursued with so much bitterness to-day; but I wish to get back to the question under cover of which Senator Gardiner has moved the adjournment of the Senate. My duty is to see that justice is done to all sections of the community, to insure that law shall be maintained and order preserved. Anarchy is no good to anybody. If we are to have the “ order of the boot’,” the law of brute force, substituted for what is our heritage - and for which generations of our forefathers fought - we are in very bad case indeed. Any Government which will not use the whole of the community forces at their disposal in order to maintain the citizen rights of individuals is unworthy of the’ name. I can ‘ assure Senator McDougall, who is laughing, that I feel, very strongly upon this matter. I believe that these loyalist workers have not been supported either by the Government, or by associations of employers, or by the community, in the way that they should have been supported. I say to honorable senators opposite, who probably regard me as one who foments disorder, that I care . not a snap of the fingers either for capitalists, middlemen, or banks, or any other institution. I am a man who can spend £5 a day if necessary, and, like Franklin, can live, when circumstances demand it, “upon 6d. a day. I claim to be as independent a representative of the people in this Chamber as they are ever likely to send here. I have spoken on behalf of the whole community, and ‘ of all those hard-working and sensible units which compose it, and I hope that, in the future, they will be allowed to pursue their avocations peaceably in this free country.
– In speaking to this motion the Leader of the Opposition has foreshadowed trouble in the maritime trade unless caution is exercised. May I point out that the lesson which he seeks to- inculcate inothers, needs to be taken as much to heart by himself, because he and those who are associated with him have infinitely more influence with the people who are likely to feel aggrieved than have any other persons either in this Parliament or outside of it? If trouble is likely to arise it naturally follows that somebody must have a grievance. In this connexion I would remind this Chamber of the ceaseless effort which preceded the establishment in this country of a tribunal for the settlement of industrial grievances. There are men in this Senate who made many more sacrifices to bring the Arbitration Court into existence than have been made by those who are now living under its ægis. It is rather a sad commentary upon the common sense and enlightenment of the trade unionists of this country for their spokesman to declare that, despite this tri.bunal which has been created for the express purpose of settling industrial disputes, industrial strife will unquestionably arise. I would remind Senator Gardiner that those who are threatening trouble, and even those who are predicting it, are taking a long stride towards levelling the Arbitration Court -which they profess to uphold, to the dust. That tribunal was established by no simple process. . It did not materialize like the manna of old, or the mushrooms which spring in the morning dew. It was obtained only after ceaseless effort on the part of that grand old battalion of Labourites who preceded us. It was established without the help of the wharf labourers. The very men upon whose behalf Senator Gardiner has sought to enlist sympathy, were not such staunch labourites in the past. I am a living witness to the fact that they “ scabbed “ on me, and took my job in 1S90, when I was battling hard for labour principles and fair conditions. They “ scabbed “ on me again when I was a seaman in 1893. Yet these men now have the temerity to pose as the champions and crusaders of a real, live, and genuine labour policy. I tell them that they cannot afford to throw stones.’ They are living in a mightydomed glass house at the present time. We have secured for them a tribunal for the settlement of industrial troubles towards the building of which they ‘ never contributed a single brick, and mow they claim -to be the creina de la creme of the Labour movement.
The time was when we lived under a. competitive system, and” when men’s wages and conditions were not regulated by a Judge Higgins, whose awards have been trampled into the dust. The time was when: their wages and industrial conditions were regulated by a tyrannical system of competition. The time was when the galling necessities of the worker dictated his wages, and not the rule of reason and social equity* Public opinion has been educated up to the standard of getting arbitration, and, having secured it, I say to the wharf labourers of this country, that they are standing in their own light if they fail to avail themselves of that tribunal. They are- simply playing the part of a prospective tyrant by trampling under foot the fruit of the successful efforts made by genuine Labourites in the years gone by.
Senator Guthrie’s name has been mentioned during the course of this debate, and rightly so. In his presence, even though by doing so I shall violate the rules of propriety, I am glad to bear witness to the fact that, under his able leadership, the seamen on the Australian coast were led from almost a condition of. industrial bondage to conditions which have never been equalled in any other country in the world, npt even iis America. His’ record speaks for -itself. Under the able guidance of men of the Guthrie type the position of our Australian seamen was improved in a way which has far exceeded any improvementgained by them under the leadership of men of the Walsh type.
I hold firmly the view that bodies of labour which unload their services or their products on the community, or, as in the case of the seamen, cause freights to be increased by 10 per cent., are directly responsible for saddling the people with an increased burden. The community in general are paying the increased cost, and I ask Senator Gardiner if he does not admit that 90 per cent, of the workers of this country will have to bear the extra cost arising out of the increased rates paid to the seamen ? Would Senator Gardiner’ go to the mining districts of Kalgoorlie or of North Queensland, or to the wheat-growing areas, and tell the workers engaged in the industries there that they should, have an increase in their wages ? He knows that the inevitable result of such an increase would be that those industries would be paralyzed, or would cease to exist. I could take Senator Gardiner to Kalgoorlie, where -30,000 people are employed, and if their wages were increased as ‘ a result of his agitation, the closing down of the mines would be inevitable. Yet these people, who cannot receive increased wages, have to bear the cost of the increased rates granted to seamen and maritime workers. The products of our wheat, mining, and other industries have to be placed on the markets of the world, and such industries have to bear the burden of a forced increase in other industries, which are fostered under unfair conditions. The position in regard to coal produced in New South Wales is somewhat similar, as practically 75 per cent, of the output is consumed in Australia, and increases granted in that industry are passed on to the Australian people. But, if the cost of producing a bushel of wheat is increased, the increase cannot be passed on. Our wheat has to be. sold in the markets of the world, and competes with grain produced with black, brown, and brindle labour. u The increase recently granted to seamen is an indication of how the cost is passed on to the people, many of whom can. ill-afford to’ bear it. This is making progress in a circle; that is, ending where you began. Does Senator Gardiner think that the miners in Kalgoorlie, North Queensland, and Broken Hill are receiving the wages they were getting years ago? When I was working on the coast, twenty-five years ago, I was receiving £7 per month, but that rate, as a result of the efforts of Senator Guthrie and others, was raised to £14 per month, and at a time when those who are now supposed to be leaders of the Labour movement “ scabbed “ on me. Wages at that time were raised by rational, means, and not by force. Senator Gardiner and his followers are paving a way for the time when history will repeat itself. It is our duty to protect the workers of this country, and we must stand by that shield of defence created by the efforts of the champions of Labour in the past. It is no use making progress in a circle; we want to make progress in a straight line. We must go straight ahead, and workers should not receive increases at the expense of their comrades. What right has a seaman, for instance, to refer to a Kalgoorlie miner as a comrade? Comrade, be damned ! It almost makes my .blood boil when the term is used. The increases granted to some industrialists have to be paid by the unfortunate wives and children of other workers. The seamen are the only persons likely to benefit by the recent increase in wages. It is time we made an even deal all round. If twenty Senator Gardiners, or twenty Judge Higginses went to Kalgoorlie I would defy them to formulate a scheme to keep the present number of men employed at increased wages. The same can be said of our wheat industry, in which men and women - heroic women - are doing their work under the most arduous conditions. The same can be said of our timber, base metal, dairying, and other industries. Many of our rural workers are leading the life of martyrs. Has any consideration ever been given to them ? Many of them are working with rags on their backs, with scanty supplies of food, and very few opportunities of educating their children. I am anxious to see progress made in a straight line, and when increases are granted in one direction we must see that we do not impose heavy burdens in other directions. While this country lives largely on the returns from a product that has to be hawked to’ the different markets of the world, we must see that those engaged in raising that product are given a * fair deal. To grant concessions to one section of the community at the expense of another section is not progress. It may be progress of a hybrid form which cannot be defended or justified for a moment. I hope that wiser counsels will prevail, and that these men will uphold arbitration and realize that they had a friend in Mr. Justice Higgins. I was once brought into contact with men in Kalgoorlie - when a .Labour Government was in power - when not more than five out of 500 or even 1,000 believed in what I said. But I explained the true position, with the result that a resolution was unanimously passed in my favour. The time has arrived in this country for telling the multitudes of the workers that they have their duties and responsibilities as ‘well as their rights. The person in the private relationship of men who is respected is not the hypocritical friend who tells you that he has been thinking of you for a long time, and that there is nothing wrong with you, but the one who comes to you and tells you where you are wrong. The man who comes to you, in need or otherwise, and tells you of your faults as well as your virtues is a true friend, the steadfast friend, and one in whom confidence should be placed, and the same applies as true in social affairs. The time has arrived for us to cease fomenting strife. I stand by the workers - never mind what I said about scabs and blacklegs - and if we are to progress we cannot do it by glaring at each other and grappling at each other’s throats, but only by pulling together, by having a true feeling for each other’s welfare, and so studying the interests of the whole community.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– It was a pleasure to listen to the speech delivered by Senator Lynch, and it proved to me, as well as other honorable senators, that in the old days the Labour unions were led by men of intellect and common sense. At the present time, however, owing to the actions of some Labour leaders, we are led to believe that unionism is controlled by tyrannical force.
– In the old days it was said that the Labour party was led by asses.
– If that was said, a mistake was made, and I am prepared to admit it. The workers were perfectly justified in agitating for arbitration as a means of settling disputes.
– Before a Royal . Commission Senator McDougall said that arbitration was better than striking.
– That is the opinion of most Labour men, but, unfortunately, they are led by a few who have instituted a reign of terror in the ranks of unionism. Many of the men are afraid of their leaders. On the other hand, there are workers who are in trouble because the Government and other employers have not stuck to them as promised. “What would Senator Gardiner have thought if I had not brought this matter forward when Senator Bakhap and I were approached by certain loyalist workers? What would he have thought if I had not reported that those men had been assaulted by certain unionists belonging to the Waterside. Workers organization? Notwithstanding what Senator Gardiner has said, I ‘believe that the men who were responsible for the assault were members of the union, and were probably representatives of the Industrial Workers of the World. At the time when the loyalists came to the assistance of the Government we were at war. We had an Arbitration Court for settling industrial disputes, but notwithstanding that, and the fact that the nation was at war, the men went on strike and delayed the despatch of a hospital ship. The loyalist workers then came forward to assist the Government, and the Government promised that they would be cared for. Apparently,, the Government have been lukewarm in this matter, and have not assisted the men as promised. I realize that it is very difficult for two sections of workers, antagonistic to each other, to work together, but that does not relieve the Government of the responsibility of honouring their promise to protect these men. Senator Gardiner has referred to me as an old Tory, and if a Tory is one who believes in seeing, that wrongs are righted, I hope that I shall be a Tory for the rest of my life. I have also been characterized as a- Socialist.
– Will the honorable senator permit me to call him. a Socialist Tory ?
– In the words of the late Sir Thomas Beni I can describe myself as a safe Socialist. I am sure that every honorable senator in this Chamber is anxious to see justice done to these men’, and it is a pity that Senator Gardiner brought forward such a charge against the leader of the loyalists, Mr. Baker.. I do not think I saw him, although he may have been there. It is a pity to bring up this matter unless there is proof that the man has done wrong. Sinners may be> found in every body of men. I recollect that a Labour leader in an indiscreet moment, on ono occasion said to fellow unionists, “ Make it a hell upon earth for any man who breaks away from the union.” Now, we do not want to have a doctrine like that advocated in this conntry. These loyalists, I believe, have been badly treated, and I think that nine-tenths of the people in Australia believe that the men who came forward in the time of our peril, when the Arbitration Court was being ignored, and when a hospital ship was being held up by strikers, ought to be supported by the Government to the utmost of its power.
– I did not intend to say a word on this subject, but I feel called upon to reply to some of the harsh statements that have been made concerning unionists. Of course, I do not take much notice of Senator Lynch. I know he cannot help himself. But Senator Guthrie appears to be fortified this morning, and was rather abusive in hi3 interjections to me across the Chamber. I congratulate the Government, and especially Senator Millen, on the good work done in connexion with the recent strike, and the tactful manner in which he adjusted that trouble. I have no sympathy at all with these “ loyalists,” and I think that recent events have demonstrated how necessary it is that Parliament should be shifted from Melbourne, because we find these men outside Parliament House day after day pleading for assistance. They are mostly hefty young fellows who could easily ge’t work elsewhere if they cared to look for it. What happened in Sydney the other day? On the first Monday in this month thousands of returned soldiers were seen walking in the Eight Hours’ Procession in that city, displaying banners to demonstrate that they were den ied the opportunity of earning a living at their old callings, and many of them had spilt their blood for this country. Did they come down to this Parliament pleading for assistance ? No. They have gone out to fight the battle of life again without Government assistance. I remind Senator Guthrie that one man whom he knows was a coal lumper who gave seven sons for the serviceof his country. Pour of them made the supreme sacrifice in the war, and two were crippled. Yet this man, by the action of these so-called loyalists, is denied the right to earn his living at his particular business, while these “ things “ who came in when unionists were on strike, are being pampered by the New South Wales Government. Not one word appeared in the public press of that great demonstration on behalf of the returned soldiers. No protest has been made concerning their treatment by the Government. I congratulate title Government on what they have done, and I say, let these so-called loyalists go out to earn their living, and take their chances with other men. The unionists are perfectly willing to let them take their chances. But, instead of doing that, they come to the Government crawling and cringing for assistance. The time of the Senate is being wasted on matters of this sort. Thousands of returned soldiers, I repeat, are walking the streets of Sydney unable to get work, while men who were eligible for service during the war, but who forgot their obligations, are now allowed to take the bread out of the mouths of mothers and fathers of boys who fought at the Front. One man who came down to Sydney during the strike, is over 6 feet high, and said he had six sons as tall as himself. Where were their rifles during the war? They were among the “ cold-footers “ who would not go to the war, but who, assisted by the State Government, are now taking the bread out of the mouths of those who had gone to the Front. I am not going to attempt to reply to all the insinuations that have been made in connexion with this matter, but I may remind the Senate that, in the course of time, each man who has been in authority, has used the same words of abuse towards those who are leading the Democracy of this country, from the day’s when William Charles Wentworth denounced Parkes, who in his turn denounced Reid, as Reid denounced Hughes; and now, good God! we have Hughes using the same language towards the leaders of the present-day unionists. I say that those who to-day stand in the position of leaders of the Labour movement are quite as good and quite as honest as were those who were leading it in the early days of its history. And, thank God, when they hand in their checks, people will not be able to say of them that they sat in Parliament alongside men who, a few years before, were their bitterest political enemies.
Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia [12.7]. - Senator McDougall’s remarks may be taken as a reflection upon his leader, Senator Gardiner, for having submitted the motion, but I do not altogether agree that this discussion is a waste of time, though. I admit that a good deal of time in this Parliament has been occupied in the consideration of affairs connected with the wharf labourers of this country. They have always been the disturbers of our industrial peace. Evidently they are prepared to break any kind of peace, and always ready to kick up a “ bobbery “ when there is no occasion for it. For a good many years, I was connected with the wharf labourers. Indeed, I took up their cause at a time when they were so hopelessly in the gutter that nobody would look at them.
– They were absolutely disorganized.
– Eighteen years ago, at Albany, when they did not even have a union, they came out on strike without any chance of success. At that time, to use Senator Bakhap’s classical term, they had not the “ guts “ to know how to keep a union together. When they came out on strike, the ship-owners brought men to Albany to carry on, and after the strikers had been out of work for about six months, and were hopelessly beaten, they appealed to me to plead with the principal ship-owner at Albany (Sir Malcolm McEacharn) to take them back. Having no union when they ceased work, they could not go into the Arbitration Court. From that time, and until about two years ago, I was connected with their union as a member of the central council, and, during my association with them, I was instrumental in organizing them into something like a respectable trade union. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) was the President; Mr. Bamford, a member of another place, the Vice-President, of the Waterside Workers Federation, which was organized by us. We were for ever pleading with these men not to be so ready to throw themselves into every industrial trouble that cropped up in Melbourne, Perth, and elsewhere, whether it was a bakers’ strike, a shoemakers’ dispute, or an engine-drivers’ strike, or trouble in any other trade. During those years, we had a most difficult task in persuading them of the futility of disorganizing the shipping industry in Australia. Sometimes we were able to control them. In 1916, at an unauthorized conference of this union, held in Hobart, and behind the backs of the President and VicePresident, and myself , an attempt was made to bring about a general strike for political purposes. Now, the leaders of the British Labour movement have stood up to this kind of thing time and again, and have told trade unionists quite plainly that they must not attempt to govern the country by means of strikes; that political strikes must not be engineered. It is time that the official mouthpieces of Labour in Australia took up the same attitude. Are they afraid to do so? Do they fear that the fate which overtook me, the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), and other members of the Labour party will be theirs, and that they will be expelled from the movement? Is that the reason? Do they refrain, because, to repeat Senator Bakhap’s term, they have not the “ guts “ to stand up to the unions ? It is time that we separated industrial from political affairs in the trade union movement, and unless the Labour leaders take some action in this direction those who have secured control of the unions will undoubtedly drag this country into that condition of Bolshevism which, has made Russia the laughing stock of the world. If those men who are the subject of this discussion, the loyalist workers in Melbourne and the Nationalist lumpers in Fremantle were “ scabs “ in the ordinary sense of the word ;. that is to say, if they were taking work from other men who had a right to it, I would be the last man to stand up in this Senate and say a word in their behalf. But I have undeniable proof - and every honorable senator who wants to know the truth can get it from information which I have in my possession - ‘that at the Hobart Conference, to which I have referred, the question of a general strike was actually under discussion for three days, and it was only stopped when the Hobart Mercury exposed the whole business, and showed thai the conference was sitting in secret behind the backs and in defiance of the leaders of the union.
-Why were not the leaders there?
– Because a secret conference was called, and the leaders for the time being were ignored. The conference really was unconstitutional. Mr. Hughes, the president, and Mr. Bamford, the vice-president, were ignored. I was in the Old Country at the time, and I have no doubt that had I been in Australia I would have been ignored in the same way. I can assure honorable senators, however, that, according to my record of the official minutes, there was a discussion in secret for three days on the desirability of bringing about a general strike if conscription were carried at the referendum, and so defeating the expressed will of the people, on a great political question.
– What was the result of the vote?
– When the whole business was exposed, they actually had the audacity to instruct their secretary to refute statements that had been made in the public press, and they quietly dropped their tails between their legs and ran away from the position they had taken up. These are facts which should be known, because they affect the subject now under discussion, and because these are the men who have brought about such a deplorable state of affairs in Melbourne and Fremantle. I drew their attention so often to the folly of being mixed up in troubles that were not theirs, that evidently they said among themselves, “ This fellow de Largie is no good to us. We must get rid of him.” They got rid of the delegate who organized them, put them on their feet, and made them a self-respecting union ; and for what ? Because I had the “guts “ to tell them straight and plainly when they were wrong, and when they proposed to do what was undoubtedly unconstitutional.
– To-day there are men telling them just the same thing.
– Then those men deserve every credit. I dare say that Senator McDougall is one of them. I would expect that’ from the honorable senator.
– Is it not a fact that they exclude politicians from their conferences, no matter what side they belong to?
– They do now, I suppose, but there was a time when they were only too glad to run after the politicians who had the honesty arid the backbone to tell them what they should do. I do not blame the wharf labourers so much for their treatment of the politicians, because it has become quite a common thing to scoff at the politician.
These sneers at the politicians are tobe found in the columns of the Melbourne morning newspapers almost every day. It is not surprising thatthe wharf labourers should regard politician in this way, when nothing so frequently finds ‘its way into the columns of the Melbourne Age as a statement scoffing and sneering at politicians.
In connexion with labour troubles and political troubles we, as politicians, should be game to stand up to our responsibilities, and nothing should prevent us from doing our duty. I can assure honorable senators that trouble with wharf labourers is no new thing. It has been going on for years. I cannot remember either a big strike or a little strike in Australia that they have not been mixed up with.
– Not when Senator Guthrie led them ?
– Senator Guthrie did not lead them. He was president of the Seamen’s Union, and led them, without strikes, since arbitration has been the law.
– No man lost a day’s work in twenty-seven years when I was in charge of them.
– Senator Guthrie’s record as a trade unionist is a credit to any man. I do not wish to take up more time, but I say that unless reason prevails and such men as the loyalist waterside workers are given a fair deal, I for one will not remain silent. In the public press and from the public platform I shall, on every opportunity, show where the evil is and let those responsible take the risk of exposure.
– I do not think that any member of the Senate has a longer record as a trade unionist than I have. I do not think that any one has put up a bigger fight for trade unionism than I have.In 1884, when some honorable senators present were in swaddling clothes, I was presented with a gold medal for services rendered to trade unions. That is a few years ago now. I went, through the 1887 strike as an official. I got through the 1890 strike when warrants were drawn out by McMillan and Bruce Smith to send me to gaol in . Sydney, which Sir Henry Parkes refused to sign. I got through the strike of 1893, which was the biggest thing of the kind we ever had to face. Honorable senators will remember that when the bank smash took place the employers insisted on freedom of contract. Who broke downfreedom of contract? It was not honorable senators sitting opposite me to-day. The persons responsible for breaking down freedom of contract were George Sangster, Ben Tucker, and myself. When we got the ship-owners into a conference, freedom of contract went by the board. From that time on we made mutual agreements until the Federal Parliament was established. Amongst some of our supporters then was dear old Charlie Kingston, who made his mark on a Royal Commission which was moved for by Tom Davis, in. New South Wales, by laying down the first principles of arbitration. If honorable senators will look up the report of that Commission which was appointed in New South Wales, they will find that in the course of its inquiry Kingston laid down the principles of arbitration for the settlement of disputes.
-That was conciliation.
– It was compulsory conciliation.
– It was tried for two years, and was a failure.
– It was not compulsory.
– It was compulsory conciliation that Kingston advocated.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - Hear, hear ! That is right.
– It was not compulsory arbitration.
– New South Wales made an experiment in the matter, and then the Federal Parliament took action, and we found that even members of the Labour party were against extendiug the provisions of the Arbitration Act to men going to sea. I could show honorable senators a copy of a wire to prove that Kingston was so strong on the matter that he resigned his seat in the Government. He threw up the whole business because the principle was not to be applied to seamen. Here we, as trade unionists, Senators Gardiner and Guy, and every one else, said that we were done with strikes, and wanted some other method. Where are some of those honorable senators to-day? They have gone back to strikes. They have reneged.
