8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 o’clock a.m., and read prayers.
geneva conference- japan and Racial Equality.
– I ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether his attention has been directed to a press cable published this morning to the effect that, at the forthcoming Geneva Conference, it is the intention of Japan to stress the question of racial equality, and that for that purpose Japan intends being represented by, I think, three official or direct representatives, with the support of some sixty-two assistant representatives or assistants. I ask further whether these facts were before the Government at the time they were making their arrangements for the representation of Australia at the Conference?
– I regret that I have not seen the cable referred to. It was in the mind of the Government before making their arrangements for representation at the Geneva Conference that Japan would invite a discussion on the question of racial equality, and would be represented at the Conference.
– To the extent reported - three representatives and sixiytwo assistants?
– Japan will not have sixty-two votes for the assistant representatives. The number which Japan or any other country cares to send as representatives to the Conference is a matter entirely within its own competence to decide. I may add that the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) will, I understand, to-day make a statement covering the whole position. If Senator Keating will wait for an hour or two he may find that the terms of that announcement will satisfy some of the doubts that evidently are in his mind.
– The Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) will be Australia’s first line of defence.
– And a very good one, too.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate, who is about to leave for Geneva, whether he does not think that it would help him greatly were he to take a French interpreter from Australia with Australian sympathies? I saw an announcement in one of the newspapers that an interpreter was to be engaged on the other side of the world, and that is my reason for making the suggestion.
– The matter to which the honorable senator refers has been considered, and, if satisfactory arrangements to that end can be made, they will be made.
Number Built by Department.
asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The desired information is being obtained.
asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The Commission advises as follows: - 1, 2, 3, and 4. In order to ascertain the particulars required in questions 1 to 4 it will be necessary to examine every pension separately in order to determine whether the beneficiaries were dependants of those of commissioned rank or other members of the A.I.F.
I suggest to the honorable member that, as the information desired can only be obtained in the way stated, and would involve a considerable time and some expenditure, he might submit a motion calling for a return including the particulars referred to in his questions.
Motion (by Senator de Largie) agreed to-
That Senator E. S. Guthrie be granted two months’ leave of absence to attend to urgent public business.
Debate resumed from 16th September (vide page 4617), on motion by Senator E. D. Millen -
That the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1921, and Budget Papers 1920-21, laid on the table of the Senate on 16th September, 1920, be printed.
– I wish to make as clear a statement as is possible upon the military policy of the Government. It will be evident to the Senate, however, that it will not be possible to make public the precise data or the strategical considerations which govern the maintenance of our land Forces. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) has given, in another place, as much information as is possible. Suffice it, I think, to. say here that in the full realization of its responsibilities, the Government deems it desirable to maintain a Force of a definite strength, and to make that Force, within reasonable time, something real, and to the extent of our capacity, self contained.
The responsibility for the defence of the country is one of the main duties which have been intrusted to the Commonwealth. The insurance obtained by possessing Forces capable of defending the country is, in the nature of things, expensive. But the expense is trifling in comparison with even a single item of war expenditure. We hardly need the experience of the great war to convince us that war is costly.
It is our aim to keep down to the utmost, compatible with reasonable safety, our expenditure upon insurance. But it is necessary that the people should know exactly the extent of the insurance obtained by their expenditure for military defence. This year the financial liabilities of the Commonwealth are at an extreme, and a complete insurance is beyond our capacity. Within the limit of financial practicability, our endeavour will be to attain the utmost efficiency. But it must be clearly understood that not at once can we assure to the country a complete measure of security.
By the system of annually voting the financial needs for defence there is great risk of lack of continuity of policy. Such a lack, if permitted, must inevitably lead to waste in a Department which, perforce, is a spending one. We have endeavoured, therefore, as far as possible, to foresee our needs over a certain period. The financial provision made this year constructs the military edifice to a determined extent. The continuance of the policy must, however, demand in subsequent years certain steps forward, and these carry in their train the probability of increased expenditure. The whole scheme is, however, so devised that the process of building can be retarded or increased according to the needs of the international or financial situation at the time.
The Department has not in the past been without a settled policy. As you know, we embarked in 1911-12 upon a system of universal training, which was elaborated for us by the late Lord Kitchener. Under that scheme, had there not been any war, we should now have an Army whose peace establishment would be approximately 130,000, and would require to meet current expenses and annual expenditure of at least £3,500,000. The cost of training alone would be £1,300,000. It is to be noted that in 1914, when only three quotas were under training, the expenditure upon defence amounted to £2,644,392, and that did not include any provision for the then moderate estimate of requirements in munitions.
The present is, however, a turning point in the history of the Forces. The war has naturally enough somewhat dislocated our old system. The trainee who served in the Australian Imperial Force has been exempted from further training, and our Army has in consequence practically to be built again. Moreover, we are now in possession of a wealth of experience, and even if, as the Prime Minister once said, “ the oracles of yesterday are buried beneath the debris of their own prophecies,” such knowledge cannot fail to furnish guidance for the future. A fresh policy has become necessary. In determining how best to create, organize, train, and administer the Forces needed, I have taken the advice of the senior officers of the Australian Imperial Force, as well as senior officers of the Permanent Forces. I have also recast the machinery of the Department of Defence in such manner as will enable it efficiently to administer the policy approved by the Government.
The Military Board,- as the means of control and administration, will be retained, but it has been so reconstituted as to impose upon it a full measure of responsibility. The Council of Defence will be restored, to deal with policy, and insure its continuity, and to co-ordinate the requirements of the sea, air, and land.
I proceed now to outline briefly the proposed policy for the information of the Senate : -
The Government adheres to the principle of maintaining its Forces upon a Citizen Force basis. Permanent troops will only be maintained in sufficient strength to administer and instruct the Citizen Forces, and to provide the nucleus of certain technical services. This is provided for by Statute.
I would like here to emphasize two points. By deciding to defend Australia by means of soldiers who are at the same time citizens, the Government believe that they are interpreting correctly the will of the people. It is well, therefore, that the people should know that my military advisers are satisfied that under such a system military requirements can be met. My second point is that if it is the desire of the people that they should be defended by Citizen Forces, then it is their responsibility to see that the organization is supported and encouraged. Without the aid and co-operation of the people our efforts must be barren of the- results desired.
The Government adheres to the principle of universal training, which has been applied for the past nine years.
The principle is in itself just and equitable. The experience of the past nine years shows that it can be applied to military needs, and that its operation has been beneficial to the nation.
A continuance of the universal training scheme cannot at once produce to us the Force required. The annual intake of recruits is only about 18,000. Time is therefore required for development.
