13 August 1920

8th Parliament · 1st Session

The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.

page 3513


The following papers were presented : -

Public Service Act. - Promotion of J. J.

Jepson, Postmaster-General’s Department. Wool: Copy of agreement between Commonwealth Government and Colonial Combing, Spinning and Weaving Company Ltd., Sydney, together with copy ofReport of Central Wool Committee and of the Prime Minister’s reply thereto.

page 3513



Senator COX:

– Has the attention of the Minister for Repatriation been directed to the report appearing in the Age with reference to a deputation on behalf of the tubercular returned soldiers. If so, will he inform the’ Senate whether the statements contained in the report are in accordance with facts?

Senator E D MILLEN:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913; NAT from 1917

– I have seen the report referred to, but, unlike the honorable senator, I am not surprised that it should appear in the columns of the Age. The report is a tissue of misrepresentations. I shall refer to two of the statements made. One is that the Commissioner for Repatriation, at my suggestion, decided to receive only a limited number of the deputation. That is a deliberate and wicked falsehood. No communication of the kind passed between myself and the Commissioner. As to the other matter, the circumstances are these: I arranged with Mr. Tudor to receive the deputation here, forgetting for the moment the prohibition that had been issued against receiving deputations in Parliament House. I sent word then to Mr. Tudor asking him to divert the deputation from Parliament House to the offices of the Repatriation Department. Possibly Mr. Tudor’s regrettable indisposition prevented my message taking effect. When the deputation met here it was, by my direction, diverted to the Repatriation offices.- I did not myself tell the members of the deputation to go down there, but, following instructions previously given, they were informed of the prohibition I have referred to and went down to the Repatriation offices. It was not possible for une ta leave Parliament House at the time, and I communicated with tho Commissioner for Repatriation, asking that he should receive the deputation in my place. I fail to see that there was anything wrong or discourteous in that action.

page 3514



Charges Against Prime Minister

Senator FOLL:

– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate if he has noticed another statement which appeared in the Age, referring to remarks made by Mr. Murphy, in the- New South Wales Parliament, to the effect that the fires attributed to Industrial Workers of the World were engineered by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), and, further, whether he has seen the statement to the effect that one of the fires attributed to the Industrial Workers of the World was, upon official inquiry, shown to have been caused by the recruitingsergeant in charge of the recruiting tent which was burnt down. Will the Minister for Repatriation have those slanderous statements brought under the notice of the Prime Minister in order that they may be refuted ?

Senator E D MILLEN:
NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1910; LP from 1913; NAT from 1917

– I have not seen the report of the apparently extraordinary utterances referred to, but I shall direct the attention of the Prime Minister to it.

page 3514


Bill (on motion by Senator Russell) read a third time.

page 3514


Report adopted.

page 3514


Second Reading

Debate resumed from 5th August (vide page 3293) on motion by Senator Russell -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

Senator MILLEN:
TASMANIA · NAT; UAP from 1931

– At the outset I should like to compliment the Government on bringing forward this Bill. I trust that it will become an Act and will be speedily brought ‘into operation. When Australia’s sons went to the Front they did some wonderful work which enhanced materially the fair name of the Commonwealth. I believe that in the future, in times of peace, Australians will add brilliance to that name as the result of their achievements in science.

We have all read of the “Yellow Peril.” We have been told that the probabilities are that the Japanese or the Chinese will come to Australia, and that the real difficulty confronting us lies in the problem of supplying armament and carrying on war: I want to say definitely to honorable senators that, in my opinion, even graver dangers than those suggested require to be considered, if we wish to retain our position in the world’s markets.

Some writers have, said that the Chinese have been in a long sleep ; but if we imagined such a thing as that to be true wo might be lulled into a false sense of security. If we consider the history of the Chinese and realize the many momentous things they have done in connexion with the advancement of science, we shall have reason to reflect upon what exactly is the position we occupy to-day. We felt a great deal of pride in the work which the Americans accomplished in that wonderful engineering feat, the construction of the Panama Canal. The Chinese commenced a canal in 486 B.C., which was not completed until the eighteenth century. The Panama Canal is 50 milos long, whilst the Chinese canal to which I refer is 1,000 miles long, and is used to-day for navigation. If we take a taxi-cab and look at the taximeter registering the distance run, we may regard it as a modern invention; but the Chinese used that invention 400 years after the birth of- Christ. Our fingerprint system is regarded as quite a modern device for the detection of crime; but the Chinese used it 700 years after the birth of Christ. If we take the compass which guides the mariner over the trackless deep, we shall find that the Chinese knew something of the principles of the compass, and something of the wonderful powers of the indicator that responds to the influence of the mystic forces that sweep through space. If we consider the weaving of fabrics, we shall find upon inquiry that the Roman Emperor Marcus Antoninus, in 166 a.d. sent across to China to obtain some woven silk. The manufacture of ( porcelain appears to have been known to the Chinese throughout their history. Their work in the casting of bronze still holds a premier place. “We know that they first manufactured gunpowder. I might tell honorable senators of many things which those wonderful people did early in the history of our race. When our people were fighting their way through mediaeval times, the Chinese were using science in the interests of their people.