– There is more arbitration to-day than there ever was before. There is a Full Court dealing with arbitration in New South Wales.
– Some honorable senators have absolutely reneged on the principle of arbitration for the settlement of disputes. I am still standing by it.
As to whether I am a trade unionist or not, I think Senator McDougall will agree that as a trade unionist I have done my duty.
– Was I thrown out of my union because I went back on trade union principles? I ask any honorable senator on the other side to answer that question. I was not.
– They do not say anything.
– No, they are silent.
– What did the honorable senator’s union say about it?
– My union wants me back.
– Did the honorable senator’s union turn him out?
– Yes, they suspended me. I am going to make public now something which I have never mentioned before. The man who moved the resolution is the man who has’ been cowardly enough to give up his seat in West Sydney for Ryan.
– “ Manly enough,” did the honorable senator say?
– No; unmanly enough to give up his seat for Ryan.
– That is a matter of opinion.
– No, it is not, because he knew perfectly well that he had not a ghost of a show of getting back for West Sydney.
– Why, he had the selection !
– My friend, Senator McDougall, knows that he had not a. ghost of a show of getting back for West Sydney.
– They could put a Chinaman in there if they selected him.
– Is the honorable senator proposing to put up Chinamen for the Labour party?
– No;I am saying only that they could elect a Chinaman for West Sydney if they chose to do so.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - Mr. Wallace was selected at the plebiscite by ten to one.
– Well, let us get to the bottom of that. There are between 25,000 and 30,000 electors in West Sydney, but only 800 seem to have voted in the plebiscite. And what is said by the other men who were concerned in the plebiscite? They say that the third degree was put on them to get out so that Wallace would be able to allow Ryan to run for the district.
– Does . the honorable senator believe that?
– What .can I do but take the information that is given to me.
– The honorable senator says that he is a trade unionist and knows something about their methods, and can he. believe that that kind of thing would be done by trade unions?
- Senator Barnes does not know Sydney and the Waterside unionists there, whilst I do. Take the case only of the last election in connexion with the Waterside Workers Union. I can inform honorable senators that when men appeared to get their ballot-papers they were instructed to go to a certain hotel in the district, and had to sign those ballot-papers in the presence of two witnesses. That is how Le Cornu got there.
– It is an absolute lie, and the honorable senator knows ib.
– I am giving honorable senators the absolute facts.
– What is the name of the hotel ?
– I cannot tell honorable senators.
– The honorable senator cannot, because it is an absolute and despicable lie.
– I think that Senator McDougall will, when I mention them to him privately, accept the names of my informants. I have given absolute facts. Le Cornu was appointed president of the union under that system, though he is a man who at the time had not been in Australia for more than two years, and he had run a scab union for the British ship-owners against Havelock Wilson, in London, before coming here. I have explained the system, upon which he was elected and I defy contradiction “ of my statement. .
– I contradict it. I say it is a lie.
– Is that in order?
– I say it is an absolute lie.
– Order’. I ask Senator Guthrie to resume his seat. Senator McDougall has made use of an expression with regard to a statement made by Senator Guthrie which he must know is quite unparliamentary. I ask him to withdraw it unreservedly.
– Certainly. I withdraw it at your direction, sir, but we all know what it is all the same.
– What is the position with regard to the wharf labourers here? I do not suppose that, with the exception of Senator de Largie, there is a single member of the Senate who has been more closely associated than I have been with the wharf labourers of Melbourne. I well remember the strike in 1890, and in 1893, and my close association with a dear old friend Ben Tucker, who, I am sorry to think, is at the present time getting near to the end of his tether. “He was secretary to the union in Victoria for years. While in that position he organized the union when it was absolutely split up. I think that Senator McDougall will remember that, so far as Sydney is concerned, there was no wharf labourers union in that city at all in 1890.’
– I was there the night it was re-formed.
– Yes, with six members. I am not sure, but I think a man named Maitland organized the coal lumpers, and Ramsay Macdonald the wharf labourers. The whole position regarding the wharf labourers is this : Any man who gets out of a job, whether he be a joiner, carpenter, or painter, goes down to the wharf and does a bit of lumping. Those men cannot be organized. Any honorable senator who has had experience in organization knows the difficulty of handling casual labour from other out-of-work unions. The wharf labourers’ trouble occurred at a time when the parties involved could have gone to the Arbitration Court, and have settled their difficulties forthwith. I sent the seamen a wire last January, when they were gathered in’ Sydney, to the effect that if they would only guarantee immunity from strike for two years every one of their points would receive favorable consideration. They turned that proposition down. They need not have lost a day’s work. Ten weeks of strike were precipitated, although they could have gained favorable consideration of the whole of their points in January without one man losing one hour’s wages. The wharf labourers could have gone to the Arbitration Court. Nobody will say that Mr. Justice Higgins has failed to give fair and favorable consideration to every subject which has come before him. I had no trouble in the instance which brought me into touch with the Arbitration Court.- Our difficulty had been with the Government; but when we came before Mr. Justice Higgins he was prepared to consider our case without undue delay.
.. - I do not think there is any necessity for honorable senators on this side to be called upon to defend trade unionism.
– It is not on trial.
– Quite a number of things have been said’ here to-day in an apparent effort to create the impression that trade unionism now is a different thing from what it used to be.
– It has absolutely turned turtle.
– I have been connected with the movement for quite a long time, and I have nothing to regret. If there is one institution for which it can be rightly claimed that its objectives and its methods of reaching them are above-board, and its general history clean, it is the institution of trade unionism. There are men now in this Parliament who did a great deal for trade unionism, and for whom trade unionism did a great deal. It is a matter for regret that there are members of the Federal Legislature who have spent a great part of their lives in the service of the working people, but who now find it necessary to say the most unkind, the dirtiest things possible, about the -institution for whose creation and improvement they have been largely responsible.
– Without ever getting one penny for services rendered.
– Possibly, the honorable senator is right. Nevertheless, it is a matter for considerable regret that those men should now lose no opportunity to say the most evil things about the institution which they did so much to create. These men know the machinery of trade unionism and the . methods of organization, and trade unionism owes nothing to the people who claim they have done everything to bring it into existence. It owes nothing to the men who, when the test was applied, failed it. It might reasonably expect, however, that those men should be manly enough to admit that they did not understand the first principles of Labour organization. The latter is built upon this basis, namely, that when the majority speaks, the individual obeys. When the majority speaks, my personal opinion “ goes to the pack.” That is the only way. We have the right to express our views in the proper place, at the proper time. We cannot expect to run our organization unless we are prepared to sink personal opinions and abide by the decisions of the majority.
– What opinion had you on conscription ?
– Everybody knows. I have never hidden my beliefs.
– Does that basis which you mention apply to trade unionism and to politics generally?
– The planks of the Labour platform were constructed by a majority of Labour’s representatives; Senator de Largie did his share in building up the platform. We erected our platform on the majority vote; and that is the only way in which it could have been built. The Nationalist party has reared its structure on the same lines.
– Order ! This discussion is getting away from the motion, which has been introduced for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance.
– I thought that was so when the second speaker got up.
– I should have pointed this out when the first speaker was addressing the Senate ; but the debate is now drifting altogether from the urgent matter upon which the motion was founded. I ask Senator Barnes, therefore, to’ confine himself to the subject of the motion.
– Senator Gardiner, in moving his motion, sought to bring under the notice of the Government the grave necessity for making provision to run the industrial affairs of this country smoothly, effectively, and sanely. The Leader of the Opposition pointed out the need for eliminating from the industrial
– They are the enemy Senator BARNES - They are in the camp of the enemy not through any desire of trade unionism Trade unionism regrets it Our organisation has always regretted the slipping away of any of its personnel We want our men and we want to keep them We valued them when we had them and so long as they were going straight we were glad to have them with us The individual and not trade unionism is to blame for the breakaway Only yesterday I accompanied a deputation which presented a case on behalf of some of the members of our union Certain men in our organization have absolutely no chance of securing the benefits of arbitration There is no machinery in Victoria to give hundreds of men including hundreds of returned soldiers who are members of our organization the benefits of arbitration They are working on the railways on the waterworks and on the highways of Victoria
– There are returned soldiers among these loyalists.
– Possibly ; I do not know. The honorablesenator has probably made himself familiar with individuals among the loyalists. We have spent a quarter of a century in endeavouring to obtain arbitration as a means of securing just conditionsof labour ; yet to-day hundreds of unionists, including returned soldiers, are unable to benefit by representation before the Arbitration Court. That is not because myunion has not been always to the forefront in . advocating arbitration,and in working under awards and abiding . by them ; it isbe- 13832 Adjournment [SENATE.] (Formal).
– How can the honorable senator justify the action of the Wharf Labourers Union?
– Senator Lynch cannot justify the wharf labourers “ scab “ union. He has attempted to do so. He worked for the wages of sin, and he is getting them. He made his own bed, and he should be content to lie upon it, and not howl so much about it. I regret very much that men like the honorable senator thought that they constituted the Labour movement, and that nobody else had a right to say anything. Only the other afternoon the VicePresident of the Executive Council assured us that the Cabinet had not considered or settled anything in reference to the payment of a gratuity to our soldiers. Yet the same night the statement was made in Brisbane that the gratuity was to be paid; the amount of it was stated, and the way in which it was to be paid was set out. How do these discrepancies between statements by Ministers arise? I believe that it is necessary for the Government to take intoconsideration the industrial affairs of Australia. Up to date we have acted pretty . sanely . in this country. I know that quite a number of persona from abroad have come here to tell us how we ought to organize our labour forces. Whilst I do not claim that we have reached perfection in that matter, I do maintain that Australians have easily shown the way to every other country in regard to labour organization. They have done so, not because they have had in their Parliaments men who possessed all the advantages of a University education, but because within the ranks of Labour there have been many honest, earnest, and able men. I know that there are certain elements in the ranks of organized Labour in Australia which are very dissatisfied with our Arbitration laws. But there is a reason for that. I have already given instances of the inability of our trade unionists to secure the benefits of arbitration, although they earnestly desire to do so. There are other reasons why industrial troubles will arise, and why recourse will be had to other than arbitration methods for their settlement.
– Order ! The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I have no desire to discuss this question with any degree of heat, and I think that upon the broad question of the merits of unionism we are all in agreement. We are nlso agreed that it is desirable to avoid any danger of future industrial unrest. I share many of the views which have been expressed by Senator Barnes. As an old unionist, who claims to know something about the Labour movement, I confess that much of what he stated is absolutely correct. But hitherto the fact that in the Labour movement there has been a majority upon one side, has not prevented the free expression of the views entertained by the minority. To-day, however, the minority is bound to obey the majority.
– The minority has never had a voice in Labour matters.
– It has always had a right to express its views. Of course, I am referring to questions which are not included in the Labour platform.
– And the party always boasted of that fact.
– Yea. It was one of the grand features of the movement.
– Order ! This discussion has now developed into a debate upon the principles of the Labour party.
– Very well. I shall not pursue that line of argument further. If Senator Gardiner has had any experience of wharf labourers, he will know that the trouble to which he referred this morning has always been in evidence on the water front.
– But it so happens that an amicable arrangement has been made between the loyalists, the unionists, and the Government, which the unionists claim that they are living up to.
– The loyalists make exactly the same charges against the other side that Senator Gardiner has made against- them to-day. He used precisely the same terms in referring to the secretary of the loyalists that they use in describing the wharf labourers. He spoke of “ agitators,” of “ bad characters,” and of men who lived on the proceeds of other people’s labour.
– Upon the motion for adjournment I intend to give more facts in regard to the matter.
– This is not the place in which the private character of any person should be dragged into the light. I repeat that when there was no organized body of loyalists in Australia, the very grievancesto which Senator Gardiner has directed attention existed. Under the system which previously obtained, some wharf labourers earned as much as £10 or £12 per week, whilst others could notmake a living wage- A good deal has been said in regard to various unions ; and I think that a great mistake has been made by reason of the action of small sections of unionists who have flouted the Arbitration Court. Senator Barnes himself has admitted that the majority of the Australian Workers Union are in favour of arbitration. But we know that the wharf labourers and direct actionists, are attempting to destroy our arbitration system. They are the people whom I denounce, not only as a danger to Australia and to the Labour movement, but also to arbitration.
SenatorO’Keefe. - Does the honorable senator say that the waterside workers are opposed to arbitration?
– I say that a section of them are direct actionists, and the recent seamen’s strike was convincing proof of that. One could not use stronger language than was used by the secretary of the Seamen’s Union to Mr. Justice Higgins. lt is that sort of conduct that I denounce. I have not one word to say against trade unionism itself, because I know that 90 per cent, of the unionists of Australia are in favour of adopting constitutional methods to secure a redress of their grievances.
– It is news to me that Mr. Morris is opposed to arbitration.
– I did not refer to Mr. Morris. I said that Mr. Walsh went into the Arbitration Court and used most objectionable language to Mr. Justice Higgins.
– But Mr. Walsh has nothing to do with the waterside workers.
– If any industrial trouble is likely to arise, why cannot the members of the Australian Workers Union, and of other organizations which are in favour of the settlement of disputes by means of arbitration, band themselves together for the purpose of keeping the direct actionists in. their places, and of hastening decisions by the Arbitration Court? 1 believe that the long delay which is involved in securing an award from that tribunal is responsible for much of the existing industrial unrest. This condition of affairs needs to be remedied. We are all agreed upon that. When, therefore, Senator Barnes accuses us of desiring to hinder a prompt settlement of industrial troubles by the Court, he is making a charge which is absolutely without foundation, and which he cannot substantiate. I suggest to my honorable friends opposite that if we join forces in an endeavour to insure early decisions by the Arbitration Court-
– The Wharf Labourers Union has been deregistered by the act of the Government.
– I know that some unions were deregistered because they broke the law. I do not care what means are adopted by the Government to insure the punishment of unions who offend in that respect. When a contract has been entered into, i’t should be loyally respected by all parties to it. I feel very strongly on this matter, because I fear that the methods which are being adopted by a certain section of unionists will, if persisted in, ruin unionism. Any agreement which has been made should be loyally observed by all parties to it, because after all, arbitration is, as yet, merely an experiment. I know that the tendency is to grant employees as f avorable industrial conditions as possible. That being so, most of the causes underlying friction ought to have been removed.
– Friction will always exist.
– A certain amount of it will always exist, but a good deal of friction may be removed. If we steadfastly keep that object in view, we shall be doing our duty, not only as unionists, but as citizens of this Commonwealth.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.
– In replying, my task has been made easy. I brought this debate before the Senate with one distinct purpose in view, and that was to prevent a continuation of misunderstandings that might lead to industrial trouble. It is quite true that I attacked the character of a man - the secretary of the loyalists’ organization - but it was because that man, I am informed by the people for whom I stand, is deliberately endeavouring to stir up industrial trouble. I was more than surprised when I read in the press report concerning his house catching fire that he deliberately informed the police that he believed the unionists had set fire to it. The matter was investigated by the police, and I ask the Minister to call for their report. If he does that, it can be submitted to the Senate before we adjourn. The report of the police, and of the detectives engaged on , the investigation, clearly leads to the conclusion that this gentleman set fire to the place himself. I am as careful as any man in making statements under the privileges of Parliament.
– Why not do it outside ?
– Because this is the place where I act in an official capacity in the interests of the people I represent. This debate has been characterized bv some remarkable speeches. The point I wish to make, on behalf of the unionists, is that they are working amicably on the -wharfs under the agreement entered into by the Government, the original loyalists, and themselves, and are doing their very best to honour the compact. I wish that to be very clearly understood. There are a number of people who, as Senator Bakhap said, rushed to the country’s assistance, and endeavoured to work themselves into the unionists’ ranks, and they are the ones who are causing the trouble. These are the people whom Senator Millen refused to recognise. The question of unionists versus non-unionists has been a difficult problem ever since unionism was established, and it will be the cause of heated passion so long as we have men like Senator Bakhap depicting the type of men that should lead unionism. Unionism has never been fortunate enough to secure as its leader a man of the character, capacity, attainments, and ability that Senator Bakhap thinks he possesses.
– I do not think it) I know it.
– It is not likely that we shall be able- to secure a man of the eminent qualities that Senator Bakhap thinks he possesses: men who stand aloof; men who are above all influence, and oan snap their fingers at any one. Such qualifications have never been possessed by any statesman. We have heard of the leaders of unionism in the glorious old days of the past. In those days, we had to look for leadership to such men as Senator Guthrie, Senator de Largie, and Senator Lynch. I am not going to criticise their leadership, but they fall short of the type Senator Bakhap mentions. They are so little removed from the men leading unionism to-day that I am not very much concerned as to its future, because I believe we have men possessing all the good qualities that were supposed to be held by the leaders of twenty years ago.
– Some of the men leading unionism to-day possess some good qualities.
– I am glad to have that assurance. I interjected, during the debate, that even in the brilliant days, and under the magnificent leadership of such men as Senators Guthrie, Lynch, and de Largie, a Mr. Champion, a democratic writer and Labour leader, referred to the Labour forces as lions led by asses, and his expression was used against these men by their old opponents during their short time of leadership. Nothing has changed in the Labour world, and there- is not likely to be a change until the worker receives what he produces. Senator Bakhap’s method of leading labour would be by standing aloof and telling the men what was the right thing to do. The men engaged in our industrial undertakings know what is right, and they do it; but so long as they possess human passions, there will be occasions when they are likely to resort to violence.
– They talk about fetters, and will not shake them off.
– I realize that the wealth that would have been created under the leadership of Senator Bakhap would have been sufficient to finance all the commercial undertakings of the world. Senator Bakhap, never having done the work, points to something that should .have been done.
– I always have had the full product of my own labour ; I have always been my own “ boss.”
– Then I think the honorable senator is like myself, and does not possess very much. We imagine that we have reached a stage where labour can be free and independent from the trials we were experiencing. We claim that the steady progress, not only of unionists, but of non-unionists, is directly traceable to the exertions and sacrifices of unionists. No one section of labour can claim credit for that. I can-, not claim to be a leader of industrial unionism, because at the age of twentyfour years I was thrown into the political arena. In 1891 I was a Labour candidate, and I am one to-day - that is my record. Senator Guthrie made violent insinuations concerning the conduct of a union ballot, wherein he made the deliberately false statement that corrupt practices .had been adopted in connexion with the nomination of Mr. Wallace. The facts are quite simple. When arrangements were being made for selecting a candidate for West Sydney, Mr. Wallace led in the. selection ballot by ten to> one against his opponents, but he stood down in the interests of Mr. Ryan, whose services he considered invaluable to the party. No misrepresentation should be made against Mr. Wallace in that regard. One may discount his judgment or the methods adopted, but so far as he was personally concerned, everything in regard to the election is to his credit. The electors of “West Sydney selected him for the position, and he tendered his resignation to the executive to enable them to select another man. Senator Guthrie does not gain anything by such misrepresentations, and I would like him to understand that there is nothing underhand in unionism to-day. The same common-sense, men control the organization, and are as competent to conduct the work as the type referred to by Senator Bakhap. So far as Labour is concerned, it must be admitted that the position will much better be met by giving consideration to all interests, instead of one side trying to set a path for the other to follow. Our unionists to-day - the Minister in charge of the Senate has just informed me that he is still a unionist - are of the same type that governed the Labour forces of this country twenty years ago. If some men find themselves outside, and feel that their records of years past entitle them to be opponents of Labour, I do not care Senators Lynch, Guthrie, and de Largie have made mean and bitter attacks upon unionism.
– That is untrue.
– The records of
Hansard will show whether I am right or not. Nothing is likely to arouse more passion than the interjections and speeches belittling unionism made by the honorable senators I have mentioned.
– It is absolutely untrue.
– It may be because they feel their position keenly.
– My conscience is easy.
– I regret that so much time has been . occupied in discussing this matter. I did not occupy my full time in opening the debate. I brought the matter forward, conscientiously believing that the statements made by the representatives of the Waterside Workers Union were true, and that they were working amicably in accordance with the arrangements entered into. The person I have referred to is, in my opinion, the cause of the trouble, because he has been constantly agitating and irritating unionists. The ship-owners were playing into his hands by giving the best class of work to the loyalists, and what remained to the unionists. I have brought these facts before the Senate, conscientiously believing that if there is trouble, it is better to deal with it in a straightforward way rather than by endeavouring to crush out unionism. This is not a new matter, as at the Governor -General’s Conference I asked the Government to remove the loyalists while there were a few ships to be handled, because when the work on the wharfs became more active, there was little likelihood of their working amicably together. The re-registration of the unions was promised by . the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) and by Senator Millen, and I believe the latter gentleman has been endeavouring to give effect to that undertaking. A definite promise was made. I hope the Government will move in the matter, and realize that the union is doing its best for industrial peace.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
In following out a scheme of retrenchment at military hospitals in Launceston, Tasmania, have professional and fully certificated nurses been discharged and V.A.D. nurses been retained? If so, is it a fact that some of the V.A.D. nurses retained are receiving the same or more wages than the professional nurses who were dismissed, though the latter had longer experience?
– The answer is -
Military nurses are not being discharged and V.A.D. nurses retained. It is pointed out that there are no V.A.D. nurses in military hospitals. Ward attendants are employed, and receive 18s. 6d. per week. The pay of military nurses is as follows: - Head sister,11s. 3d. per diem; sister, 10s. 3d. per diem; staff nurse, 8s. 6d. per diem.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
What steps are the Government taking to comply with the recommendation that a Board of Appeal bc appointed for the purpose of valuation and taxation of leaseholds?
– As announced in the Treasurer’s recent Budget speech, the Government have decided to constitute the Board of Appeal, and steps in that direction will be taken as early as practicable.
askedthe Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
– As the preparation of this information will take some time, I would ask the honorable senator to postpone this question.
Ships’ Surveying Staffs
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -
On the proclamation of the Navigation Act, will the Federal Government take over the existing ships’ surveying staffs of the various States, with all their rights accruing to them under the Marine Acts of those States?
