8th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to make a personal explanation. When I last had an opportunity of addressing myself to the Senate, on 7th April, I made certain remarkswhich have been recorded, as usual, in Hansard.I have found, on going through the report, which represents, by the way, an uncorrected reproduction of my speech, that there are a few inaccuracies. I believe that I express what isfelt universally by honorable senators when I say that the gentlemen intrusted with the important work of reporting speeches made in the Senate reproduce our remarks with remarkable fidelity. On this occasion, however, whether it was due to my peculiarities of pronunciation or some other cause, a few slight inaccuracies have occurred in the report, to which I wish to direct attention. In one part of the report the following statement is attributed to me: -
The high cost of living in this country is contributed to largely by the loafing which takes place amongst our workmen.
What I meant to say, and what I believe I did say, was that the high cost of living in this country is contributed to too largely by the loafing which takes place amongst our workmen. I have said that previously on many occasions. I have repeatedly attributed the high cost of living in this and in every other country, first of all, to the scarcity which arose out of the war, in the second place to the rapacity of traders, and, possibly, in the third place, to the strikes and go-slow policy maintained in this country. I have no words but those of praise to apply to our Australian workman. He has held his own on the field of combat in a matchless way, and with equal success in the peaceful arena of industry. But some of our workmen have listened, as I said in my speech, to the evil advice of people to whose career and work I have frequently addressed myself in this chamber and elsewhere.
In another part of the report of my speech I am reported to have said -
It in very difficult to make some persons understand unless one gives them the “straight griffin.” But any honorable senator who cares to do so may turn up Knibbs, and he will there learn that in the output, not merely of gold, tout of our manufactured articles, there has been a positive declension.
In those remarks I referred to “ coal,” and not to “gold,” for the simple reason that the figures supplied by the ‘Statistical Department did not warrant me in saying that the output of gold had declined. I used the word “ coal “ because the figures supplied to me showed that in respect of coal and metalliferous mining, as well as general manufactures, there has been a diminished output in Australia of recent years. J have said that repeatedly, taking my stand on figures given to me and to the public by the Commonwealth Statistician, Mr. Knibbs. While so far as gold is concerned the figures show no diminution of output, there has been a diminished output in respect of the articles I mention.
The next point to which I wish to refer is that I was induced as the result of an interjection by Senator Sir ThomasGlasgow, to say something about Northern Queensland. And what I said has not been quite accurately reported. What I intended to say was that I chose Queensland as a place where I could ramble about tempting the devil without temptingother people to take notice of me. I did not desire, and do not now desire, that my remarks in this connexion should apply to that large body of Queensland ctizenswhose thrift and industry has made Queensland. I wish the remark I made to apply now and hereafter to that body of Queensland citizens who have never in any sense made Queensland, but have been making only trouble and noise all the time.
– Mostly recent arrivals from the other States.
– The honorable senator is going somewhat beyond the bounds of a personal explanationin introducing fresh argument.
– I will leave my statement as I have now made it. My remarks did not, as I have said, apply to, I believe, the overwhelming body of industrious citizens of Queensland, where the sun of prosperity has temporarily set, and where the tax-gatherer never goes to bed.
Hobart as Port or Call.
– I ask the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, with regard to the contract for the carriage of mails from Australia to England, which is now the subject of negotiation between the Department and representatives of the Orient Shipping Company, will the Government have inserted in the contract a provision making Hobart a port of call for the mail steamers? Will the contract entered into be subject to the ratification of both Houses of this Parliament ?
– I anticipate being in a position, I hope, to-morrow, to place a copy of the proposed contract before the Senate. When that is done, the honorable senator will see that the interests of Tasmania have not been overlooked.
The following papers were presented : -
Lands Acquisition Act. - Land acquired at Newcastle, New South Wales - For Repatriation purposes.
Public Service Act. - Appointments and Promotions -
Attorney-General’s Department-S. G. Adamson, J. A. Bolton, A. P. la M. Chauncy, C W. Chivers, C A. Deane, E. H.James,R. H.Lewis, T. A.R. lewis, W. E. B. Neilson,L.Radcliffe, L. . B.Rule,W. B.,Topp, C. H. Trafford.
Department ofthe Treasury - J.R. McKay, E. C. Craine, L. L. Trevitt, W. H. Allan, F. M. Boss, D. P. J. Mitchell, A. J. Humphreys, W. J. T. Campton, J. T. Pinner, H. C. Higgins, J. J. Stewart,R. J. J. Hunt.
Department of Trade and Customs - W. E. Cooper,F. McCallum, W. C. Sawers, P. G. Morgan, A. H. D. Gransbury, N. G. Roskruge, B. A. Thorpe, H. P. Miller.
Home, and Territories Department - E. Kidson.
Postmaster - General’s Department - Tenth Annual Report, 1919-1920.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Senator Russell) read a first time.
– I move -
That standing order 192be suspended so as to enable the second reading of the Bill to be taken forthwith.
I am taking this course only to enable the Minister to make his second-reading speech to-day, so as to bring the contents of the measure more fully before honorable senators at the earliest possible moment.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– It will be remembered that some time ago Senator Bakhap expressed regret that the old practice of the Senate with regard to the wearing of official dress by tbe Presiding Officer was not adhered to. I stated at the time that it was a matter entirely for the Senate itself. The old practice of wearing the wig and gown was laid aside in 1910, at the expressed wish of a then majority of the Senate. When I first took office in 1913 that had been the established practice for the previous three years: I thought it my bounden duty, following out the expressed wish of the majority of the Senate and the practice established for the preceding three years, to continue the practice that I found in vogue. However, as I said, it was a matter entirely for the Senate, and not one for me to decide. Honorable senators will remember that in the election of the President the usual form is for the President-elect to submit himself to the pleasure of the Senate. I think that is the duty of every gentleman who occupies the honorable position that I fill.
Last week I received a request signed by an overwhelming majority of the Senate that the old practice should be revived. I feel in honour bound to obey the desire and wish of the majority of the Senate, and’ now intimate that I intend to comply with that request as soon as the necessary articles can be procured, probably next week.
– I desire to ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister whether the action of the Government in recently supplying me with all the information they possess on wheat-growing, an industry that supports some 200,000 adults, which information was contained on two pages of foolscap, while at the same time supplying me with information on the metalliferous and coal industriesof the Commonwealth, covering forty pages of foolscap, is in keeping with the respective importance of things, or calculated to enable honorable senators to give an intelligent decision when holding the scales evenly between the several industries of the Commonwealth?
– I always understood that the value of matter was judged by its quality and not by its quantity. If there is not sufficient good-quality wheat information, and if Senator Lynch can suggest any further information that he requires, and will put it in the form of a set question, I shall have great pleasure in providing the additional particulars from the Department.
League of Nations - Financial Agreement with British Government - Pacific Islands Mandates.
– I ask leave to make a statement in connection with the papers, copy of Mandate and copy of the financial agreement with the British Government, which I propose to lay on the table, and at thecon- clusion of my statement to move that the papers be printed. (Leave granted.)
On the 17th September last in the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) announced the purposes in connexion with which it was intended that I should visit Europe. Those purposes included attendance at the Assembly of the League of Nations as Australia’s delegate, the adjustment of certain financial matters outstanding between the British and Commonwealth Governments, the establishment in London of an organization to deal with immigration, and other matters.
Obviously, to discuss in detail all these subjects would make an undue demand upon the attention of honorable senators.
I propose, therefore, to confine my remarks to matters directly or indirectly associated with the Geneva Assembly and the financial agreement with the British Government, believing that parliamentary and public interest is mainly centred around them.
First, as to the financial arrangement with the British Government, honorable members know that, arising out of the war, the Commonwealth became indebted to the British Government partly in respect of loans obtained in the early days of the war and partly in respect of amounts owing for maintenance and transport of Australian troops. Under the latter heading there are certain items, aggregating approximately £5,000,000, which still await adjustment. They represent claims in respect of which accounts have not, up to the date of the agreement, been finalized. The .adjustment is being made by Mr. Collins, the chief Treasury official now in London, representing the Commonwealth, and one representing the British Treasury. But the agreement provides that the total as finally agreed upon shall form part of the capital indebtedness covered by this agreement- Against these claims the Commonwealth has certain counter claims, in particular some £500,000 in connexion with the detention of. Australian troops on the occasion ‘of She Egyptian riots, and £200,000 in respect of the Molonglo Camp. It is, however, provided in the agreement that the settlement of any one item is not to be dependent on the settlement of any other. Each item will be dealt with separately and upon its merits, and, as finality is reached, included in the compass of the agreement itself.
Judging from press and other comments, some confusion appears to exist as to the total of the amount which has definitely been funded by this agreement. This, I think, arises from the belief held in Australia that the loans obtained from the British Government, totalling approximately £49,000,000, were already definitely funded, and that accordingly an agreement was only needed for the funding of the accounts arising in connexion with the transport and maintenance of our troops abroad. But no definite agreement as to the repayment of the former had been made. . In regard thereto it had only been arranged that what we have hitherto cabled “ funded debt “ should be repayable at a time to be agreed upon by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasurer of the Commonwealth. That left the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the position of asking for payment at any time he thought fit. As a matter of fact, he was under the impression, and appeared to .be justified in his belief, that portion, at least, of the amount owing should be repayable at very short notice. It appeared eminently desirable and business-like, therefore, that this portion of our indebtedness should be included in the agreement, thus substituting a definite for an indefinite date and method of redemption, and clearing up all our outstanding debts in the one transaction.
The central idea upon which the agreement is based is that an annuity of 6 per cent, of the total indebtedness shall be paid bv Australia to the Imperial Treasury. This annuity is to be devoted in the first instance to the payment of interest at the moderate rates of 3£ percent., 4£ per cent., and 5 per cent. The rate of 3i applies to the comparatively small portion amounting to £1,2:63,158. The rate of 4f per cent, applies to a total of £11,500,000, and the remainder of the principal, amounting to £74,218,900, wilt carry interest at 5 per cent. The difference between these interest rates and 6 per cent, will be devoted towards reduction of the principal, and will repay the whole in less than thirty-seven years.
There are two items to which I wish specially to refer. There was due to the British Government the sum of £570,000 for interest which had accrued prior to July, 1917. The British Treasurer agreed to include this in the funded debt, thus relieving Australia of the obligation of immediate payment. There was also owing, approximately, £4,000,000, being interest on the total indebtedness up to 31st March this year. The Commonwealth Treasurer had made provision for this on:the Estimates 1920-21, but owing to the adverse state of the exchange market, it would have been difficult, .and certainly very costly, even if possible, to remit this money to London at this juncture. The Imperial Treasurer has agreed to accept payment of this amount in bills at six and twelve months’ date, by which time it is hoped exchange may become easier, or, failing that, that the Commonwealth will be able to make more convenient arrangements than are possible at present. This extension has been obtained without interest.
In considering this agreement I ask honorable senators to judge it as a whole, in which there was necessarily both give and take. Viewed as a whole, I submit it first eis evidence that the British Government, whilst struggling with its own financial burdens, has exhibited a very generous desire to render those of Australia as little onerous as possible. Secondly, I venture the opinion that the agreement is most advantageous to the Commonwealth. An arrangement under which it will pay only 6 per cent, to cover both interest and sinking fund, obtained too at a time when its own bonds are yielding investors up to 8 per cent, for interest alone, is one that I confidently hope will be regarded as satisfactory by Parliament and the country.
The question will naturally arise as to what additional annual amounts will need to be provided to enable us to discharge our debt in the terms of tEe agreement. Provision was made in the last Estimates for the amount due as interest, and as the agreement requires also a sinking fund, it may appear at first sight as if we shall need to raise an additional amount to pay this sinking fund. But I would point out that we are already providing a sinking fund of per cent, in respect of our total indebtedness in accordance with the Sinking Fund Act. That Act empowers the Treasurer too repay out of the sinking fund any moneys borrowed from the United Kingdom.