In the meantime, therefore, and appreciating the desire of the returned soldier for some definite place in our military system, the Government propose to reopen voluntary enlistment. The Australian Imperial Force will accordingly be invited to join the new Forces, in their old units, and become the foundation upon which the scheme will be built. Facilities will be given to these men to fill positions in the commissioned and non-commissioned ranks. As universal trainees become available they will be built on to the base thus laid, and fill the vacancies which will occur by the effluxion of time.
The Australian Imperial Force Reserve will be retained, under modified conditions, to meet the needs of these returned men, who are unable, from a variety of causes, more actively to participate in the defence of their country.
The Army to be raised will be composed of -
Four complete Divisions.
Three fixed Brigades, which in cer tain circumstances will be capable of union within. a fifth Division.
It will be seen at once that the effect of such a re-organization will be to restore the organization of the Australian Imperial Force, an organization tested and proved by war. These divisions will be supplemented by the proportion of “ extra divisional units “ which war has shown to be necessary, and are at the time within our capacity.
The peace establishment of this Army will be approximately 130,000 men.
Up to the time of the outbreak of the great war our military system was in its infancy, and the manner of our organization had of necessity to savour of the nursery. The war has aged us, and the period of adolescence is now passed. Our future organization must be based on war requirements.
A mobile Army must now be created, and in order that when it is mobilized this Army may have facility for its maintenance, it must leave within the area from which it is drawn certain “fixed machinery” for the purpose.
It is therefore proposed now to adopt a divisional organization. The divisional commander will have complete responsibility for the preparation for war of the Forces under his command. An area will be allotted to him, and personnel will be allotted to him as the “ fixed machinery “ of the area.
With the creation of divisional commands the present office of State or District Commandant will disappear. For the purpose of supply of material, &c, in its broadest sense, there will be maintained in each State a small base office and a limited staff. This will be part of the “fixed machinery.”
An Army, no matter how well organized, staffed, and trained will be powerless, nay, even worse, is liable to be sacrificed, if it is not provided adequately with equipment and munitions. The recent war has shown very clearly the tendency to save man power by the use of mechanical contrivance. Success in war is still to the big battalions, and everything that conserves man power is vital to success. We have coming to us as the equipment of the Australian ‘Imperial Force for which we paid, considerable quantities of equipment and less considerable quantities of guns and ammunition. In the interests alike of the Army and the nation, and despite the cost, it has been deemed necessary to make certain provision for the augmentation of our artillery and ammunition. We have not hitherto in this country included heavy artillery as a requirement. The recent war has shown us clearly that the neglect of it may easily be disastrous. Unfortunately, such munitions are costly and the Government cannot at once see its way financially to provide all that security demands. A beginning is being made, however, and we are in communication with the Home Government to see if more adequate quantities are obtainable upon terms compatible with the present financial situation.
The Senate is probably unaware of the high cost of guns and ammunition. An 18-pounder gun, with its limbers and waggon, costs £5,498. The price of a. single round of ammunition is £5 7s. A battery of 18-pounder guns is composed of six guns, and thecost of a battery is therefore £32,988. To this must be added a sum of £8,860 as the cost of the ammunition normally carried.
It was no uncommon thing during the late war for a single gun to fire, during the day, anything from 250 to 450 rounds. The expenditure in ammunition of a single Army in France frequently attained to the enormous expenditure of some 11,000 tons of artillery ammunition. The figures make it clear that our pre-war ideas of a sufficiency of artillery and ammunition have to be enlarged a thousand times.
Prior to the outbreak of war the Government had approved of the principle of the establishment of an Arsenal. The long continuance of the war has seriously hampered the development of all that was proposed. It is now intended earnestly to prosecute our plans. An Arsenal will be established which it is hoped will gradually be able to supply our peace requirements. It will be established more in the form of a munitions supply branch, aiming rather at insuring that Australian trade shall be able to supply our war needs than that Government-owned factories shall ;be designed on the scale necessary for the purpose.
The question of storing the equipment now coming to hand has been dealt with upon definite principles, and properlysituated mobilization stores are being provided. This is a provision towards meeting which the last five years would have shown some progress had the war not eventuated. It is unfortunate, from a Budget point of view and from other aspects, that this year so much money must be devoted to works and buildings. It has distorted the Military estimates, and I make this explanation in consequence.
The obligations in respect to training of our present Defence Act were at the time of their adoption regarded as a minimum. It is instructive to measure their value by war experience. I think we can sum up the effect of our scale of training in this wise : The instruction afforded to the rank and file was of very limited practical value, but it had a disciplinary and moral effect not to be regarded lightly. To the officers and non-commissioned officers, aided by the patriotic and voluntary devotion of these members, it gave a training which proved a good foundation for the rapid assimilation of war’s lessons and requirements. Military opinion is now unanimous that efforts should be made, if not to the fullest extent, at least to an extent indicating recognition of the need, to repair the defects of the present system.
It is accordingly proposed to give to youths in their first year of obligation, namely, in their eighteenth year, a thorough individual training. The period of this will be ten weeks. To compensate for this necessary addition, a reduction will be made in the number of years over which training is spread. Under the present Act men are required to effect each year, for a period of seven years, sixteen days’ training, eight of which must be camp training. In the eighth year the demand is limited to registration. The total number of days’ training, therefore, amounts to 112. Under the new scheme the period over which training is extended will be reduced to four years, in the first year of which the requirement is ten weeks, but in the remaining three years the demand will be what it is .now, namely, .sixteen days annually. The total period of liability will remain as at present - eight* years - but in the last four years of that period the obligation will be an annual registration only. The total demanded of the trainee will, therefore, be 118 days, as against the present 112 days. The proposal appears to have economic and industrial, as well as military, advantages. The bulk of the training will be done by youths in their eighteenth year, and they will be freed of their obligations during their twenty-second year.
It is not proposed this year to attempt to effect the new scale, nor is it intended to make it retrospective. This financial year will be one of preliminary preparation. It is, therefore, intended to call up for eight days’ training - that is to say, non-.continuo.us training - the whole of the existing Citizen Forces - approximately between 50,000 and 70,000. The object of this is mainly administrative and disciplinary. Consequent upon the war, and despite our efforts administratively, our Citizen Force has fallen into disrepair. This it is hoped gradually to remedy, and the opportunity will be taken at the same time to graft on to the old system the scheme of re-organization. The trainees of eighteen years old, approximately 16,000, who are due to enter the Citizen Forces this year, will be required to effect their eight days’ training in camp in order that they may get as good a grounding as possible. Their home training obligation will be reduced to the equivalent of four days’ training instead of the eight days demanded by the Act. In three subsequent years they will only be required to undergo the training at present prescribed, namely, sixteen days annually, and in the four following years annual registration only will be asked of them.
The training to be required of voluntarily enlisted personnel will be a minimum’ statutorily, but judging from the experience of the past, the minimum will be much exceeded by this personnel.