– When making appointments to the navigation staff, first consideration will be given to the claims of the State officers now performing the work. State officers transferred, with the consent of the State Governments, to the Commonwealth Service will carry with them all rights existing or ac cruing under their respective State Public Service Acts.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Do the Government intend to pay their employees in New South Wales the living wage as recommended by the Board of Trade in that State?
– The rates of payment for Commonwealth public servants in NewSouth Wales, as in other States,’ are governed by the Commonwealth Public Service Act and regulations, and such awards of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration as may be applicable.
Prisoners in England.
asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers are - 1 and 2. It is understood that all military prisoners have not yet been repatriated, but the number still in England is not known. Soldiers under sentence are, however, being repatriated as rapidly as possible with other troops, and military prisoners are arriving bv almost every boat.
The following Bills were received from the House of Representatives, and, the Sessional and Standing Orders having been suspended, were read a first time:-
Electoral (War Time) Bill.
Northern Territory Acceptance Bill.
Legal Proceedings Control Bill.
War Service Homes Bill (No. 2).
Loans Securities Bill.
Bill received from House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That so much of theSessional and Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
– I think the Minister should give honorable senators some information as to the nature of the Bill before asking for the suspension of the Standing Orders.
– I do not know how many more Bills are to come.
– Only one.
– I cannot allow the occasion to pass without raising my voice in protest against this farcical procedure. We are asked to suspend the Sessional and Standing Orders in respect of measure after measure, in order that the Bills may pass through all their stages without delay. It is an open secret that the Government intend to close up Parliament to-morrow night, but already we have thirteen measures on the noticepaper, irrespective of the batch that has just come before us.
– What about the Supply Bill?
– What chance will any honorable senator have of properly criticising any of these measures ? It is a farce, and I believe the country will see thatit is a farce. But honorable senators on this side can do nothing more than raise a protest. If I were the Leader of the party on this side of the Senate I would ask my followers to walk out, and allow the Government and their supporters to do what they liked.
– I am sorry that Senator O’Keefe has made such a sweeping statement, because I am sure he will realize that while I have been in charge of the Senate I have never attempted to restrict the discussion on a Bill. What has been done this afternoon has, I think, been done with the common consent and by the good sense of the Senate. Senator O’Keefe will have all the time he wants to discuss these measures.
– Yes, by sitting forty-eight hours without a break.
– If it is hard for the honorable senator to sit long hours, it is equally hard for me; but I arn prepared to continue with the business and without interfering with the privileges of any honorable senator in the discussion of these measures. These are merely machinery Bills, and the suspension of the Sessional and Standing Orders will enable us to proceed with them without the delay which otherwise would be necessary. I may add that Ihad a conference with the Leader of the Opposition, who practically consented to the suspension of the Sessional and Standing Orders, because these are merely technical Bills.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Russell) proposed -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
– If I know anything about this Bill, it is intended to continue the operation of certain regulations under the War Precautions Act, of the effect of which we have no knowledge whatever. I enter my strongest protest against the suspension of the Standing Orders in connexion with this Bill, as it may prevent honorable senators having an opportunity to fully discuss it. I ask the Minister, even at this stage, to give the Senate some indication of what the Bill contains.
– That is not usual on the first reading of a Bill.
– We have a motion submitted for the suspension of the Standing Orders for the purpose of rushing the measure through.
– There is no question of rushing it through.
– I am satisfied that this is a complicated measure, and before the Senate agrees to suspend the Standing Orders to pass it without delay, we should be given some indication of what it contains.
– I must very regretfully join in the protest made by Senator Grant against the suspension of the Standing Orders to put this Bill through. It has not been in my hands for many minutes, but I can see that what it may mean is to perpetuate the War Precautions Regulations connected with the restrictions which for some years past have been imposed upon the mining industry and also the perpetuation of the regulations in connexion with shipping. We have been told in this Chamber by the representatives of the Government that whatever powers they desired to have extended beyond three months after the date of the proclamtaion of Peace would be the subject of specific legislation. This Bill will merely continue the operation of the War Precautions Act in many directions. That was protested against here, and we had a promise from the Government that it would not be done. I put in my strongest protest against this measure being - and I use the expression with due deliberation - sneaked through at this late hour of the session.
– That is very unworthy of the honorable senator, when he must know that we cannot reach the Bill for thirty hours at least, at the pace at which we are going.
– Then I repeat the word “ sneaked.”
– It takes a sneak bo make use of such an expression.
– Order !
– If we had any political decency we should walk out of the chamber.
– Why does not the honorable senator walk out. I shall not try to stop him.
– Will Senator Earle follow me if I do, to show his political decency ?
– No, I will not. I am here to do the business of the country.
– Order !
– I am a member of the Nationalist party, and I say most deliberately that, as a member of that party, I had not the slightest idea that the Government intended to prolong the operation of the War Precautions Regulations in connexion with shipping and mining beyond the time defined by this Parliament; that is, three months after the proclamation of Peace.
– Order! The honorable senator must not discuss the Bill. He can only refer to it in giving reasons why the Standing Orders should not be suspended.
– I enter my strong protest against the suspension of the Standing Orders to put through such a Bill as this before the session closes. I shall be in duty bound to oppose this Bill to the utmost extent of my powers.
– I am very glad indeed that at least one honorable senator on the Ministerial side has had the courage to adversely criticise the Government for attempting to carry on the business ofthe country in this farcical way. It isa pity that there are not a few more on the other side prepared to take the same course. If there were, we might render these absurd efforts of the Government nugatory. It is absurd to try to make the people believe that these Bills will receive consideration from any honorable senator, because honorable senators opposite know as well as I do that in the circumstances that will be impossible. Yesterday, a whole sheaf of Bills was sent up to us from another place which we are supposed to put through before the close of the sitting on Friday, and to-day a further sheaf of Bills is presented by the Government. It is a pity that a few more honorable senators on the other side have not the same regard for their duty to the electors of Australia that Senator Pratten has. If there were, they would tell the Government that it is time to stop this silly business, and that Parliament should continue to sit long enough to give proper consideration to its legislation; or that, in the alternative, these matters should be allowed to stand over until the new Parliament assembles.
– I protest with others against this motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders. The Minister is not taking the Senate seriously in submitting sucha list of Bills in the closing days of the Parliament. For more than a week I have been doing my level best to enable the business of the Government to go through with reasonable despatch. I will not say that I have suspended criticism of Government measures, because I do not intend to do that; but, with the exception of Senator de Largie, there is not an honorable senator on the other side who will complain of the way in which Government business has been dealt with by the Opposition.
– When did I complain?
– I judge that the honorable senator would complain because I heard him laughing the idiotic laugh which generally bespeaks the vacant mind.
– More of Senator Gardiner’s politeness. He is a paragon of politeness.
– My politeness to the honorable senator is measured by his general conduct and attitude towards myself. I say that, with the exception of Senator de Largie, no honorable senator on the Government side will complain of the way in which the business of the Government has been dealt with by the Opposition during the last week. With our business-paper loaded with thirteen or fifteen Bills, we are now asked to suspend the Standing Orders in connexion with a Bill which deals with the most imiportant questions.
– My motion will not place any limitation upon discussion.
– I am aware of that. But, with enough debatable matter already on the business-paper, we are asked to suspend the Standing Orders to allow this Bill to go through all its stages without delay. I venture to say that this is a measure which should not have been introduced at all at this stage.
– Hear, hear! No one has had any notice of it.
– That is the attitude I take up. I find that it was brought in by Mr. Groom, and was read a first time in another place on the 22nd October, 1919, Which was yesterday. That was the first time it made its appearance in Parliament. The Minister will agree that as we must share responsibility for the measures we pass we should be careful . about the legislation permitted to go through. I find that this Bill is for an Act
To continue in force for a limited time War
Precautions Enemy Shareholders Regulations,, the War Precautions Land Transfer Regulations, the War Precautions Mining Regulations, and the War Precautions Shipping Regulations.
– They have changed the name now from “metals” to “mining.”
– That is so. If the Minister had to-day made some announcement as to the provisions of the Bill there might not be so much objection to this motion.
– It will go down about eighteenth on the list, and we may not come to it for a couple of days.
– That is something like a satisfactory statement to have from . the Minister - that he will not come to this Bill for a couple of days.
– The Minister did not say that. He said we might not come to it for a. couple of days.
– I take it that the Minister meant that it would not come on for. a couple of days.
– It may come on at once if the honorable senator pleases, but I have put it down in its order, and it will be about sixteenth on the list.
– We shall have reached the early hours of the morning before we put sixteen Bills through. I have been pleased to meet the Minister as he has met me. The business at the close of a session cannot be satisfactorily carried on without a mutual understanding between the representatives of both parties. That is the spirit in which I have met the Acting Minister for Defence, and I tell him that it is calculated rather to delay the business of Parliament if an attempt is made . to rush through measures that are objectionable. There is quite a number of measures on the businesspaper which, if I thought the Minister intended to try to pass them, I would not allow to go through until physical exhaustion compelled me to give up my opposition. I am assuming that the Minister will act reasonably, and will not put an undue strain upon honorable senators. I expect that he will try to put legislation through by an appeal to reason, and not by force of numbers. I tell him that to-morrow he will be in jus’t as good a position to move for the suspension of the Standing Orders to deal with this Bill ashe is in to-day.
– I have said that the Bill will be about sixteenth on the programme.
– If the Minister will follow the course I suggest we can have the advantage of his statement as to what the Bill contains, though, perhaps, he can give us ho more information than is disclosed by the title of the Bill, which shows that the intention is that the operation of . the War Precautions Act shall be extended. There has been a good deal of criticism in the Senate of the operation of the War Precautions Act in connexion with the metal industry, and a criticism which justified the time and intelligence which honorable senators directed to it. I can quite understand honorable senators on the other side warmly expressing their feelings against the proposed continuance of a most obnoxious system. I can quite enter into their feelings when a proposal of this kind is sprung upon them in this way. It is not conducive to the proper conduct of the business of the Senate. The Minister might move the suspension of the Standing Orders at one stage as well as at another, and if he delayed the motion for twenty-four hours he might be in a position to decide whether he would go on with this measure or postpone its consideration until next week. If all these measures are to be rushed through, it will only be with the physical exhaustion of honorable senators. The Government will triumph, not by reason of their intelligent conduct of business, but because of their overwhelming majority, and owing to the limitation of physical endurance on the part of the Opposition. The proposal of the Minister (Senator Russell) to secure the suspension of the Standing Orders should be vigorously challenged by all honorable senators.
– We should have no Standing Orders; they have none in the House of Lords.
– Of course, we should not be embarrassed by them. They are always a source of inconvenience, especially to the Government. The Bills, with an avalanche of which we are threatened, are of such a nature as may lead to interminable debate, unless the Government take the extreme course of moving “That the question be now put.” With their majority, of course, that procedure may be successfully adopted. There are three Bills in particular, among the sixteen or twenty which I have made a supreme effort to masteT. They are. highly debatable, and thoroughly objectionable. I can see no hope of their being passed by this hour to-morrow. We are almost sure to be required to meet next week, and possibly the week after. What good can the Government do by essaying to force sixteen to twenty measures through this Chamber in as many hours? If they persist in their forceful tactics, I shall persist, in the interests of good legislation, with my obstructive tactics. . I shall not only call for a division upon this, motion, but upon every other request for the suspension of the Standing Orders during the remaining hours of this session.
– I do not think Senator Russell will facilitate the passage of this measure if he seeks to force this motion. I have in my hand a copy of the Bill, but it has not yet been circulated among honorable senators, and is notupon our files. It was introduced and read a first time in another place yesterday, and it was passed without much ado. So far as I have been able to examine it, it is a very comprehensive measure. We have more than once discussed in this Chamber the desirableness or otherwise of extending the War Precautions regulations. Those regulations, which it is proposed, under cover of this Bill, to keep in force until the end of December of next year, are specified merely by titles, and not in detail. They are : Mining, Shipping, Enemy Shareholders, and Land Transfer. I defy any honorable senator to go through the regulations upon the table of the Senate and make himself acquaintedbefore the dinner adjournment with the specific regulations which are to be continued in force until the end of next year. I, for one, am not going to legislate blindly. The existence of many of these regulations, even for the period of the war, was regarded as a matter of hardship. The mining community were furious over the promulgation of soma of them. We have been promised, time after time, that at the earliest convenient opportunity they would be repealed. Earlier this year we dealt with the moratorium regulations. The Government proposed to continue them in force for a definite period. What was done? Those particular regulations referred only to two matters ; they were the Moratorium General and the Moratorium Active Service regulations. But the Government took the course of setting forth, as a schedule to the measure which proposed to continue the operation of those regulations, the whole of them as they stand to-day. The Bill was passed; the Act contains in its print the Moratorium Statute up to date; and it has, as schedules to it, the Moratorium General and the Moratorium Active Service regulations. Nothing like that procedure is being done here, however. We are asked to legislate blindly. I appeal to Senator Russell not to press this motion. We are dealing with the trade and industry of the Commonwealth in a most comprehensive way; in primary production, largely, and its export. (From Western Australia, from Tasmania, and elsewhere in the Commonwealth, the operation of restrictions upon the mining industry has been a source of continual complaint. Here we are asked at one consideration to pass through all its stages a Bill which seeks to continue in force certain War Precautions, regulations with regard to mining; and not even the Minister himself can indicate their character.
– None of us is in that position.
– That is sp; yet we are asked to legislate in this blind fashion. Further, the Bill introduces new principles. It provides that, until the end of next year, the GovernorGeneral shall have power to issue regulations. We are not simply continuing existing regulations, but are giving power to the Governor-General between thi? date and the end of next year to alter, modify, or repeal present regulations, or to substitute new regulations for those now in operation. We are asked also to preserve, in respect to offenders against the regulations, the right of redress, even though the War Precautions Act has expired. This’ is not merely a machinery measure: it is not one which deals solely with technicalities. It is most practical; it is a measure of substance, of vital interest to the most important industries of the Commonwealth. I again ask the Minister not to force this Bill through the Senate at high speed, even though it may have taken only one day to pass in another place.
– I am not in any way attempting to limit honorable senators’ rights of speech, or their opportunities to fully debate the Bill.Senator Keating has not put the position quite fairly. I remind Senator Gardiner that he and I have co-operated in the past in performing this “trick, when the Government with which we were associated desired to push through with their business. The mining problem is undoubtedly grave, as Senator Keating says. I realize that, and I will endeavour, at the proper opportunity, to make as full a statement in respect to these regulations as I can. I point out, however, that with the ratification of Peace, which may be announced practically at any time, there will arise international complications with respect to raw materials and general trading matters. I do not expect to be able to make a complete statement on those phases; for it should not be lost sight of that Australia is not quite as independent as might be wished, either in regard to freedom of speech or in the handling of those subjects which I have just indicated.
– Or in regard to bureaux or monopolies.
– This motion does not seek to limit honorable senators’ opportunities of debate. It is merely intended to facilitate the passage of the Bill, should a favorable opportunity occur, for example, to pass straight fromthe ‘ first-reading to the second-reading stage. There is no reason why there should be unnecessary delay when it can be simply and fairly avoided. Honorable senators know how, in the dying hours of a session, Bills which have accumulated upon the notice-paper are rapidly passed from one Chamber to the other for the consideration of only slight amendments. It is highly_ desirable that formalities should be, as far as possible, done away with. Every honorable senator will be entitled to occupy his full time for discussion. We should not now be expected to take the first reading of a Bill upon one day, the second reading on another day, and then waste still another day in passing the measure backwards and forwards to deal with minor amendments. In the last hours of a session I have known Bills to go from one place to another like greased lightning, when there has been, perhaps, not more than one word in dispute. The Government desire now to avoid all obstacles. I would be the last to seek, to effect the closure. My motion does not in any way challenge or circumscribe the rights of honorable senators, but I appeal to them to co-operate in order to deal with the business in hand .
Question -That theStanding and Sessional Orders be suspended - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 7
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
– In. moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I wish to point out that it is an ordinary Loan Bill, under which the Treasurer seeks authority to raise £1,107,602 for the purposes of new works during the current year. A sum of £352,619 is already available under previous loans, so that the estimated expenditure upon works out of loan money is £1,460,221. That amount is £347,000 more than the actual expenditure for 1918-19. In order to show how that increase is brought about I propose to state the excess expenditure which is contemplated upon each particular Department or item. That excess is made up as follows : - Naval and military expenditure, including reserves of ammunition, £27,067; River Murray waters scheme, £10,904; acquisition of land adjacent to Federal Capital Territory in payment for past acquisitions, £15,987; additional payments in con nexion with London offices, £15,880; extra payment for the PostmasterGeneral’s Department, £321,000. In regard to the last item, honorable senators will recognise that during the war, and not merely because of high prices, it was practically impossible to purchase many of the materials which are essential to that Department.
– For a post-office?
– For keeping the postal and telegraphic services up to date.
– Absolutely muddled.
– The honorable senator had better speak to the PostmasterGeneral about that matter. Everybody will recognise the difficulty of obtaining materials during the period covered by the war, and as a result, either justly or unjustly, there has been a good deal of complaint from the public.
– I have had a letter before the Department for six months, and it has not received proper attention.
– I know of persons who have had to wait six months in order to get a telephone put on to their houses.. This item, therefore, is intended to make up a good deal of the leeway which was inevitable under war conditions. We are all interested in seeing this great Department brought up to date in order that it may prove an efficient machine for transacting the business of the people. The last amount which I mentioned is required to enable the Post- ‘ master-General’s Department toprovide increased postal, telegraphic, and telephonic services-. The estimated cost of the works and machinery required for the Navy is £167,000. There has been very little loan expenditure on the Navy during the war period, because the Department was practically at a standstill by reason of the fact that our seamen were largely engaged overseas. The whole of the money provided for in this Bill will . not be spent during the current year. Every effort has been made to curtail’ expenditure, and provision has been made to complete only works which are already in hand. The Bill is essentially one for consideration in Committee. I shall be glad to supply any honorable senator with any further information in regard to specific works when we reach that stage.
.- Will the Minister consent to the adjournment of the debate upon this Bill until to-morrow? When an important measure is submitted to us, the Opposition should at least be afforded an opportunity of considering it. Notwithstanding that I have been working at top speed in my endeavour to grip the provisions of the various Bills claiming our attention, they have been brought forward so rapidly that the task has proved a hopeless one. This hurry is being deliberately created by the Government for the purpose of getting their measures through this chamber.
– If I consent to the adjournment of the debate, is the honorable senator prepared to proceed with the consideration of other Bills.
– Order! Senator Gardiner has already spoken on the matter.
– But no doubt an arrangement may be made under which, by leave of the Senate, I shall not be required to forgo my right to speak upon the Bill. But the Minister has apparently made up his mind to go right through the Government programme before we rise. There are a few measures to which I would like to give serious consideration. I have attempted to consider at least three of them, but, owing to the limited time at my disposal, 1 have been quite unable to do so. The Bill now before us is one to authorize the Treasurer to raise a loan of £1,107,602 for certain purposes. Those purposes are specified in the measure, and the schedule ‘ shows the amounts which are to be appropriated. I should like to know whether this money is to be raised in Australia, Great Britain, . or America.
– Is it usual to give such information in a Loan Bill ?
– When I go to. a bank for a loan I know that the authorities there demand quite a lot of information. I can scarcely imagine a more loose method of doing business than for Parliament to be asked to sanction a Loan Bill under which it is proposed to raise more than £1,000,000, and in which is included even an odd £2. Is this money to come from our financial institutions, whose businesses have already been seriously hampered by reason of the large amounts which they have had to provide for the Government? Not only have their businesses been thus interfered with, but also the businesses of their clients. The whole of the financial business of this country is being seriously upset by the ruthlessness with which the Government are rushing into the market
– The honorable senator must remember that there is the Commonwealth Bank.
– But even that bank has its limitations. I cannot forget that during the first two years of war that institution provided the Government with £15,000,000 or £20,000,000, free. of interest. It started its career in time of peace, but in its very early history it was called upon to stand the test imposed by war. Not only did it stand that test successfully, but it enabled other financial institutions to survive the upsetting of their business by war conditions and permitted the loans which had been raised to be successfully floated. This measure seeks authority to borrow money for financing certain public undertakings. When we consider the various works concerned, we wonder why the Government could not have effected savings in other branches to enable them to carry out the- works without borrowing. A sum of £15,000 is to be set aside for carrying out certain work at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, including certain naval engineering and other works. A similar amount was appropriated in a previous act. Provision is also made for buildings and an engineering plant at the Cordite Factory at Maribyrnong, to the extent of £11,500. I suppose the work of increasing the plant at the Cordite Factory is one of those particularly pressing and urgent matters .now that the war, which was to end all wars, has ended in victory to the Allies. Instead of war being at an end, it seems that we have to go full speed ahead to make ready .for the next conflict. We are going to mortgage the peaceful possessions of the people in this community and manufacture cordite to the extent I have mentioned. There is also an amount of £55,000 for erecting cottages at Lithgow. That is a matter for which the Government are justified in borrowing, because’ it is to provide cottages for workmen, and because there will be an immediate return the moment such buildings are occupied. Provision is also made in the Bill for extending the Perth
General Post-office. I am very glad that provision is being made in this direction, because the money expended will be reproductive.
– I wish we had such a structure in Brisbane.
– Brisbane has a handsome edifice at present. The whole business in connexion with the Perth Post-office reflects great credit on the Government which started it and on Mr. 0’ Malley, because the selected site is convenient to the business people, and generally acceptable to the citizens. There is also an amount of £137,000 set aside for the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway, and a similar amount has already been appropriated.
– The Government are not borrowing for that.