It will, of course, be for the Treasurer”, upon a review of our entire financial position, to present proposals to Parliament in this regard, but I submit it is entirely in keeping with that clause, that the amount due as sinking fund under this agreement should be drawn from the statutory sinking fund already being provided in the annual Budget. If this course is approved, it will follow that no substantial addition need, be made to the amount provided in last year’s Estimates.
I turn now to that historic gathering at Geneva - the initial meeting of the Assembly of the League of Nations. When we review the tragedy of six years of war, from’ which the world has emerged in a pitifully shattered condition, and under the burdens of which it is doomed to struggle for many years to come, and when we learn, as we do almost daily, of increasing armaments, of those international differences, misunderstandings, and jealousies, inflammable material which a spark .may ignite, .we can well understand the earnestness, the pathetic hope with which all nations matched the inaugural meeting of the institution designed to minimize the chances of war, and to substitute friendly adjustment for the arbitrament of the sword.
Australia, like other nations, is deeply concerned in all that affects the primary purpose of the League. But Australia, also, like other nations, has certain direct and immediate interests which she ig” entitled to consider, to protect and to advance. I want to say quite frankly that I interpreted my mission in that way. At the same time, it is a source of gratification to me, as it will be to honorable members, that my efforts for the furtherance of Australian interests did not constitute any hostility to, or impairment of, the fundamental principles or purpose of the League.
There were two matters of outstanding concern to Australia, which, when I left for Geneva, it was thought highly probable would form the subject of discussion, viz., what is known as the Racial Equality Amendment, and the Mandate for late German Possessions in the Pacific. Honorable senators know that, at the Peace Conference, the representatives of bur neighbour and Ally, Japan, had submitted an amendment to the covenant, which they interpreted as. a recognition of the equality of all races, but which Mr. Hughes regarded .as constituting an impairment .of Australia’s national policy. That amendment was carried by a substantial majority (11 to 6) ; but President Wilson*, who was in the chair, held that as it was .a matter of internal or domestic policy, the amendment’ could not become operative in the absence of unanimity. The Japanese delegate then intimated that Japan could not accept that decision as final, but would revive the question at a later time, when she considered it opportune to do so. This attitude was entirely frank, and to it no possible exception can be taken. In view of that declaration there was every reason to anticipate that Japan would raise the question at Geneva, in which case I could have taken up no other stand than that adopted by the Prime Minister on the earlier ‘ occasion, and to have placed before the Assembly the reasons which make it impossible for Australia to consent, willingly, to any reversal of its present policy. However, the necessity for this did not arise. Viscount Ishii announced in the Assembly that, while maintaining the justice and reasonableness of its cause, Japan refrained from making any concrete proposal as to the question of racial equality, but - I direct the attention of honorable senators to his words - would “ patiently bide the time until the opportune moment will present itself.”
This action on. the part of Japan brought me considerable relief, as I was, and am, under the impression that if the Assembly had been called upon to record a vote, its decision would have followed that of the Peace Conference. As- it is, an opportunity is afforded for further consideration of the matter, an opportunty that, it may be assumed, “will not be lost sight of by those charged with the responsibility of discussing the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The delay also encourages the hope that in the meantime the nations represented on the League may become better acquainted with, and more appreciative of, the principles upon which Australia’s policy is based. Australia desires to live in complete amity with Japan, a desire strengthened by association during the war, but full and cordial co-operation will always be difficult so long as this question remains an active one. Leading Japanese statesmen have quite recently expressed the opinion that as Japan’s policy becomes better known, Australian fears will disappear. I, too, believe that good would result from” a wider mutual knowledge, the one people of the other, and I indulge the hope that as Japan comes to recognise that our policy, is designed to secure the continuance of our national existence, and not as an unfriendly act, towards her, and is not based upon any suggestion of inferiority-, she will yet find it possible by an open acceptance of that policy, to remove the only barrier to a complete understanding between the two peoples.
I come now to the Mandates. Let me first sketch the history which has already grown around them. Article 22 of the Covenant deals with the Mandates, and divides into three classes the ex-German Possessions. Paragraph 6 of that Article specifically places the Pacific Islands in the third or- what has become known as the C class. To the terms of that Mandate I shall refer directly. Before leaving Paris, the Prime Minister was assured that Australia would receive a Mandate for the islands south of the Equator, except Samoa, for which New Zealand was indicated as the Mandatary, and that this fact would be immediately published. That assurance was given on 7th May, 1919, in the following letter to Mr. Hughes: -
The attached agreement was readied this afternoon at a meeting between Mr. Lloyd George, M. Clemenceau, President Wilson, and M. Orlando, and will be published at once.. (Signed) M. P. A. Hankey,
I wish to draw attention to the statement that President Wilson was a party to the agreement. The agreement deals with all the ex-German Possessions, and specifically names Australia as the Mandatary fox the Pacific Islands south of the Equator, excluding Samoa and Nauru.
Later, Japan raised certain objections which resulted in the withholding of the Mandate’ to Australia, as also Mandates to herself and New Zealand. The objection was not to the issue of the Mandate or to the country nominated as Mandatary, but to the conditions to be attached to the Mandate itself. In other words, her interpretation, of article 22 was at variance with that of the majority of her associates on the Council. This difference was upon a fundamental point, and was such that if the Japanese view had been maintained it would have been impossible for Australia to accept the Mandate. I shall endeavour to indicate the diverse interpretations.
Clause 5, of article 22, dealing with Mandates B, requires that the Mandatary shall adminster the Territory -
Under conditions which will guarantee freedom of” conscience or religion, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, the prohibition ofabuses such as the slave trade, the arms traffic, and the liquor traffic, and the prevention of the establishment of fortifications or military and naval bases and of military training of the natives for other than police purposes and the defence of territory, and will also secure equal opportunities for the trade and commerce of other members of the League.
It will be noted that that clause stipulates four conditions in the interests of the indigenous population, and, in addition, confers a right or privilege upon all members of the League, that of equal trading opportunities. The next clause, covering C Mandates, reads -
There are territories, such as South-west Africa, And certain of the iSouth Pacific Islands, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilization, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatary, and other circumstances, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatary as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards abovementioned in tne interests of the indigenous population.
The Japanese held that the words in paragraph 6; - “ subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population,” included not only the four conditions I have referred to, but also the condition as to equal trading opportunities for all League members. The contrary view was that the words “ subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population,” in paragraph 6, referred only to thefour prohibitions, and could not be held to include the equal commercial opportunities secured under B Mandate to all League members, and, further, that the words “ administered under the laws of the Mandatary as integral portions of ite territory,” were fatal to such an interpretation. A prolonged interchange of views took place between the British Government and Japan, but no approach to an agreement had been made at the time of my arrival in London, some eighteen months after the date of the letter announcing the allotment of the Mandates.
In order that honorable senators may clearly understand the position which existed at Geneva, I may state that France haddisclosed that she was in agreement with Japan in claiming equal trade opportunities for all members of the League, and while at Geneva a note from the American Government to the British Government was published in a similar strain. I think it is necessary for honorable senators to bear that in mind so that they can clearly see that the position was not without difficulty.
I wish now to refer to an impression which exists, or existed, in certain quarters here, and which was, and is, held by many, I believe a majority, of the members of the late Asembly, namely, that the granting of the Mandate was the prerogative of the Assembly and not that of either the Allies or the Council.
I shall not attempt to go into the somewhat involved legal argument connected ‘ with the consideration of this point. Those who may wish to do so are directed to a memorandum prepared by M. Hymans and adopted by the Council, a copy of which I have just tabled. It will suffice if I briefly outline the contentions pro and con. The claim that authority rested with the Assembly was based upon paragraph 8 of Article 22, which reads:-
The degree of authority, control, or administration to be exercised by the Mandatary shall, if not previously agreed upon by the members of the League, be explicitly defined in each case by the Council.
It was urged that the phrase “ members of the League ‘ ‘ could only mean the Assembly, as that was the only body in which all members of the League were represented.
Supporting the opposite view was the clause of the Peace Treaty itself in which Germany expressly surrendered to the “ principal Allied and Associated Powers “ all her right and interest in her overseas Possessions. These Powers claimed the right of selecting the Mandataries, which right indeed they had exercised, as shown by the letter already quoted. It was contended, further, that the clause that I have just read conferred upon the Council, and not upon the Assembly, the right to determine the conditions attaching to each particular Mandate, and that the duty of the Assembly consisted in seeing that the Mandates, when issued, were properlyobserved bythe Mandataries. This latter view was acted upon, although, considerable oppostition to it was manifested both in the Assembly and the Committee appointed to deal with Mandates generally. It will thus be seen that in accordance with this view the issue of the Mandate depended upon an agreement amongst the members of the Council and not upon the decision of the Assembly. Japan’s interpretation of paragraph 6 of Article 22, already referred to, was the stumbling block to such agreement.
Mr. Balfour, as Britain’s principal and very distinguished delegate, was unceasing in his efforts to arrive at an understanding with the representatives of Japan. Throughout the prolonged negotiations he extended to me his utmost confidence and invited my closest cooperation, manifesting at all times a very keen desire to further Australia’s interests by securing the Mandate in the form ‘claimed by Australia. In the course of the dis.cussions certain suggestions were made and considered, but without result. Ultimately Japan consented to the issue of the Mandate in the form desired, accompanying this consent with an intimation that she would, if she thought fit, ask for a revision at some later date. This declaration, I submit, does not in any way impair the validity of the Mandate. It. would have been competent for her to have asked for a revision even had no declaration been made, whilst the consent of Australia as the holder of the Mandate would certainly be necessary before any alteration could be permitted.
I may add here that the issue of the Mandate was only agreed to the day before the Assembly terminated, and that the “ C “ Mandates were the only -ones in respect of which agreement was reached. The Mandate to. Australia is held by the Secretary-General to the League, Geneva, who has issued official copies, a duplicate of that relating to Australia being now tabled.
Although not directly relating to the proceedings at Geneva, may I say a word as to the American Note relative to Mandates forming the subject of recent cables appearing in the press. The note enunciates certain principles which, if ‘ interpreted literally, apply also to those islands in respect of which Australia has obtained its Mandate. As, however, America appears to be chiefly concerned regarding Yap and Mesopotamia, I do not anticipate any results from this expression of American views, likely to prejudicially affect the Mandate with which Australia is now vested.
The League, being the body upon whom is thrown the responsibility for seeing that the conditions of- the Mandate are properly observed, the Assembly, in accordance with the covenant, approved of the appointment of a Commission to whom the Mandataries will from time to time furnish a report.’ The Commission is to consist of nine members, the majority being Nationals of nonMandatory States, who are to be appointed for their personal merits, and not holding any office placing them in direct dependence upon their Governments. The Labour organization of the League is to have tha right of appointing an expert to attend in an advisory capacity meetings of the Commission.
The Committee dealing with the Man? dates recommended inter alia that an organic law should be passed regarding the Mandated Teritories as soon as possible, that it should contain express provision as to the prohibitions set out in Article 22f, and that i before coming into force such law should be submitted to the League for examination. I was in the happy position of being able to inform the Committee that by the passage of the New Guinea Act 1920, a copy of which I made available to the Committee, Australia had anticipated the wishes of the Committee. This announcement appeared to give satisfaction.
Two other matters arose at the League in respect of which I ‘desire to make brief observations. I received from different bodies in Australia strong requests that I ‘ should support the admission df Germany as a member of the League. A desire that Germany should become a member has also been expressed in many other quarters. As a necessary condition precedent to admission, there must be an application from the State desiring membership, and, further, as the covenant provides that such applicant shall give effective guarantees of its sincere intention to observe its international obligations, I submit that the communications which reached me might more appropriately have been directed to Germany with a view to pointing out that it was within her competency to qualify for membership. Had an application by Germany for admission “been received, I should still have felt considerable hesitancy in voting for it. Very early in the meeting of the Assembly Germany addressed a Note to that body from which it became clear that that country was seeking to delay the issue of the Mandates until such time as she might secure membership, with the intention, in that event, of herself seeking to become the Mandatary for her overseas possessions. Apart from other considerations it would, in my judgment, have been foolishto support any proposal for the admission of Germany in view of that Note. Recent happenings in connexion with the failure by Germany to discharge her obligations under the Peace Treaty are, I think, sufficient to justify the statement that up to the present Germany has not shown herself willing to give that guarantee regarding her public obligations which the Covenant makes one of the requisites for admission.