We pass to another eastern race. I may direct attention to the work which the Hindoos did in geometry. The necessity of constructing Vedic altars according to fixed rules, gave birth to that science. To them we owe algebra and trigonometry, which the Arabians learnt from this people and introduced into Greek science. We should consider these things and direct our attention to the words used by one of the Indian philosophers, “ Remember that the masters of to-day may be the servants of to morrow,” and remember that it was only owing to the industrial revolution, due to mechanical inventions, that gave the West the necessary lead. Should such a revolution occur with them we shall have reason to fear the “Yellow Peril,” not because of the idea in the mind of the Kaiser when he introduced that crude slogan, but because of the scientific organization of which those people are capable. Time would not permit me, nor do I de- sire, to prolong debate by referring to many things to which reference might be made in this sphere of action. Suffice it to say that from Asia came the sparks of science which opened the way -for Europe’s material progress. Passing to the realm of later science,- in 1827 we had Whöler starting out with the synthetic product of urea. I need not refer further to that than to say that it marked the commencement of organic chemistry. What does that mean? Consider the indigo industry. We find that right away back, before authentic history, in the mystic Dark Ages, there is a record of what the Hindoos did in connexion with the production of indigo, and which was little improved under European management. But in 1869 one of the great chemists found out the arrangement of atoms in the molecule of indigo. In 1880, this discovery was put to practical use by Baeyer, who, fifteen years later, was able to introduce a system for the synthetic manufacture of indigo, and that product has to-day practically destroyed the whole of the work of the indigo farms in India, and gave to the German people - I speak of the days just before the war - the command of the whole of the indigo trade.

Let me go farther ahead and direct attention to aluminium. In -the early portion of the nineteenth century its production was only of academic interest. In 1855, Napoleon III. gave a subsidy which enabled Deville to manufacture aluminium at £18 per lb. Later, the price was reduced to £2 10s., and subsequently to 18s. per lb., by using the electrolytic method, and to-day, as honorable senators are aware, aluminium is a comparatively cheap metal, and is used in the manufacture of a multitude of things.

May I refer briefly to cellulose? I do not propose to tell honorable senators what it is, because I do- not know, but I can mention a few things which it can be used for. My purpose is to indicate thereby that, by the establishment of such an Institute as is provided for in the Bill before us, further research work can be undertaken, and it might be, with momentous and beneficial results, to our people. The greater. part of our paper to-day is wood fibre that has been pulped and mashed and squeezed into a condition suited to the service of newspapers - a product which will not remain permanent, but will probably be sufficiently permanent for the purpose for which it is utilized. It is possible to get a purified cellulose, dr chemical pulp, by placing the pulp into a digester and passing through it sulphurous acid and bisulphite of lime heated to a temperature of 117 degrees Centigrade, and the residue is practically a purified cellulose, everything else being demolished. Cellulose comes in many forms, such as cotton, linen, and paper. Schonbein, in the early eighties, discovered that a mixture of nitric acid with cellulose produced a material with supreme power for settling international disputes - I need scarcely pause to refer to the value of guncotton during the past great war, nor need I occupy time in drawing attention to the wonderful uses to which this product has been put in the realm of sport, in the form of smokeless powders made by adding barium, nitrate, camphor, or benzine in certain proportions.