– That is one of the amounts mentioned here, and I suppose the amount is for the ballasting of the line. The completion of that important work has been the means of linking the eastern States with our western territory, and has already shown itself to be a reproductive undertaking. An amount of £3,000 is also set aside for the Northern Territory railway, and I am sorry the Government are not borrowing a little more and making a general endeavour to link the north with the south. I regret that our pledge to South Australia has not been honoured, and that a larger sum has not been placed on the Estimates for the purpose. Such a line would be of great military value. I suggest, too, for the present consideration of the Minister, that it would be the means of despatching troops to preserve order, in the Northern Territory if our warships’ failed. The total set down under Works and Railways is £438,200.’ Provision is also made for the construction and extension of our telegraph and telephone system, and an amount of £398,026 has been set aside for that purpose. There is also a sum of £50,000 provided for erecting the necessary machinery for the general arsenal, but as to it the Minister has given us very little information. If there is one thing more necessary than another now that the war is over, it is the completion of an arsenal, in which light and easily movable guns can be manufactured, so that we may be in a position to defend ourselves. Some explanation of this item could well be put before the Senate. I know there is always some’ secrecy concerning military preparations, but if other nations wish to find out what we are doing in this way they always have means. It would be better, when such works are being undertaken, for a clear statement to be made in Parliament as to what is intended, so that other nations might gain our confidence, and realize that we were preparing, not for attack, but to defend our country.
Sentaor .Russell. - This is the last link in the matter of manufacturing munitions in Australia.
– I notice there are some fairly expensive links.
– One link is the gift of a portion of the British Fleet.
– I am glad to have that assurance, and to know that we are likely to have such vessels in our Australian harbors. There is also an amount of £7,000 for extensions to the experimental Trinitro-toluene plant. It would not be out of place for Parliament to be informed as to the result of those experiments. As a member of the Government which was responsible for action being taken in that direction, I claim some credit for it. I understand that this amount is to enable those experiments to be continued.
– It has been a wonderful success.
– Yes. Apart from enabling us to manufacture high explosives, it has been the means of again enriching the sugar people by converting what had been a waste product into a valuable commodity. Now that the war is over, matters of defence should be discussed in the full light of day. Such a policy would enable the people to take an intelligent interest in the expenditure of public money. There is always a possibility of misunderstanding arising if our present policy is continued. Our relations with such nations as Japan should be made perfectly clear. The real sentiment and opinions of the Australian people should be freely and openly expressed in Parliament, as other nations would then know exactly where we stood. Japan, for instance, would realize that it was not our wish to treat her in a different way from other foreign nations. It should be known that it is our desire to keep our country to ourselves, and that in matters of trade Japan would be placed on th same basis as America, France. or Italy. If we bad a clear understanding between Japan the present suspicion would disappear. By having a clear understanding with our neighbours in the East we could avoid huge expenditure in the way of defence, and prevent burdening the people with a debt that will make life almost unbearable a generation or two hence. Instead of borrowing we should have a system whereby every pound borrowed should be placed on the shoulders of some one able to bear it. A Loan Bill should not be introduced into Parliament unless it embodied a means of providing a sinking fund and the payment of interest. There is an item for the Flinders Naval Depot - machinery and plant, £10,000, and another for wireless telegraphy, £12,000. If the Government were alive to the interests of the people and as enterprising as the Marconi, Telefunken, and the Australasian Wireless companies, I would have no objection to the expenditure of almost any sum for the development of wireless telegraphy, not with the idea of the Government reaping exorbitant profits, but in order that a very profitable business might fall into their hands. With their well-equipped plant, they could supply all the wireless apparatus required by the shipping companies of Australia, and, indeed, might make it part of their policy that all vessels engaged in the coastal trade should use this Australian wireless system, so that a large proportion of the profits which at present go to German and other foreign companies would be secured for the people. I have no desire to unduly delay the passage of this Bill, the expenditure under which, apparently, is to prepare us for another war; but if we do not prepare for war the chances are we will have war upon us much sooner than if we were prepared. Therefore, without protesting unduly against the Bill, I am prepared to allow it to pass.
– There is something about thi? borrowing of money which I think should engage the attention of the Senate. I do not know whether it is proposed to borrow the money in London or in Australia, but I think it should be obtained in this country. The operation of borrowing requires overhauling. What happens when the Commonwealth Government try to borrow a few million pounds in London 1 No money, not even a letter, comes here.
A cable is sent and some arrangements are made by a fabulously costly staff in London, a reply cable reaches Australia, and in the course of a day or two, and after a few paragraphs have appeared in the financial columns of the daily press, the Commonwealth Bank advances the necessary money, which is paid out here in Australian notes printed in this country.
– Not always.
– No English notes and no gold comes here. All we get is an electric spark, and with wireless telegraphy in operation I doubt even if we get that now.
– The operation of borrowing balances our exchange position with London.
– We merely get advice of something having been done, and then Australian notes, which have been tied up in bundles in the Commonwealth Bank, are made available. It appears to me that we could easily get all the money we want from the Commonwealth Bank without going through all this performance, and then we would not have to pay interest to the so-called British moneylender.
I should like also to know where it is intended to locate . the machinery > and plant for the Arsenal, in respect of which £44,836 is to be appropriated. Is it intended to construct the Arsenal at Tuggeranong, and is it to be. a general Arsenal, or merely a place where certain machinery is to be employed, so that, at short notice, other manufacturing con’cerns may ‘be able to do work which at one time it was proposed to carry on at the Arsenal? If it is intended to spend a further sum of money in this direction in Melbourne, I must oppose it. The expenditure should be at Tuggeranong, where the Commonwealth Arsenal is to be located. Much the same may .be said with respect to the Naval Base works. I should like to know the contents of the so-called secret document which has been furnished to the Government by Admiral Jellicoe. Where do the Government pro. pose to spend these huge sums of money? Why is this information made available to certain people but withheld from honorable -senators and the general public? Surely we are entitled to it. This holding up of the report for an indefinite time is not treating Parliament fairly, and I enter my protest against it. Later, we are to -be asked to vote £13,000, not under this Bill, it is true, for the purchase of land for the Port Stephens Naval Base. I should like to know the area of the land, who are the owners, and what taxation, they have been paying to the Commonwealth and State Governments on that land. Plans should be furnished to the Senate, so that we might know what we are doing. We should not pass this vote of £13,000 in the absence of information from the Minister.
– Order! ‘ This discussion is not relevant to the Bill.
– I am aware of that, Mr. President. Here is another big item of £62,000 for the London offices, and we are appropriating under this Bill £4.5,800 for that purpose. It is about time this perpetual expenditure . in London ceased, especially in view of the fact that many of our returned soldiers and widows” of soldiers find it so difficult to get their deferred pay. Only a few minutes ago I received a letter with reference to this subject-
– Order ! That matter has nothing whatever to do with this Loan Bill.
– You are quite right, Mr. President; but I say that, if we borrow £62,000 for the London offices, we ought to know what is being done. To my mind, we are not getting value for our money in London at all.
– What is this £62,000 for? Senator GRANT.- Nobody knows.
-. - We will get all that information in Committee.
– .The amount appropriated under this Bill is £1,107,602, and I think the Minister should have given us the fullest details in his secondreading speech. The Senate yesterday refused to agree to my request to increase the appropriation for Federal Capital works to £250,000, but now we are asked to pass over £1,000,000 with scarcely an explanation from the Minister.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
– I should like to know from the Minister in charge of the Bill where the Naval Bases are, and what is the nature of the works for which we are asked under this measure to appropriate £90.,000 ? .
– This money is required for Naval Bases establishment, Cockatoo Island Dockyard, naval engineering, and other works, and also to complete certain works at Flinders Naval. Base. If works already in hand are suspended at the present stage, the result will probably be a considerable loss. Expenditure has been generally restricted, but certain works in hand and nearing completion should be gone on with. No new works are being initiated, but some machinery is being secured to bring our plants up to date.
– I ask whether there is any sum provided for in this Bill for the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway? I see no sum down for the purpose, and I should like to know whether it is intended to stop the ballasting of that line.
– There is a sum required during 1919-20 for that railway.
– No sum is made available for that purpose under this Bill.
– Is it intended to stop the work in the meantime?
– Work on the line may be continued out of revenue, but there is no provision for expenditure on it out of a loan.
– It was intended during the year to spend £177,000 on this work, and I wished to understand the apparent intention to suspend these operations.
– Certain work may be carried on out of revenue.
– I wish briefly to call the attention of the Acting Minister for Defence to an item of £55,000 in connexion with the Lithgow housing scheme for the erection of workmen’s cottages in order to suggest that when the Government are raising money for the building of cottages at a place like Lithgow, they might take into consideration the position of the men along the transcontinental railway line, who now have to live in very inferior dwellings. Workmen at Lithgow have the advantage of the social environment of a considerable township. That is not possessed by those at work on the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta Railway, and the buildings in which men, women, and children are living along that line are a perfect eyesore to travellers over it. For the second or third time, I wish to bring under the notice of the Government the justice of providing more decent homes for men working on that line than are at present provided for them.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria - Vice-
President of the Executive Council and Acting Minister for Defence) [4.23]. - I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
As honorable members are aware, a referendum in connexion with the proposed alteration of the Constitution is to be taken at an early date. We recently passed a Bill amending the electoral law . and the purpose of this measure is to bring the machinery for the holding of the referendum into line with what we have already done in dealing with the Electoral Bill. This measure contains twenty-two clauses, but they are purely consequential upon the passing of the Electoral Bill. Some of the clauses provide merely for alterations in ‘the references to sections of the Electoral Act where the numbers of those sections have been altered by the Electoral Bill which we have recently passed. Other amendments are rendered necessary by the re-introduction of the principle of postal voting. We have again decided to adopt that principle in our electoral law, and it is intended under this Bill to apply it to referendums as well as to elections. Provisions are, there fore, included in this Bill to enable electors to vote by post at referendums. It is proposed to reduce the penalties for an untrue statement with regard to electoral expenses from £500 to £100, and it is proposed to make a similar reduction in regard to the failure by newspaper proprietors to send in returns of electoral advertisements. A slight alteration in the form of the ballot-paper for a referendum is proposed. But honorable senators will see by the schedule to the Bill that the form of ballot-paper provided for is very simple. The provisions relating to bribery and undue influence are extended to cover cases in which the object of the bribery or undue influence is to induce an elector to support or oppose a proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution. The object is to apply to the holding of a referendum the provisions with regard to bribery which we have adopted in connexion with elections. An important amendment of the existing Act is provided for in clause 22. As honorable senators are . aware, provision is, under the existing law, made for the issue of pamphlets in connexion with a referendum. Each side is given the option of issuing a pamphlet. I do not know whether that provision was adopted because it was considered that at the time the newspapers were not giving both ‘sides a fair report. It is, however, proposed in this Bill to repeal that provision of the existing law I understand that it is not proposed by any parly at the present time to issue pamphlets in connexion with the next referendum, because, whilst there may be some difference of opinion as to whether the proposed amendments of the Constitution go far enough, it is agreed that they are in the right direction. I shall be pleased to give any information which honorable senators desire when we get into Committee.
– I am not going to delay the passage of this Bill; but I protest that honorable senators have not had an opportunity of considering it.
– It has been on the business-paper for a week.
– This is the first time I have seen it. The Minister says that there is nothing important in it, and I suppose it will go through as it is. In dealing with the Electoral Bill, it was considered desirable that ballotpapers for the Senate should be marked with numerals indicating a preference for candidates the same as in the case of the election of members of the House of Representatives. I point out that under this Bill papers will be put into the hands of the electors which must be marked with an “X.” Something might be done to make the referendum ballot-papers more uniform with those . used for elections. I suppose that I shall have to take it for granted that everything in connexion with this Bill is right; but let me say that the state of the Senate at the present time confirms me in my belief as to its uselessness. The manner in which Bills are being put through should induce the people to arrive at the same conclusion. I protest against the passing of these measures in the manner in which they’ are being passed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Clause 3 (Application of Electoral Act).-
– I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 4 to 10 agreed to.
Clause 11 -
Section 35 of the principal Act is amended -
by omitting from sub-section (8) thereof the word “any” (second occurring) and inserting in its stead the word “ an “ ; and
by omitting from sub-section (9) thereof the words “ Five hundred pounds and not less than”.
Section proposed to be amended -
Any person who wilfully makes any untrue statement in any return under this section shall te liable to a penalty of One hundred pounds or to imprisonment for six months.
The Chief Electoral Officer may, by notice in writing in the prescribed form, require the president or chairman and the secretary or other officer of any trades union, registered or unregistered, organization, association, league, or body of persons, or any person, within such time, not being less, than one month, as is specified in the notice, to make a return in accordance with this section of any money expended or expense incurred in respect of which a return is required to be made . . . and the president or chairman and secretary or other officer or person who neglects or refuses to comply with the notice shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding Five hundred pounds and not less than One hundred pounds, or to imprisonment for any period not exceeding six months.
.- The making of a statement of expenses by candidates at election times is somewhat similar to the preparation of a declaration by merchants in regard to imports. That is to say, the procedure tends to dishonesty. Candidates’ election expenses are limited by Act of Parliament. Expense lists, though they may appear to be correct in the letter, may be far from accurate in the spirit. We should not seek to enact legislation which may cause a brother to stumble. We should not place temptation in one’s way to commit some petty act of dishonesty. Regarding the forthcoming elections, one thing is certain, namely, that during the remaining weeks prior to election day in December next, there will not be time for honorable senators to expend up to their maximum ; that would entail campaigning at break-neck speed, at any rate. I have seen some remarkable returns, which must have caused the parties concerned a great deal of slim thinking in their preparation. Personally, I would penalize a man guilty of bribery by not permitting him to sit in Parliament. If it could be proved that bribery and corruption had occurred, the guilty individual should not be allowed to take his seat in Parliament if successful at the polls until his disqualification had been removed by a vote of both Houses of the Legislature. This provision is ridiculous, and should be deleted from our electoral laws.
.- This measure is intended to bring our referendum legislation into line with the electoral laws. If the safeguard, as set out in the original section, is deemed necessary and effective in regard to an ordinary election, it should also be useful and necessary with respect to a referendum campaign. Whatever Senator Gardiner and other honorable senators may think of this particular phase of electoral legislation, I ask them to allow the clause to stand in order that uniformity may be secured. .
Clause agreed to.
Clause 12 -
Section 36 of the principal Act is amended by omitting from the penalty at the foot of sub-section ( 1 ) thereof tie word “ Five “ and inserting in its stead the word “ One “.
Section proposed to be amended -
The proprietor or publisher of a newspaper publishedin theCommonwealth shall,in accordance with this section, make or cause to be made a return setting out the amount of matter in connexion with any referendum inserted in his newspaper within three months before the date of taking the vote at the referendum in respect of which payment was or is to be made, the space occupied by such matter, the amount of money paid or owing tq him in respect of such matter, and the names and addresses of the trades unions, registered or unregistered, organizations, associations, leagues, bodies of persons, or persons authorizing the insertion thereof.
Penalty (on proprietor): Five hundred pounds.
– Will the Minister explain the reason for this alteration in regard to the penalty which may be imposed upon a newspaper proprietor? The clause seeks to reduce the fine from £500 to £100. I am of opinion that the maximum penalty should be retained.
– I assure Senator McDougall that the reduction of the amount of fine has not been in the interest of the big newspapers, but specifically in that of small country proprietors. It has been found, in practice, that the operation of this section has been rather ridiculous. The principal Australian newspapers run their business upon proper lines ; but there are hundreds of little country concerns whose proprietors are editors and accountants, and everything else. The electoral authorities have frequently refrained from prosecuting, seeing that it would ruin many a small man to impose a fine, of £500. The penalty of £100 is quite heavy and drastic enough, particularly in view of the fact that the offence is more often unintentional and technical rather than flagrant and deliberate.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 13 to 22, and title, agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The Imperial Parliament has recently passed an Act called the Matrimonial Causes (Dominion, Troops) Act 1919. This Act gives the competent Courts of the United Kingdam jurisdiction to hear and determine matrimonial proceedings, such as divorce, judicial separation, and restitution of conjugal rights, notwithstanding any question of domicile or residence, in cases where members of the Dominion Forces have married in the United Kingdom. The Act does not apply to cases in which the parties have resided since marriage in the country of the husband’s domicile, and all proceedings under the Act must be taken within twelve months after it is passed. ‘Moreover, the Act applies only to the troops of those self-governing Dominions which pass legislation applying it to themselves. It is proposed by this Bill to apply the Act to Australia. Quite a number of our Australian troops, ‘unfortunately, loved not wisely but too well during their stay in the Old Country. Sometimes, owing to indulgence in rather more drink than was good for them, soldiers have been taken advantage of, and, before they have realized their position, have found themselves married to undesirable women. We do not want that type of creature in Australia, and we do not desire that the soldier should be tied to such a wife. I do not suggest, of course, that these unfortunate marriages have been at all numerous ; nevertheless, there have been a number of very bad cases. With regard to those wives whom our soldiers have brought back to Australia with them, I need scarcely say that we all hope and fully expect that they will be a credit to Australia. I might add, personally, that I would far rather that our Australian boys had married Australian girls. That does not prevent one, however, from extending a very hearty welcome to the many young English wives who have arrived: in this country during the past year or two.
– I enter my protest against the passing of this Bill. I regret its introduction here, and I regret still more deeply the reasons underlying its introduction.
– We all regret them.
SenatorGARDINER. - I recognise that; but the very explanation by the Minister of the provisions of this measure justify us in opposing its passing. It is a Bill which is designed to meet exceptional cases which might well have been allowed to pass unnoticed.
– It will apply only to those exceptional cases.
SenatorGARDINER. - I am quite aware of that. But it will place upon our statute-book something which will lend a pretty deep colour to many of the statements which have been enlarged upon, time and again, in regard to our Australian troops. The Government have gone out of their way to provide legislation to meet special cases. I am ohe of those old-fashioned Tories who do not think it wise that we should make provision for exceptional cases.
– But suppose that such cases are sufficiently’ numerous to justify action being taken.
– Suppose that there is only one case of the kind.
– I recognise that it all depends upon how seriously we view the marriage sacrament. I take the most conservative view of it, and, therefore, I intend to vote against the Bill. I am not sufficiently conversant with its provisions to argue as to its merits, and, consequently, I ought to content myself with saying that I regret its introduction, and shall call for a division upon the motion for its second reading. To my mind,- it is an unnecessary and useless measure. ‘I know that a number of our Australian soldiers have brought back with them British brides. Nobody has a right to criticise their action.
– This Bill will not apply to brides who have come to Australia.
– I am aware of that.
– It will give those who desire to appeal for a divorce in the Old Country the opportunity of doing so.
– The measure deals with a very serious matter-
– It is not more serious than is our divorce law.
– Anything which aims at making it easier to set aside the sacred sacrament of marriage I cannot view lightly.
– This Bill merely gives our men an opportunity to do something in the Old Country which at present they cannot do.
– We cannot enact a law which will operate in the Old Country. I take it that the Bill will enable . those of our men who married British brides to immediately apply for a divorce, so long as their wives have not been domiciled in Australia.
– It will give some of our Australian soldiers the same opportunity to obtain a divorce as is already enjoyed by the British soldiers - nothing more nor less.
– But will it give the Britisher the same opportunity as the Australian?
– The Britisher already has it, because he is domiciled in England.
– It will protect the wives, too.
– It is really distasteful for me to argue upon the Bill. I take it, however, that, under its provisions, if an Australian soldier married in Great Britain, returned here, and applied for a dissolution of his marriage, he would be out of court.
– In some instances a woman cannot get a divorce in England. She has to follow her husband to Australia, because he is domiciled here.
– Will the proposal contained in the Bill operate both ways ?
– But the British Government will have to pass a similar measure.
– They have already done so.
– Even if there be an equal division of responsibility both ways, I still regret the introduction of this measure. Whilst I discharged the duties of Minister for Defence, I was called upon for about one day in each week to deal with a number of heartrending cases in regard to the allotment of maintenance money by our troops. That experience gave me an insight into some very painful incidents which transpired during the early stages of the war-, and the recollection of that experience induces me to regret the introduction of this Bill.
– I cannot understand the necessity for this measure unless the idea underlying it is to provide greater opportunities for wrongdoers. The Bill will make divorce easy, because petitioners for divorce will never be able to bring evidence either in England or Australia to which an effective reply can be given. I know that in the Old Country many girls have been married to Australian soldiers under an entire misapprehension. An Act has already been passed by the British Parliament for the purpose of freeing these women’ from their chains. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has said that this Bill is an exact copy of the British Act.
– The British Act will not apply to such cases unless we pass this Bill.
– Hence the necessity for it..
– I am not a constitutional authority like Senator Reid, who appears to understand everything. I will guarantee that he has never read the Bill. I do not know how any legislation which we enact can be made applicable to any other part of the Empire.
– The British Parliament have already passed a similar measure to that which we are considering. They now say to us, “ If you will pass a like Bill, that will be our authority for putting our Act into operation.”
– The remarks made by the Minister in explaining the provisions of the measure certainly did not convey that impression. Apparently the Bill marks a step towards Imperial Federation, and whether that would be a good thing I cannot say. But it is very singular that it is necessary for a Dominion to take action to render valid legislation which has been enacted by another part of the Empire. I shall follow the example of my LeaderBy voting against the Bill.
.- One realizes the seriousness of a measure of this kind. The obligation with which it deals is one which is not to be trifled with. On the other hand, I quite recognise that very painful positions may have arisen owing to carelessness on the part of some of our soldiers. It would be a great pity if those men were tied up for the rest of their natural lives in a way that is unacceptable both to them and to the brides to whom they have been united, because of either carelessness or indiscretion on their part. I fail to see that the draftsman of this Bill can have been animated by other than a desire to provide a means of escape for these people. So far, however, I have heard no justification for the Bill beyond a suggestion that such cases do exist.
– Does not the honorable member think that the less that is said about them the better?
SenatorGUY. - No. The more we try to hush these matters up the worse they will appear in the public eye. We ought never to be ashamed of the truth. Too much maudlin sentiment is exhibited by us. The result is that frequently some person gets hold of an incident and exaggerates it so as to make it appear ten thousand times worse than it really is. Why should we attempt to hide from the public that which they should know? Let us be frank enough to say that there are a sufficient number of cases of the character to which I have referred to justify us in passing this Bill.
– The publication of such statements will do no good to anybody.
– That is where we fall into error. We are urged to hush everything up - not to disclose the truth to anybody. The result is that others will fall into the same pit in the future. Let us disclose the errors into which our men have fallen as a warning to others.
– The honorable senator would not have published the fact that during the war there was not a gun in Tasmania ?