I desire now to say a word as to the finances of the League. The expenditure, in my opinion, is on an outrageously high scale, while supervision or control is practically non-existent. The Budget for the thirteen months ending 30th June, 1920, was £176,807, for the next six months £500,000, and for the present calendar year £1,062,500.
It is not difficult to foresee that a £2,000,000 Budget will be asked for in the near future. Salaries and expenses are upon a lavish scale. The SecretaryGeneral receives £4,000 per annum, plus £6,000 entertainment allowance, plus a house, which, with exemptions from income tax, brings the total emoluments into the neighbourhood of £13,000. Other salaries are quite in proportion, and the general expenditure corresponds. The prospect of remedying this state of affairs does not appear bright.
– All the jobs worth having had gone.
The iSecretariat is a permanent body, while the Assembly, to which it is theoretically responsible, meets only once a year for a month or so, and will of a certainty present each yeaT a changed personnel. It is, therefore, doubtful if cither effective or continuous supervision can be expected unless some radical changes in the system are brought about
The effect of this absence of control was revealed in the pointed reluctance, amounting almost to refusal, to supply certain detailed information regarding the staff and salaries. An effort was made, supported by the majority of British-speaking delegates, to submit the estimates to close scrutiny, and to devise means for more effective control over expenditure, but time was too limited to permit of this being done effectively. However, it was decided to recommend the Council to appoint a Committee to inquire into and report upon the organization and work pf the Secretariat; and a further resolution was adopted, at my instance, affirming that the salaries now being paid were not to be regarded as permanently approved until the report had been received.
– “Who fixed the salaries ?
– The “Big Four,” as they were known, appointed a Secretary-General at the salary I have mentioned, and he is the gentleman who fixed the other salaries, and, apparently, in doing so was guided by the standard of his own remuneration.
This matter is of special importance to Australia, because this country is called upon to pay a most unfair proportion of the League’s expenditure. This arises from the fact that the Covenant distributes the cost of the League among its members according to the scheme of distribution employed by the Postal Union. Under the scheme Australia is required to pay the same amount as Great Britain and France, namely £55,000, much more than many countries of bigger population and trade. I made a very persistent effort to secure some immediate amelioration of this state of affairs, but it was not easy to rouse enthusiasm in those delegates whose countries had every reason to be satisfied with the existing system. However, it was decided at the eleventh hour to authorize the preparation of a more equitable scheme to be presented to the next Assembly, with the further proviso that, should this scheme be adopted, there should be retrospective adjustments for the year 1921. If, therefore, a new scheme is adopted at the next Assembly, Australia will receive in 1922 a rebate to the extent of her overpayment this year.
– Have all the nations paid up?
– I cannot answer the question as referring to the present moment, but I do know that one delegation that made somewhat of a sensation by withdrawing had, up to the time of its withdrawal, not paid a single penny.
– It was going on the no liability principle.
– Was that the Argentine delegation?
– I should not like to conclude this statement without a recognition of the services of the staff which accompanied me. Those services were marked by great ability, and were rendered ungrudgingly and with untiring energy. The work of the Assembly was apportioned out amongst six Committees, and it was the common practice for two or more of these to meet simultaneously. It would have been absolutely impossible for me to have kept myself informed as to their proceedings’ but for the active assistance of the gentlemen to whom I refer. I wish to express my personal obligation to them, and to tell this House that no country could have been better served than Australia was by Mr. Knowles, of the Attorney-General’s Department, Mr. Collins, of the Treasury, and Mr. Gourgaud., of the Works and Railways Department, who accompanied me as Secretary.
I have dealt with the matters which I regarded as constituting my principal task as Australia’s delegate. To those I almost entirely devoted myself to the best of my ability, and with a result that I hope will be regarded with satisfaction. I should not, however, be discharging my duty if I did not tell my countrymen that I have come away from the Assembly a little disappointed, a little depressed. I hope that statement will not be interpreted as indicating a want of sympathy with the object for which this League was created. There is no justification for such an interpretation. I consider it the duty of every individual, as of every nation, to strive to make this League an effective instrument for the discharge of the high purpose for which it was designed. I earnestly wish that I could tell Australia that I rhad the most complete confidence in the League and its future - that I could tell Australia that with perfect safety it could beat ite swords into ploughshares and its spears into pruning hooks. But I cannot, and I conceive it to be my duty to say so plainly and” definitely. Let us work for the strengthening of the ideals which the League represents; meanwhile let us not be lulled into the sleep of a false security, nor neglect those precautions which our circumstances require and which prudence suggests.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear!
– I lay on the table of the Senate: Copy of Agreement with the Imperial Chancellor of the Exchequer, Copy of the Mandate, Copy of the Memorandum by the Belgian Representative which was adopted by the Council, and a copy of my Statement. I move -
That the papers be printed.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Closing Hours for Mails
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
At what hour or hours were mails for Sydney and for Adelaide closed at the General Post Office in Melbourne, in the case of -
SenatorRUSSELL. - The answers are -
Adelaide, 3.30 p.m., late fee, General Post Office, 3.50 p.m., and at Spencer-street Station, 4.20 p.m.
Sydney, 4 p.m., late fee, General Post Office, 4.15 p.m., and at Spencer-street Station, 4.50 p.m.
Imports and Exports
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
SenatorRUSSELL. - The answers are -
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
In view of the inconvenience to the business people of Sydney having to wait until most trivial matters are referred to Melbourne for the signature of a Minister, will the Government appoint a Minister in Sydney to attend to these matters?
– I remind the honorable senator that at least one Minister is always in Sydney on two or more days a week.
Bill presented, and (on motion by Senator Pearce) read a first time.
– I move -
That standing order 192 be. suspended so as to enable the second reading of the Bill to be taken forthwith.
As in the case of a similar motion previously moved, the intention in submitting this motion is to enable the Minister for Defence, in charge of the Bill, to make his second-reading speech on the measure to-day. It is not intended to carry the measure beyond that stage.
– Has not the standing order been already suspended by a resolution of the Senate?
– It was suspended in respect of another Bill, but not in respect of this Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senator RUSSELL (Victoria- Vice-
President of the Executive Council) [3.54]. - I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This measure is an old friend in a new garb. We had a good deal of criticism of Public Service Bills when the matter was last under the consideration of the Senate. There appeared to be a practically unanimous opinion that the principles of the Business Board and of Public Service control should be embodied in one Bill. After consideration of that criticism the Government have decided to practically embody the two principles in the one measure, and have found it possible to bring this Bill closely into line with the criticism to which I have referred.
– Yes, this is a consolidation ofthe two Bills and of the existing Acts.
– That Bill has been dropped ?
– Yes, practically; but, of course, all its best provisions are preserved in this measure.
– Does the honorable senator refer to the Bill constituting a Board of Management?
– Yes. The Public Service Arbitration Bill has been passed into law, and the Arbitrator has been appointed, and is now at work. The provisions of the Bill relating to the Board of Management have been improved and brought up to date, because we have been wise enough to take advantage of the healthy criticism offered in this Chamber.
– Or in the other Chamber.
– I believe the criticism was fairly healthy in another place also. This is a composite Bill dealing with two great principles. It will repeal, I think, three Acts now dealing with the Public Service. However we may differ as to the best methods of bringing it about, I am sure that every honorable senator is anxiousto secure an effective Service, that is, a Service which will do its work promptly, soundly, and well. We must have a contented Service if we are to have an effective Service, and, therefore, the conditions ought to be just, if not even generous, because the Commonwealth should be one of the best, and not one of the worst, employers. At the same time, we are entitled to demand effective business methods and a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage, and to expect a united Service, actuated by a keen desire to give the very best return to the country which employs it. There ought to be a reciprocal spirit between the Government of the Commonwealth, which is performing a national duty, and the officers of the Service who are very largely responsible for the faithful carrying out of the desires of the country as expressed through its Parliament. Employment in the Commonwealth Service is not like ordinary competitive employment. There should be a cooperative spirit, and a recognition on the part of the Service that all the actions of the Government are intended to improve the condition of Australia. The public servants should oo-operate with us to the fullest degree in helping to improve this great Commonwealth and its institutions. Up to date, the Public Service has been controlled by a Commissioner. I believe we have had capable men in that office, of whom I may particularly mention Mr. McLachlan, who is a very fine stamp of man ; but, with an ever-increasing Service, and the growing demands upon the Commissioner, I am bound to confess that the machine has become worn out. Among the growing demands may be instanced those caused by Arbitration Court decisions. In each State there is an inspector who is supposed to inspect and control the work of the Public Service, except in the case of Tasmania, which, I understand, is under the same inspector as deals with Victoria. No matter what genius a man possessed, it would be impossible for him to inspect the large number of public servants and the work they are doing in any one State.
It is provided in clause 9 that “ for the purposes of this Act the GovernorGeneral may appoint a Board of Commissioners of three persons, and on the happening of any vacancy in the office of member of the Board, the GovernorGeneral shall appoint a person to the vacant office.” We believe that three men, who will have varied business experience, are required. The Board may delegate to any of its members any of Its powers under this measure, except the power of delegation, so that the dele- gated powers may be exercised by the delegate in respect to the matters or class of matters specified, or the State, part of the Commonwealth, or Territory defined in the instrument of delegation. The object of this is to enable the three members of the Board to be in different States doing their work at the one time, but collectively the Board is to be responsible, and in most important cases all actions taken by individual members of the Board in different States will be subsequently reviewed by the Board, and every final decision on matters of importance will go forward as the collective decision of the Board.
– And is that to be final?
– It will be final in some cases. In other cases, there will be an appeal to the Minister, and if then there is a dispute, there will be eventually an appeal to Parliament, but that will be only in very extreme cases.
Many minor matters are to be finalized by the heads of Departments. I am glad to be able to state that in this Bill there is a very wide extension of the powers and responsibilities of the heads of Departments. I can say, from a. close and intimate knowledge of heads of Departments, that they are better judges of their respective staffs, and know more about who are the most capable men in their Departments for appointment and promotion, than any one else. It is provided that, whenever a vacancy occurs in any office, other than in the first division, and it is expedient to fill the vacancy by the promotion of an officer, the Chief Officer may promote an officer of his Department to fill the vacancy. If, however, any person feels that he has a grievance through being passed over - that is, where two applicants are equal, or nearly equal - he will have the right of appeal to the Board through the chief officer. The head of a Department will have to be nominated by the Board, and appointed by the Governor-General in Council, which means the Government of the day, but that, I think, is a proper power for them to possess, because the head of a Department who does his work well carries a big responsibility on behalf of the Government collectively.
– Will the head of a Department be responsible for all promotions in his Department?
– Subject to regulations, which are merely to prevent any injustice being done. Without doubt, the head of a Department will have the great power in regard to promotions’; but if there are two men nearly equal, then if the man who is placed second in the selection thinks he has a grievance because he has greater ability, or longer service, or better knowledge, energy, and go, he will have the right of appeal to the Board against the decision. To enable a reasonable time for appeals to be heard in such cases, every appointment will be made on probation for a limited period. In some of the Departments, with the vast expansion of the Service in recent years, and the opportunities that have been given to officers to gain experience, it will be “found at times that two men are equally entitled to a position. Only one can be appointed, and we must have some method of arriving at a final decision. It is not fair to leave that responsibility to the head of the Department, and in a case of that sort he would submit it to the Board, where a vote would be taken and a decision given.
– The head of the Department makes the appointment, so that every Department will now be a water-tight compartment.