It is proposed that the period of enlistment shall be four years, and that each year the prescribed amount of training will be the sixteen days which the present Act requires. No less amount would be of any practical value or be likely to give any return commensurate with cost. It is thought that by those desiring to give their services to the country the demand will not be considered excessive. Moreover, the period of training mentioned will not be obligatory.
The necessary amendments to the Act will shortly be submitted to Parliament.
The Permanent Forces will be reorganized in such manner as will enable them most effectively to carry out the duties that will fall’ to them upon a re-organization of the Forces based upon war requirements.. Definite establishments upon an assured basis will be laid down to fulfil administrative and instructional needs, and the strength of the nucleus of technical services required wili be precisely determined.
Prior to the inception of the Commonwealth each State possessed voluntary (Juinior and Senior) Cadet organizations-, which were continued by the Commonwealth up to the inauguration of the Universal Training Scheme in July, 1911. No systematic instruction was possible in this voluntary scheme, and a section of the community only received training.
The adoption by the Commonwealth Government of the Universal Training Scheme as the result of the late Lorr. Kitchener’s, report, enabled a complete alteration to be made in the Cadet organization.
The progress of the Universal Training Scheme may be divided into four distinct stages : - 1st. The Preparatory State (prior to 1st January, 1911). - In addition to other preparation this periodinvolvedthe appointment and training of additional drill instructors; the appointment, and training of temporary area officers; the provisional division of the Commonwealth into training, battalion., arid brigade areas. 2nd. The: Preliminary Stage (from list January to 30th June,1911). - The period’ was covered by the registration,, inspection,, and medical examination of the 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897 quotas of Senior Cadets; (i.e., those born in the years 1894, 1895, 1896, and 1897); the medical examination of the 1898 and 1899 quotas of Junior Cadets; the issue of exemptions from training to the medically unfit and to those resident in remote localities; the appointment of localities for training ; the organization of Military Senior Cadet units, and the allotment thereto of those liable for training; the appointment of officers to Senior Cadet battalions. 3rd Stage (from. 1st July, 1911, to 30th June, 1913). - At this stage; we began the training of four quotas of Senior Cadets and two quotas of Junior Cadets. During tnisi time thirteen! special instructors of physical training were appointed. The. 1894 quota of Senior. Carets was transferred to the Citizens Forces. 4tb Stage (from 1st July, 1913, to 30th June, 1920). - In which is included the continuation of Junior and Senior Cadet training up to 1907 quota, and covers the period of the great war. Despite the difficulties occasioned by the war, cadet training was not suspended.
I will as briefly as possible explain the situation of both branches of cadet training, and indicate’ the future policy and intention.
Realizing the paramount importance of the national physique, the Commonwealth Government, at the instance of several State Governments, arranged a conference of the officials of the various Education Departments and educational bodies throughout Australia to consider the whole question of the physical training of school boys. This conference met in Melbourne duiring July, 1909. Subsequent conferences were held, with the result that a complete Junior Cadet scheme was launched in July, 1911. The agreement arrived at with the State Education Departments and education bodies was that, provided the Commonwealth Government appointed a chief supervisor of physical training, with a special staff of physical training instructors, and made the necessary arrangements for the efficient instruction of the teachers in the subject,the teachers would, in their turn, impart the knowledge thus gained to the boys under their control.
Registration is not required for Junior Cadet training, but all boys of the ages of twelve and thirteen years are subject to medical examination as to their physical fitness to undergo training. The Act requires of these Junior Cadets- a total of ninety hours’ training annually. The regulations for Junior Cadet training provide for -
The Defence Act really provides only for the 52,571 boys attending the schools situated in the training localities ; but the co-operation of Education Departments and teachers of schools not under State control ha6 been such that the whole of the schools within the Commonwealth are now actually participating in the training work. This training is inspected annually, and a small per capita allowance is made based on its efficiency. This amount is utilized for the purchase of necessary equipment.
Although the Defence Department is only responsible for the instruction of those teachers who train Junior Cadets,’ the Education Departments of the several States, being desirous of extending the scheme of physical training to their school girls, unanimously asked for a course of instruction to be arranged for their, selected women teachers. A special course was held, and these teachers have since disseminated the knowledge gained to the women teachers of the several States.
The war recruited a large number of the men teachers employed in the schools, and rather than cause a suspension of physical training, instruction courses were arranged with the concurrence of the States’ Education Departments for the training of women teachers who Toluntarily undertook this work.
Since the commencement of Junior Cadet Training, 4S0 courses of instruction for teachers have been held, and 5,237 women teachers and 7,517 men teachers have received instruction, in addition to the special instructors regularly visiting the schools for purposes of advice.
The Commonwealth Government have thus supported and developed the Junior Cadet training movement in the States to a definite point. It is now for consideration whether the time has not arrived when the responsibility for Junior
Cadet training should pass to the entire control of the States.
A Junior Cadet becomes liable for training as a Senior Cadet in his fourteenth year, and the liability continues during his fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth years. The obligations of the Act respecting training are at present four whole-day drills, twelve half-day drills, and twenty-four night drills.
Ninety-two battalions of Senior Cadets have been organized, including 905 companies, necessitating 2,804 officers - 92 as battalion commanders and 2,712 as company officers.
Although organized to a degree on a military basis and controlled by the Military Department, the Cadet organization may be regarded as a universal educational agency rather than as a military body.
During 1917 a committee of officers was assembled to consider the whole question of the suitability of the syllabus of Senior Cadet training. This committee collected valuable data from officers and others closely associated with the Cadet organization and with boy associations. The principle was laid down that a Cadet organization should have for its object the mental, moral, and physical improvement of the youth of the land. The limited time available by the provisions of the Act will not, of course, enable perfection to be attained. It is hoped, however, by the nature of the instruction imparted at parade and drills to give inspiration for private effort.
The revised proposals and syllabus of training are gradually being brought into operation. The amendments to the Syllabus of Training, which were approved in 1918, have already effected a wonderful change in the percentage of attendances at parades, as shown by the following figures: - The number of Senior Cadets actually in training for quarter ending 30th June, 1912, was 92,276 - the percentage of attendance to strength being 65.4. Compare this with the returns for the half-year ending 30th June, 1920, when the number of Senior Cadets actually in training was 95,518, and the percentage of attendance to strength 85.3. This undoubtedly proves that the interest of both parents and boys is not lacking.
It is proposed to delete the whole-day parades, as now prescribed, and also parades of long duration, and substitute daylight parades of two and a half hours’ duration, spread over periods to suit local conditions. Variations will be permitted in the case of Senior Cadets attending colleges or schools, and in other special cases. The two hours and a half is not considered excessive when consideration is given to the scope and variety of the subjects to be undertaken, and also that the period of service for any one year is only sixty-four hours.