I desire to direct the attention of honorable senators now to the lower nitrates of cellulose, commonly called cellulose hexanitrate. The Hyatts, in Albany, Ne* York, took this compound, mixed it with solid camphor and alcohol, and found the product, under proper heat and pressure, could be worked like rubber. Thus came celluloid, which is so widely used to-day. If the cellulose hexanitrate is taken and dissolved in alcohol and ether, collodion is produced. If this is. passed into a reservoir, and forced with a pressure of 650 lbs. to the square inch through a fine orifice it issues as a thread of a silky, lustrous texture, and is used in the manufacture of artificial silk and braids, of which, I have learned, about 25 tons is daily used in Europe. As this fabric has still the properties of the cellulose nitrate, it must be denitrated; which adds materially to its sheen. Or, it is possible to take cotton and add it to a caustic soda solution arid tighten it over a frame to prevent shrinkage in drying, the result being mercerized cotton. These so-called mercerized fabrics are taking the place of silks to-day. Cellulose can also be dissolved in a solution of zinc chloride, forced through a fine orifice to produce a thin thread, which is carbonized and used as a filament in electric lamps; or, it is possible to soak in that solution paper, and work up the mass in blocks and sheets. These, heated and compressed, produce a vulcanized fibre, which is used for such purposes as the manufacture of handles for scientific instruments. If we dissolve the lower nitrate of cellulose in ammonia cupric oxide, resulting in a green solution, and cotton fabric is passed through it, there will result a cloth that is both mildew-proof, water-proof, and insect-proof. Fabrics so treated and pressed together when in a gelatinized condition, make a bullet-proof sheet, and such were actually used during the Boer War. These are a few of the uses which may be given the product of a tree, and we are using very few kinds of trees from which to get results. There are 110,000 plants, many of which may be even better than the varieties at present in use; so, surely, there is in this country scope and opportunity for a great amount of research even into the vegetable matter that covers our soils. I would like to continue upon this absorbing subject, but will just add one other result from the solution of cellulose and acetic acid. From this is obtained a film of great tenacity and high lustre, which1 is used for the covering of the wings of aeroplanes. Hargreaves, an Australian chemist, is working in this field of research to-day, in order to obtain that thin film of material most suited to areoplane-wing construction. I understand that he is on the road to success; I sincerely trust so, at any rate.

What is the position of science in the realm of industry? Take, as an example, the subject of brick-laying. An American scientist devoted himself to testing the efficiency of a bricklayer. In the course of his researches he found that a bricklayer employs eighteen physical movements where he need use only five. The outcome of his research has been that he is able to increase the number of bricks that a man lays upon a straight wall, up to 250 per hour. He states that it is amazing to learn that, from time immemorial, bricklayers have bent down and raised their bodies several hundred times per day, for the purpose of raising a brick. This scientist introduces the project of a movable scaffold; bricks are brought up so that the layer can get them with the least amount of trouble. He states also that a bricklayer, when he takes up a brick, turns it to its four sides in order to discover which is the best face “to place to London,” which can be done by unskilled labour. He found that a man stoops down with one hand to pick up a brick, and with the other to lift a trowel full of mortar - requiring an innervation of the two sides of the body, one movement after the other, instead of simultaneously; which, of course, would be a saving in the matter of fatigue. The result is that, instead of getting only the small number of bricks laid such as is usual to-day, this scientist discovered that bricks can be laid up to a total of more than 2,000 per day per man. If such an achievement can b9 brought about with a minimum degree of fatigue, with far less physical exertion than hitherto, surely this illustration alone provides a phase of scientific research which the proposed institute can undertake with considerable advantage to the people of Australia generally. Incidentally it would involve a considerable increase in a man’s earning power. The Federation of Labour has stated that the only hope for the workman of the future is by the bringing about of scientific control in the many industries in which he is engaged. “What is the effect of science upon medicine? Take digitalis. It is impossible to work out the value of digitalis by ordinary analysis. One must have a scientific staff to test that and kindred drugs; which can only be tested by physiological methods. The testing of digitalis is done in the following manner : Anæsthetize an animal, take out the heart and place it between two clamps. At the end of one of these clamps is a beam connected with a pen. As the beating of the heart moves the beam., the pen makes a record along a smoked card. This indicates the action of the drug upon the heart. ‘Strophantus was used as an arrow poison in America, and is now found to be an extremely valuable heart drug. The only way in which to determine the physiological action of strophantus is to determine its action per gramme weight of frog. It is found that 0.00016 gramme in standard tincture is fatal to the animal,, while with 0.00015 gramme it should live. Hence, this method of testing indicates the value of the drug to nian. These experiments can only The carried on in a physiological laboratory, and I claim that it is for the Government to speedily set up its scientific laboratories, as is proposed in the Bill, so that investigations of this character may he conducted, and so that, by the utilization of Australian plants, our young nation shall be able to take a leading place in the realm of materia medica.

I could continue to explain the many phases in which science enters. I could show where science is of tremendous benefit to agriculture. I could indicate to honorable senators how, with the aid of science, the life of the Broken Hill field has’ been very materially increased. Flotation saved that great mining centre; and flotation was the product of an Australian brain. If we can encourage our scientists to devote themselves, with all -the weight of Government assistance, to the fascinating realms of research, then Australia will have an excellent opportunity of placing her name in an even more brilliant light, if possible, than she did as an outcome of the war.