– Certainly not, except that, if a responsible position becomes vacant in a Department, and there is somebody in that Department competent to fill it, he will get the position. There is, however, still power to go to any part of the Service for a suitable man. This1 Bill provides that if there is a competent officer in the provisional service at Papua or Rabaul, he can be transferred. He may become the head of a Department here, if he has the necessary ability and energy.
– That is under the old Act, also.
– That is so. But this Bill applies to the whole Public Service, except for the short period during which the Civil Defence Act, which applies to the Defence Department, continues to. operate. I- think that Act expires twelve months after the official ending of the war. The whole Service is to be regarded as one; and instead of being divided into water-tight compartments, as Senator Thomas calls them, it is to be open for any man from any branch of the Service to be transferred to any position if he is regarded as the most suitable.
– Only with the consent of the head of the Department that wants the officer?
– Can he also apply for transfer from one Department to another ?
– Yes, he can be transferred on application, if he is suitable; but regard must be had to the administration and discipline of the various Departments. The work of the Service must be considered, not as a plaything, hut as a serious matter; and no man who is not particularly suitable will be allowed , to transfer from one branch to another for his own personal convenience. If his transfer is likely to increase the efficiency of the Service, the Board will be glad to consider his claim and transfer him at any time.
SenatorFoster. - The limited probationary period applies only to new appointments, and not to promotions?
– There is the same right of appeal in regard to promotions, but only sufficient time will be allowed for a decision to be come to on that appeal before the probationary appointment is made permanent.
SenatorFoster. -Will that mean twelve months trial?
– I should not think it would exceed six months. At any rate, it will only be long enough to give the Board reasonable time to hear appeals.
Thepowers of the Board are to be very wide. They will have complete control of the Service, and be responsible for its effective organization, although very extensive functions are to be allotted to the heads of Departments. The members of the Board will be put in a very strong position. The Governor-General may remove any member of theBoard from office,, on an address praying for his removal being presented to the GovernorGeneral by the Senate and House of Representatives respectively in the same session of a Parliament. The Governor-
General may suspend any member of the Board from office for misbehaviour or in capacity, and a statement of the cause of the suspension must be laid before both Houses of Parliament. If, subsequently, the Senate and House of Representatives present an address to the GovernorGeneral praying for the restoration of such member of the Board to office, he shall be restored accordingly; but if no such address is presented, the Governor-General may declare his office vacant. We hope that action of this sort will not be necessary, but that the men selected will be good and steady.
– Are there any nice questions as to the eligibility of the members of the Board?
– I think the field of choice of those who will be eligible is very wide, and I trust that those selected will be the best three men available in Australia. Among the duties of the Board are to be the simplification of the work of each Department, and the abolition of unnecessary work, the coordination of the work of various Departments, the improvement of the training of officers, and the comparative analysis of working costs, which is a very- important item.
– That is quite possible.
– It is possible, but if there appears to be a discrepancy in the cost of certain services in one State as compared with another, there ought to be an immediate investigation as to the reasons. The report of a Royal Commission appointed not so long ago, debited Victoria with high cost of administration, short deliveries, and a number of other faults in the Postal Department, when, as a matter of fact, for the last ten years Victoria has been producing more net revenue from the postal services than any other State, and the percentage of labour costs have been lower than in any other State.
– And that ought to be the position, seeing that Victoria is a small State with a large population.
– I agree with the honorable senator; I am merely quoting what critical experts and uncritical newspapers have said. This ought not to be merely guess work. The figures relating to any Department should he definitely ascertained by a trained staff.
– Did not the Economies Commission state that in Queensland postal costs were lower than in Victoria ?
– Yes, but at that time it was practically a one-man inquiry. There has never been agreement between Mr Templeton’s statements and mine, because I have used figures tabulated by the departmental officers covering a certain period. I draw attention to this fact because it discloses misrepresentation in regard to many of the activities of the Post Office. It will be the duty of the Board to provide for the training of officers, not merely in the technical schools in the big cities, but in general terms, by giving special inducements to officers in order to raise the standard of the work done.
Members of the Board will have the power to enter any of the Departments, at any time. In this respect they will be in a position similar to that occupied by the Auditor-General, who is independent of Parliament, and whose duty it is to certify to the correctness of any transaction, whether wise or otherwise. Members of the Board will have authority, at the request of Ministers, who, no doubt, will be glad to avail themselves of their co-operation, to examine contracts with a view to seeing if economies can be effected. This will be a very important function. On one occasion a friend of mine criticised the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) in the early days of the war, but as I also had had some experience in the Defence Department I told my friend it was a matter of surprise to me, knowing what Senator Pearce had to do there, that he was not dead. The administration of that Department was extremely difficult at the time, and though at a later date there was a good Business Board to help the Minister, it took no less than fourteen’ months to get one particular contract completed.
– How long was the war in progress before that Board was appointed ?
– I think the Board was appointed in 1916. In connexion with this matter, I think Parlia ment was largely to blame for having imposed such a heavy burden of responsibility on the Minister for Defence, who was called upon to do the work of ten or eleven men. Nobody but a self-sacrificing colleague like Senator Pearce would have pulled through with the job.
The Bill repeals all existing Public Service Acts, but under it all public servants will retain their existing rights pending reclassification by the Board.
– Will the Bill affect the rights of officers transferred from State Departments?
– No. State officers transferred to the Commonwealth Service will retain their accruing rights.
– Does the Bill meet the case of an officer appointed to a new Department.
– Take the case of a man like Mr. Balsillie. We had no experts in wireless at the time of his appointment, and it is probable that no officer in the State Public Service was suitable for the position he now occupies. But if he had come from a State Department, he” would have brought with him all his superannuation and other rights.
– When the late Chief Justice was transferred from the Queensland to the Commonwealth Public Service, he forfeited his State pension rights.
– Yes ; but that injustice was, I am glad to say, remedied by the Commonwealth Parliament.
– He did it with his eyes open.
– It is true hs knew the sacrifice he was making; but subsequently Australia appreciated his services, and gave him the. pension to which he was honestly entitled.
– Does the Bill contain any provision for what is known as the double furlough, which has been creating a lot of friction lately?
– Yes. If a man renders twenty years’ useful service - the mere fact that he may have served twenty years will not entitle him to it - he will have the right to take six months’ furlough, and if he serves another twenty years he will likewise be entitled to another six months’ furlough. After twenty years’ service, he will be entitled to one and a half months’ leave for every five years’ of service.
– That is a recent provision ?
– Is it made retrospective 1
-It is made retrospective to the date upon which the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) announced the acceptance of the principle by the Government.
When the Bill becomes law there will be a general reclassification of the Public Service.
– Classification by the Board ?
– Yes, subject to the decision of the Governor-General in Council. Promotion to positions carrying salaries in excess of £210 per annum will be subject to review to insure that an officer who is promotedis put in his proper position. In the meantime, that is to say, during the covering period, he will remain at the minimum of the class to which he has been promoted, but he will lose nothing by this, as back money will be paid.
– Did I understand the Minister to say that the Bill repeals all previous Public Service Acts?
– Except certain sections of the Public Service (Arbitration) Act.
– Then the Bill we passed last session automatically goes overboard ?
– Yes, but all its main principles are embodied in this measure. Under the Bill, promotions which carry increases of salary will not be made until they are determined by the Board, but officers receiving less than £210 a year will get their increments automatically until their positions are determined by the Board. For a number of years there have been difficulties over this question of increments. I do not think it is possible to grant any officer so much per annum automatically in the way of increment of salary. It is clearly laid down in this Bill that increments are to be granted for good conduct and good service. That is only fair.
– Who decides that - . the head of the Department or the Board i
– The head of the Department makes a recommendation to the Board. The Board has. also power to recommend that an application be not granted.
– That is the same provision as we have in the existing Act.
– It is more extensive.
– In what way? .
– There were limitations on the heads of Departments, who were controlled by the Public Service Commissioner.
– Even if the head of the Department said that an officer should have an appointment or not?
– And a Commissioner said he must not.
– This Bill allows head’s of Departments to make only a recommendation.
– That is not so.
– Does the head of a Department make a recommendation ?
– Yes, to the Board of Management for an increase in salary in consequence of satisfactory service.
– And the Board decides whether an officer is to have it or not ?
– That is the principle. In some cases the head of the Department could recommend that an officer should not be paid a certain salary.
– That is the same as the existing law.
– That is what this Bill provides.
– It is a re-enactment of the existing provision.
– In effect it is. The section in the existing Act was always open to dispute as to whether increments were automatic or whether they were to be paid on the recommendation of the Commissioner. There was always a good deal of dissatisfaction.
– In the main, disputes arose in consequence of an officer expecting an increase which he did not receive.
– That is so. There are the usual provisions as to applicants for admission to the Commonwealth Public Service. Every such applicant must be a natural-born or naturalized British subject. The Board must also be satisfied as to his health and physical fitness, and see that he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation in the form provided in the fourth schedule to this measure. The entrance examination will be retained wherever possible, and provision in this direction is included in clause 32. Examination will not be necessary in the case of skilled artisans, but wherever an examination is necessary to ascertain the fitness of an applicant, that procedure will be followed. Provision is also made for preference to be’ given to returned soldiers, both on entering the Service and when promotions are being made. All other things being equal returned soldiers will always have preference.
In connexion with the appointment of persons from outside the Service, the Board, after making full inquiry, may report that some professional or highlyskilled position cannot be filled from within the Service, and in such instances power is given to appoint a person from outside the Service. Provision has been made in the form of what may be termed an elastic clause for the Board to say that, irrespective of age, a suitable officer may be secured without examination, on the order of the Governor-General in Council.
– What restrictions are there?
– Practically none, with the exception of the declaration by the Board. The Governor-General in Council would indorse the recommendation of the Board, which would be sufficient to enable a person outside the Service to be appointed.
– On the declaration of the Board that there was no one suitable within the Service?
– Yes, that there was a genuine vacancy which could not be filled from within the Service.
– Surely it would not be necessary for the Board to make a declaration.
– The Board will issue a certificate. It will not be necessary to submit a sworn declaration.
– You might flood the Service with unnecessary officers.
– That is not necessary nor likely under this clause.
Provision is made for promotions and transfers in clause 48. The Chief Officer or head of a Department may, subject to the provisions of this measure, promote an officer of his Department to fill such vacancy. If the Chief Officer is of opinion that it is expedient to fill any vacant office, other than in the Eirst Division, by the promotion of an officer from another Department, he must so advise the Board, by whom the necessary action will be taken. The head of a Department may make appointments up to a certain grade, and any officer who thinks that his position has been adversely affected will have the right of appeal to the Board, which will settle the matter. If no aopeal has been made, questions of promotion will not go to the Board, but will be settled by the head of a Department.
– There will be the same kind of examination as heretofore for persons wishing to enter the Service.
– That is so; but it only applies to the juniors.
– The ordinary entrance to the Service as regards education will be on similar lines?
– Practically, and will govern those between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four.
– What provision has been made for officers who consider themselves adversely affected to bring their case before the Board ? They will want to know the position before a definite decision has been arrived at.
– I am afraid the honorable senator is not very conversant with the conditions prevailing in the Commonwealth Service, otherwise he would know that officers are fully aware of any possible developments.
– Applications will be called in many cases?
– Yes. Speaking from memory, I believe a period of fortyeight hours is to be allowed in which an applicant may lodge a protest to the head of his Department, and the head of the Department will then be compelled’ to forward the protest to the Board. In such a case, the Board and the head of the Department confer in the presence of the officer concerned, who can be represented by counsel. Under these circumstances, an officer who considers thathe has been unfairly dealt with has every opportunity of being heard, and, therefore, there is little likelihood of any injustice being done. I think there is every opportunity for a fair review, and the decision of the Board in such a case would be final.
– Would not fortyeight hours be an unreasonable period for an officer, say, in Western Australia?
SenatorRUSSELL. - That is a point which can be further considered in Committee. I believe I was in error in saying a period of forty-eight hours was allowed, as, on reflection, I believe it is fourteen days, which would give an officer ample time.