– I do not know what Senator Guthrie is talking about. I rose more particularly to stress the unwisdom of any attempt to hush up matters which should be disclosedto the general public.
– The Minister has given a fair explanation of the Bill. We are not discussing the question whether there should be divorce laws or not, and whatever our opinions on divorce may be they cannot be discussed on this Bill. I understand that the English divorce laws are similar to our Australian divorce laws j but an Australian cannot have the protection of the English divorce laws because he is not domiciled in England. This Bill simply gives him the rights he would enjoy if he were domiciled in England.
– It gives the women the same rights, also.
– A woman would have to follow her husband to Australia. The Bill enables an Australian soldier in England to be divorced under the English law; and whether there are one or fifty cases does not make any difference at all. The question whether there should be divorce or not is an open one. It is well known that there are some who are opposed to divorce under all circumstances. The people in Australia and in England hold different views on divorce matters ; but it seems that we should give the Australians in England the same rights as are enjoyed by persons domiciled in Great Britain. To me, it is a harmless measure, and one that gives an Australian the same rights as are enjoyed by British soldiers or civilians.
– It applies only to soldiers.
– An English civilian or soldier could appeal to the Divorce Court in his own right, and this measure merely gives an Australian soldier the privilege enjoyed by civilians or soldiers in Great Britain.
– I should like to reply to the statement made by Senator McDougall. The British Government have already passed an Act, but it is not one dealing with the whole question of divorce. Although this matter very largely affects the. Australian soldiers, the British Government have practically declined to legislate on an Australian matter without the authority of this Parliament, and that is a recognition of a sound principle. This measure is to give legal domicile for a particular purpose to soldiers who, owing to unfortunate circumstances, were compelled to be in England and Europe for a number of years. Great Britain recognises cer tain evils that have arisen, but they would not legislate on Dominion matters without the authority of the Dominion Parliaments. Great Britain decided to consult the Dominions, and said, “ If you wish our Act to apply to your soldiers, you must indorse it; but, if you do not, our Act will not operate.” That is a correct attitude to take up, as it would not be right for Great Britain to legislate in respect of our domestic matters without our consent. No attempt has been made in the Bill to deal with the general question of divorce; and I may say my views on the general question are as strong as those of other honorable senators. The Bill is simply to apply the British law to men who have practically been citizens of Great Britain for a period of four or five years. The Bill is merely to give domicile to certain. Australian soldiers, and to enable them to approach the English Divorce Courts, which, I think will be admitted, are the most conservative in the world.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
As honorable senators are aware, a Royal Commission is inquiring into the conditions of the sugar industry, and a difficulty has arisen in connexion with the’ investigation owing to one of the principals of a firm - I think the managing director - declining to give certain information to the Commission. Owing to a decision of the High Court, it is very doubtful whether the Commission has power to compel the witness to give the information desired. The Government consider that in modern days such capitalistic undertakings have to be regarded as working in partnership with the people, and that the public has a right to be in possession of information the Government consider essential. The object of the Bill is to give full power to the Commission to demand the production of information’ required. The point in dispute seems to be in connexion with the by-products of sugar. It may be that the full profits from that source have not been revealed ; and, if full information in regard to the sugar industry is to be obtained, this power is very necessary.
– Why not make it apply to. the wheat industry?
– It should apply to everything. In connexion with these important industries there is a point where they cease to be private concerns. Although their success very often depends largely upon the genius of the business men controlling them, they are dependent for success on the patronage accorded by the community. No private individual should be permitted to baulk a public inquiry when the Government have determined that’ the information required is absolutely necessary in the interests of the country.
– Is not the objection in regard to Tevealing the secrecy of a process?
– I have never known a Royal Commission not to treat such information as of a private nature. It is within the discretion of the Commission to treat that information as purely private.
– Does the Commission not possess full powers?
– The Bill is to extend its power.
– What is the reason for the refusal of the manager? Is it in connexion with a constitutional point ?
– No; more in regard to the by-products of the industry. It is necessary for the Commission to have the full facts, and it can then use its discretion as to whether they shall be published or not.
-Can the Minister indicate the nature of the request?
– I understand that the Commission desires to inquire into the financial results of the byproducts of the industry, and the company do not wish to reveal the secrets of their processes. They are not being asked to reveal the secrets of manufacture, but merely the financial results.
– Does the Minister say that this Bill is not to give the Commission power to make investigations into trade secrets?
– The Commission’s powers are wide, but it will use them with discretion, and will not abuse them. I have never known a Commission inquiring into matters of trade secrets to do so without the public being asked to retire for. the time being.
– What is meant by giving chemical results?
– There is a difference between financial results and disclosing the secret of a trade process. It is a question of who is going to control the situation, the Royal Commission or the company. I know the Commission will use its discretion, and will not abuse its powers in any way. A witness should not decline to give information which is absolutely essential. I think the principle of the Bill is sound, and I know the Royal Commission will use its discretion in obtaining information which is necessary in the interests of the welfare of the country.
– I intend to oppose the measure. The fact that it is a big institution that is concerned does not affect me in the least. When I am in doubt as to whether an attack is being fairly made, then’ I feel inclined to leave things as they are. In this case a rival company may want to get at some particular method of procedure by which another big company is working successfully, and by means of this Bill may get a parliamentary pull over its rivals by the appointment of a Royal Commission to make certain inquiries. Within the last twelve months we have had an experience of the illegal use of power by a Royal Commission, in a way that is a discredit to civilization. I refer to the inquiry conducted by Mr. McBeath, who ordered an investigation into the banking accounts of quite a number of honorable senators without their knowledge. I would have no objection to the production of my banking account before a Royal Commission, because I recognise that such a request might be quite a legitimate exercise of power on the part of a Commission or Court. In the case to which I refer the Commissioner wired to
Mr. Barton, a private accountant in Sydney, instructing him to examine the whole of my banking accounts and transactions.. I knew nothing of the instruction, and I understand the private banking accounts of Senator Russell and some other members of the Senate were likewise examined. It is time some complaint was made about the underhand and despicable way in which the authority of- the Crown was exercised in connexion with that matter. Naturally this makes me a bit careful about granting exceptional powers such as are now asked for, when, as I have shown, power already provided by statute law can be used in the way I have described. I was in a most happy position concerning my banking account, which revealed what my position has been all my life. There were no huge sums of money to be accounted for. We appear to be drifting back to the conditions that existed’ in the early part of the seventeenth century, when the liberties of the people were interfered with at the will of royalty. In this Bill I see a tendency to disregard the sacred rights of the individual. Not so long ago a certain witness refused to answer some questions put by a Royal Commissioner, and his refusal to answer was upheld by the High Court. No doubt it is very annoying, when information which is badly wanted is withheld by certain witnesses, resting upon their rights as Britishers. I realize, of course, that the big trading Combines sometimes actually discharge the functions of a Government. Just as this Government may increase Customs duties on imported sugar and the Excise duty on manufactured sugar, so the sugar company may tax the whole of the people by raising the price of their product. These big ‘Combines, therefore, have developed into taxing institutions, and they must be dealt with in a most drastic manner. I do not say, however, that they have not a right to retain their trade secrets. We have no right to pass legislation that will endanger, their trade position in relation to rival companies. The Bill does not suggest that this will happen, but the events that have led to the introduction of the measure convince me that the information was notwithheld without good reason. Usually information is- not withheld without good grounds.
– Even in the case of Talbot?
– Talbot has not withheld much information. He simply got a concession - the right to sell the people’s wheat without putting up any deposit, and, therefore, stood to lose nothing. I see nothing wrong in what Talbot did ; but I do see something wrong in the action of this Government in allowing the farmers’ wheat to get into the hands of men like Georgeson and Talbot.
– This Government did not do that.
– They brought the Pool into existence, and, therefore, they cannot escape their responsibility.
– The honorable senator knows that the State Government have control of the wheat in the stacks.
– I hope that I shall not be drawn into a ‘discussion witu the honorable senator on the wheat question. But to come back to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company. I can produce a letter now showing that the company are wickedly withholding sugar from certain people. I have a letter from a reputable business man in Sydney - a letter which I -shall show to the Minister privately, because I think it should be brought under his notice - stating that while his usual sale of sugar amounts to about 2 tons per week, he is debarred from obtaining sugar at all now owing to the action of that Combine. His cheque has been returned to him with the intimation that the Colonal Sugar Refining Company simply refuse to deal with him.
– That is a very serious statement if it is correct.
– I assure the honorable senator that it is quite correct.
– What will the company gain by that course? They cannot increase the price of the sugar.
– I do not pretend to know what the company have te gain. I am only stating what, according to a letter I have received,, is a fact. The man to whom I. refer has been in business for a considerable time as a small grocer, and now he . finds that he cannot obtain sugar for his customers.
– What reason did they give ?
– They simply refused to trade with him, and returned his cheque.
– A man who uses only 2 tons per week would buy from one of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company’s agents, and not from the company.
– This man finds that by sending his own motor car round to different places in Sydney he can collect about six bags, whereas his usual trade is 2 tons a week. Honorable senators will realize, I hope, the power of the big Combines to ruin any business person of whom they do not approve.
– That would seem to be a breach of our contract. I would like to get specific details.
– This gentleman states that as the Government have engaged in the. sugar business they should see to it that everybody is permitted to purchase sugar for business purposes. Those big Combines, trading in the necessaries of life, and gaining £d. per lb. here and £d. per lb. there, are really taking upon themselves the functions of government. Freedom of trade is being blocked by this system. But I oppose the Bill, because it may enable a big Combine, by means of a Royal Commission, to obtain important business secrets of rival concerns. I am not inclined to confer the power asked’ for upon the Chairman of the Commission unless I am convinced that it is absolutely necessary. A witness, by refusing to give information, may be preserving a valuable right. I am not fighting in the interests of the big companies ; I wish merely to safeguard- those who may be called upon to answer questions which might lead to the disclosure of trade secrets that should be. preserved.
– I think Senator Gardiner misunderstands the purport of the Bill. The preamble states that certain persons named in the Bill have been authorized to inquire into and report upon the sugar industry in Australia and the other matters “more particularly specified in the said letters patent.” Clause 2 provides that the Commissioners appointed shall have the powers of a Royal .Commission. I have heard no great objections to Royal Commissions in the past, and have not heard of any serious objection from the Colonial Sugar Company with regard to this measure. If the company had any objection to it, I have no doubt that some honorable senators would have been informed. The Minister has pointed out that if a witness, when being examined by a Royal Commission, advances a’ reasonable objection to publicity, the Commission will meet his wishes and hear him in private. I agree with the Minister that people conducting large and small businesses owe a duty to the public. At this time of ‘day they cannot demur to allowing duly appointed Royal Commissioners to inquire into their businesses, to discover whether they are being properly conducted from the point of view of the public. I do not think that any persons conducting businesses would object to that, but they naturally object to their secret processes being made public. I can see no objection to allowing these special Commissioners, who are very reputable men, to be clothed with the power of a Royal Commission. That is all the Bill proposes.
While I am on my feet I should like to ask Senator Gardiner whether he is perfectly certain about the action which he attributed to the Royal Commission of which Mr. McBeath was chairman. He says that that Commission sent a telegram to an accountant in Sydney, who actually went with it to a bank and inquired into a man’s account. From what I know of banks, no bank manager would allow any’ person to look into a client’s account upon merely presenting a telegram instructing him to do so. I think that the accountant must have had an order ‘from the Royal Commission, and even then it would be immediately communicated by the manager of the bank to the client whose account it was intended bo examine. I cannot imagine the examination of a banking account in secret in the way described by Senator Gardiner.
– I assure the honorable senator that it was so examined, because I made very personal and pertinent inquiries into the matter.
– I can quite understand the honorable senator’s alarm, if that kind of thing could be done.
– The Acting Minister for Defence knows that his bank account was examined in secret, and without his being informed.
– Only one account. I had to bring along the second account.
– I cannot understand an unofficial person on presenting a telegram from a Royal Commission being allowed to secretly inspect a bank account. 1 would advise no one to keep an account with a bank that* would allow anything of the kind to be done. I. could understand a bank manager recognising the authority of an order from a Royal Commission, and immediately communicating it to his client before permitting an inspection of client’s account. I cannot think that Senator Gardiner can have been accurately informed in this matter.
– I know that the honorable senator cannot, nor could any other decent man, understand what can be done in this country. We realize what can be done, as the result of experience.
– I can see nothing to object to in the proposal of this Bill to clothe these Commissioners with the powers of a Royal Commission.
– I can understand Senator Gardiner’s objection to the Bill, because it is intended to clothe the Inter-State Commission with very drastic powers ; at the same time, I do not agree with him that we ought to reject the measure, Sub-clause 2 of clause 2 provides that -
The powers, rights, and privileges referred to in the preceding sub-section shall, without limiting their generality, extend to the power of compelling answers to questions and the production of books and documents by persons engaged in the sugar industry, or in any industry for the utilization of by-products of sugar, and to the power of compelling answers to questions and the production of books and documents - by such persons relating to the financial, manufacturing, and chemical results obtained by them in their manufacturing or trading operations.
Within the last few weeks there have been reports in the newspapers of the investigations by the Inter-State Commission. There has been some conflict of authority. The Commissioners seem to have believed that they had powers which the. representatives of the sugar company denied to them. . The representatives of the sugar company absolutely refused to answer some questions relating especially tochemical results obtained in manufacture. I suppose that is why there is a special reference in the Bill to the disclosure of chemical results obtained in manufacturing or trading operations. This, no doubt, is to give the Commissioners the right to ask for this special information, and to demand that it shall be supplied. I believe that members of the Commission were not going outside their powers or the scope of their inquiry in asking the ques- tions which they did ask of the representatives of the sugar company.
I can quite understand Senator Gardiner’s objection, in view of his own experiences, to clothing any Royal Commission with drastic powers. Senator Fairbairn has doubted the statement which Senator Gardiner has made, but there is irrefutable proof that the statement is correct. It does seem to me that the Royal Commission of which Mr. McBeath was chairman did something which I do not believe this Parliament ever imagined any Royal Commission would have the power to do. They inquired into a citizen’s private banking account without first giving him notice that such an inquiry was to be held.
– They could not do that. No bank manager would allow them to do so.
– I am reminded bySenator Reid’s interjection of the story of the man in the stocks. Some persons passing by asked him why he was in the stocks. He said it was because he had done so-and-so. Those who asked him the question then said, “ They cannot put you in the stocks for doing that,” and the man replied, “ They can, because I am here.”
– The account of every member of the Ministry was open to inspection.
– I .understand that when the inquiry into the purchase of the Shaw wireless plant was made, the private banking account of every member of the Ministry at the time was investigated. There could not be much objection to that; but there is a strong objection to the accounts of Ministers, or of any one else, being investigated without their knowledge. That was a scandalous proceeding on the part of the McBeath Commission. I should like to know who gave that Commission the power to do anything of that kind. I cannot understand why the Government of the day did not severely censure them for going so far beyond their powers.
I am afraid .that if a Commission investigated my account they would find, at least since I have been in public life, that the balance was not on the right side.
– The honorable senator is only one of many.
– I suppose that, in this respect, my case is typical of that of every member of Parliament. I should like Senator Russell, when replying to the debate, to tell honorable senators whether, if the Bill is passed in its present form, the Inter-State Commission will have the power to do what the McBeath Commission took it upon themselves to do.
– Not necessarily so.
– That is not a satisfactory answer. I should like to know whether the Inter-State Commission, or any other Commission, will be able to exercise the power to investigate a private banking account without the knowledge of the owner of the account.
– I think that the McBeath Commission was clothed with powers under the War Precautions Act.
– The good old War Precautions Act again ; and Senator Russell to-day wanted to extend the operation of some of the regulations under it!
– I know that one of the supporters of the Government told us that one of the purposes of a Bill which the Minister moved the first reading of to-day was to continue the operation of certain regulations under the War Precautions Act. This Commission should be clothed with powers to secure from the “representatives of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company the information which it endeavoured, unsuccessfully, to elicit. Instructions should be issued, however, that the Commission must not do what the McBeath Commission did when it investigated a man’s private affairs behind his back, and without his knowledge. We have asked over and over again that the investigations of that Commission should not remain at the stage where we find them to-day; but we have been refused the request that the Commission should be authorized to further examine the purchase of the Shaw wireless plant and matters incidental thereto. It is scandalous that the investigation should have stopped half way.
– I agree with you.
– I am glad to hear that candid expression of opinion from a supporter of the Government. One of the reasons why the public are asking for complete investigation is founded upon the very matter referred to by Senator Gardiner, namely, the Gohduct of the Commission itself. I hope that the Commission which will inquire into the sugar industry, although composed of wellknown and eminent gentlemen,whose integrity and ability nobody doubts, will be explicitly instructed that upon no consideration may it call into question an individual’s private character without that person being made aware that his affairs are under investigation.
– I am somewhat puzzled to learn why this Bill proposes to re-endow with all the powers of the Royal Commissions Act a Commission which has been already appointed and properly constituted.
– A decision of the High Court knocked out our general powers. The Government are now compelled to provide special powers, in a special Bill, for every Commission appointed. We were compelled to introduce a similar Bill when Judge Street was appointed a Commission to . inquire into the meat question.
– Then I see more clearly the purpose of the Bill. The Government are unable to take full advantage of the Royal Commissions Act by executive act’; parliamentary sanction must be secured. In addition to this Bill being specific legislation to endow the Inter-State Commission with all powers under the Royal Commission Act 1902-12, there is a further clause which proposes to grant them powers to compel answers to questions, and to produce all books and documents relating to financial, manufacturing, . and chemical results. I hesitate to give any Commission, however estimable may be itspersonnel, power practically to compel the disclosure of trade secrets.
– Not the secret operation’s, but the results of those operations.
– To furnish chemical results must disclose some information as to how those chemical results have been arrived at. I have had the pleasure, during the past few minutes, of listening to the generous remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) regarding the much buffeted Colonial Suger Refining Company. That body, for efficiency and economy, has been a credit to
Australia; a great deal of its efficiency and economy are due to the high standard reached with regard to chemical research and control in the conduct of its operations. Under cover- of this Bill, we may be going a little further than we fairly should, in compelling this company to .answer questions concerning the chemical side of its business. I do not think the Senate would pass a Bill to compel a manufacturer of dyes to disclose his chemical results. I do not think the Senate would agree to a measure to force a manufacturing chemist to disclose the chemical results associated with an article in popular use. I do not see why the Inter-State Commission should desire answers regarding the chemical results of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company for the purpose of completing a report which has to do with cost and with selling price, and with profits and production. I would like to see the word “chemical” left out, and then I could have no objection to the Bill. As a business man, I do not see how chemical results can have any bearing upon the profit and loss or production in connexion with the Colonial Sugar Refining Company’s operations in Australia.
Mention has been made this afternoon of investigations of bank balances. There are investigations frequently going on in. connexion with the life of public men in various parts of the Commonwealth. I understand that we aTe to have before us to-morrow, when Supply is brought down, a request to agree to the disbursement of money for ,a Commonwealth Investigation Department under the control of the Attorney-General. To my personal knowledge, there has been a good deal of investigation proceeding, even recently, into the affairs of many people in the Commonwealth. I have actually heard that inquiries have been made regarding myself. No doubt, many dossiers have been stored away in the pigeon-holes of the Government containing information which it is thought may some day be required.
– But have not these inquiries had reference to matters arising out of the war?
– I do not know; but I cannot see why information should be required ‘concerning myself at .this juncture. If the authorities are interested in my family, and in my commercial, political, and general history, I invite them to come direct to me, when I can furnish them with an open book.
– Do you think it fair that any man’s private affairs should be investigated without his knowledge?
– There may be special reasons for such procedure in time of war.
– I do not support the principle, but I am glad that in my case it was followed.
– If there aTe any inquiries which may be deemed necessary in respect of myself, I invite officers of the Attorney-General’s Department to present themselves personally, and not seek to secure any information second-hand. I have no objection to the Commission being endowed with all the powers with which Parliament can endow it under the Royal Commissions Act. But it seems to me that under this measure we shall be compelling the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to disclose trade secrets. That company have developed their business very efficiently and economically owing to the great attention which they have devoted to its scientific and chemical side. I would not like to do the company an injustice, and consequently, even if the Bill be approved in its present form, I hope that the Royal Commission will take cognisance of the view which has been expressed by honorable senators.
– The measure refers to the profits made from the by-products.
– I am placing a literal interpretation upon the words “ chemical results.” If the position is, as Senator Reid has suggested, I take it that the profits from by-products will be covered by the “ financial “ results. We shall not he playing the game if we compel the Colonial Sugar Refining Company to disclose chemical results in connexion with their business, which have cost large sums of money, and which are the outcome of years of experiment. -If the Bill be passed as it stands, I hope it will be recognised that the desire of the Senate is not to endow the Royal Commission with undue powers in respect of legitimate trade secrets.
– I intend to support this Bill, but I fail to see why we should appoint Inter-State Commissioners if the Government do not intend to act upon their recommendations. So far, legislative effect has not -been given to any one of them by these gentlemen. When we pay the Inter-State Commissioners high salaries and liberal travelling’ allowances we want them to do effective work. We have deputed them to inquire into the sugar industry, and yet the manager of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company has been able to stand up and defy them. His action merely demonstrates the urgent need which exists for an alteration of our Constitution so as to clothe this Parliament with larger powers. A Royal Commission appointed by a State Government is actually a Court, and has power to compel a witness to answer any questions that may be put to him. But when a Commission has been appointed by the National Government, a witness can stand up and defy it. I do not know the position which Mr. Knox takes up, hut I am convinced that the Inter-State Commit sion would not ask him to do anything which was unfair. I have pleasure in supporting the Bill, which will .work no injustice to any individual.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
– Can the Vice-President of the Executive Council give the Committee an assurance upon the points raised during the debate upon the second reading of this measure, particularly upon the matter of the disclosure of trade secrets ?
– I have already stated my views upon those points, but evidently Senator Pratten was absent from the chamber at the time. I have not consulted my colleagues upon this subject, but I recognise that a Royal Commission should be clothed with very full powers. So far- as it is possible for me to do so, I will see that everything is done to prevent a repetition of the personal abuse which was indulged in by certain gentlemen upon a former occasion. Whilst I am not in favour of compelling people to reveal trade secrets, there can be no reason for the Colonial Sugar Refining Company withholding the financial results of any of their operations, with a view to disclosing whether those operations involved a profit or loss.