The Bureau of Science, so far as it has gone, has done a wonderful work. It has inaugurated the standardization of engineering material; arid, in this regard, the thanks of the community are due to Mr. Lightfoot. He has been an enthusiast over the activities of the Bureau, and he has had full need of the big heart with which he is equipped, because the number of reversals to which he has been subjected have been sufficient to make an ordinary man wilt. However, the flag has been kept flying; and now the Government have introduced a Bill which should very soon come into operation as one of the most important in the Commonwealth book of Statutes. The other men connected with the Advisory Councils of the Bureau have also done good work. It is the duty of the Government to see that our young men are reared in a scientific atmosphere, if they so will. The commonplace of history is the struggle of the nations, but the lesson of history is that it is only by organization and the employment of science in every national function that victory can be achieved. If what history depicts as a struggle is true, if science is the mamspring of national life, then victory will be gained only by the scientifically trained nation that prepares its services with scientific foresight and insight. Surely it is the duty of the Australian people to .accomplish this end, for it is my belief that the Almighty meant that Australia should stand in the forefront of the nations as time goes on. I hope that we shall so encourage our scientists that they will be able to go forward, and robe Australia’s name in more glorious lustre than ever.

Senator DUNCAN:
New South Wales

– Honorable senators have listened with pleasure to the fine address of Senator J. D. Millen. He has compressed into his brief remarks a tremendous amount of information upon subjects with which the average man is not familiar. I cannot conceive that, having listened, to the honorable senator, any member of the Senate will dare to record his vote against the passage of this measure, which is one of the most important ever brought to the attention, of the Federal Legislature. There are honorable senators who have their pet ideas about such subjects, for example, as closer settlement and the necessity for additional population, and who believe that the future development of this great territory depends almost entirely upon our being able to very materially increase Australia’s population. The argument is advanced that the only way in which to bring about the necessary increase in population in the near future is by providing scope for closer settlement in order that, for our primary industries, the whole of our commercial life may benefit. But there aTe other things that we require besides population and closer settlement. My honorable friend who has just resumed his seat pointed out that for centuries China led the world in many direction, of which the world has every reason to be intensely proud. Why is it that that country lags so far behind other nations to-day, seeing that in ancient times she was so exceedingly progressive? Certainly the reason is not that she lacks a sufficient population, or that she does not possess closer settlement, or that she has not gone in for large irrigation schemes. She has all these things in a greater measure than has any other country in the world. But she lies helpless and inert, the prey of every other community, because she has forgotten the secret of her greatness in the days when she was great. That secret is the necessity for persistent investigation and progress along the lines of scientific development. China forgot this, and, as a result, she now lies helpless at the feet of other nations, although there are- indications that at length she is about to awake.

The example which China offers to the world is one of which we should take heed. We boast of the high degree of intelligence that is possessed by Australians, and point with pride to the fact that Australians are holding down some of the biggest jobs in the world. But it is very unfortunate that Australians, because of their capacity for scientific research, for invention, and for overcoming great engineering problems, are obliged to go to other countries in order to win that degree of recognition to which they are entitled. Consequently, although we find Australians holding down some of the biggest jobs in the world, we do not find them holding down ‘ those jobs in the Commonwealth. It is because the Government recognise that, given the opportunity, we can produce men who will equal the world’s best, along the lines of scientific and industrial research, that this measure has been introduced. Its object is to establish, on a safe and sound foundation, an institute of scientific and industrial research which will provide our young men who have natural abilities in that direction with the opportunity of winning out, and thus making this continent the country that it ought to be. Unless we grapple with this problem the danger is that we shall become what China is to-day - a helpless third or fourth rate Power, which will always be at the mercy of other countries that, because of their recognition of the value of scientific development and research, are enabled <to take a prominent place among the nations of the world.

We have learned to our cost something of the value of scientific research from our experience of the very trying years through which we have just passed. In pre-war days the average Britisher, and, indeed, the average individual in most parts of the world, did not attach very much importance to the necessity for scientific development. But the position was quite different in Germany. There it was early recognised that if its people could obtain a firm grip of many of the truths underlying scientific progress, it would give them a premier place amongst the nations of the earth. Consequently they, entered upon scientific development to an extent which had never been attempted by any other country. The results were obvious as soon as the dark clouds of war broke over the world and the great fight for our freedom began. Because of her scientific development Germany was able to employ in that struggle some of the greatest forces ever marshalled in the history of war. She was enabled to throw into the field mighty energies which at the outset threatened to overwhelm every other nation which was opposed to her. But, thank God, the scientists of Great Britain America, and other countries bent all their energies to the great task which lay ahead of them and proved themselves not merely the equal, but absolutely the superior in many directions of the scientists of Germany. By their united efforts they were able to place in the hands of our soldiers weapons which enabled them to emerge successfully from the titanic struggle in which they were engaged.