– The time’ is generally provided in regulations which, in this case, are to be framed by the Board.
– In the case of officers who are incapable of fulfilling the duties allotted to them through lack of experience or indifferent health, power is given to the Board to reduce an officer to a lower position instead of compelling him to leave the Service. . Such an officer so reduced would be asked to accept a lower salary for the work he was capable of performing. Power is also given to dismiss officers, but that power is not likely to be abused.
– We have to consider what is in the Bill and not. what is likely to be done.
– I am not asking honorable senators to accept my opinions.
– The Minister said that the power was not likely to be abused in the case of dismissal, but that is not in the measure.
– Perhaps not, but it is not the intention that those who will have to administer the Act shall have power to dismiss a man who may be receiving £700 a year because through illness or some other cause he is unable to satisfactorily perform his duties. In such a case the Board would have the power to appoint him to a position at, say, £400 or £500 a year, which he could satisfactorily fill, and thus suable him to earn his living. An officer may be unfitted to fulfil the duties of a bead of a Department, but he may be able to satisfactorily perform other work of a less important character.
– Cannot that be done under the present Act?
– It has not been put into operation. Can the honorable senator mention a case where it has ?
– I know of an instance where an officer, on refusing to accept a lower salary in another position-, had. to leave the Service.
– The Board will have power to dismiss an officer.
– This officer waa offered a position at a lower salary, and because he refused to accept it he had to leave the Service.
– Complete power is given in the measure to make regulations for working out all details.
– Are appointments in an important administrative Department to be made by the Minister or by the Board?
– By the GovernorGeneral in Council.
– On the advice of the E’oard ?
– Are they to be limited to the Service?
– If a suitable officer is not available within the Service selection can be made from outside-
– That is the existing law.
– That may be so, because this is a consolidating Bill, and it cannot be said that many of the sections in our existing Act are faulty.
– I think it is a wonderful Act.
– I believe the Service has been increased by 250 per cent, since Parliament passed the original measure; but it must De admitted that the machinery is not sufficient to meet existing conditions andthose likely to arise.
– The Minister does not attribute the increase to the satisfactory nature of the original Act?
– If such were the case it would be interesting to know by what extent the Service would be increased as a result of this measure.
– The Commonwealth Service has been increased by 250 per cent, since the original Act was passed, and no one can say that it could be effectively controlled by one man.
– Mr. McLachlan did it, and he still says that it is a one-man job.
– That is not correct.
– He said that a Commissioner and an assistant were sufficient.
– I discussed the whole position with Mr. McLachlan, and pointed out the weakness of appealing from the Deputy , Commissioner to the Commissioner, as there was always a possibility of bias. It is highly desirable to have an independent Arbitrator.
– In his report he suggests a Commissioner with an assistant.
– That is so. But subsequently he modified that recommendation, and agreed after a conference to .our proposal.
– Does he agree to the appointment of a Board ?
– He modified his report by agreeing to the appointment of an’ Arbitrator, which he considered was a sound and business-like procedure. In his original report he favoured appeals being made to the Commissioner ; but that was a case of making the “ boss “ the judge.
– That is another matter.
– He amended his report by saying that an Arbitrator should be appointed with a full knowledge of the procedure of the Service.
– We are not dealing with that in this Bill.
– Not with the appointment of an Arbitrator, but with the general scheme of organization.
I do not desire to continue at greater length at this juncture, as this measure cannot be regarded as embodying principles, of an experimental nature. I shall not raise my voice in condemnation of civil servants because I have found that the great majority of them are hard’ working, conscientious men who are giving their best service for the benefit of the country. I do not deny that there are some who will not do a fair thing either by their colleagues or by the Government of the day. But I am glad to say that these are not nearly so numerous as is generally supposed. There is no doubt that Ministers have not sufficient time to go through the detailed organization of their Departments, and they would be merely wasting their own time if they attempted to do so. This work must be left to their expert officers.? In this connexion let me point to the census for the Commonwealth which is now being taken. I believe that thousands of pounds will be saved in this work by the introduction of the latest calculating and other machines which have been installed at the Exhibition Building. These machines practically enable male labour to be dispensed with, because the girls operating them are so expert. It is imperative that we should utilize the most modern methods for reducing the amount of laborious work which has to be performed in our Public Service.
There are just two other matters to which I desire to direct attention, because they are of a debatable character, and because I do not wish to be accused of dodging them . The first has reference to strikes by civil servants. The Government feel that our public servants, who have .a collective right of appeal to this Parliament, which the great body of outside workers do not possess, and who also have a right to resort to an Arbitrator, have no right whatever to unnecessarily threaten either the Government or the community with strikes in the public administration of the Commonwealth. The provision to which I refer will not reach as far as the carpenters and bricklayers who work under ordinary Arbitration Court awards, and who are sometimes employed by the Commonwealth, but it is intended to apply to employees in our Departments who are really part of the administrative machinery of the country. We say that these persons ought to be loyal to the Government. They have been provided with reasonable opportunities for voicing their complaints, and in return they ought te give us their best services and to remain steadily and solidly at their work. The Bill will not impose any limitation upon. the freedom of .action of any indi.vidual who desires to join any political or religious society. The Government merely lay down the principle that he ought to remain steadily at his work, and that he ought not to go on strike.
The second point to which I wish to invite attention relates to the taking of the oath, which is set out in the fourth schedule of the Bill, and which reads -
I, A.B., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the King, and will loyally as in duty bound, uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia established under the Crown of the United Kingdom. So help me, God !
The taking of this oath is designed to prevent the admission to our Public Service of persons who are opposed to constituted authority. Generally speaking, it may not be necessary, but it is necessary in the case of a few.
– Why not also institute a religious test?
– This is not a religious test, but merely a test of common honesty. If a person does not care about taking the oath, he will be at liberty to make an affirmation .
– Will the oath apply to all officers who are now in our Public Service ?
– It will apply to all new men; but I cannot say whether the older officers in our Public Service will be compelled to take it.
– Under this Bill, the Government seem to be taking out of the hands of the President and Mr. Speaker the control of officers of. the Parliament.
– No. Mr. Speaker will act as the Public Service Commissioner for his branch of this Parliament, and the President will act in a similar capacity for his branch. Any complaints made against officers of Parliament must be made to them.
– But paragraph a of sub-clause 2 of clause 8, specially refers to the schedule.
– But there are other clauses which exempt parliamentary officers from the general provisions of the Bill, and which place them under the control of the President and Mr. Speaker.
– Is there any provision in the Bill for a superannuation scheme ?
– If such a scheme is brought forward it will be embodied in a separate Bill. In this measure we merely propose to continue the provisions of the principal Act in order to compel our public servants to insure their lives so as to make provision for their dependants. This is really a practical Bill for reforming our Departments. Any gifts or rewards to public servants will be dealt with in another Bill.
– Any superannuation scheme which may be brought forward must originate in the other Chamber.
– Exactly. I think that I have now placed before honorable senators the principal features of the mea sure, to which I invite their serious consideration.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
– I rise to a point of order. Standing order 133 provides -
No question or amendment shall be proposed which is the same in substance as any question or amendment which, during the same session, has ‘been resolved in the affirmative or negative, unless the order, resolution, or vote on such question or amendment has been rescinded.
I submit -that the Bill now before us is the same measure - with practically only a few alterations - that this Chamber passed earlier in the session, and which another branch of the Legislature threw under the table. I will, therefore, take your ruling, sir, as to whether the two Bills, which are practically the same in substance, can be introduced in the same session.
– I wish to direct your attention, sir, to the fact that the previous Bill to which Senator Gardiner hae referred, contained only about thirty clauses, whereas this measure contains more than 100.
– Still, it may be the same Bill in an amplified form.
– I shall refer to that point later. At present I desire to deal with only one point at a time. Unlike Senator Thomas I am not able to deal with half-a-dozen points at the same time. The Bill relating to our Public Service, which was discussed by the Senate earlier in the session, dealt with only one phase of that Service, namely, the proposal that it should be controlled by a Board of Management. On the other hand, this measure deals with a Board of Commissioners, and with all the conditions relating to our Public Service with the exception of arbitration. Further, as the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell) was careful to point out during his second-reading speech, in so far as the principles of the Bill, which was debated here earlier in the session, are embodied in this measure, they have been amended in the light of the criticism which was indulged in upon that occasion.
– In substance they are the same.
– In some cases, even the substance has been changed. It, often happens that when a Bill dealing with a like subject is introduced at a later period of the session, we are obliged, for the purposes of that measure, to repeat some portion of another Bill which has passed this Chamber. That is specially noticeable when we deal with such questions as the franchise and the Electoral Act. In the one case, we have a law which defines the franchise of the voter,, and in the other a law which defines the system of representation. Consequently, we have to repeat in our Electoral Act provisions which are already embodied in our franchise law. My contention is that this Bill is not, even in substance, the Bill which was previously before us, and that even in form it covers a very much wider area. “Where it deals with the same subjects, it deals with them in the mam, in a different way from that in which they were dealt with in theprevious measure.
– Very largely, because Senator Thomas pointed out a better way of dealing with them.
– Oh, no! The Government would not accept my advice.
– I may be mistaken in attributing the improvement to Senator Thomas. At any rate, there were honorable senators who suggested a better way of achieving our object.
– The Government would not accept my advice. It forwarded the Bill to the other House, which treated it with contempt.
– It is never too late to mend. The Government have made a free and open confession that during the recess they have carefully considered the criticism to which the previous Bill was subjected, and have adopted such portion of that criticism as they deemed it reasonable to adopt. I submit, therefore, that the Bill is not out of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Bakhap). - Upon the point of order which has been raised, I have not any difficulty in coming to a decision. “Whilst any honorable senator who exhibits a spirit of jealous conservation of the privileges of the Senate has my sympathy in closely examining any measure, and in questioning the propriety of its introduc tion, I must say that the Bill which is now before us is not one which comes within the scope of standing order 133. I do not think that there is any necessity for me to burden my ruling with a multiplicity of reasons; but the point of order cannot be sustained, if for no other reason than that this is a consolidating measure. Its title is “ A Bill for an Act to consolidate and amend the law regulating the Public Service, and for other purposes.” . In view of that fact, I have no hesitation in ruling that it is in order.
– I move -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
This is entirely a technical and machinery Bill, and I must ask honorable senators to excuse me if, in consequence, I quote somewhat freely from my notes. I place the matters with which the measure deals under the following headings: - First of all there is the interpretation of the new scheme of training for Senior Cadets and Citizen Forces, naval and military. Secondly, there is a proposal to make the Military Forces subject to the Army Act in time of peace as well as, which is now provided for, in time of war. In order that we may avoid aimless discussion, on this point, I direct attention to the pertinent fact that the Army Act deals practically entirely with disciplinary matters.. In this respect, it is unlike our (Defence Act, which deals with the question of the universal training of the Citizen Forces and a variety of other subjects. It is proposed under this Bill to provide that the Army Act shall apply to our Forces in time of peace as it does under the existing Act in time of war. There are minor amendments of the existing Act proposed in this Bill which the experience of the war has shown to be necessary. The addition of some new provisions has been rendered necessary by the adoption of a new system of training, and there are certain amendments of the existing law proposed which are consequent upon the adoption of the divisional system of organization.
With respect to the training of Senior Cadets, I may say that no alterationis proposed in the number of hours of training, or the present minimum annual training. But since the policy of train- ing adopted for Senior Cadets of the Naval and Military Forces has, as a result of experience, become divergent, certain amendments of the existing law are necessary to legalize this, and to give the necessary authority to train Naval Cadets according to the views of the Naval authorities and Military Cadets according to the views of the Military authorities.