The four years’ training resolves itself into two clearly defined steps. The boy between fourteen and sixteen years will be given work mainly of a physical and recreational nature. The youth of seventeen and eighteen - that is to say, during the second period of his Senior Cadet training - will be given an advanced degree of physical and recreational training, but he will also be. prepared for graduation to the Citizen Forces. It has been stated that it may possibly be better to devote the whole time to physical training and body building work, but it must be recognised that a successful scheme of cadet training requires the interest and enthusiasm of the cadets from beginning to end. Further, it is right that every lad before his transfer to the Citizen Forces should be given an introduction to military work.’ He is keenly interested in obtaining it, and enters upon his Citizen Force career with more zest. Consequently the changes in the system of training have been gradually tending towards this idea, and the completed syllabus, when finally adopted, will follow in the direction indicated.
This, however, is not to be taken as indicating that’ all subjects of a military nature will be omitted from the first two years of a Senior Cadet’s service. Certain subjects of interest to the boy will remain, and instruction given therein. These subjects are to be termed voluntary, since the boys themselves will have a say inselecting those of local or personal interest to themselves.
It is thought that as the training will now clearly follow certain defined lines, and develop individuality rather than suppress it, the difficulty in regard to cadets acting as non-commissioned officers will vanish ; the boy who is the leader by virtue of his natural prowess, and who excels in manly games, should be proud to accept leadership. The Senior Cadet officer has been a difficulty also in the past, because of lack of instruction, and also because of the lack of encouragement. It is proposed to link up the Senior Cadet Unit with the Adult Citizen Force Unit, and allocate a proportion of the Citizen Force officers for duty with the Senior Cadets.
It will be an additional qualification for a Citizen Force officer in the future to have performed duty with the Senior Cadets. The training of the Senior Cadet will resolve itself into a special duty of the commander of the affiliated Citizen Force Battalion. Further encouragement will be given to the Senior Cadet trainee selected to serve with commissioned rank, and efficient instruction in his duties afforded him. It is desired also to induce returned Australian Imperial Force officers, non-commissioned officers, and men to take an active part in the Senior Cadet training.
For some time past many gentlemen have materially helped the Senior Cadet movement on Welfare Committees. These gentleman have performed yeoman service in this direction, and the greatest encouragement will be given to the formation of these committees, so that the Cadet movement may be linked up to the life of the community.
It is proposed to make material changes in the uniform supplied to the Senior Cadet and clothe him according to the nature of the work he has to do. As physical and recreational training will predominate during the first two years of his training, a complete athletic kit will be issued him in lieu of the present uniform.
That the percentage of physical inefficients has been materially reduced as the result of the operation of a scheme of physical training, is worthy of more than passing notice. In the medical examination of quotas of Cadets on reaching the age of eighteen years, i.e., at the termination of Junior and Senior Cadet service, the following figures, while emphasizing in a rather startling manner the necessity for more energetic interest and efficient action in physical training generally, can be said to disperse any doubts as to the efficacy of rightly conducted Cadet training. During the quarter ending 31st December, 1917, 20,832 youths w,ere medically examined and the percentage of those physically unfitted was 21.65; the following year 22,129 youths were examined and the percentage reduced to 17.67. Again, on 31st December, 1919, the percentage was further reduced to 16.29. The number examined in this instance was 22,904, and an interesting fact in connexion with these boys is that those of the first quoted number comprised Senior Cadets who had no training whatever as Junior Cadets. Those in lie second and third numbers quoted were affected by the Junior Cadet training scheme, which is mainly physical training.
– The examinations covered the whole of Australia. “As emphasizing that physical training rightly directed can produce physical fitness, an experiment of far-reaching importance was put into operation during the war period in Melbourne and Sydney, whereby numbers of men enlisted for the Australian Imperial Force who were medically fit, though physically unfit for service, were put under a course of physical training for three months. In even this short time 95 per cent, of these were subsequently passed physically fit for active service.
Our policy in the future respecting the training of both Junior and Senior Cadets will have a proper regard to improving the physical standards of those classed unfit.
Realizing that properly graduated exercises, under competent instructors, are necessary factors in national life, and that the time and expense devoted to them will be repaid in full measure, the Government proposes increased activity in this national work. A central school of physical training for tlie purpose of higher education in physical training and correlated subjects, and also including in its curriculum teaching methods, is an establishment provided for in the reorganization
I come now to the formation of the rifle clubs. These clubs were originally formed with the object of training a large number of the citizens of Australia in the use of the rifle, -so that, if the necessity .arose, their services could be utilized in the defence of Australia as a reserve. With this object in view, they were attested in the Reserve Forces, and certain of them were allotted to units of the Citizen Forces as a reserve.
The conference of senior officers of the Australian Military Forces recently assembled to advise the Government on the future Defence policy has, however, stated that, having regard to modern military training requirements and the number of trained personnel available in emergency, they were of opinion that the maintenance of rifle clubs as a reserve is no longer militarily necessary; and that if it be decided to continue to subsidize rifle clubs, the expenditure should not be recognised as a military vote, nor should it be administered by the military branch of this Department.
– Can the Minister give the names of those officers?
– Yes. The permanent officers were Generals White, Legge, and Chauvel, and the Citizen Force officers, Generals Monash, Hobbs, and McCay.
– Were they all unanimous in that recommendation?
– Absolutely unanimous. On receipt of this information, I forwarded it to the council of the National Rifle Association, to give them the fullest opportunity to reply to it, and in order that the Government, when considering the question, would have the benefit of both opinions.
It may be stated that the General Officer Commanding the New Zealand Military Forces, in his report for the year ended 30th June, 1920, voices the same opinion.
The Government, after fully weighing^ the advice of its officers, and also considering the representations by members of the Commonwealth Council of Rifle Associations and ‘Clubs, have decided to provide on the Estimates a total sum of £50,000 as a subsidy to cover all expenses connected with rifle club activities, other than the provision of a certain quantity of ammunition, in regard to which it is proposed to issue from stock a quantity not exceeding the value of £30,000. This amounts to a considerable reduction in the cost of the rifle club movement to this Department compared with pre-war- expenditure, taking into consideration the ammunition issued free and the loss on that sold to clubs. The grant is being provided in recognition of the good work performed by the clubs in the past; their patriotic motives in the encouragement of rifle shooting, and their services in this respect in places outside training areas, where rifle clubs provide the only means of the young men acquiring a knowledge of the rifle.
The grant will be administered by the civil branch of the Defence Department, and the conditions under which the money will be expended and the details of future administration will be settled in consultation with the Commonwealth Council of Rifle Associations .and Clubs, the governing body.