There are certain lessons which ought to be learned from the great war. Those lessons are being learned, by other nations, which realize that the future of the world does not lie with the races which neglect to profit by the teachings of history, and which refuse to have anything to do with scientific development and research. These progressive nations are .entering upon a course of development along scientific lines, and are spending large sums of money in that connexion. In Australia we are accustomed to sneer at the Old Country. We talk contemptuously of “ sleepy old Great Britain.” We speak of the “ insular Englishman,” and are prone to affirm that he is very hard to teach, and is the las’, to take advantage of the lessons to be learned from history. But the Britisher of to-day is not the Britisher of old. England has been awakened by the war, and the British Government have not hesitated to take very drastic steps in order to insure that the country shall never again be caught in the unprepared condition in which she found herself upon the outbreak of war.

The Government of the Old Country have established an Institute of Science and Industry, and have endowed it with an initial grant of £1,000,000, and with an annual appropriation of £160,000. These facts evidence the tremendous value that Britain attaches to this work of industrial research.

Senator Russell:

– The annual appro’priation there has since been increased to £300,000.

Senator DUNCAN:

– That i3 so. Already the Institute in Britain has accomplished work of very considerable value. It has increased the tin output of the Cornish mines by £30,000 annually - a pretty good return upon an investment of £1,000,000, with an annual appropriation of £300,000.

Senator de Largie:

– Especially considering the enormous age of those mines.

Senator DUNCAN:

– Yes. Then the standardization of the heat treatment in the manufacture of high-speed steel has proved of the greatest value to industry generally. Valuable work, . too, has been done in the manufacture of alloys of aluminium along ‘ the lines indicated by Senator J. D. Millen.

In moving the second reading of this Bill, the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) spoke of what had been accomplished in the glass and optical trade as the result of scientific investigation in Britain. Here, then, we find that the so-called “sleepy” Englishman is wide awake and is determined to do something in accordance with the teachings of the last few years. The United States has always been in the very forefront of scientific invention and research, and evidently that country is now determined to make more energetic efforts than ever in that direction. The United States Government have provided better facilities for industrial research than are to be found in any other country in the world. They recognise the value of such work, and we know that the American, if he is anything at all, ib a hard-headed business man. We may be quite sure, therefore, that when he is prepared to spend large sums of money in a particular direction he can see that that expenditure will result in increased benefits to himself. One of the outcomes of the war is that Americans recognise more than ever the necessity of coordinating national effort along scientific lines. Consequently they have established a National Research Council. The functions of this body are very wide. They cover a Department of Agriculture with ten great scientific bureaux and sixtyfour State experimental stations. The Government of the United States have also established a forest products laboratory, a bureau of mines with an annual appropriation of £125,000, and a bureau of standards with an annual grant of £600,000. All of this is very important work, the value of which is realized to the full by the American Government and people. Another great country which has learned wisdom from the lessons taught by the war is France. Since the close of that great struggle she has established a new Department - the Department of Scientific Industrial Research and Invention - to which the French Government have made a preliminary grant of £250,000, besides making provision for an annual appropriation. France, then, is prepared to spend large sums of money in order that she may not lag behind in the great race for national existence and world progress. Italy has also voted a preliminary sum of £250,000 for similar purposes. There is another country upon which we should keep our eyes very closely, which lies much nearer to our own shores, and has of recent years made such astounding progress that Australians may well ask themselves just what the future is going to be. I refer to Japan, which has voted an initial sum of £500,000 for scientific research. The Japanese dye-stuffs industry has been started with a capital of £800,000 and a Government guarantee of 8 per cent, per annum for two years. A similar guarantee has been given to the newly established glycerine industry, with a capital of £300,000. These are just a few directions in which Japan is moving. The Japanese Government realize the necessity of pushing along with this tremendous work. Surely, if these other countries, that for so many years have led the van in industrial, scientific, and social progress have realized the necessity and the value of doing this very great work and spending such large sums of money on it, we should not cavil at spending a comparatively insignificant amount in order that Australians may be able to take their share and play their part in the great task of scientific and industrial development.

Canada, a sister Dominion, has established a bureau similar to the one proposed under this measure. The Canadian authorities have been able to render a tremendous amount of assistance to the manufacturing industries of their country, and as a result some of the Canadian industries have been lifted right out of the rut of common-place, and have been able to take their places as world industries, competing with similar industries established on a large scale just over the border, in the United States of America. Many other countries are considering the establishment of bureaux of science and industry.