Section 127 of the existing Act lays down in a somewhat arbitrary fashion the number of half-day, day, and night drills which Senior Cadets are called on to perform. This has been found in practice to result in inconvenience, especially to the Cadets themselves. Under thi3 Bill, it is proposed, while retaining the maximum hours of training provided for, to alter the provisions in such a way as to give latitude to meet the convenience of the Senior Cadets. As a result of experience, we are cutting out practically all night drills for Senior Cadets, and are substituting half-day and day parades. The curriculum of training is also being altered, and it is proposed that in the earlier years the training of the Senior Cadets shall consist in the main of the encouragement of athletics, physical training, and organized games. The training is aimed rather at developing the physical and moral qualities of the cadets, and it is only in the last year of Senior Cadet training that it becomes largely of a military character. These alterations of the existing law will give us greater latitude in dealing with circumstances arising from difference of locality and occupation. What might be a perfectly good arrangement for a city might be very inconvenient for purposes of drill in a country district. What might be good for a manufacturing locality might not be convenient for a- mining locality. By alterations proposed in this Bill, we shall be in a position to meet varying circumstances due to locality and occupation better than it has been possible to do under the existing Act.
I come now to the question- of applying the Army Act to the Citizen Forces in tame of peace. I frankly confess that, at first blush, I did not like that proposal. It seemed to me that we should be able to embody, either in our Act, or regulations framed under it, all the pro* visions that we wished to apply to our own Forces.’ I invite honorable senators to secure a copy of the Army Act, and note how very voluminous it is. I considered the question from a critical point of view as to whether there would be any disadvantage to the control of our Forces or to the individuals who compose them from the proposed application of the Army Act to the Forces in time of peace, and I came to the conclusion that there would not. First of all, by the proposal we do not give to the Imperial Legislature any control over, our Forces. We still retain control of them. Our application to them of the Army Act will be by an Act of our own Legislature, and every amendment of the Army Act, when . it has been communicated to us, will be reviewed to see whether or not it is applicable .to our Forces. If it is seen to be applicable and advantageous ft can be applied, but if on the other hand it is considered inapplicable to our circumstances we can provide by regulation that to that extent the . Army Act shall not apply to our Forces. At present the Army Act applies to our Forces only in so far as it is not inconsistent with our Defence Act or regulations made thereunder. It will not in any case override any of the provisions of our Defence Act as it stands now or as it will be amended by the passing of this Bill, nor will it override any regulation made under our legislation. I considered the question from the point of view of one who, at the outset, was opposed to and critical of the proposal. Now, with respect to the advantages of that p’roposal. Under our existing law the Army Act applies to our Forces automatically in time of war. The reason for that is obvious. If the troops of the various portions <of the Empire were m time of war to be called upon to operate together, it was’ clear that, so far as possible, the Act which laid down disciplinary powers in respect to the Army as a whole should be uniform. When, therefore, the Australian Imperial Force came under the provisions of the Army Act on the declaration of war, in so far as they were not inconsistent with our Defence Act, our officers were placed at considerable disadvantage. Prior to the war, in time of peace, they had been operating under our Defence Act and its disciplinary provisions. They had to make a study of courts-martial to know how they were composed and operated and what functions and powers they exercised. They had to understand courts of inquiry and the powers of commanding officers. To their credit be it said the greater number of them were more or less familiar with the provisions of the law dealing with those matters. They had operated them either in camp or on parade, but when we ‘ were suddenly plunged into wax they found themselves confronted with the responsibility of understanding the disciplinary provisions of the Army Act.
– The British Army Act?
-Yes. They had to familiarize themselves with the contents of that great volume, its principles, procedure, and operation. At the end of the war it is safe to say that the Australian officer knew as much about the Army Act. as did any British officer. He had been for five years operating it and was thoroughly familiar with it. But when he comes back to Australia and resumes his place in the Citizen Forces, which are governed by our Defence Act, he finds that he must go back to what obtained before the war and must be guided by our Act and the regulations under it in regard to disciplinary matters. This cannot make for efficiency, and our Forces must in time of war come under the provisions of our Defence Act and its regulations as they do in time of peace, or the Army Act should apply to our Forces in time of peace as well as in time of war.
– Does this Bill involve the grafting of the British Army Act on to the Australian Defence Act?
– Yes, in so far as the provisions of the Army Act are not inconsistent with our Defence Act or the regulations made thereunder. I ask honorable senators to consider the two options. Either we have to apply the Defence Act and its regulations so far as discipline is concerned to our Forces in time of war as well as in time of peace, or we must apply the Army Act in time of peace as well as in time of war.
– I know of cases where, under the existing practice, officers had to review punishments they had inflicted.
– That is so. At present we have a polyglot system; we have training, under one set of regulations in time of peace, and the Forces are, in time of war, brought under another set of regulations. That will never do. We must have our own set of regulations, and say that we shall stand by them in war as well as in peace, or we must have, in time of peace, the application of the Army Act which we have in time of war.
Is there a sufficient justification for applying the Army Act to our Forces in time of war? It will appeal even to the layman that if the Forces of the Empire, when placed in the field by their respective Governments, are to co-operate to gether, they must, if they are to be effective, be governed by the same codes for system, organization, equipment and words of command. One reason why the Australian Imperial Force was able so quickly to operate side by side with other sections of the British Army was that before the war we had co-ordinated our organization - we had the same drill and the same equipment and organization as the British Army. But in one respect we were not in step with the British Army. We did not have the same disciplinary code.
I come now to the application of the Army Act to our Forces in so far as its provisions are not inconsistent with our Defence Act or regulations made thereunder. There is a striking illustration which will go to show that by the procedure proposed we do not. give up our legislative power or any power that we now have to say what should happen to our troops even when they go to war. Under the Army Act the penalty for desertion in time of war is death. Under our Defence Act desertion to the enemy is punishable by death. If in time of war a soldier deserts the Australian Army and goes over to the enemy, and is subsequently arrested, the punishment under our Defence Act is death, but if a soldier merely deserts the Australian Army to the rear the penalty is not death, but such less penalty as may be decided by the proper authorities.
– What will the punishment be under this Bill ?
– If we apply the Army Act, and the provision to which I have referred is retained in our Defence Act, although the Army Act provides death as the penalty for desertion in time of war, since that would be inconsistent with our Defence Act. our provision will override it, and the punishment for such desertion, in the case of an Australian soldier, will not be death, but such other punishment as a court martial or other properly constituted tribunal may order. That is an illustration showing that, notwithstanding that we apply the Army Act, if in any way the Army Act seems inconsistent with the principles of the Defence Act or with Australian ideals, we can, by regulation, or by amendment of our own Act, whichever is the quickest, or whichever best meets the case, provide that that particular part of the Army Act shall not apply so far as the Australian Forces are concerned. I ask honorable senators, therefore, to face the consideration of this question from this point of view, remembering that if they reject this - and going back to what was in my own mind, I can quite see what will arise iD their minds - the alternative is that in the future our Forces may have to go to war side by side with the other Forces of the Empire with a different disciplinary code and different procedure, and that in that way we shall be out of step with what we are doing in everything else, such as organization, equipment and control.
– Did not that position actually arise in the late war?
– No, because, as I explained earlier, our Defence Act now provides that when our Forces go to war they automatically come under the Army Act. I explained also that our officers learnt the . code which they would have to administer under the Defence Act, and became familiar with it, and then in time of war suddenly found placed in their hands the code under the Army Act which they knew nothing about. This proposal is to place the Army Act there in time of peace as well as in- time of war, so that when our officers go to war they will have a code of discipline with’ which they have been familiarized in peace time. There is this saving provision, that where an offence is punishable under the Army Act with a penalty which is greater than that provided by our Defence Act or its regulations, the penalty imposed shall be no greater than that which is laid ‘ down in the Defence Act and itsregulations.
The other provisions are of a machinery character, although some of them are more or less important. Provision has been made, for instance, enabling service abroad, under certain circumstances, to be calculated for purposes of promotion in lieu of examination. That is to say, thatwhere an officer has had experience in the war and gained a certain rank, examination for that rank may be dispensed with. It is also provided that graduates of the Military College shall be prevented from resigning their commissions during the first eight years of their service as officers, except under special circumstances approved by the Minister. That is a very necessary provision. The Commonwealth practically gives the graduate at the Military College a university education free, and maintains him during the time he is receiving that education. It is only right,, seeing that the college has been established for a specific purpose, and that that education is a gift from the nation, that the nation should expect and obtain a return from the graduate. It was thought that we had provided for this, but it is now felt that the Act needs tightening up in order to secure that for at least eight years the services of the graduate shall be at the disposal of the Commonwealth, and that the contract he made on entering the college shall be carried out.
– Is it not a, sufficient return to the Commonwealth to have a trained officer as a member of the community ?
– No. We could get that without a Military College, through our Citizen Forces.
– But not so highlytrained and efficient an officer.
– That is so, but the college was established on the recommendation of the late Lord Kitchener to be the institution that should train the Instructional Staff for our Forces. If we are to train them, and do not know after they are trained whether they are going to remain with us or not, we shall never know how many to put into the college. t
– A very simple re,medy would be to make the positions worth retaining.
– Will the honorable senator help us in that? We have done something in that direction recently by increasing the pay and making the conditions better’ in the junior ranks, and I hope that when the military estimates come before Parliament the honorable senator will not be too severe on the Government for the increases of salary which they have given in that direction. We hope that later on the superannuation scheme which is being prepared by the Government will assist in that direction also, by applying to the Military as well as the Naval Forces of the Commonwealth.
It is provided that the offence of murder shall be punishable by death. Two or three C el-SOS occurred during the war where members of the Forces committed murder, and there was no provision under our Defence Act by which they could be punished by death. It is thought that we ought to bring our Defence procedure in this regard into line with the State laws, under which murder is so punishable. The death penalty, of course, can be inflicted only on the assent of the GovernorGeneral being given.
– You put them under the civil law.
– The Bill practically brings offenders of that class under the civil law. Then, it is provided that members of the Military Forces serving a sentence awarded by a court martial shall be kept subject no the military law during the currency of their sentence, although they may have been discharged from the Forces subsequent to the conviction. This is necessary to maintain control . of persons who escape whilst under sentence.
Certain sections of the Act dealing with prosecutions under the compulsory sections have been amended to meet flaws that have been discovered’ in the case of legal trials, where certain weaknesses have been disclosed- Then, there have been some cases of illegal detention under the Defence Act. There was no illegality in the circumstances of the detention, but only illegality in the form in which it was carried out. It is proposed to provide for this matter in this Bill.
The experience of the war in regard to fraud has caused us to tighten up the provisions of the Defence Act. As re gards the question of supplies, contracts, and so on, the record of Australia is a good one, and compares more than favorably with anything throughout the Empire; but there have been cases of fraud, or attempted fraud, and, in dealing with these, .we have found that we have not quite as wide powers as we ought to have. Therefore, in this Bill, whilst that experience is fresh in our minds, we are taking power so that if these things happen on any future occasion we can deal with them effectively.
There has been some criticism lately in connexion with a proposal that has been made, but which is not in this Bill, that the period of training should be extended. I resent very strongly some of that criticism, notably that which has been directed at the moral atmosphere of camps of training. I believe that if you want a plant, to grow up strong and healthy the best way to achieve that end is not to place around it a covering that is absolutely impervious to any of the gales that blow, because whenever it does get above that covering it will wither at the first blast and probably be a sickly failure. I do not agree either that you should needlessly expose it to an inclement atmosphere, or one that will militate against its growth. As one who has frequently visited our camps of training both in time of peace and in time of war, I say that, by and large, the moral atmosphere of those camps will compare more than favorably with that under which the great “majority of the youths of this country have to live and grow. Those who speak as if” these camps were sinks of iniquity into which it is not safe to put the average youth are talking about something of which they are evidently entirely ignorant. In this Bill we propose to take even greater power than we have to-day to provide that the surroundings of the camps shall be such as will do away as far as possible with the temptations to which youths are subject, not merely in camps, but elsewhere. So we are asking for power for the exclusion of undesirable persons from the vicinity of the training camps. I need not go into that too plainly, but honorable senators will know quite well what is meant. We are also asking for power by which the sale of intoxicating liquor in the vicinity of an assemblage et soldiers in uniform is prohibited without written permission, which may include conditions. My experience is that there have been licensed victuallers who, throughout the war, showed a patriotic desire to observe every condition laid down by the Military authorities, and met us more than half way in their endeavourto see that their hotels should not be the means of lessening the efficiency of our Forces. I pay that tribute to them. There have been others, however, who seized every opportunity to break those conditions wherever they thought it safe to do so, and by encouraging the youths who were making themselves fit for the defence of. their country, to render them inefficient. The powers we propose to take in this Bill will not injure any licensed victualler who does his duty to the youths who are temporarily placed in the vicinity of his hotel for the purpose of training to fit themselves for the defence of their country. The only licensed victualler whom they will hit is the man who seizes upon the temporary increase of population in the vicinity of his hotel to attract those youths and unduly press upon them the liquor he has for sale. So far as I am concerned, the powers will be used in that way only.