I come now to the new, but still very important, matter, namely, the Air Service of the Commonwealth. We are asking for .a vote of £500,000 towards the establishment of this service. The great progress made in aviation has not yet reached such a stage as would enable it to he asserted upon a sure basis that a complete defence of any country could be assured by Air Forces alone, but the Naval and Military arms will be incomplete without air assistance to the degree found necessary by war experience. The funds required have been largely reduced by a splendid gift made by the British authorities of 128 aeroplanes with equipment of all kinds. There is, of course, a considerable number of personnel already trained, and it is hoped that the measures to be taken in regard to civil aviation will insure a reserve of airmen and machines.
A combined Naval and Military Ait Corps will be organized under a Board, composed of flying, equipment, and finance officers. As it is unnecessary at this juncture to create a separate Department, and would be wasteful to separate the naval and military sides of this service, the corps will, for convenience, be placed under the Minister for Defence. This will enable existing administrative machinery to be utilized, and save the setting up of an additional Department. This organization will facilitate an all round training of personnel in naval and military flying, and focus the results of the experience to be gained in the development of a combined service. Much preparatory work in the acquisition of sites and works construction has to be done, and it is therefore not possible at the moment to indicate the number who will be enrolled in thecorps this year. For the immediatepresent it is proposed to set in training, the establishment of the following units : - - Head-quarters, Australian Air Corps (ineluding representation in London) ; three station head-quarters, with land, buildings, store, and repair facilities; one central flying school, one aircraft depot, one squadron flying boats, one squadron ships seaplanes, one squadron torpedo carriers, two fighting squadrons, two corps reconnaissance squadrons. There will be both Permanent and Citizen Force units. Permanent units will be required for service with the Fleet, for squadrons so isolated that citizen personnel cannot be utilized, and for training squadrons. The Citizen Force units will consist of a permanent nucleus.
A Bill will be submitted for the constitution, administration, and discipline of the Air Corps.
We have endeavoured to devise an. effective means of insuring the full consideration of . matters of aviation policy as a whole, in its naval, military, and civil aspects. The Minister will be assisted by a representative War Council, which will include officers of the Navy, Army, and Air Board, and an independent controller of civil aviation.
We recommend a vote of £100,000 for purely civil aviation purposes. As I have indicated the controller of civil aviation will take a seat on the Air Council, where policy will be coordinated with the defence aspects of aviation and co-operation with the Air Board authorities will be insured. The Commonwealth is a party to the International Convention for the Regulation of Aerial Navigation, and the Premiers of the States have agreed that the subjectmatter should, with unimportant reservations, be referred to the Federal Parliament in terms of section 51 (Xxxvi. of the Constitution. A Federal Bill is being drafted in anticipation of the necessary State legislation being passed. . It will be the duty of the controller to administer the traffic regulations. Amongst other things will be required machinery for the inspection, registration, and certification of airmen, aircraft, and aerodromes. The controller will also advise on matters affecting the organization of air lines and schemes for the encouragement of the growth of civil aviation.
It is also proposed that the permanent section of the Air Force shall not be idle, but shall be used in assisting civil aviation to get on a proper basis. We propose to use the personnel of that Force very largely for surveying, map-making, and doing the necessary pioneering work in arranging air routes in Australia which will eventually be utilized for commercial purposes. It is obvious that, if commercial ifirms are to enter into the work of civil aviation and at the same time are to be asked to map out the routes, prepare surveys, depots, and landing places, the undertaking would be overloaded and would prevent commercial aviation from being successfully undertaken. It is believed that many depots will be required for military purposes, and as we have established a permanent nucleus the staff might well be employed in carrying out this important work and thus provide the facilities whichwill not only lessen the cost to be incurred by commercial firms, but will enable them to take up the work more speedily.
– It really means an expenditure of £600,000 on aviation.
– Yes ; but in the first year it will be directed along lines to help commercial aviation, and at the same time will assist necessary work of a military character.
There is another important phase to this question. From time to time honorable senators and others have asked if something could not be done to test the possibilities of carrying mails in Australia by aeroplane. The ordinary procedure is that the Postal Department calls for tenders for the carrying of mails. It would be farcical to call for tenders for carrying mails by air to any part in Australia, as the firms engaged in the work of aviation have no data on which to base tenders. The Department is therefore now asking the Postal Department to work in conjunction with the Defence Department for several months and to carry mails over certain routes. By keeping a correct record of the expenditure incurred the Postal Department will have some information on which to work, and will be in a position to give some indication of the cost, and thus enable outside firms to tender, if they so desire, for carrying mails.
– Does the Defence scheme include anything in the way of attaching a special scientific staff, consisting of, say, chemists, to the Australian Army ?
– Yes, the Council of Defence makes full provision for attaching various scientific bodies in Australia to its sub-committees.
Debate (on motion by Senator de Largie) adjourned.
Order of the Day read for the consideration of the Bill as reported.
Motion (by Senator Russell) agreed to-
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clause 21.
In . Committee (Recommittal):
Section 48 of the principal Act is amended -
) by inserting, after the word “ breach,” the words “ or to enjoin any organization or person from committing or continuing any contravention of this Act or of the award “ ; and
) by inserting, after the words “ of any contravention of “, the words “ the Act or “.
– Honorable senators will recollect that a , promise was made last night to insert in this clause the words “ High Court.” As a result of a conference, and after consultation with the SolicitorGeneral, I am now in a position to move an amendment, which, I think, will meet the wishes of Senator Keating. The suggestion put forward at the time was too wide, because it practically meant, that the High Court could be applied to even where a technical fine of, say, 10s. 6d. had been imposed. The High Court has more important work to perform than to consider trivial cases, and the amendment which I have to submit is one which I think will thoroughly meet the case, and will be generally acceptable. I move -
That after the word “ amended “ the following new paragraph be inserted: - “ (al) By inserting before the words ‘ a County, District, or Local Court,’ the words ‘ the High Court or a Justice thereof, or ‘ “.
– The effect of the amendment, if adopted, will be that the High Court or any Justice of the High Court, which would, of course, include the President of the Arbitration Court, exercising judicial functions, will have the same power as a County Court or District or Local Court to enforce by mandamus or injunction an award. Substantially that is the desire of the Senate and the general community. It does not purport to give to the High Court direct power to impose fines, but, as has already been pointed out, that power is given to Courts of summary jurisdiction. If there is a desire to enforce an award by resorting to a fine that can be done in a Court of summary jurisdiction, and the High Court need not be invoked. If a mandamus or injunction is desired to enforce an award a County, District, or Local Court can be approached ; but , if the parties desired an award to be enforced by the High Court they can ‘approach that Court. It may be more convenient in some cases to apply to the President of the Arbitration Court, in his judicial capacity, of course, to issue an injunction or mandamus under certain circumstances. If’ a County, District, or Local Court is invited to issue a mandamus or injunction the Court may say that it is not cognisant of the circumstances, whereas by going direct to a Justice of the High Court, or to the President of the Arbitration Court in his judicial capacity, the case could then, be dealt with by some one cognisant of the details and the enforcement is more likely to be expeditiously assured. I quite recognise that the Minister lias endeavoured to meet the suggestions contained in the amendment originally projected by Senator Elliott, and in that which I moved last night. It has been pointed out that although certain Courts had jurisdiction the High Court had not, and we are now giving the High Court jurisdiction, not in substitution of the jurisdiction of Local Courts, but in addition. The amendment will confer a supplementary power which will meet all the criticism that would have otherwise been offered to the Bill by Senator Elliott and myself.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with a further amendment.