I shall give a brief comparison of certain industrial countries to show that industrial progress depends upon the application of scientific methods. We believe in technical education; we believe in giving a degree of Protection to our industries, and we hope in Australia to be able to set an example to the world of what wages and conditions ought to be; but something else is necessary if we are to make a success 6f the great undertaking to which we have put our hands. Dr. H. P>. Gray and Samuel Turner, ire their work Eclipse or Empire, ask, on page 22, the very pertinent question, “ Who are the world’s best industrial workers to-day?” This is something with which every man who has any regard for the industrial future of Australia should concern himself. He should ask himself that question, and investigate why in certain countries the worker is able to produce so much more than in others. These authors institute a comparison between the United Kingdom and the United States of America - two nations that are in many ways identical. No honorable senator will say that the working men of the United Kingdom are not as good workers as those of the United States of America. Nevertheless, those gentlemen in their book show that the workers of the United States of America are able to produce a very great deal more per man than are the workers of the United Kingdom. In the boot and shoe trade, the value of the output per man in the United Kingdom is £171 per annum; in the United States of America it is £516. Other figures are -

In cocoa, chocolate, and confectionery - United Kingdom £296, United States of America £662; cutlery and -tools - United Kingdom £164, United States of America £323; clothing - United Kingdom £158, United States of America £484; hats and caps - United Kingdom £149, United States of America £414; hosiery - United Kingdom £184, United States of America £309 ; leather - United Kingdom £686, United States of America £1,054; matches- United Kingdom £223, United States of America £625; paper - United Kingdom £330, United States of America £705; printing - United Kingdom £396, United States £572. These are just a few industries which show that the output per man in the United States of America is anything up to four or five times as much as in the United Kingdom. The reason can only be that the application of scientific research and development to industry in the United States has given to that country ever so much greater opportunities of production than have been found possible m the United Kingdom. America is leading Great Britain to-day ‘because she has done just that thing which we are proposing to do in this measure. I hope honorable senators will realize the very serious position that, unless we take action on the lines proposed by the Government, all our protective policies, all our concern for the conditions of the industrial workers of the community, will count for nothing in the great race for world’s supremacy and ihe competition in the world’s markets. The figures regarding the cost of extracting coal at the pit’s mouth may also appeal to honorable senators. In England, in 1886, the average cost was 4s. lOd. per ton; in 1912, it was 9s. per ton, or an increase of nearly 100 per cent. In the United States, while the cost in 1886 was 6s. 4£d. per ton, in 1912 it was only’ 6s. Id. per ton, or an actual decrease.

Senator de Largie:

– You cannot make a comparison between the coal trade in those two countries.

Senator DUNCAN:

– Perhaps not in the working conditions, but the bare fact of the difference in the cost of production is there. If in that period the cost of production in the United Kingdom has doubled, whilst in the United States it has actually decreased, there must be something wrong somewhere, and it is up’ to somebody to show just where the trouble lies. It has been asserted by scientific investigators that the reason lies in the fact that in the United States scientific principles are being applied to the production of coal, while in the United Kingdom, in many instances, they are working on old ideas and in old styles. I do not know from first-hand knowledge whether that is so or not; but the facts, which cannot be controverted, show that something serious is the matter. “We were proud of the supremacy of Great Britain in the iron and steel trade, upon which her present position has been very largely built, but Germany, .previous to the war, had made such enormous strides in this direction that she had not only caught, but had actually outstripped her. In Germany, in 1865, the production of iron was 975,000 tons; in Great Britain, it was 4,896,000 tons, an enormously superior result; but in 1913 the production in Germany had gone up to 19,000,000 tons, while in Great Britain it had increased only to 10,000,000 tons. In steel we see the same results. While Great Britain increased her exports of manufactured goods between 1886 and 1906 by £60,000,000, Germany increased hers by £83,000,000. These are solid facts, and solid reasons for the application of scientific methods to industrial development generally. If, as has been shown by investigators in various parts of the world, those countries which apply scientific principles and research to their industrial and manufacturing development ,are able to outstrip other countries which do not, surely that is sufficient reason for us to have recourse to whatever steps are necessary, no matter what they, cost us, to enable us to take our place in the great race for industrial supremacy. But it means something more than that to us. Wie cannot hope for many years, perhaps for centuries, to attain to the proud place which is held in the world to-day by the United States or the United Kingdom. We are only a small people in a young country, but that is all the more reason why we should bend our energies to the great tasks that lie before us, and determine that we shall not be overwhelmed by other countries, no matter how great their population or wealth may he. We have, Ibelieve, in Australia, the men and the material. I, as an Australian, yield first place to no man, so far as the value of Australian manhood is concerned. It was shown in the great war from which we have just emerged that the Australian, without our saying that he isbetter than the other fellow, is at least as good. If he can fight as well as the other fellow, he should he able to produce as well.