Preamble agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
.- I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Probably, most honorable senators will recognise in this measure an old friend. Personally, I well remember the Navigation Bill when it was being considered in this Chamber. As a matter of fact, I had the honour of piloting it through its final stages here. I regard it as a fine, constructive measure, and one which reflects great credit upon the Parliament which passed it. This Bill is not intended to amend the Act. But the war conditions have knocked the Act somewhat out of shape, in some cases to our advantage and in others to our disadvantage. The Bill now before us is intended to enable us to proclaim parts of the Act instead of the whole of it. We shall, of course, have to give reasonable notice to the ships trading along our coa§t, in order to enable them to conform to the provisions of the Act which we propose to proclaim. I need scarcely remind honorable senators that whilst the war was in progress the freight from New Guinea was 50s. per ton, but immediately the armistice was signed it dropped to 25s. per ton. Already people, are willing to bring goods here from the Pacific Islands at less than their cost price, not for the purpose of getting the trade from those islands, but for the sake of the opportunity to take goods from here. We do not want competition of that character, which would have the effect of lowering our standard of living. Therefore, we are anxious to apply the coastal provisions of our Navigation Act to the whole of our .coastline, and also to those islands which have become our dependencies.
– If the doctrine of cheapness be a good one, why not get everything cheap ?
– I like things to be cheap when I am buying them and dear when I am selling them. But it is possible for things to be too cheap, and I believe the world is about to recognise that there is a standard below which the prices cannot go without involving the white man in degradation. Whilst I’ am anxious to see the entire Act proclaimed at an early date, complications would inevitably result from its immediate proclamation. Consequently, we propose to proclaim only certain sections of it upon the lines which I have indicated.
– Whilst I shall not oppose this Bill, I would like to get a little more information as to the precise sections of the Navigation Act which it is proposed to proclaim, and also the particular sections affecting the conditions of the seamen which it is intended to bring into operation. I expected that the Act would have beenproclaimed long ago. Had that course been adopted, the recent industrial trouble would have been averted, and the country would have been spared the great loss to which it was subjected. After the measure had been passed by Parliament) we were assured that it would not receive the assent of the King, and we were also told that we feared to proclaim it. All these difficulties, however, have . since been swept away, and yet the Government have merely dallied with it. Now they propose to proclaim it only in sections. It is to” be regretted that the Government donot intend to proclaim the whole of the Navigation Act of 1912, and I trust that the sections which are to be amended and enacted will be the means of better conditions being provided for the men. I trust that provision will be made for a proper inspection of vessels, as at the present time ships are leaving Australian ports in an unseaworthy condition. During the last two or three years, three vessels which left ports close to Sydney were lost, and a number of sailors drowned. It frequently happens that vessels leave these ports before the coal or other cargo they are carrying has been properly trimmed, and in some instances they have totally disappeared. If the passing of this Bill will be the means of better conditions being provided for seamen, and a system of inspection is instituted whereby vessels that are unseaworthy will not be allowed to leave port, I shall be satisfied. If the Minister assures us that the proclamation of these sections will insure the proper loading of vessels, and the provision of suitable accommodation, the Bill should have general support.
– The full powers contained in the original Act are not embodied in this measure, but only certain sections with which the Bill specifically deals. The sections relating to the accommodation on ships will be proclaimed at a later stage. That cannot be done at once, as arrangements have to be made in connexion with those vessels which are being transferred to our control. The work of refitting them is being carried out as rapidly as possible. The whole of Part VI. will be proclaimed, and the Government trust it will not be long before all of the provisions of the 1912 Act are in operation. This measure does not apply to the load-line, and the other sections which are not dealt with in this Bill will be proclaimed from time to time. Delay in proclaiming the whole Act has been caused by the difficulty in framing the necessary regulations, but it is the intention of the Government- to bring the whole Act into force at the earliest possible’ moment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Commencement).
– I would like the Minister to explain why the Act of 1912, which received the Royal Assent, has not been proclaimed, and why the Government are now endeavouring to rush through a measure of this nature to amend certain of the sections of that Act. It is my intention to offer the strongest opposition to this measure, because it is the duty of the Government to proclaim the whole Act. Two of the sections to be proclaimed do not interest me very much, but I am particularly anxious to see the section relating ‘to Australian coastal shipping enacted. “Under existing conditions, there is nothing to prevent the Japanese competing on the Australian coast.
– I advise the honorable senator to peruse the Bill.
– I have read it very carefully; and if the Government were in earnest iri this matter, they would proclaim the whole Act. The true position is that the Government wish to appoint a Director of Navigation, and are anxious to give the person appointed something to do. I understand that it is intended to appoint a Director who has not had nautical experience. I ask the Minister if such is not the case?
– It is, and the Minister knows it to be so. Captain Davis was appointed Director of Navigation, and when he died a successor was not selected. The Act was passed in 1912, and the Minister cannot deny that it has never been proclaimed.
– I am not denying it, so do not blame me.
– During the whole of my political experience, I have never known the proclamation of an Act. of Parliament to be delayed as this has been. The Act of 1912 was passed by a majority of both Houses of Parliament, and received the Royal Assent; and it would be interesting to’ know why it has not been brought into force. Why are the Government introducing these amendments ?
– The honorable senator is not in order in dealing with the whole of the provisions of the Bill, and must confine his remarks to clause 2, which is the subject before the Committee.
– The Act passed in 1912 is being amended by this Bill, and I think I am in order, Mr. Chairman, in discussing the sections to be amended. Clause 2 reads -
This Act shall commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation after the King’s approval thereto has been proclaimed in the Commonwealth .
Does that mean that the original Act shall be proclaimed or this Bill when it becomes an Act?
– The clause refers to the Bill now before the Committee.
– Are the Government prepared to proclaim sections 1, 2, 8, and 7?
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– I have come to the conclusion that the Bill is mere camouflage unless there is something in the mind of the Government that has not yet been disclosed. My own opinion is that, for their own special purposes, they want to bring the Act into force by the adoption of this small measure of six clauses. Is it fair that an Act, the history of which dates from 1903, when a Royal -Commission was appointed to inquire into the whole matter, and which was passed in 1912, should still be unproclaimed ?
– But does not this Bill cover the main sections of the Act?
– No: .
– It covers the main principles of the Act.
– The principle of the Act is control of the Australian mercantile marine by the Commonwealth Government, and at present New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia are considering amendments of their local legislation. The Minister knows, as well as I do, that two years ago, although- the Act was not then proclaimed, we made amendments which have never been carried into effect.
– Additions, not amendments.
-We made amendments of the 1912 Act, and we are doing the same now.
– The measure to which you refer was the result of a conference after the Titanic disaster, but did not pass the other House.
-Although the Act was passed seven years ago, nothing has been done to give effect to it. Two proclamations were to be issued, one dealing with the coastal trade. It is not proposed to regulate that trade even now, although we have the Japanese coming down and taking our business.
– This Bill will stop them.
– It will not.
– Read the Bill. You will find the provision in paragraph a of clause 4.
– The clause to which the Minister refers might mean
Papua and Rabaul, but will not affect trade between Sydney and Melbourne and Melbourne and Adelaide.
– The standard rate of wages will govern that trade.
– In Japanese ships ?
– Yes. The Bill provides for the payment of the Australian standard rate of wages on ships engaged in the coastal trade, and if the Japanese do not pay that rate they cannot trade.
– I point OUt. that the honorable senator is discussing clause 3, and that clause 2 is before the Committee.
– Why have the Government come down with this paltry Bill of six clauses instead of proclaiming the Act as a whole?
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I desire to offer a word of advice to my old friend Senator Guthrie. We know what a splendid fight he put up for the seamen and the part he took in framing the Navigation Act, and as a member of the Commission to which he has referred, I realize that he may feel a little indignant at the delay that has occurred in the proclamation of the Act. But what is the use of flogging a dead horse? Here, now, is an attempt on the part of the Government to bring the Act into force as soon as possible, and, remembering what he has done for the Australian mercantile marine, I suggest that .he do all in his power to assist the Government in passing the measure so that the Act may be given effect to without any further delay. I am quite sure he would not like any one to charge -him with doing anything to lead to further delay. He is justly entitled to every credit for what he has done in the interests of our seamen; and now that we have an attempt to give effect to the Act, I ask him, in all friendliness, to lend his assistance.
Senator GARDINER (New South Wales [8.14]. - I am glad that Senator Guthrie is showing some of that persistence in regard to this measure which caused the Government of which I was a member so much embarrassment. But we were at war then, and there was some reason for the delay. Now peace has been proclaimed, and I do not know why the Act has not been given effect to. The Government should have sufficient courage to say that legislation passed by this Parliament shall be proclaimed without any further delay. This delay is probably due to some outside influence.
– I am going to say directly who is responsible for the delay.
– I am pleased that Senator Guthrie is showing some of his old fighting spirit. The reasons that were good for withholding the proclamation when I was in the Government are no longer good. We were at war then.
– But that was 1912, remember.
– I remember being present at a festive gathering a few weeks ago, and being called upon to defend Parliament from a charge of being the greatest “ go-slow “ institution in the world. But, after listening to Senator Guthrie, and remembering that it was in 1903 that a Commission was appointed to investigate the position of our seamen that the Act was passed in 1912, and that in 1919 Senator Guthrie is still demanding the proclamation of that Act, I feel almost ashamed that I did defend Parliament from the charge referred to. I am pleased that Senator Guthrie is showing a flash’ of his youth again and is stirring up the Government. I hope they will advance some good reason to show why the whole Act should not be proclaimed. The Navigation Act as a piece of legislation is an absolute monument to the capacity of the Federal Parliament. The Government should have the courage to say that Australia governs itself, and that an Act having been passed by a majority in both Houses in this Parliament shall be proclaimed, and they will give effect to it. They are proposing in this Bill to deal with the matter piecemeal. I have no time for men who are afraid of the consequence of what this Parliament has done.
– It is rotten.
– I indorse that emphatic statement of Senator Guthrie’s; it is rotten. I hope that the Government will recognise that an Act of this Parliament passed in 1912 should be proclaimed in operation. During the time the war was raging there may have been substantial reasons’ for declining to proclaim the Act in operation.
– The Act was passed two years before the war, and the honorable senator was in the Government at the time.
– I can understand Senator Guthrie being a few years out in dealing with this matter. As a matter of fact, two years before the war I was not a member of any Government. I was a member of the Government after war broke out, and I have the happy recollection that I was a member of it for the two years in which the -most effective war administration was carried on inAustralia.
– The Fisher. Government was in office in 1910.
– Of that Government Senators Guthrie and myself were loyal supporters, but the influence which we could exert in an endeavour to bring the’ Navigation Act into opera.tion after 1912 was no more effective than that which should be exerted by Senator Mulcahy. We had at that time no voice in the council of Ministers.
– If the honorable senator had had such a voice he would probably have done just what the other fellow did.
– I suppose so. Senator de Largie will realize that while the war was raging there may have been difficulty about proclaiming the Act, as we would not care to do anything which might embarrass the Home Government.
– It was by general consent that it was not proclaimed.
– That is so: there was a mutual agreement between us, with the exception of Senator Guthrie, that the Act should not then be proclaimed. I admit “that even at that time Senator Guthrie was persistently pegging away with a view to having the proclamation issued. Let me say now that it would be less trouble for the Government to issue a proclamation bringing the. whole of the Navigation Act into operation than to pass this Bill. To proclaim the Act need give offence to no other nation. This legislation is ours, and we take the whole of the responsibility for passing it If it contains any provision which in the light of the experience of the years that have passed require amendment we should proclaim the Act in operation as a whole, and then let the Government bring down the necessary Bill to amend it. Under this Bill the Government propose to pro claim certain portions of the Act’ applying to certain places.
– The honorable senator is going wide of the clause before the Committee.
– The question before the Committee has reference to the time when this Bill shall come into operation, and in view of the fact that the effect of passing this Bill would be to postpone the proclamation of the Navigation Act as a whole, I am justified in making references to the Navigation Act to show why the Committee should not pass clause 2. The .Navigation Act could be brought into operation without offence to any nation, and it ought to be proclaimed openly and straightforwardly. It will be better for Australia if that course is adopted. If because of some fear we shift and side-step and deviate in_the slightest degree from what Parliament has willed, so much the worse for Australia. I hope that no influence will be permitted to delay the operation of the most magnificent piece of legislation dealing with navigation passed in any Parliament in the world. I am glad that Senator Guthrie is pressing the necessity for proclaiming the Navigation Act upon the present Government, as he pressed it upon the Government of the day when I had a seat on the other side of this chamber.
– There seems to be some misapprehension with regard to the Bill. Every honorable senator who was a member of the Senate during the time when, the Navigation Bill was under consideration will bear witness to the splendid work which was done by Senator Guthrie, and the great, services he performed on behalf of the seamen. I sat ‘ alongside the honorable senator for about five years, and during that time I think he dreamt of nothing but navigation. What are we trying to do in this Bill ? We are not in a position to proclaim the Navigation Act as a whole, in the first place, because we are not ready.
– Because the Government want to appoint a clerk as Director of Navigation.
– Although the general principles of the Navigation Act are quite sound, it must be recognised that amendments are required in some direction as the result of developments- since the Act was passed, in connexion with wireless, ship construction, bulkheads, and the general protection of passengers. It is the intention of the Government to proclaim at once the provisions of. the Navigation Act dealing with manning, in order that every ship may be manned with a sufficient crew. In the next place, it is our intention to proclaim those provisions which secure decent accommodation for seamen. Then we intend to proclaim the provisions which will secure the payment of standard wages on every ship trading on the Australian coast. Some reference has been made to trading ‘ by Japanese, but I point out that if this Bill is passed, that matter will be dealt with, because the Japanese vessels will be unable to1 trade on the Australian coast unless the men employed upon them are paid Australian white men’s wages. A fourth principle of the Navigation Act which will be given effect to, if we pass this Bill, is that dealng with the competition of coloured crews. That will be met by the provision that vessels trading on the Aus-, tralian coast must trade under conditions which will be a bar to the employment of cheap coloured labour. The introduction of this Bill redeems the promise made by Senator Millen on behalf of the Government, that the provisions of the Navigation Act to which I have referred would be proclaimed in ‘ operation at once. The other provisions of the Act deal with questions like wireless and similar questions. Honorable senators will remember that, after the disaster to the Titanic, I brought down an amending Navigation Bill, which was framed as the result of a world’s conference that dealt with ship construction, bulkheads, compartments, and the necessity for the despatch of wireless information of the presence of icebergs. That Bill was passed by the Senate, but its provisions are not entirely applicable to the conditions prevailing to-day. The provisions of the Act, which will not be ‘brought into operation under this Bill apply very largely to trade in other parts of the world. Honorable senators will agree that reasonable notice ought to be given to shipowners if they are asked to comply with provisions requiring better accommodation on their boats for passengers and seamen. During the last two years, whilst shipping has been under the control of the Government, we have made every effort to provide accommodation on Australian coastal ships complying with the provisions of the’ Navigation Act. Senator Guthrie has said that he hopes that this Bill will be rejected, and I ask him, in the circumstances, whether he desires that there should be a delay of even one day in securing to seamen decent accommodation upon the vessels upon which they are employed?
– That will be provided for if the whole Act is proclaimed.
– Does the honorable senator desire that coloured crews should be allowed to compete with seamen on our coast ? , The drafting of regulations and the organization of the _ staff have not progressed sufficiently to enable us to proclaim the Act in operation as a whole, but that is no reason why Australian seamen should be asked to continue to carry on their work under conditions that are not regarded as satisfactory by any of them. The one desire of the Government is to proclaim the Act as a whole at the earliest possible moment. But if they issued such a proclamation to-morro’w they would find that something like 200 or 300 regulations had still to be drafted to give it real effect.
– The Government have had nine years in. which to make the necessary preparations for proclaiming the Act.
– I have heard that kind of tiling several times.
– There is no other instance in any part. of the world of an Act being held up for nine years. .
– I admit that. I agree- with Senator Gardiner that the proclamation of the Navigation Act was postponed during the war by common consent, though I admit that Senator Guthrie objected to its postponement. The delay was agreed to at the request of the British Government. I may tell honorable senators that I have commissioned boats in Australia during the period of the war that I would not permit to trade in times of peace. “When we had to export our wheat and supplies for our people who were fighting under difficulties on the other side of the world, we could not look too closely into the conditions of the ship.
– The Act waa passed in 1912, two years before the war.
– I was not a member of the Government, nor was Senator Gardiner a’ member” of the Government, before the wai-. I ask that in the interests of Australian seamen the provisions of the Navigation Act securing the payment of a standard rate of wage3 and the exclusion of cheap coloured la bour from vessels engaged in trade on our coast shall be proclaimed as early as possible. I have said that in introducing this Bill we are honouring the pledge given by the Government, and I may add that it represents -part and parcel of the settlement of the last seamen’s strike. I hope that Senator Guthrie will continue the great work he has done on behalf of the seamen, and will not prevent the pro’clamation of the provisions of the Navigation Act to which I have referred.
– I can quite understand Senator Guthrie’s impatience at the delay in proclaiming the Navigation Act in operation, but much as I sympathize, with him on that account, I cannot vote against this Bill, because, as Senator Russell has explained, by passing it we shall be able to bring into operation almost immediately the four great principles of the Navigation Act which have been referred to. I cannot understand the delay in proclaiming the Act. It was passed in 1912. I had’ the honour to occupy the seat which you now adorn, Mr. Chairman, during the period of the consideration of ,the measure. The Bill was regarded as a stopgap. It occupied the attention of honorable senators between the passage of one measure and the presentation of another. Whenever the Senate was waiting -for a job, so to speak, we picked up the Navigation Bill-
– And no more important Bill was ever passed by the Federal Parliament.
– That is probably correct. It was shelved time after time, despite the fact that honorable senators took a peculiar interest in it, although few of them had actual knowledge or experience of sea-going conditions. The Act contains 425 sections, and, although it was passed seven years ago, it has not yet been proclaimed. During the first few months -following upon its passage there were many who wondered what prevented its proclamation.
– The war broke out shortly afterwards.
– Not for almost two years afterwards. Senator de Largie, like myself, became rather impatient as well as curious over the delay. We were given to understand that there were certain grave difficulties in- regard to the navigation laws of other parts of the world, which .stood in the way. We know that there were, apparently, good reasons for delay. Nevertheless, it was remarkable that a measure to which Parliament had devoted so much time and attention, ad which was practically founded upon an extensive report of a Royal Commission, should, have been so long shelved. It appeared to be singular that a Federal Act should have to wait upon an enactment by the Parliament of another part of the world.
– The King gave his assent to it in 1913.
– A change of Government was responsible for part of the delay.
– I do not know which Government was to blame, or whether one was more blameworthy than another; but honorable senators have never been able to fully understand the causes for delay, ‘and neither have the seamen around our coasts who were to have benefited by the measure. Of course, when the war broke out there were obvious reasons for still further delay, and no one grumbled very much. Now, however, that we have returned to conditions of peace, people are beginning to wonder once more. The Minister’s explanation, so far as it went, was a fair one. He indicated a number of reasons which, to the Government at any rate, must appear to be good. Further, the Minister has definitely assured the Senate that matters vital to all who earn their living in our coastal shipping trade shall be given_ consideration without any more waste” of time.
– The proclamation of the specified portions of the Act is intended to honour the promises of Senator Millen while he was mediating during the course of the seamen’s strike.
– There is nothing in the Bill having to do with that.
– At any rate, the promise of the Government affords some little gleam of comfort; and it is to be hoped that they will keep their pledges, in this regard, at any rate. I believe the proclamation of those portions of the Act covered by this Bill will tend to materially benefit Australian seamen.
– But they are not covered by the Bill.
– The Minister has assured Senator Guthrie that they will be brought within the scope of the Bill. The exclusion of cheap coloured labour is another subject to which the Minister re* f erred. The coloured labour problem is serious in the eyes of all white men who earn their living on our coastal shipping. I will support the Bill, because I believe it will confer some degree of benefit. But I again enter my protest against the delay in proclaiming the whole of the Act. Probably no other Parliament in the world has had a similar experience. Seven years ago the Navigation Bill was passed through all stages, but it still awaits proclamation. The Federal Parliament has established an unique record in an age of records.
– I do not desire to delay the Bill. Indeed, I would prefer to kill it altogether. What are the seamen going to get out of it ? Absolutely nothing ! Years ago this Parliament appointed a Royal Commission, which travelled the length and breadth of Australia, collected a huge amount of evidence, and presented an extensive report.
– Will you indicate what the seamen would get, if the whole of the Act was proclaimed, over and above the benefits ‘to be derived by the proclamation of the few sections indicated in the Bill?
– They will get nothing.
– Do you suggest that they will get no more by the proclamation of the Act than by the proclamation of a small portion?
– They will get nothing at all. Instead of the Government proclaiming the whole of the Act, and nothing but the whole of the Act, a few sections only are to be proclaimed; and in those few-
– They get everything ‘they want.
– If they do, the honorable senator must know more than
I do about this subject. Under this Bill it is proposed that the Government may proclaim those sections of the Navigation Act which permit of seamen who have broken a civil contract being punished as criminals. These are the sections against which I put up a strong fight in this Chamber. Honorable senators who were present at the time will recollect that my opposition to them extended over two or three weeks. The Bill which is now before us will empower the Government to proclaim those sections of the principal Act which will brand as a criminal a seaman who absents himself from his ship until 8 o’clock in the morning, when he ought to be on board at 7 o’clock. I hold that the whole of the Act should be proclaimed or no portion of it. Parliament, in its wisdom, having passed it, why should we allow the “Vice-President of the Executive Council to decide what sections of it shall be brought into operation ?
– The honorable senator , is not prepared to trust his own Government ?