– In moving -
That this Bill be now read a second time,
I desire to point out that it consists of a very technical contract which is embodied in the schedule that is attached to it. A new principle is involved in the measure in which the Commonwealth Government propose to co-operate, not with a State Government, but with the owners and growers of the wheat itself.
– A great idea.
– I think that it is a splendid idea. Senator Pratten and I disagree as to the quantity of wheat which was lost to Australia during the existence of the Wheat Pools.
– We do not differ much upon that point. Our disagreement is not very vital.
– The wheat which has been lost to Australia affords us an object lesson in the matter of how to avoid similar losses in the future. Had that wheat .been placed in silos it would not have been attacked by mice, and many hundreds of thousands of bushels would thus have been saved, because grain can be most effectively treated in silos. Those who look at the conditions which obtain in India to-day must recognise that it is going to be more difficult year after year to obtain supplies of jute from that country. Jute is going to be a very expensive item to our farmers. It is useless to say that India ;s affected by the same virus as is the rest of the world. The -fact remains that wages there have increased enormously, with the result that if in the future Australia is able to obtain jute from India at 50 or 60 per cent, above pre-war rates, she will be exceedingly fortunate.
– Is the money which is provided for in this Bill to be expended for the purpose of saving our farmers the cost of bags ?
– Certainly. In pre-war days, cornsacks could be purchased for 5s. or 6s. per dozen, but their price to-day is about 15s. per dozen. Even if the price should fall in the future, we may be absolutely sure that it will never again come down to its former level. The cutting out of the high cost of cornsacks will confer a most important benefit upon the farmers of Western Australia.
– Then this scheme will cut out that cost?
– To a great extent it will. It ought to cut out at least 90 per cent. of the bags in use at present. The remaining 10 per cent, of them will be used over and over again. Of course, it is fair to assume that, for a number of years, wheat will be carted in bags from the farms to the railways, although the advanced farmer will, doubtless, resort to bulk loading throughout. We may fairly congratulate the organizers of this scheme in Western Australia, and also the farmers of that State, on the magnificent way in which they have cooperated in an endeavour to eliminate the services of agents.
– This scheme has been mooted for a long time. It deals with the bulk handling of grain.
– It does.
– Four years ago, when I was on my way to Western Australia, I met a man who talked about this scheme.
– The scheme has not been projected for anything like that period. But, in some instances, we did resort to the temporary storage of wheat four years ago. The war was then in progress, nobody knew exactly how long wheat would keep, and consequently we had to obtain some place in which to store our wheat temporarily. In addition to the bulk storage provided under this Bill there will be houses for classifyingand grading wheat for export overseas.
– Can the VicePresident of the Executive Council explain why the Western Australian Government have not anything to do with this scheme?
– The explanation is that they had not sufficient votes in the State Parliament. The scheme, however, is subject to the Parliament of that State giving full powers to the co-operative company which has been formed.
– But the Western Australian Ministry had not sufficient votes to secure the indorsement of the scheme.
– They had not sufficient money, and they had not sufficient power, probably because a number of their supporters regarded the scheme as of too socialistic a character. Personally, I prefer that the farmers of Western Australia should erect their own silos.
– Is there not money available for the erection of wheat silos under the Wheat Storage Act of 1917?
– There is no money available now under that heading.
– There were £2,000,000 available, of which New South Wales obtained £1,000,000. No other State has had any of that money.
– There is no desire on the part of the Government to use the powers conferred by this Bill.
– But the Wheat Storage Act of 1917 was passed by this Parliament.
– That measure provided only for the temporary storage of wheat. All the wheat covered by it has gone from Australia.
– The Commonwealth advanced £1,000,000 to New South Wales for the erection of silos, but up to date there has not been a bushel of wheat put into them.
– That is not the fault of New South Wales. There would have been wheat in them last year if that State had had any wheat surplus. There will be wheat put into them this year. I think that the principle embodied in the Bill is a sound one, and one which Parliament ought to encourage.
– It is capable of rather indefinite extension.
– If there be a genuine trading concern in Australia in which the risk of loss is practically eliminated, it is the duty of the Government to assist it by means of cooperation.
– Who is to be liable for the money which is to be advanced under this Bill?
– A properlyconstituted company, the assets of which will be held as security by the Commonwealth. In addition, the farmers of Western Australia are paying. £250,000 into the company. The latest report from that State is that 244,000 shares have been sold to the farmers there, and as these shares are paid up to £1, they practically provide the whole of the guarantee that is required by the Commonwealth.
– ‘Poor farmer!
– The enterprise is not to be run for the purpose of making profits. No profits will be made by the co-operative company; the interest rate is limited to 6- per cent, upon the scrip which is being issued, and the company is not to pay more than S per cent, in dividends. There is no likelihood of the scrip being bought up by syndicates or corporations, because it has already been determined that each shareholder shall have only one vote. I know of one farmer who has put £1,200 into the company - representing the value of the wheat which he has in bond - and he has only one vote, just as has any farmer who has perhaps twenty or thirty bags in the Pool.
– All who are connected with the company must be farmers ?
– Yes. When they cease to be farmers, they cease to be shareholders.
– I think that is -a very good idea.
– The idea is to induce people by means of co-operation to manage as much of their own business a3 possible. This is a co-operative arrangement under which the Western Australian farmers will be learning to manage their own business.
– With a subsidy of £2 to £1 from the Commonwealth.
– It is not a subsidy.
– It is a loan, and the maximum amount to be advanced by the Commonwealth under the Bill is fixed at £550,000. The money is to be advanced at 6 per cent., and the farmers will themselves put £250,000 into the venture. They must spend £100,000 in giving effect to the proposal before they will receive anything at all from the
Commonwealth. The agreement is safeguarded by the usual conditions of a contract properly drawn up, which will’ be signed by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Commonwealth, and by the head of the organization in Western Australia on behalf of the farmers concerned.
– Will the silos be built from plans supplied by J. F. Metcalf and Company?