With our great natural and national heritage, with the application of Australian brains and industry, backed up by the application of scientific principles, that. can be established only by means of scientific research, there is no reason why Australia should not, in years to come, take her proud place at the head of the industrial communities of the world, and show to other communities that we Australians are able to devise moans for ourselves to overcome those great national problems and difficulties which at present confront us. If we pass this measure into law, we shall be taking a great step along the road to national development and progress. I hope honorable senators will support the Bill most enthusiastically. I feel that we have the right man at the head of the movement. Senator J. D. Millen has already referred to Mr. Lightfoot, who is administering the Bureau as it at present exists. I also have every confidence in that gentleman, and would like to compliment and congratulate him upon the very fine work already done. I hope he will go on to greater things. With this measure passed into law, the opportunity will be his, and the opportunity will be given, also, to those brilliant young Australians who will come along, eager to enter into the work of scientific research, to give to us, and to Australian industry and manufacture, by reason of their research, that stimulus which is all that is needed to make Australia one of the greatest nations in the world.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 (The Institute of Science and Industry).

Senator FOSTER:

.- If there is to be a Commonwealth Institute of Science and Industry, consisting of a Director, are we to understand that the Director is to be a body corporate, with absolute discretion, subjectto regulations which may be made by the GovernorGeneral inregard to properties which may be acquired? Is the Director to be the trustee of properties, gifts, grants, and bequests?

Senator Russell:

– Yes.

Senator FOSTER:

– I was under the impression that there was to be a consultative Board established, and I thought that possibly the Board would possess such power.

Senator Russell:

– The Director is to be a body corporate, and the consultative Board will deal with purely scientific matters.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 -

The Governor-General may appoint Advisory Boards in each State to advise the Director

Amendment (by Senator Russell) agreed to -

That after the word “ appoint “ the words “a General Advisory Council and” be inserted.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 7 to 11 agreed to.

Clause 12-

The Director shall,as far as possible, cooperate with the existing State organizations in the co-ordination of scientific investigation, with a view to -

the prevention of unnecessary over lapping; and

the utilization of facilities, and staffs available in the States.

Senator FOSTER:

.- When a member of the State Parliament, I suggested that something should be done to establish councils or committees to deal with scientific industrial research, and I was informed by the Premier that it was not necessary for the State to take action, particularly in connexion with the question of tuberculosis in stock, as the matter was one for the Federal authorities. This clause provides for cooperation with the States to prevent unnecessary overlapping, and I desire to know what action, if any, the States have taken. Has the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) any information to give beyond that which he furnished in his second-reading speech, and is he able to say whether the Director willbe ia constant communication with the State organizations, and whether he will have any authority apart from decisions arrived at as the result of a conference?

Senator RUSSELL:
VicePresident of the Executive- Council · Victoria · NAT

– Perhaps I was not correct in saying that the temporary “body had been, engaged merely in making scientific experiments, as it has been creating machinery, so that when the permanent body was appointed everything would be ready to enable the work to proceed smoothly. The temporary body, apart from performing necessary preliminary work, has been inquiring into the questions of cattle tick and nodules in beef, as well as many others, and these are matters which require a good deal of negotiation. When I was associated with the Bureau and its work, I sent Mr. Lightfoot to the various States to ascertain their attitude on cooperation. Dr. Gellatly also made a similar trip, and as a result of interviews with ‘practically every scientific man in Australia, he was able to secure their support. At the outset there were some protests lodged, principally by politicians, on the ground that the Commonwealth was duplicating the work of the States. Tremendous problems are confronting us to-day, and practical schemes have been arranged which will enable the Director to organize the work in the most effective way. The following statement shows the various investigations in which the Institute is co-operating with the several States : -

New South Wales. - Institute co-operating in (a) prickly-pear scheme; (6) white-ant pest;

cattle-tick dips; (d) worm-nodule disease; le) forest products; (/) sorghum for alcohol; (g) tanning methods; (ft) yeasts and breadmaking; (i) blowfly pest; (j) macrozamia.

Victoria. - (a) Viticultural problems at Mildura; (6) paper pulp; (c) pottery investigations; (d) contagious abortion in cattle; (e) paper-pulp investigations; (/) tuberculosis in stock.

Queensland. - (a) Prickly pear; (6) cottongrowing; (c) blowfly pest; [d) castor beans; (c) mangrove bark tanning; (/) mechanical cotton picker; [g) cattle-tick pest.

South Australia. - (a) Grass-tree resin; (6) tuberculosis in stock; (c) paper-pulp investigations.

Western Australia. - (a) Clays and pottery; (&) paper pulp; (o) forest products; (d) cattle-tick post; (e) Kimberley horse disease.

Tasmania. - (a) Tuberculosis in stock.