– I am not prepared to trust the present Government. The gaols of Australia are not big. enough to hold all the men who committed offences under the principal Act in connexion with the last maritime strike. That Act contains some 425 sections, and the Government have power to make regulations in respect of 200 of them. The man .who should exercise control over navigation should be a navigator; but I am given to understand that the Government contemplate the appointment of a Director of Navigation who is not a nautical man. Imagine the claims of nautical men who have served in the North Sea during the period of the war, who have been torpedoed half-a-dozen times, when a prize is* offered like the position of Director of Navigation, being turned down in favour of those of a- man who never even volunteered his services to the nation. The passing of this Bill, I believe, is intended to afford a pretext for the creation of a Department of Navigation.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 to 6 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Unfortunately, this is not a new Tariff Bill. Probably, that will come later on. As honorable senators are aware, the moment that Tariff proposals are laid before Parliament the Government commence to collect Customs duties under them. We have collected quite a lot of money as the result of Tariff proposals which have been submitted to Parliament since the outbreak of war, and this Bill is intended to validate the collection of that money.
– Do the Tariff proposals apply to any extended schedule of goods ?
– The first lot of proposals embraced a fairly large list. The necessity for this measure arises from the fact that if the collection of duties introduced into the other branch of the Legislature on 10th August, and 26th September, 1917, and 25th September, 1918, be not validated, the Customs Deportment will be open to claims for refunds by importers. The measure is, therefore, a very simple one, its purpose being to enable us to retain the revenue which we have collected.
– It is not so much what is contained in this Bill as what is omitted from it that strikes one with amazement. The measure is vastly different from that which a number of us have been expecting to be submitted for our consideration during the past- twelve months.
– This Bill would have had to be submitted in any case. *
– But it should have followed the introduction of a new Tariff Bill. Only a few months ago the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Watt) made a pronouncement in Melbourne as definite as any which has ever been made by any Minister in any country in the world. He said that at the very beginning of this session a Bill to amend the Tariff would be presented to Parliament. What has become of that promise? It has been relegated to the limbo of promises broken by the Government. We are just about to go before the electors, and I am wondering how the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who is in charge of this Bill,, and who has always been a Protectionist in words, but not in deeds, will justify his position as a member of the present Government.
– I .think that my record as a Protectionist is fairly well established.
– The honorable senator is a member of a Government which promised a Protective Tariff, but has failed to honour its promise.
– What more Protection does the honorable senator want than has been enjoyed by manufacturers during the past five years ?
– Senator de Largie was a strong Protectionist a few years ago. He has a right to change his opinion, and I believe that ‘he is now a Free Trader.
– I am what the honorable senator’s Leader is.
– Wherever my Leader may stand upon the Tariff question, he certainly does not chop and change his position from year to year. He has always been consistent. I know he was a member of a Labour Government, and as a Free Trader he may be to blame.
– -He brought on a Protectionist Tariff.
– Senator ‘ Gardiner may say that he was influenced by other Free Traders, and that as a result Ministers were prevented from taking definite action. The introduction of a scientific Tariff to assist the establishment of new industries in Australia and those already in operation is urgently needed. It will probably be another year before Parliament will be asked to deal with the new Tariff, and during the whole of that time our Australian industries will be without sufficient protection. Many new industries might -be commenced if they could get the protection that was promised. Before the session opened on the 25th June the Treasurer (Mr. Watt) delivered a speech in Melbourne, in which he said that one of the first proposals to he brought forward in the new session would be a proper Tariff Bill. It is regrettable to realize that nothing has been done. We are again going to the people of Austraia with the same old story, and candidates will be telling the electors that it is necessary to have an up-to-date Tariff to make Australia a self-supporting nation. Under existing conditions raw material is shipped to the other side of the world, where it is manufactured into the finished article by cheap labour, and then returned to this country” after paying a double freight. The whole business must be nauseating to those good Australians who wish to see this country selfsupporting. Unless we can establish new industries, and have our Australian people working under satisfactory conditions, Australia will have a hard row to hoe in trying to meet her enormous debt. Notwithstanding the promise made by the Win-the-War Government, when they appealed to the electors two and a-half years ago, that they would introduce a scientific Tariff, nothing has been done. We are now dissolving Parliament, and the only Tariff placed before us is this pretence.
– What is a scientific Tariff?
– Senator Thomas is a scientific Free Trader, and as he will be a member of this Senate for another three years, unless there is a double dissolution, he may have the satisfaction of taking part in framing the new Tariff. As the Senate has still about twenty measures to discuss, I do not intend to take up time in defining what I consider a scientific Tariff. This measure is not the redemption of the promise made by the Government, and is merely a Bill to validate the collection of duties on certain items. The people of Australia will now have an opportunity of dealing with those who have . broken their promises, and the members of the Government will realize that they cannot break promises of vital importance as they have done during the last two and a-half years.
– I express regret that a schedule is not attached to this Bill showing what the Tariff proposals are, because the Senate is entitled to know exactly what is under discussion. One of the schedules we are called upon to validate goes back to the 10th August, 1917. It is only a short schedule, and deals principally with intoxicants, and in one particular item reduces the duty on cinematograph films from 2d. general and l½d. preference to 1½d. general and1d. preference per foot. The Tariff of the 25th September also deals particularly with intoxicants, and, in effect, raises the duty we are validating on these articles by about 25 per cent. I do not take any exception to the highest possible duties being imposed upon imported ales, porters, and spirits, neither do I take particular exception to. any of the items wo are called upon to validate; but I should like to draw the attention of the Senate to the pronouncement made so long ago as August, 1917, by the then. Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Jensen) when, by proclamation on the 10th of that month, the Government also prohibited the importation of the following articles : - Ale and other beer, porter, cider and perry, spirituous, in bulk or in bottle; potable spirits, perfumed spirits, and bay rum; biscuits, confectionery, eggs in shell or otherwise, fur apparel, perfumery; jewellery, imitation jewellery and imitation precious stones; bodies for motor vehicles, whether imported separately or forming the part of a complete vehicle. I think honorable senators have noticed the controversy surrounding the recent prohibition of sheep dips. Many honorable senators have also had protests from the reputable English firms of Fry and Cadbury in connexion with the prohibition of confectionery or manufactured chocolates. I do not object to the policy of any . Government which is intended to keep as much work as possible within the boundaries of this continent; and I have argued time and again, and shall continue doing so, in favour of protection for Australian industries. I think, it is a drastic action of the Customs Department to prohibit particular items, and it is not carrying out in a constitutional way the policy of Parliament.
– If a Minister can prohibit the importation, he can also allow goods to come in free.
– Not altogether. The Customs Act gives the Minister power to prohibit, but not to reduce duties or dispense with them. Now that peace has come, I earnestly draw the attention of the Government to the question of prohibition. A fair and proper way of keeping out goods, if we agree to do so, is by. imposing duties high enough to exclude them in n. legitimate way. The Government should not stretch the powers of the Customs Act too far. The
Act was not intended to allow the Minister to prohibit the importation of certain articles, and by so doing make a favorite of one importer to the disadvantage of another. The policy of the Government would be carried out more satisfactorily by introducing a proper Tariff measure into Parliament, and I hope we have now seen the last of these irregular Customs prohibitions. I again appeal to the Government not to use prohibition by the Customs Minister for building up Australian manufactures, but to regulate trade in a constitutional and legitimate way by bringing before Parliament a schedule of duties. A reduction took place over two years ago in connexion with cinematograph films. I believe our importations of films come principally from America, and I regret that many of them are of a questionable character. I am certainly sorry to see the public of Australia being catered for almost exclusively by what I might term other than. high-class and clean picture films. When the Tariff is introduced, I should like to see the duty on these goods raised, to enable our Australians to. have an opportunity of producing something in accord with Australian sentiment, in place of the thrilling, hare-brained American pictorials now offered to the people. I submit these observations because, on another occasion, I have been ruled out of order in referring to them. I support the validating Bill, and ask the Government not to go too far during the recess with the powers they can use, because little good and considerable confusion will be caused thereby.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and passed through, its remaining stages without request.
– In moving -
That this Bill Ee now read a second time.
I would point out that a measure for validating the Excise duties is generally laid on the table of the House with the Tariff proposals. Excise duties are being collected on the authority of the Customs Tariff Act 1908-11, and Tariff resolutions introduced on 12th March, 1914. Since the latter date several amendments have been made in the schedule. All Excise duties demanded or collected subsequently were validated ‘ by the Tariff Validation Act of 1917, and similar action is now necessary in regard to the amendments introduced in the present Parliament, and which are specified in the Bill before the Senate.
– I wish to refer, in connexion with this validiation of Excise duties, which have been increased by 33 to 50 per cent., to what, from a manufacturing standpoint, is a mistake in imposing Excise duty of ls. per gallon on methylated spirit, which hitherto was practically free. The alcohol is practically destroyed in the process of methylation, and the spirit is used very largely by Australian manufacturers. As ‘ an example, I may state that methylated spirit is used in the manufacture of a disinfectant which is now taking the place of German lysol, so that if an Excise duty of ls. per gallon is demanded on methylated spirits for manufacturing purposes, the cost of the manufactured article must necessarily be increased. I believe that about 900,000 gallons of methylated spirits is made in Australia every year, and that more than one-half of this amount is’ used by Australian manufacturers. It is employed in the manufacture of varnishes, lacquers, polishes, liniments, disinfectants, and other productions, and in the denser suburban areas is used in spirit lamps. Many people also buy it in small quantities from grocers for domestic uses. A good many small chemical industries using this spirit have grown Up as a result of the war. One, in particular, I have in mind is’ the manufacture of chloroform, which previously was almost exclusively imported from Germany. The owner of this small factory makes just a small amount of profit, which is practically destroyed by the Excise duty, and but for his enthusiasm he would have been discouraged from developing his business. Methylated spirit is used in many other chemical preparations, which are displacing imported articles, but, unfortunately, the imported product, though containing methylated spirit in many cases, comes in duty free. I have had an opportunity of making representations to the Minister for Customs showing how local manufacturers, especially those connected with young and growing industries, are handicapped in this respect, and I feel quite sure that when the schedule was before Parliament the Minister in charge of the Bill could not have fully appreciated the incidence of this Excise duty. I should like to move some addition to the Bill, to exempt from Excise duty all methylated spirit used in manufactures, butI am afraid that after . the lapse of two years it is now too late. I am, however, hopeful that when a scientific Tariff is brought down we shall “not penalize local manufacturers by continuing this Excise duty while at the same time allowing overseas articles containing methylated spirits to come in duty free. I am bringing this matter under the notice of the Senate in the hope that the Minister will consult with his colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs, so that in the administration of the Act some endeavour will be made to give relief to some of the industries concerned.
– I would not have spoken on this Bill but for Senator Pratten’s remarks, which remind me of the fact that I have always been misunderstood in the public life in this country. As a pronouncedFree Trader, Protection to me has always been such an utter fallacy that I never could support the policy. We are now told that certain growing industries are being seriously handicapped by this Excise duty. That complaint invalidates the whole Protectionist doctrine. What is the raw material for one business is the manufactured article for another, and I could never understand how we can make things cheap by means of Protection. I have never bothered much about that matter; but I mayremind honorable senators that we had a. good lesson of what vested interests would do during the period of the war. In that critical time, when the interests of the Commonwealth were in danger, these industries, which in pre-war years were encouraged under the Protectionist policy, took every advantage of the fact that shipping facilities were interfered with and raised their prices to the highest possible limit. I am not a believer in this tinkering with production by means of Excise or Protectionist duties. The only proper course is for the State to undertake production for use and hot for profit.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 (Short title).
.- But for the diatribe of my honorable friend, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), I would not have spoken again upon this Bill. I am prepared to test the feeling of the Committee as to whether the Australian manufacturer shall pay an Excise duty of ls. per gallon on methylated spirits, and whether goods from overseas, and containing methylated spirits, shall come in duty free. If that is one of the articles of Senator Gardiner’s faith, then I cannot understand it. It certainly is not the faith of a pure Free Trader, and I am equally certain it has nothing to do with the faith of a Protectionist. I am complaining that by this Excise Bill the Australian manufacturers are being unfairly penalized. The Minister will be able to help if he expresses a little sympathy with the manufacturers who are in this unfortunate position, and if he will use his influence with his colleague, the Minister for Trade and Customs, in the administration of the Act. Imports are beginning to come in again, and if we allow some of our Allies to flood the Australian market with dutyfree articles containing methylated spirits and at the same time charge the home manufacturer . ls. per gallon Excise duty, certain small but growing Australian industries will certainly be strangled.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without request; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
.- In moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
I wish to say that it is largely a formal measure. When the Premiers met in conference during the war there was an agreement that the Commonwealth should be the only borrower for Australia during the period of the war. Tasmania was the only State that accepted the scheme, and it is now proposed to assist that State by the redemption of a loan for £300,000. The money market is easier, and the Commonwealth is not likely to be a borrower for some time. But it is desirable to consolidate these loans in Commonwealth stock. It will not increase the debt, but will get rid of the Tasmanian debentures. Tasmania will be liable for interest and for principal when they become due, but to the Commonwealth, instead of to those who now hold the debentures.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 (Payment of principal and interest).
– I should like to ask the Acting Minister for Defence what Tasmania gets out of this ? My honorable friends from Tasmania are so quiet that a representative of New South Wales must make up for their deficiency. The Minister says that the purpose of this Bill is to substitute the Commonwealth Government for the debenture-holders of this Tasmanian loan. I should like to know whether there is any difference between the interest which the Commonwealth will pay for the money and the interest which the Tasmanian Government will pay the Commonwealth in respect of this loan ?
– There will be practically no difference. We asked the States in time of war to borrow, through the Commonwealth, and Tasmania was the only State that loyally complied with that request. Tasmania floated debentures for a loan of £300,000, and those debentures were taken up .
– At how much per cent. ?
– I believe at ordinary. Commonwealth rates. It is now desired to take over the loan floated by the Tasmanian Government.
When this Bill comes into operation, Tasmania will have £300,000 of loan money, and will have spent it, and will owe the Commonwealth £300,000, and will be liable for interest and principal as they become due.
– Tasmania should receive a bonus for its common sense in this matter.
– I quite agree with the interjection of my honorable friend. It is wise for a Government to consolidate their finances. We are paying 4½ per cent, free of taxation for some of our money, and 5 per cent, liable to taxation for the rest of it. I want to know what rate of interest Tasmania- will pay the Commonwealth under this Bill? Will it be more or less than- the two rates of interest mentioned ?
– War rates all round.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 5 and 6 and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators are aware that owing to our soldiers being at the Front, an Act was passed by this Parliament to deal with deceased soldiers’ estates. That Act gave the Minister for Defence the power to make full and equitable adjustments amongst the parties concerned in an estate. In . some cases -wills were made, and in some cases, also, their disposition of property was not very clear. The Bill was passed to deal with the disposition of military property, deferred pay, personal apparel, and so on, and under it the Minister for Defence was made the final arbiter in the disposition of the property of deceased soldiers. The operation of the Act during, the period of the war has been most satisfactory. That measure was not introduced, until some time in 1918, but it was not made retrospective to cover the estates of deceased soldiers who had enlisted before the date upon Which it was brought into operation. The object of this Bill is really to make the existing law retrospective to cover all who enlisted. The system which has been adopted has led to simplicity and to finality at an early date in dealing with these estates. In most cases the operation of the measure has been just. It is true that in some cases we- have paid money to the wrong persons.
– A mere incident in the Defence Department.
– And in some of those cases we have found it very hard to get the money back. To realize fully what domestic complications exist in Australia, one has to be in charge of the Defence Department in war time. We have in some cases paid twice to avoid serious hardship, and honorable senators will agree that it “is not a mistake to err on the side of mercy in such cases. There are two or three other Bills which I should like ‘to go on with, but if honorable senators are not disposed to assist me, I must postpone their consideration until to-morrow.
– This is a small Bill in volume, it consists only of - a few clauses ; but it is not quite the innocuous measure which the Acting Minister for Defence has represented it to be. He has stated that the Defence Department has occasionally, and, of course, inevitably, paid amounts to wrong persons. I know that in some such cases the Department has acted very generously, and on discovering the right persons have paid them also, and have taken their chance of inducing the persons who received payment wrongly to disgorge. This Bill is deliberately designed to make the Act we passed last year retrospective. We passed the existing Act in 1918, and confined its application to the estates of soldiers who died after a certain date. Since then it has been necessary to deal with the estates of soldiers who died before that date, and the persons interested, as their representatives, in their estates and effects have rightly proceeded upon the assumption that the law would stand as it was before the passing of the Deceased Soldiers’ Estates Act of 1918. Now the Senate is asked to agree to a measure which will push the application of the existing law further back than we provided for, and people who have taken action under the correct assumption to which I have referred will have been absolutely misguided and find their conclusions erroneous. I will cite a particular instance from a letter which was communicated in August last to the Defence Department. For obvious reasons, I do not propose to mention the names of the solicitors acting in the matter or the name of the soldier whose estate was in question. I wish, further, only to say that personally I am not in the slightest degree professionally interested in the matter; I am interested in it only as a member of the Senate. It is as a member of the Senate that my attention was drawn to the procedure of the Defence Department in this connexion and their procedure in relation to this Bill. I may say that in the instance to which I refer there is no doubt whatever that our Act of 1918 does not apply to the deceased soldier’s estate. Those who were concerned proceeded on the assumption which I have just indicated, that the Act does not apply to the estate. It will apply, however, if we, by this legislation, push back the operation of the measure passed last year. Without any apprehension of such action as the Government have taken by the introduction of this Bill, the representatives of the deceased soldier wrote on the 13th August, 1919, to the Secretary of the Department of Defence. This, by -the way, was not the first letter which had passed between the parties concerned. It was one which was despatched in the course of a “long continued correspondence. In their letter the solicitors provided the Defence Department freely and fully with advice upon the Act, in relation to this particular case, which had been furnished to them by leading counsel of Melbourne. The solicitors put all their cards upon- the table and acquainted the Defence Department with the strength of their case. They said, “We do not want to sue, but If we are forced to do so we shall be compelled to> sue the Acting Minister for Defence (Senator Russell) and the Assistant Minister (Mr. Wise). We do not desire to serve those Ministers personally.” Eventually, however, they were forced to sue. They asked the Defence authorities if they would instruct the Crown Solicitor to accept service, but they received merely a reply to the effect that the matter would be considered, and that they would be further advised. They gave that response a “chaser,” and got another reply of a similar character. Once more .they asked that the Crown Solicitor be authorized to accept service, so as to obviate the necessity of enforcing personal service upon the Ministers. They heard nothing further until they casually learned through the columns of the press that the Government were about to shove a measure through Parliament which would prevent them from ever recovering. I will quote the letter of 13th August, and I ask the honorable senators to observe the tone and attitude of the deceased soldiers’ representatives.
Secretary for Defence,
Dear Sir, [Re- , Deceased.]
With reference to your letter ‘ to us of the 31st ult., we are extremely reluctant to institute legal proceedings to recover the amount of the deceased’s military estate, owing to the smallncss of the amount in issue, and we have accordingly placed the facts ( including your two letters, one dated 16th July,to our client, the executor of the deceased’s will, and the other, dated 31st July, to us) before leading counsel for his opinion thereon, and Ave are advised by him that such legal proceedings, if instituted, will be successful, and that the reasons for the refusal of the Minister for Defence to pay the military estate to the executor of the deceased alford no defence. He further advises that, regulation 12 is ultra vires, as those regulations are subservient to the Deceased Soldiers’ Estate Act 1913, and do not enable the Ministor to take away the Common Law right of an executor who has duly proved the will to require payment of moneys due to the testator, or to make a new will for the testator entirely in opposition to his wishes, and to give his property to persons not in law entitled to it.
He is also of opinion that, even if regulation 12 were not ultra vires, it has no application to this case, as it merely empowers the Minister, where he considers that there are any special reasons or circumstances which make it inequitable or undesirable to pay the military estate “in the manner provided in these regulations,” to pay such military estate to such persons as are approved by him.
The words “ the manner provided in these regulations “ clearly refer to regulations 7 and 8, which apply only to a case where the deceased left a will which the executor has failed to prove, or where no executor is named in the will, or where it is ascertained that there is no legal personal representative.
Here is a will which has been proved, and the Minister had notice of the fact before he directed the payment to the widow.
He also advises that section 6 of the Act, which you refer to, affords no protection to the Commonwealth or to the Minister, as clause (a) only relates to dispositions of a military estate in pursuance of the Act, whilst clauses (b) and (c) relate merely to dispositions made prior to the . commencement of. the Act, which was the 25th December, 1918. Here the disposition was made long after the commencement of the Act.
Lastly, ho advises that Part V. of the Administration and Probate Act 1915 has no ap- . plication. That Act enables the Supreme Court or a Judge to direct payment of an amount not exceeding half or a third of the income of the estate of a deceased person for the proper maintenance of the widow and young children, but it certainly does not enable the Minister to do so, and even a Judge will only do it after hearing both sides, and will not act on ex parte statements of the widow, nor where it is shown that the failure of the deceased to provide for the proper maintenance of the widow was justified by all the circumstances of the case.
Furthermore, it only enables a Judge to give a portion of the income of the estate, and not any part of the corpus, to the widow.
We have written to you at somewhat great length, as we are anxious to avoid litigation, and the cost consequent thereon, and we have stated our case toyou fully and fairly, in order to enable the Minister to reconsider his decision, and we propose to delay issuing a writ for one week from this date for that purpose.
In the event of the Minister retaining his opinion and refusing to pay the amount claimed by our client, we shall be pleased to be informed whether you will instruct the Federal Crown Solicitor to accept service of process, in order to avoid personal service.
The writ has been issued. The solicitors feel that, little as they desire if, they are bound to incur the expense involved in action. The writ is awaiting service, and they have been asking the Crown Solicitor and the Department for Defence to accept service rather than that the Ministers should be personally concerned. Even at this stage nothing ‘ but formal replies have been received. The solicitors have discovered that a Bill is to be forced through Parliament which will have the effect of defeating their cause. It is a procedure which is against all principle ; it is not a “ fair go.” Usually, when legislation of a retrospective character is introduced a clause is inserted to save existing rights and pending proceedings. This is ex post facto legislation of the worst type. I do not . attribute to the Acting Minister for Defence (Senator Russell) any personal blame or responsibility. I do not expect any Minister to carry in his recollection all the details of individual cases in which his Department may be involved. I feel strongly, however, that before this Bill receives the sanction of Parliament a case such as this, which was obviously pending, and in respect to which the Minister, together with the Assistant Minister for Defence (Mr. Wise), would have been served with a writ but for the courtesy of these solicitors, should be equitably provided for. A case such as this should receive some individual consideration rather than be dragged in with the whole of the general class of cases wherein people have failed to make any attempt to assert their rights, and, indeed, may not have been aware of their rights. Here, the parties concerned were aware of their rights. Thev take counsel’s opinion, which was freely and fully furnished to the Department. The amount concerned is but small; too small, indeed, to justifythe solicitors in going to the expense of litigation. Small as it is, however, it is ‘doubtless of considerable interest to the clients, and they desire to be freed from costs as far as possible.