– No particular firm has so far been appointed, but whatever arrangement is made in that regard must receive the approval of the Commonwealth engineer. I do not know whether public tenders will be called for the necessary works, but every matter must secure the approval of the Commonwealth engineer, and no alterations in the contract can be made without his consent.
– That is not in the Bill.
– It is in the Bill. Our engineer will practically have the final word in connexion with contracts and everything else, because if he reports that any of the terms of the contract are not being carried out in a satisfactory way, we have a simple and effective remedy in the power to stop supplies. The engineer is a very capable man, as is proved by the work he has done in New South Wales. We have in that State, under his supervision, expended no less than £1,500,000 in connexion with the erection of silos, and the total amount involved in disputes in connexion with the work is not more than £600 or £700. We can safely “assume that the services of this officer will be a great help to the farmers of Western Australia interested in this proposal.
– The Minister told me that the Commonwealth had spent only £750,000 in New South Wales.
– That did not cover the whole of the work done. Mr. Mackay, the engineer, also supervised the erection of the terminal silo.
– The terminal silo was included in the Minister’s answer to my question.
– A portion of it only. Under this Bill the repayment of the advance is to be by twenty annual instalments commencing twelve months after the starting point, which is to be fixed by the Commonwealth Treasurer. If any default is made in the payment of an instalment for more than six months after the due date the Treasurer may declare the right of the company to the repayment of the advances by instalments to be forfeited, and thereupon the whole of the advances and interest shall immediately become payable to the Commonwealth. I have said that the interest to be charged is 6 per cent., unless -the Commonwealth has to pay more for the money. The rate will probably be the average rate of war loans. We have no desire to make money out of this proposal, but we do desire to assist the farmers of Western Australia,in the way proposed, to help themselves.
– Will this money be advanced out of war loans ?
– I am not prepared to give a definite answer to that question, but I do not think it will.
Debate (on motion by Senator de Labgie) adjourned.
That this Bill be now read a second time.
In moving the second reading of this Bill, the purpose of which is no doubt understood, I do not think it necessary to do morethan indicate in broad outline what , is covered by the proposal. The Bill provides for the acceptance first ef all of the Mandate in respect of those Territories which, at the earlier stages of the war,were occupied by Australian Forces. They consist of Kaiser Wilhelm’s Land, the Bismarck Archipelago, the German Solomons, the Admiralty Group, and all the other German Possessions south of the Equator, other than the German Samoan Islands, and the Island of Nauru.
These previously German Possessions were under the terms of the Treaty of Peace yielded up by Germany in favour of the Allied and Associated Nations on the 7th May, 1919, at Paris, and the Allies agreed to hand them over by Mandate to Australia. This Bill represents the next appropriate step. It provides first of all for the acceptance of the Mandate, and then for the creation of a provisional Government, and for the accep tance of the obligations set out in the Mandate which the Allies agreed to issue. I may state that South Africa and New Zealand have taken corresponding action,, in one case by direct local legislation as is proposed here; and in the other by operating under the authority of an Imperial Ordinance.
This Bill, in conformity with the Mandate, guarantees the following very important points -
These obligations imposed by the Mandate are formally accepted in the terms of the Bill now before the Senate. I venture to say that because they are part of the Mandate they will be faithfully observed by Australia, but we shall observe them the more readily, because they are supported by the public sentiment and the public conscience of this community.
Subject to these directions of the Mandate, Australia will possess in respect of these new Territories the same freedom of legislative action which she possesses in respect of the mainland of Australia.
– Is it the object of this Bill also to provide for a provisional Government for the Territories ? Is it for the purpose of carrying out the terms of the Peace Treaty as well as of administering the islands ?
– I intimated only a few seconds ago that one of the purposes of the Bill, amongst others, is the creation of a provisional Government.
– Under the provisions of the Peace Treaty.
– No ; the provisions of the Mandate. They are set out in this Bill to make it quite clear. In setting up a provisional Government, we are also indicating our acceptance .of the provisions of the Mandate by inserting them in the Bill.
– Ve are committing ourselves to the agreement.
– Exactly. In accepting the Mandate in the terms in which it has been issued, the fact is brought home to us that, in assuming the new status achieved by Australia as the result of our warlike efforts, we are, at the same time, committing ourselves to take up new burdens. These may perhaps be found a little inconvenient in the early years of our control of these Territories; but they are inseparable from the position. When Australia first commenced operations in the early days of the war, it was made quite clear in this chamber, particularly as the result of a motion submitted by Senator Bakhap, that Australia was seeking, not additional acres, but additional safety. Unfortunately, it is not possible to secure advantages of that kind without being obliged to put up with some consequent inconveniences and disadvantages. To insure our objective we required some guarantee against these Territories being occupied for any purpose which at any time might become injurious to Australian interests; and that is secured by the acceptance of the Mandate. Having secured that advantage, we are asked to accept the responsibility of looking after and controlling these islands.
There will be undoubted burdens to be borne in discharging that responsibility;’ but with those burdens there will go opportunities. What they are it is perhaps impossible, at this juncture, to speak of with any confidence, so little is known of these Territories and their economic possibilities. With the control of these Territories given to Australia as a result of the Mandate, we have the responsibility, as well as the privilege, of controlling an area of 159,S00 square miles, populated, it is estimated, by 947,000 natives and some 2,000 Europeans.
Whilst I refer to the possible burden that must fall upon the shoulders of Australia consequent upon this action, there are certain features connected with the problem which are of a distinctly hopeful character. In the first place, the whole of the lands in these Territories are Crown lands. Not a single acre has been alienated. It is quite true that the German Government sold certain land to German planters; but, as a result of the war and the subsequent Treaty of Peace, those lands are taken over by the Commonwealth, and are given into the possession of a trustee. So that, for all practical purposes, every acre of these new Possessions is entirely at the disposal of the Commonwealth Government, subject, of course, to such Jaws as this Parliament may pass.
– And such rights as the natives may have.
– They, of course, are protected; and, I venture to say, would be if there were no provision for that purpose in the Bill. I believe that the sentiment of the people of Australia is the best guarantee of that that could be given, and a better guarantee than anything that might be set out in an Act of Parliament.
– Does the Minister mean to say that German settlers in these Territories are deprived of their possessory rights?
– Under one section of the Peace Treaty it was arranged and agreed that the1 Government of any ©f the warring nations should take possession of the property of nationals of those countries with which it was at war, and that the dispossessed nationals should look to their own Government for compensation. Under that arrangement the money which might be received here by the Australian Government from the possessions of enemy nationals would be available bo pay compensation to Austral:ans similarly dispossessed of property if they happened to possess any in Germany. It is a clearing-house scheme, but for the purposes of this Bill it deprives these Germans of any claim to freehold in that land, unless th’s Parliament sees fit to give it to them later on.