The only other matter to which I call attention at this juncture is the one making minor amendments for the change from State to divisional organizations, and for the institution of base commandants in place of district commandants. That is a scheme upon which I have already spoken in the Senate, and shall, therefore, not enlarge upon, except to say that certain technical amendments of the Act are necessary to give effect to it, and are embodied in this Bill.
SenatorRo well. - Will the districts be known by their numbers, as they are now?
– Yes, by the same numbers.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
Debate resumed from 8th April (vide page 7311), on motion by Senator Pearce -
That this Bill be now read a second time.
Senator GARDINER (New South did the most interesting statement made by Senator E. D. Millen, asthe Australian representative at the Geneva Conference, and endeavouring to follow Senator Russell in his lucid explanation of the Public Service Bill, and again becoming deeply interested in Senator Pearce’s remarks in regard to the Defence Bill, I feel somewhat unsettled at the prospect of entering upon a serious discussion of the Air Defence Bill which Senator Pearce introduced last week. Accordingly, my remarks will not be very lengthy. I view with concern the ease with which the Minister introduced this Bill - a war measure - the purpose of which is to add another arm, or shall I say wings, to our present system of defence. I view with concern the ease with which he is prepared to commit this country to what he states will be an additional, a commencing, expenditure of £500,000 per annum. I do not think I am quoting him unfairly when. I say he was sufficiently candid to admit that this is the anticipated amount required to establish the proposed Air ‘Service.; and that if we go further in this scheme, we shall have to provide more money to pay for it. Is it wise at this juncture, when people who claim to have sound financial information are so concerned about the finances of the country, to ask. this Parliament to authorize such a huge expenditure for another arm of the Defence Service? We had four years of war, which we were told was to make the world safe for Democracy, and yet the people of Australia, the freest Democracy in the world, are now asked to tax themselves to provide, for war purposes, a sum greater than those who tried to hurry us into Federation declared would be the whole annual cost qf Commonwealth administration. One of the most intellectual and distinguished statesmen of New South Wales - I refer to the late B. R. Wise - estimated during the Federal campaign that the cost per annum to Australia of Federation would be just as much as the dog registration tax in New South . Wales-2s. 6d. per head of the population. But what do we find? We find that the cost of Federation exceeds that amount more than a hundred-fold.
– I am aware of that. And, after all, this statement about the anticipated cost of Federation was merely a catch phrase to meet the arguments of those who did not believe in the proposal and were making the most of its probable cost. The Minister made no reference whatever to the financial position of the country. Apparently, the Defence Department; over which he so ably presides, considers that the right is theirs to propose, and the right of the taxpayers to find the cash, no matter how straitened our national circumstances may be, or into what pass we may drift. But I ask the Minister to pause before committing this country to the expenditure of £500,000 a year - which sum, I am sure, will soon expand to £1,000,000- for I can see in it very little additional defence for Australia.
The chief provisions of the Bill are for the establishment of what I may call the overhead services, thereby calling into existence new Departments with all their officers and clerks to further swell the public expenditure. Before the war the Defence Department controlled the Navy, but now we have separate Departments, both for military and naval administration. I think that so far as its overhead administration is concerned the NaVy Department might very well be treated as the workers at Cockatoo Island were treated recently - sent about their business with just as little consideration as was shown to the workers of that dockyard. The Defence authorities, instead of creating a new Department, with new officers and a new Ministerial head - -because I take it that as we have a Minister for Defence and a Minister for the Navy, we shall have an Air Minister also - might have called the Naval authorities into conference.
– But if they are so inefficient, would it not be useless to call them into conference ?
– They might have been called into conference) for the purpose of dismissal, so far as administration is concerned.
– In one breath you suggest that they are inefficient, and in the next that they are efficient.
– I realize that it is sometimes necessary for me to speak my thoughts twice in order to make my self clear to the accurate and closereasoning senator from Tasmania. The whole of the administration in my opinion, could be undertaken by the Defence Department. The military and naval defence of Australia is more heavily loaded to-day than it was before the war; the cost of running the Departments is much more, and the number of highly-paid officers is greater.
– But the increases, you admit, are following increases made outside.
– I do.
-brockman. - These increases in the Departments have not been nearly so great as in private , employment.
– I am quite safe in saying that the cost of defence administration is much greater now than it was before the war. I go further, and say that some branches of the Defence Department are being managed with double the equipment and twice the) number of highly-paid men employed during the war. And now we are asked to add another arm to the Defence Services. If we are going to be a military nation we can, of course, go on in this mad race for armaments, but we have to remember that, after all, we are only 5,000,000 of people.
– And hard up, too.
– Yes, as Senator Fairbairn interjects, we are hard up, too, so before we authorize this new expenditure we should put our financial house in order.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) is going to Great Britain shortly to attend a Conference of Dominions’ representatives with the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Could not this proposal for the creation of our Air Defence Force wait until his return? It appears to me that the world is waiting for a lead in disarmament, and not a proposal for further armaments, and it is quite possible that, as at present instructed, the Prime Minister will at the Conference find himself opposed to representatives favouring disarmament.
– The delegates discussed that question at Geneva. It did not get far.
– Perhaps not, but it might be taken further at the next
Conference, especially if Australia’s representative goes weighted with the knowledge that Australia wants a reduction in the world’s armaments, and Great Britain takes up the same position. I say advisedly, judging from the cable news lately, that if the Conference is approached in this spirit, we may be within easy distance of some arrangement for disarmament.
I have never cavilled at the Minister’s administration of his Department, but I think he is absorbed in the business of preparing for defence. I realize that Australia should be prepared, but when war came, I saw, as clearly as it was possible for one who has had some experience to see, that we were absolutely at the mercy of any enemy that cared to attack us. What was the reason ? The reason lay in the fact that the machinery for the manufacture of the munitions’ of war was nonexistent in Australia. We could scarcely make a shell. So, instead of spending £500,000 at the beginning on this proposed Air Service, I would rather spend the money in the manufacture of engines for aeroplanes and other military requirements. Let us begin at the right end. Let us commence by saying that we shall have none of these elaborate preparations for the creation of another huge Department to train men to do certain things. To my mind, the whole of our military training is more ostentation than the real thing. Talk about training the youth of this country for the Air Force and for military and naval defence! In a Democracy like Australia, the everyday life of the people is in itself so much training for war service. Can it be said that ability to right turn “ and move in column represents the correct training of our men for war ? Was it not their ability to make boots, to turn out mechanics, and to handle the machinery for the rapid manufacture ofmunitons of war?
– In conjunction with the other training.
– To my mind military drill is merely so much ostentation, and I venture to say that we are going to follow this example in our Air Service.
– One is not much good without the other.
– What would be the value of our Air Service without efficiently trained men for the making of aeroplanes ? We may make full allowance for those who will administer the new Service and believe that they will do their best to keep the expenditure within reasonable bounds, but we know how extravagant new Departments can become, especially when the responsible heads have no special reason to study economy as we understand it. Why should a Military Department study economy? Its very nature is destructive, and it wants to make the greatest possible show for the expenditure incurred. The Government, instead of proposing the establishment of an elaborate Air Defence Force, which will mean the appointment of a number of officers, should devote their activities in other directions.
This is regarded as a machinery measure, a number of the provisions of which relate to the appointment of officers in the various grades. If the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) had announced that it was the intention of the Government to establish plants within the next twelve months for the manufacture of machinery which could produce engines of various descriptions with interchangeable parts, the Government would have been doing more for the real protection of Australia than they would be by establishing an Air Force, however it is created.
– Can the honorable senator suggest what could be done with the machines presented to the Commonwealth by the British Government? Are they to be allowed to rust away?
– We can find ample use for the machines presented to the Commonwealth by the British Government; and, personally, I am pleased that the Imperial authorities were good enough to make the presentation, because they would be of great service in the event of an unexpected attack.
– They would not be of any use unless we had the men to control them.
– The recent war has taught us that the Australians acquired a knowledge of flying as quickly as the representatives of any other nation in the world. War does not come upon us in an instant. We have a splendid isolation, and the real defence of Australia is in the hands of the Navy.
An engineering plant that could manufacture engines for flying machines could also produce engines suitable for machines to be used in ploughing the land. I would like to see this country covered with plants that could manufacture machinery and “engines to assist in production, and which could also be used for military purposes when required. I would, as far as possible, give every encouragement to the civil authorities to use aeroplanes for commercial purposes, which would be the means of doing more for Australia than establishing a new branch of our fighting machinery, lt is true we have potential enemies. Where are they? In my opinion, the enemy we must most fear is Germany when she is in fighting form again. I have no immediate fears concerning Japan; but there are some who speak with bated breath regarding the intentions of that nation. I know, as honorable senators are also aware, that if Japan at any time had wanted to make war on Australia she would have done so between 1914 and 1918. The fact that Japanese statesmanship made no aggressive movement towards Australia during that period is sufficient to show what her attitude really is; and I am not likely to join with those who say that Japan is only waiting her chance, because I do not believe it. We were helpless, so far as defence was concerned, during the period I have mentioned, in which the Government - and I am prepared to take my share of the responsibility - depleted Australia of our means of defence by sending our men and munitions away. It is now the policy of the Government to provide an additional £500,000 for war. Against whom? During the next ten years there is no country likely to make war upon Australia; but, in the event of such an unfortunate thing occurring, it would not be the officers in the Defence Department, but those who had learned the work of real war who would supply us with our leaders. At the present moment, owing to the misfortune which we have gone through, we have a huge Defence Force which could not have been anticipated six or ten years ago, and instead of the Government exercising economy they are adding to the load of the already over burdened taxpayer. For Australia, with its population of 5,000,000 people, £500,000 on an Air Service is a huge expenditure, and before the measure passes this Chamber 1 would like the Senate to express the opinion that the Government, before creating an Air Service, will reduce the expenditure in other branches of defence in proportion. Even then expenditure on an Air Service should not be incurred without a most searching public inquiry. I have no time for inquiries conducted by the officers of public Departments which are secret in character, and in connexion with which the necessities or requirements of those conducting the inquiry are usually of paramount importance. The whole of the Air Service should begin and end in making provision for the manufacture of engines in Australia, which the people we have, who are capable of fighting, might use if called upon. It is unreasonable to leave us unprotected against enemies till they come, while we are establishing huge naval, military, and aerial branches of our Defence Service.
The Minister went clearly into the details of the Bill, and I am making a general statement in opposition to its provisions. He should have told us in what direction savings were to be made in the Defence and Naval Departments; also have outlined a policy regarding the manufacture of arms-
– Are not aeroplanes a -part of the arms of a military force?
– I realize that they are ; but what have we in the way of arms, isolated as we are from the rest of the world, if we were seriously attacked? How long under ordinary use would our arms and ammunition last? That is the question I have always been confronted with, because it is necessary, not only to have an army, but a means of replacing arms. It is a serious’ phase of defence that Australia will yet have to consider, and until it is given proper attention I am not prepared to give my vote in favour of the Bill, or to speak one word in favour of the establishment of any further Departments for the defence of Australia. We have a huge expenditure, and are going along in the old groove - only more so - and paying more attention to the operation of our machinery than to the defence of the Commonwealth. I have made these few remarks - they are few on such an important question - in all earnestness, and I hope honorable senators will realize in discussing this measure that the Government have not given the slightest consideration to the financial situation, and are putting forward a proposal which involves an additional burden of £500,000. I am opposed to the Bill, and it is my intention to vote against it.