– What interest would the Minister for Defence have in holding on to this estate?
– I do not accuse the Minister, either of personal interest or individual knowledge, in this matter.
– Perhaps the claim of the rightful owner has not been established ?
– The Minister has had notice that the will has been proved; and, in ordinary circumstances, the amount should have been paid long ago. But it was not paid, for the reason that theMinister has paid somebody else. The Department has taken the responsibility of paying some other party, in defiance of the will. The Department now claims greater rights in this matter, even than a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria ; who, in dealing with an unprovidedfor widow, would at least hear both sides; and who, if he decided to make an allowance to her, would naturally allow it out of the income from the estate, and would not hand over the whole of the estate itself. We will be doing a manifest and a grave injustice with our eyes wide open if we uphold the attitude of the Government by passing this Bill. Shortly after this measure had been introduced and reference had been made to it in the newspapers, a certain practitioner asked me if I could give him any information regarding it. I pointed out that I had not seen the Bill, and was not aware of its contents. However, I promised to secure a copy and forward it to him. This I did, and he was thunderstruck to realize that the Bill was of such a character as to wipe out the claim of his clients. What if the clients had said to their solicitors, “ You have lost us our cause through your efforts to extend courtesy and consideration to the Ministers. Confound your courtesy ! Why did you not pitch into them?” I do not know whether there are other cases of this nature; but, before the Bill becomes law, it should be amended by the insertion of a clause to save and except from its retrospective operation matters of the character to which I have drawn attention.
Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) [9.571.- In view of the serious statement of Senator Keating, I suggest that the debate be adjourned.
– Senator. Keating has dealt with one case only; but this Bill will affect thousands of cases.
– The Minister must realize that, in view of the remarks of Senator Keating, I shall be unable to allow this Bill to pass without conscientiously fighting it at every stage. I suggest that further discussion be postponed until the Minister shall have had an opportunity to look into the merits of the case which has been mentioned, and, if necessary, to bring in an amendment.
Debate (on motion by Senator 0’Keefe)i adjourned.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The measure is a. very simple one. When the Northern Territory was taken over by the Commonwealth, one of the conditions of the agreement entered into with South Australia was that the Commonwealth ‘should build a transcontinental line from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. In connexion with this condition, it was arranged that the Commonwealth should acquire the railway from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta, and should grant South Australia equal facilities for the transport of goods and passengers over it, to those provided by that State, and at rates not exceeding those which were in force at the date when the agreement was made in 1907. Since then, conditions have considerably changed, and the. South Australian Government have been compelled to raise the freights and fares on their own lines. But under the agreement which was entered into on the occasion to which I have referred, the Commonwealth cannot increase its ‘rates upon this particular railway. An arrangement has, therefore, been concluded between the South Australian Government and the Commonwealth, under which the former will permit the latter to charge rates upon it equal to those which may be in force from time to time in South Australia. The Bill aims at ratifying this arrangement. As everybody is aware, since the original agreement with South Australia was entered into, the wages of railway employees have been increased, and the cost of coal - indeed, of everything connected with railways- has been considerably enhanced. As a matter of fact, there is not a State in which the railway fares and freights have not been materially increased since 1907. Yet the Commonwealth has been unable to increase the rates on this particular line, and the South Australian Government have now agreed to release us from this disadvantageous arrangement. We hold that, as the line is practically a portion of the South Australian railway system, we should be permitted to charge similar rates to those charged ‘by the South Australian Government. The line has not proved a wonderful success, and the additional revenue which will be gained under this Bill will materially assist us in financing it. Upon most other lines, freights have risen 10, 12, and even 15 per cent. I believe that most honorable senators desire to see railways constructed, particularly in the more distant parts of Australia. But if we are obliged to run our lines . at rates which are obviously too low, we shall only succeed in piling up a debt which will seriously prejudice future railway construction in this country.
-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [10.5]. - When the Minister moved the second reading of this Bill, I had a momentary hope that we were about to witness . the fulfilment of the long-standing promise by the Commonwealth to construct a line of railway from’ Oodnadatta to the Katherine River. However, the Bill is of much less importance, and I suppose that South Australia will have to defer her just claim to the fulfilment of the agreement under which the Commonwealth is pledged to construct that railway. I understand that the matter to which this Bill relates is the subject of an arrangement between the South Australian and the Commonwealth Governments.
– Yes; the agreement is signed by Mr. W. M. Hughes and Mr. Peake.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN.And it will cover both increases and decreases in the rates charged upon the South Australian railways ?
– It is a measure that we ought to be given a little time to consider, although at present I do not see anything in it which is not fair, and reasonable to the contracting parties.
– As a member of the Public Accounts Committee, which conducted an inquiry into this matter, I may say that this Bill is based upon one of its recommendations. It relates to quite a simple matter, which was overlooked at the time the agreement was entered into between the Commonwealth and South Australia, and, owing to- the insertion of a wrong word in that agreement, South Australia has always held that the CommonAvealth could not increase its rates upon the line from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta. It is now recognised that the expenses of running the line are increasing each year, and that the losses upon it are becoming extremely heavy. Six months before it Avas taken over by the Commonwealth, a very small profit was made upon it by the South Australian Government. But ever since that time nothing but losses have been incurred, and these losses are rapidly increasing.
– To what does the honorable senator attribute those losses?
– To the increased cost of running the line. The Public Accounts Committee dealt with this matter in detail. It is absolutely necessary that the rates charged upon it shall be increased. Of course, wehave been assured by the South Australian authorities’ that if the rates are increased traffic upon the line will fall off. However, we must be prepared to face that contingency. It is not the ordinary traffic upon the line which will pay, in any circumstances, so much as the cattle trade. Even with , the increased charges the line will not prove remunerative. But this Bill will enable the Government to levy increased rates, and thus to reduce the loss which is being incurred by the Commonwealth to the extent of many thousands of pounds annually.
– I recognise that the principle underlying this Bill is’ a just one. ‘It is; not reasonable to expect the Commonwealth to continue running, a railway like that from Port Augusta to Oodnadatta at a loss, or at different rates from those charged upon the line connecting with Terowie. Some honorable senators may recollect that a large portion of the traffic which used to pass over this line has been stopped. I refer to the number of cattle that used to be conveyed from Oodnadatta, even to the Melbourne market. There has been a large diversion qf this traffic, owing to the difficulty experienced in getting stock from the locality indicated, consequent upon the embargo placed upon its entry into South Australia from Queensland. It was this stock traffice which enabled the line to be worked at a profit. It is also well known that for some years South Australia has been suffering from severe droughts. These have made it very difficult for stock to reach Oodnadatta. Quite recently the South Australian Government have expended a large sum of money in sinking artesian wells along the recognised cattle route, so as to facilitate the travelling of stock. In view of these facts, I do not think that any honorable senator, can object to this Bill. Under it the Commonwealth will not be able to charge any higher rate than the South Australian Government . would be able to charge if they possessed this particular line. But I do hope that the time is not far- distant when we shall all recognise that the true terminus of the railway is Port Darwin. If such an extension were carried out I believe that the line could be worked at a profit. Until then it cannot be expected to pay. Even if it were pushed forward only as far as the Macdonnell Ranges’, it would provide facilities for the working of that “highly metalliferous belt of country, and would bring very much nearer to us an area which is admirably suited to pastoral pursuits. Some honorable senators may have visited Oodnadatta-
– What is it like?
– I shall not attempt, to describe a trip to Oodnadatta, because there are several features I would like to stress which might, not be interesting to honorable senators.
– What is Oodnadatta like in the summer?
– I ask Senator Senior not to be drawn away from the Bill . by irrelevant interjections.
– I thank you, sir, for your timely reminder. Yet it may be interesting to honorable senators to know the influences which affect the traffic upon this particular line. In summer, Oodnadatta is certainly a very dry place. But it was never the intention of the South Australian Government that Oodnadatta should be the terminus of this line. The far-seeing statesman who planned it and who authorized its construction to its present terminus - I refer to the late Honorable O. C. Kingston - intended that the line should go farther, and serve the western district of Queensland as well as the Northern Territory. It is because the original plan is incomplete that there is a possibility of honorable senators taking exception to its construction. When the original intention has been fulfilled I am certain that the line will be as valuable to the Commonwealth as the overland line between Melbourne and Adelaide. I well remember the time when the arguments that are being brought forward in connexion with this proposal were used in relation to the present connexion between South Australia and Victoria. It will be for those who follow us to draw attention to the wisdom of Parliament in passing this Bill, which will be the means of encouraging development, in that important part of the Commonwealth. There is nothing in the Bill which will be prejudicial to either State, as it embodies an agreement between the Premier of South Australia and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
The amendments of the War Time Electoral Act 1917 provided for in this Bill arise from the changed conditions in regard to members^ of the Forces as a result of the cessation of hostilities and the return of the men from overseas. The number of men who will not have returned to Australia by the 13th December will be very small; 250,000 have already returned, S,000 are on their way back, and there are about 12,000 overseas. By the 13th December it is expected that all except 6,000 will have returned to Australia. It is, however, recognised that many of the unenrolled men will return to late to secure enrolment for the forthcoming elections, and that owing to sickness and other causes some who may have returned prior to the issue of the writs may not be enrolled, although every effort is being made to secure their enrolment under the provisions of the Electoral Act. The regulations will provide all necessary machinery. Where for any reason a returned member of the Forces is not enrolled as an elector at the time the rolls close for the purposes of the election, he will be able, on application, to obtain a certificate from the District Commandant. This certificate, after being indorsed by the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for the State with the name of the division for which the applicant is entitled to vote in pursuance of his military or naval enrolment, will enable him to Vote on polling day at any polling place in the State. If the applicant returned member indicates on his application that he is sick or infirm, absent from his State, or within his State, but more than 30 miles from a polling booth, he will be furnished with a postal vote certificate and the necessary ballot-papers to enable him to vote by post. Unenrolled members of the Forces who reach Australia from abroad at any time after the receipt of nominations for the elections will be enabled to vote before the Commonwealth Electoral Officer, or an officer authorized by him, at the first, or any subsequent, port of call, being the capital city of a State, or the port of such capital city. To this end the Defence authorities- will furnish the several Commandants with complete lists of the men on each transport, as soon after embarkation as practicable, so that certificates may be issued by the Commandants and indorsed by the Commonwealth Electoral Officers in the States in which the men enlisted and transmitted, prior to the arrival of the vessel, to the Commonwealth Electoral Officer. The Commonwealth Electoral Officer will take the votes, which, in due course, will be transmitted to the Divisional Returning Officers for the divisions in respect of which the men are entitled to vote, for the purposes of scrutiny. . Where it is found that returned men who arrive in Australia after the receipt of nomination axe enrolled they will be enabled to vote by post at the first, or subsequent, port of call of the vessel, before a Divisional Returning Officer. Lists of their names and particulars of enrolment will be forwarded to that port by the Commonwealth Electoral Officer for each State concerned. Where returned men vote under this provision at any time up to and inclusive of polling day, their ballotpapers will be admitted to the scrutiny. These provisions will afford all concerned an opportunity of voting either as absent voters or by post, and the regulations will provide the necessary safeguards. It is proposed to repeal- sections 15 and 16 of the Electoral (War Time) Act, inasmuch as these provisions were designed to meet a possible contingency arising in connexion with party voting by men overseas which will not operate in the forthcoming elections. I- do not think that exception will be taken to the measure, because there are special conditions prevailing at present to prevent such men from enrolling. The Bill will also enable soldiers to vote irrespective of age, as it would be difficult to definitely ascertain whether they were eligible in that respect or not.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is a Bill of a technical nature, and may be described as formal. At present, loans must be raised in accordance with the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act Or the Treasury Bills Act, but doubt has arisen whether those Acts are sufficiently wide to enable the Government to comply with legal requirements in connexion with borrowing outside Australia. For example, Dominion loans raised in London are subject to the Imperial Acts known as the Colonial Stock Acts 1877-1900, and the authority of the Commonwealth Treasurer to borrow is set out in much detail in the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act. The latter, though in effect the same as the Colonial Stock Acts of Great Britain, is slightly different in verbiage, and the proposals now submitted to the Senate will prevent any clashing which may arise from the different wording. Exact compliance with the law of Great Britain is very important, because Commonwealth stock issued in London under conditions other than those set out in the Colonial Stock Acts could not be made a trustee stock, and if trustees could not’ invest in a Stock it would suffer great disadvantage. Another important requirement of English law is that the Legislature of the borrowing Dominion must have made due provision for paying money in accordance with the judgment of any Court of competent jurisdiction in the United Kingdom. The Bill includes provision in this direction. The Government are not asking for authority to borrow any money in addition to that which it is already authorized to raise. Honorable senators have my assurance that the Bill will give to the Government no authority exceeding that which it now possesses in relation to loans raised within Australia. Honorable senators will realize that a good deal of Australian stock is held in London and in other parts of the United Kingdom, and if there should be any doubt concerning the legality of holding it as trustee stock, it would influence values. Realizing, therefore that it is sound business to come into line in this way, I ask the Senate to support the passage of the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable senators will remember that Senator Millen promised to bring the munition workers under the provisions of the War Service Homes Act, to enable them to participate in the benefits of our repatriation scheme. Nearly all the amendments proposed in this Bill are of machinery character, and such as the working of the Act has shown to be desirable. Many of them are of a technical nature, and can best be explained in Committee. There is, however, one important amendment proposed by the Bill, in clause 2, by which it is proposed to extend the benefits of the Act to munition workers and war workers. This amendment has been foreshadowed on mora than one occasion by the Minister for Repatriation, and will, I think, meet with general approval. It will affect 2,053 munition workers, including chemists and constructional draughtsmen; and 2,243 war workers, including labourers, fettlers, and navvies. Another new provision will curtail the use of the words “ War Service Homes “ in advertisements, &c, by estate agents. Some of these advertisements are calculated to give the impression that the advertiser is carrying on his business under the authority of the Act or the Commissioner, and it is considered that the use of these words in this manner should be stopped. I do not think I can add any more. It is a simple measure, and one that I think honorable senators will support.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
Disturbance in Northern Territory - Gratuity to Soldiers - Lt.-Colonel Ramsay Smith.
Motion (by Senator Russell) -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I wish to repeat a question I asked this morning. Is the Minister, on behalf of the Government, prepared to make a statement to the Senate concerning the remarks I made on Tuesday with reference to the position in the Northern Territory? The other matter to which I referred has been placed on the noticepaper for to-morrow.
– Is the Minister in a posi tion togive the Seriate some information regarding the proposed gratuity to soldiers? I am particularly anxious to learn whether the dependants of deceased soldiers will be able to participate in the benefits - whatever benefits there are? If the Minister can give that information it ‘would be of considerable interest to a .large number of the dependants of deceased soldiers.
Senator Lt.-Colonel O’LOGHLIN (South Australia) [10.29]. - Referring to the question I asked yesterday concerning the recall to Australia of Lt.-Colonel Ramsay Smith, Officer Commanding of the General Hospital, Heliopolis, Egypt, in 1915, I desire to say that the information given did not specifically answer several of the questions I submitted. What I now wish to ascertain is whether at the Court of Inquiry, held in Egypt, Lt.-Colonel Ramsay Smith had an opportunity of stating his case, or whether it was entirely an ex parte inquiry ? Secondly I ask the Minister whether there is any good reason why Lt.-Colonel Ramsay Smith should not be restored to his position as Principal Medical Officer, 4th Military District, South Australia, which he held for many years?
– In view of the possibility of the Senate adjourning tomorrow for some time, I desire to ask the Minister for information concerning certain questions which, were asked in another place and which I do not think were sufficiently answered.’ We shall have the debate on the Supply Bill to-morrow, and it will be my endeavour to condense my remarks so that other honorable senators may have ample opportunity of speaking upon that measure. I am hoping that by putting these questions to the Minister to-night he will be able to obtain the information. In another place, Mr. Penton (for Dr. Maloney) asked the Prime Minister -
Mr. Watt, replying for Mr. Hughes, said the matter was being inquired into; and then Mr. Fenton (for Dr. Maloney) asked -
Mr. Watt’s reply was that the matter was receiving consideration. I am quoting from Hansard of 21st October, 1919. In view of the peculiar position in which we find ourselves, I think the ‘ request I am making is a reasonable one. If Parliament were likely to sit for some time, I would not put this question on the adjournment and expect an answer to-morrow, but I think it likely the information has been prepared, for another place.
– Dealing with the last matter first, I may say that it is possible the information asked for was in the State Wool Office in Sydney, and that there was hardly time for a reply when the question was asked in another place. I am not prepared to say that the information will be available to-morrow, but I am hopeful that the Treasurer (Mr. Watt), following- his usual custom, has taken steps to obtain it, and if it is available I shall be glad to give it to the honorable senator.
asked for some information concerning recent events in the Northern Territory. I referred the matter to the Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Glynn), and I am now in a position to place an official statement before the Senate. It is as follows: -
It is impossible to deal in detail with the matters referred to by Senator Ferricks in Mb speech on the moving of the adjournment of the Senate on Tuesday, until the letter .upon which it appears to be based has been received from Darwin.
A telegram, dated 14th October, was received, from Mr. Carey by the Minister for Home and Territories, the details of which, in fact, were published in the press, which refers to statements by those who attended at a deputation Upon the officers concerned, that certain revelations were made at the last Advisory Council, after which the deputation declared it to be absolutely criminal to allow the officers to remain in the Territory.
The Minister telegraphed immediately, in reply, directing the officers to remain in the Territory, and stating that anything requiring investigation must be submitted in the regular way, and that no communication had been received as to the alleged revelations at the Council meeting. A telegram from the Director, in reply to this, stated that the alleged revelations were extracts from a personal letter written by him, Mr. Carey, to Dr. Gilruth, on the 8th July, .when he was out of the Service, that the letter was stolen either from the Northern Agency or Post Office, and given to Nelson
The matters complained of, according to the telegram, were of his, Mr. Carey’s actions, as Dr. Gilruth’s agent, regarding private matters in the Territory, and his suggestion that he (which probably meant Dr. Gilruth) should seek engagement with Vestey’s, London, as scientist, or, possibly, Melbourne agent. It is stated, that it is impossible to send details without the context, but that a copy should reach the Minister before the end of that week. Mr. Carey stated that he courted the most searching inquiry regarding the letter, and every action of his in the Territory in or out of the Service; that Evans was charged with permitting the Chief Protector of Aborigines, one Cahill, junior, to sell his old bicycle to the natives; and that an official inquiry was being made into them..
It is impossible to deal accurately with the statements in that letter until the copy of the letter was received.
The Minister for Home and Territories has already stated that he intends to appoint a Commissioner to fully inquire into the allegations of the letter. Steps for the purpose, have already been taken.
The senator will see that if matters are to be the subject of an independent inquiry, it is not expedient until, at all events, the full information hits been received, to deal with the matter in detail in the House.
Senator Grant last evening raised the question of having trie electoral rolls reprinted for tha forthcoming election. In connexion with this matter, I have re ceived the following statement from the Electoral Deparement -
There hae been no avoidable delay in the re- ‘ printing of the rolls for the purposes of the forthcoming elections. The rolls are kept up to date from day to day by the Divisional Returning Officers and Registrars. All qualified persons who lodge claims are furnished with written acknowledgements, and are, therefore, left in no doubt as to their enrolment. No rolls printed in 1917 will be used for the purposes of the elections. The new prints of all country rolls, containing all additions up to date of going to press, aTe being made available from day to day, .and supplemental rolls will be issued at a later date. Reprints of the rolls for certain’ metropolitan* divisions ( printed in May, 1010) will be made for convenience in the conduct of the .polling. Claims received ‘ from qualified persons who are not already correctly enrolled will be effective for the purposes of the elections, if lodged with the Registrars concerned not later than 6 p.m. on the 3rd of November.
On the 16th October, Senator Gardiner asked whether, before Parliament rose, I would be able to make a statement showing how much commission had been paid to
Persons in connexion with the Wheat ool. I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information : -
The. total amount of commission paid to the Australian Wheat Committee, -London, to 31st May, 1919 (to which date accounts have been received in London), is £166,000. Out of this amount £10,000 has been paid to the Australian Wheat Board to meet its administrative expenses and upkeep of its office.
That is to say, the London Wheat Committee pays for both the London and Melbourne offices.
The question of war gratuities has been mentioned, but I may point out that I have made a couple of statements on that subject already, and I am not prepared to add to what I have said. The general principle of a war gratuity has -been agreed upon, but time has not yet permitted discussion as to the details.
– Surely the Minister misunderstood my question. Will dependants of deceased soldiers share in the scheme ?
– There is not one problem only in connexion -with that matter, there are a hundred and one problems, I can assure the honorable senator that the general outlines of the scheme, as announced by the Primo Minister, have been agreed upon, but details have not yet been worked out. For instance, a man might -have been only two days at Gallipoli before being terribly mutilated. Should he get only 3s. ? The whole scheme bristles with complex problems, and some time will be required for consideration before an equitable proposal can be finalized.
Concerning the recall of Dr. Ramsay Smith’, I may point out that the Commission was appointed by the British authorities, and I am not in a position to say what communications took place between them and Dr. Ramsay Smith. So far as I can ascertain from the Australian records, we had no direct communication with him at all.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - But. I want to know whether he had an opportunity of stating his case?
– I cannot say.
-Colonel O’loghlin. - He was in Australia at the time of the inquiry. Your file shows that he was not at the inquiry.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.47 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 23 October 1919, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1919/19191023_SENATE_7_90/>.