– Will this be the only Bill to be introduced into this Parliament upon which will be based the administration of the German islands, and the management . of the Civil Service in connexion, with them ?
– No. This Bill is by no means the final one. Its purpose is to create a provisional Government in the islands. The reason is that to-day they are all! under military occupation, and it is thought highly desirable to terminate military and substitute civil administration at the earliest possible moment. That is all this measure does. It is not pretended that it embodies a final and complete scheme of government, but a start has to be made. It is proposed now to authorize this skeleton administration, and from then on to obtain parliamentary sanction for such filling in of the obvious gaps, as experience may dictate. The control of Parliament over anything and everything that will be done in the civil administration is secured by the Bill itself. There is power to issue Ordinances for the control of the Territories, but all these will have to be submitted to Parliament, and can be disallowed just as ordinary regulations under our main Acts may be.
– Like the War Precautions Act?
– Yes; they could all be disallowed if Parliament thought fit to do so.
It seems to me, and I should like to stress this fact, that coming out of all the matters to which the Bill is a succeeding step must be this great amount of satisfaction to Australia: the main thought we had in mind was to remove the fear arising from the possible occupation of these islands by people who, at some time in their career, might become unfriendly to Australia. We have not only removed that fear, but we have also secured what represents another tremendous advantage, that is, the right to legislate there according to Australian need and Australian sentiment, always bearing in mind the interests of the natives themselves. This right to legislate in perfect freedom for these islands, limited only by the guarantees to which I have refeiTed, gives us control over such vital matters to Australia as immigration, shipping, and trade, and with these necessarily will become involved the question of the White Australia policy.
– That is a chimera out there.
– But it is not a chimera here. It is a very real factor. This is the more important when it is recollected that German New Guinea runs side by side for some 600 miles with our own New Guinea, as originally possessed by the British Crown. If we did not have a system to control immigration and trade along those 600 miles where the two Territories lie cheek-by-jowl, it is obvious that both people and goods could percolate through along the whole distance from one Territory to the other. If that happened, not only would our control over the newly acquired Territories become very nebulous, but clearly there would be, or might be, a process of penetration into our original New Guinea itself, and this would gradually tend to flow, down to Australia. Having this perfect freedom to legislate, subject always to the guarantees mentioned, I submit that we have secured two things which offer us the greatest assurance of that national security which we all desire. The first is that there can be within these islands no potential enemies, and the second is that, by our own right and freedom to legislate, we can direct these Territories as we think fit, bearing in mind the joint interests of Australia and of the natives immediately concerned.
– What is in the mind of the Government regarding the administration and the Civil Service in these Territories? Will that be under the control of the Public Service Commissioner, for instance?
– It is not proposed to put the Civil Service of these Territories under the control of the Public Service Commissioner.
– Or will a new Department be created?
– In one sense it will not be a new Department, because, presumably, it will come under the Department which controls other Territories. Whether that will be the present Home and Territories Department is another matter. I think all our Departments dealing with these areas will require re-adjusting. Matters of this kind, which necessarily imply some communication with the League of Nations; and possibly with the Imperial authorities, ought more properly to be attached to the Prime Minister’s Department than to the Home and Territories Department us it now exists. I do not assume that any new Department, in the ordinary sense of the term, will be necessary for this purpose, but there must be additional appointments, unless Senator Pratten can show us some method by which one can have omelets without breaking eggs. I do not see how we ean accept responsibilities and create a Government, provisional or otherwise, unless we are prepared to make appointments for the various duties that must be carried out.
– The point of view of the Government in Australia regarding the “White Australia policy will be totally different from the point of view in islands containing black people in the Pacific. Consequently, I should say that the same Service that governs one should not necessarily govern the other.
– This Bill leave? that matter quite open. All that is sought from Parliament now is the authority to create there a civil administration, and to substitute it for the military occupation and control. As to what will develop from it, I submit that we shall have to he a little guided by the results of further examinations that will be made of the problem, and largely by the advice of the few men who first go there to take up the civil administration work. It would be rash for anybody to lay down a hard-and-fast policy regarding these new Possessions. I should hesitate to do so until *the question “has’ been looked round from every possible angle. Seeing that the economic and productive possibilities of these islands are at present but scantily known, the Government are already taking steps to have a thorough examination made. They are sending up a small body of gentlemen whose knowledge seems to indicate that their inquiries may be useful. Prohably we shall by degrees acquire that information and . advice which will enable us to avoid those mistakes which have been committed by all out legislation in every State on the mainland. That is the purpose of sending up this small mireion of scientists and practical men to tell us more definitely than we know at present what can be done there. With that information, Parliament will be fortified to proceed with greater confidence to the ultimate legislation than if it attempted to deal legislatively with these matters today.
Debate (on motion by Senator Earle) adjourned.
– I move -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 8 p.m. on Wednesday next.
The ordinary hour of meeting on that day would be 3 o’clock, but, as it is intended to extend a farewell to Their Excellencies the Governor-General and Lady Ferguson, prior to their departure for England on that afternoon, it seems hardly desirable that the Senate should meet before dinner, even if there were halfanhour or an hour to spare. I have no doubt that honorable senators will concur in this motion.
– Is there any necessity for the Senate to meet before 3 o’clock on Thursday? No doubt some New South Wales members will come over for the function mentioned by the honorable senator, but if we do not meet until Thursday afternoon there will be no neoessity for others to reach Melbourne before Thursday morning. If the Senate met on Wednesday night, they would have to come over a day earlier for the sake of a sitting which would probably not last more than two hours.
– I have no objection to the honorable aenator’s suggestion. Will he move to amend the motion in that direction?
– I move-
That the words “ 8 p.m. on Wednesday “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “3 p.m. on Thursday.”
Amendment agreed to.
Question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.
Business of the Senate.
Motion (by Senator E. D. Millen) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– Can the Government give the Senate some indication of the state of business? We can see a certain amount of work ahead for Thursday and Friday next; but is there any idea of what is to come forward after next week ? Do the Government think they will have any more work for the Senate to do for a while?
– It is not possible to do more than indicate my anticipations. In all these things we are subject to happenings elsewhere. I’ am confident that honorable senators, while they naturally object, as I do, to being called over here when there is not sufficient work to occupy their time, would be the last to hesitate to attend to the country’s business if it were awaiting their attention. With every desire meet those two points, so far as I can see. when the two measures now on our businesspaper are disposed of, there should be every justification forproposing a reasonable adjournment.’ That, of course, must depend on whether any measures which are not now in sight come up from another place. Subject to the unforeseen happening, I imagine that before the Senate rises on Friday of next week it will be possible to submit a proposition for an adjournment, but for how long I am not at present prepared to say.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 12.44 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 17 September 1920, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1920/19200917_senate_8_93/>.