The work of the Federal Department will not interfere with, nor in any way duplicate, the work that is being done by the States. The tick pest, for instance, is limited principally to the northern part of Australia, as little is known of it in the southern States, particularly in Victoria. In cases where a pest is confined to a particular area, or particular States, the States concerned will make a united effort to eradicate it. The Federal Department will take up the work where the States have left off. It is generally recognised that much good work has been done by State institutions, and I believe in many instances the work has been hampered owing to the scarcity of funds. It may be necessary, later, to establish a central laboratory, not for the purpose of duplicating the work, but to enable valuable scientific instruments to be purchased.

Senator Foster:

– Has any provision been made for dealing with secondary industries ?

Senator RUSSELL:

– Secondary industries will be dealt with on similar lines, and every effort will be made to co-operate with the States. If investigation is necessary, for instance, in connexion with the silver-mining industry, only those States interested will be asked to co-operate. If there should be a scientific man in> a particular State possessing special knowledge on any particular subject, and that State is not interested, his services will be utilized in the interests of others.

Senator MILLEN:
TASMANIA · NAT; UAP from 1931

– In connexion with cooperation, I suppose there are more difficulties on the geological side than on any other, and I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) to seriously consider the question of a Federal geological survey, to deal with the many problems at present affecting our mining industry. Every consideration should be given to the question of hydrology, in an endeavour to secure accurate data in relation to rainfall and the volumes of our rivers. Hydroelectric schemes are of immense importance to Australia, because our existence depends upon our products, and their successful marketing depends upon the price at which we can raise them. If the Government were to undertake a Federal geological survey, in conjunction with the States, much good would result.

Senator RUSSELL:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Victoria · NAT

– I do not wish to make any promises in regard to the investigations to be undertaken as these must be decided on the advice of the Director and the scientists. I hope, however, that we are not to-day merely passing a Bill affirming our intention to do certain things, but that it will be found that the Government and Parliament will be generous in support of the institution created under this measure, and so enable it to do valuable work in the interests of the community.

Clause agreed to.

Glauses 13 to 17 agreed to.

Clause 18 (Annual Report of Director).

Senator FOSTER:

– We have had two remarkably fine speeches on this Bill this morning, and, in connexion with the report to be made by the Director of the Institute, I think it well to remind honorable senators that we have not been informed as to the course to be followed in the distribution of literature showing what the Institute is accomplishing from time to time. Considering the matter from the stand-point particularly of the secondary industries, and bearing in mind the figures quoted by Senators J. D. Millen and Duncan to show how production may be largely increased by the application of science to industry,I direct attention to the importance of the distribution throughout Australia of information concerning the work of the Institute, in order that the workers of the country especially may learn to what extent the researches of science may be utilized to benefit them. Unfortunately, to-day, in Australia, we have men who seem to be leading the workers of the country, and when one speaks to them of the way in which science may be applied to industry their reply is, “ You only want to speed up the worker.” If it can be shown that, by the application of science to industry, the earning power of the worker can be increased, with a lessened expenditure of effort on his part, the effect should be to encourage the workers of Australia to more efficient service and greater production. I should like arrangements to be made in order that information in regard to the progress of the Institute may be made available from time to time to the people in the interests of all concerned in its work, from the agricultural standpoint as well as from the stand-point of the secondary industries.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 19 and 20 agreed to.

Clause 21 (Regulations).

Senator RUSSELL:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Victoria · NAT

Senator Foster made a reference to the publication of literature indicating the work done by the Institute from time to time. I think that the last remarks I made dealt with the matter he mentioned. I am satisfied that those who will have the management of the Institute will be anxious to do the best they can for Australia. It will, no doubt be their desire to inaugurate a wide publicity campaign and to see that practical work is donein the laboratory, but what they will be able to do in this connexion will depend on the generosity of Parliament. The Director of the Institute will want to know how much we are prepared to give it, and I hope that Parliament will be found generous in the support accorded to it. It is obvious that, with the funds available to-day, we shall be unable to do all the work which has been referred to in a limited time. I hope that what we shall do will be to establish the Institute of Science and Industry on a firm footing, which will give assurance of satisfactory future development.

Clause agreed to.

Senator RUSSELL:
VicePresident of the Executive Council · Victoria · NAT

– I should perhaps apologize to the Committee for the necessity to reconsider one of the clauses of the Bill, but I think that this is the first occasion upon which a Bill has been passed by the Senate at a pace too fast for me.

Senator Wilson:

– It is not often that so good a Bill is introduced.

Motion (by Senator Russell) agreed to -

That clause 5 be reconsidered.

Clause 5 -

The Institute shall comprise -

a Bureau of Agriculture;

a Bureau of Industry; and

such other bureaux as the GovernorGeneral determines.

Amendments (by Senator Russell] agreed to -

That the word “ comprise,” line 1, be left on with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ establish.”

That the word “ Industry,” lino 3, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Industries.”

Clause, as amended agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Fill reported with amendments.

Senate adjourned at 12.25 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 August 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.