.- I think the Senate, constituted as it is, with only one member in opposition, should view Bills of this sort introduced by the Government, I will not say with suspicion, but with a good deal of caution, because, as Senator Gardiner has pointed out, it is going to add enormously to our present burdens. The Bill may be a necessary one, because it’ would appear that we must have an Air’ Force of some kind. But this is surely beyond our needs. It seems that the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) is proposing to call into existence with a wave of the hand an Air Force which would be adequate in time of war, and going to that extent is surely unnecessary. Generally in regard to the military affairs of the Commonwealth, I think that criticism applies,, because the policy of the Defence Department is apparently directed by those who are determined at all costs to maintain in Australia a Force similar in every_ respect to that which we maintained in the field in the face of the enemy. There is absolutely no necessity for such a policy, and I fear that at the root of it there is the desire of certain highlyplaced officers to continue to occupy, not the positions they held before the war at a reasonable salary, but others. They dislike being compelled, as citizen officers were, to revert to their old employment and remuneration. They have seen the opportunity of building up a huge military machine under which they will be able, to hold positions similar to those which they occupied during the period of the war. A mere skeleton army would have sufficed for many years, and I cannot see any reason why the Australian Imperial Force should be reproduced in all its branches at the present juncture. On several occasions I have brought this fact under the notice of the Minister for Defence, and he has retorted by saying that the military machine, as at present constituted, will not cost more than it did under the old system. If that is so, the Department must have been enormously overstaffed .in the past, and the responsibility of contradicting that rests with the Minister’s Department.
Turning from these general remarks to the Bill before the Senate, I desire to criticise its provisions in many respects. In the first instance, it seems to carry to extremes the policy which has been followed too much by this Parliament, and that is government by regulations. Power is given under this measure to make regulations relating to all sorts of matters. Such regulations are framed and come into force without being discussed by the representatives of the people. This Bill perpetuates that evil, as there is hardly a clause which does not include the words “ as prescribed,” and concerning which there is no definition.
– That is to be found in the Acts Interpretation Act.
– The Defence Act gives a definition, which ought to be embodied in this measure. It reads “ prescribed “ means “ prescribed by this Act.” Apparently it is the intention of the Government to go further, as the regulations referred to are not only those prescribed under this Act, but under other Acts. It appears that it is intended to covertly introduce the whole of the Air Defence Act, without the necessary consideration being given to the regulations, or without honorable senators having an opportunity of discussing them in detail, and I am totally opposed to such a procedure.
During the course of his second-reading speech, the Minister stated that in this Bill preference was to be given to exmembers of the Australian Imperial Force staff. But one looks in vain for any such provision, although I trust that the Minister will recognise the wisdom of inserting it. Whilst the honorable gentleman ‘was speaking I made an interjection regarding transfers and re-transfers from the Naval and Military Forces to the Air Force, and back again. In a new Force like this, many rapid promotions may be expected during the first few years. It will be found that certain officers with, social or other influence behind them, will transfer into it. gain rapid promotion, and then re-transfer to the other Forces, thus getting into positions to which they are not entitled by reason of their service. I propose at the proper time to submit an amendment which is designed to prevent that sort of thing.
A provision is contained in the Bill which will prevent an officer being arbitrarily dismissed. It is provided that his commission cannot be cancelled unless he has first been given an opportunity of meeting any charge or complaint which has been levelled against him. But while it is bad to dismiss an officer without a reason, it is still worse to supersede him or to promote a man over his head without affording him a chance of objecting to such a procedure. I trust that proper provision wilbe made in the Bill to prevent that sort of thing. Personally, I would rather dismiss a man outright than retain him in the Service, bearing in his bosom an acute realization that, despite every effort he may make, because of some personal spite against him, or because of some one’s greater social influence, the officers about him will have an advantage over him at every step in his career. Better to sack him at once.
Under our Defence Act a number of regulations are issued from time to time, all of which are prepared by the’ higher authorities. These regulations provide all sorts of pains and penalties in respect of the unfortunate underling. But suppose the higher authorities do not obey the regulations, what power is there in the Minister to enforce obedience? Some of our Defence regulations provide most minutely for the procedure which is to be followed with a view to the redress of grievances. For example, a soldier must appeal to his captain, and so on, right up to the Military Board. But I know from bitter experience during the recent war, that that provision was habitually and deliberately ignored, and that threats and duress were applied to prevent an officer exercising his statutory right of appeal to the Minister. Worse than that, when these facts were brought home to the Minister himself, he said that he had no power to interfere. I intend, therefore, to endeavour to prevent a repetition of this state of affairs by framing a provision which will compel any officer, no matter how highly placed he may be, to do what the regulations plainly intend that he should do.
– Who should have the final say, if not the Minister ?
– The provision which I hope to insert in the Bill will permit any injured person to bring an action for damages in our civil Courts. He may go outside the Service if he is being compelled to acquiesce in an injury by a threat from a superior officer as to what will otherwise happen to him.
– I do not think that the members of the Service will welcome the opportunity of settling their disputes in a civil Court if their experiences are like my own.
– At any rate, the provision will be there in terrorem. It is necessary, particularly in time of war, to invest military officers with great powers of discretion - in fact, to give them for the time being almost unfettered power. Seeing that they haveto be intrusted with almost despoticpower, it is the duty of the Ministerto insure that if they are false totheir trust they shall be adequately punished. When in other days it was the practice of great judicial officers in England to accept gifts and bribes from suitors, and to be influenced by such gifts and bribes, the matter at length came under the notice of the Imperial Parliament. There was in England at that time a very great man indeed, a man whose name shines down upon us through the ages - I refer to Lord Bacon. When he was Chancellor of England he accepted a bribe, and was thereby influenced to give judgment against a party who happened to come before him. The matter was brought up in the House of Commons, whose members realized the greatness of the culprit, but also recognised the gravity of his offence. In the course of the speeches which were delivered upon that occasion a story was narrated which I shall repeat, it was said by one speaker that there was a great Emperor in the East who appointed a Judge with great powers because it was obviously impossible for the Emperor himself to attend to all matters which had to be adjusted. In the course of the administration of his great office, the Judge, influenced by a bribe, gave judgment against a poor widow.
This fact came to the knowledge of the great King, who, to prevent such a thing happening again in his kingdom, took the Judge, and had him skinned alive, and then had the judgment seat lined with his skin, in order that every Judge who might occupy it thereafter should be re- - minded of the fate of an improper Judge.
– The honorable senator is not suggesting that the Military Board will accept bribes?
– No. But where officers have to be intrusted with despotic power - power to decide matters of life and death - they should be made to realize their responsibilities, if not in such a drastic manner, at least in a manner which they will not “readily forget.
I have mentioned the fact that officers, by means of social or other influences, may gain substantial advantages. It may be thought that in our Australian Forces such a. thing would not be possible. But I can cite at least one instance of the kind, which I- can prove if necessary, by documentary evidence.. There w©re two officers in France, one of whom I personally recommended for training as a staff officer. He was one of the most enthusiastic young officers we ‘had in Victoria. He enlisted, went to the war, and performed brilliantly. Against him was another officer who had never joined the Forces here, and who was looked upon as a social butterfly. He was a wealthy man, who was able to “shout “ car trips for some of the senior officers in Paris. He was also recommended to undergo the staff course. Both officers left Franco for England in order to go through that course. The man with influence, however, was sent to the .Staff College at Cambridge, whilst the other was diverted to Tidworth, Salisbury Plain, and never got to the Staff College at all. As a matter of fact, he was put in an office on Salisbury Plain, and I had to make a personal appeal to General Birdwood in order to get him back into the field.* Until then there were influences at work which prevented him getting back there. Eventually the staff officer who had been recommended by reason of his social influence came back to me. He was placed upon my staff, despite my most vehement - protest that he was totally unfit for the position. I was simply told that I had to take him, and that if I did not like it
I could resign. The result was that every time we went into action my own reputation, and, indeed, the lives of the men under my command, were unnecessarily risked. Protests were made on my behalf by officers senior to myself, but without avail. At length, however, we arrived at a most critical period of the war. My brigade held a position in the front line. Three battalions were there, and there was a fourth battalion in reserve. I instructed this particular staff officer to send word to the battalion in reserve that it was to move across the river to a place where it would have better shelter from shell fire.* It was suffering pretty badly from shell fire at the time. I also told him to inform the three battalions in the front line of the change which had been made in the disposition of the reserve. This boy - for he was only a boy, not much more than twenty-one years of age - had no earthly right to be placed in such a responsible position. His thoughts were always with his best girl in London, and he could not sleep in anything rougher than silk pyjamas at ten guineas a suit. Yet, despite my protests - and they were pretty vehement - I had to put up with him until this particular event happened. What was the result? We held, with a very thin line, a vital part of the enemy line. Yet this young officer so mutilated the order which I gave him that the battalion in reserve. and also the three battalions in the front line, received an instruction something like the following: - “You have at once to cross the river and take up such-and-such a position.” Had that order been obeyed there would have been a break in our line nearly 3 miles long, and our men would have crossed the river under an annihilating enemy fire. Honorable senators would imagine that such a thing could not go unpunished. I reported the matter, and while the man was certainly removed from my staff, he was not sent back to Australia, but was sent elsewhere and promoted. When such things can happen, and when, on one’s return to Australia he cannot have the matter even inquired into,’ or placed before the Minister, it will be admitted that our present system needs radical alteration. I hope that in the consideration of this amending Bill we shall make it utterly impossible, should a son of mine have to serve his country in war, that he could he placed in the position in which I was placed.
– I am sure that the fact that many distinguished military officers are members of the Senate will excite considerable interest in the discussion df this measure. I do not intend to trench to any extent on the 6trictlv military side of the question; but I wish, as a layman, to say that the Bill is not very satisfactory to me That is not because it makes provision for the development, of an Air Force for Australia, but because of its inpompleteness. It is merely a skeleton Bill, and as such assists to perpetuate the government of Australia by regulation rather than by enactment. We all know how numerous our regulations are now, and I should very much prefer to debate and consider the clauses of a Bill before the event, to having, after the event, to read regulations with some of which I may not agree. My conception of our position in this Parliament, consisting of two Houses, is that we are directors of the government of this continent, which I would describe as “ Australia Unlimited.” We are in the responsible position here of directing the government of this unlimited continent. I am aware that there are, so to speak, super-directors in the persons of the members of the Cabinet, but in connexion with every measure that comes before us, and which necessarily involves the expenditure of money, we should have some sort of a prospectus as to what it is all about, as we have the responsibility on our shoulders of practically compelling the people of Australia to put up the necessary capital. Senator Wilson. - A very happy position for a company to be in.
– A very happy position; but on that account the responsibility of the directors is all the greater. The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce), in introducing the Bill, was as usual very lucid indeed in his explanations so far as they went. But I do not think that his speech can be considered as in any shape or form a prospectus of what this proposed development of an Air Force for Australia really means. So far as my consideration of the measure is concerned, I 6ay most respectfully that it is practically a Bill to give the Defence Department, the Minister for Defence, and the Government, a blank cheque to spend £500,000 on. the development of an Australian Air Force.
– How can the honorable senator describe a cheque for £500,000 as a “ blank” cheque.
– The Minister’s objection is well taken; but what is proposed is really a blank cheque for expenditure up to £500,000. I understand that provision has been made on the Estimates, and has been approved by Parliament, for the establishment of an Air Force in connexion with the Military and Naval Forces of the Commonwealth.
Referring to the speech of the Minister for Defence, I find that he proposes to make provision for an Air Council; that we are also going to have an Air Board, and following upon that we are going to co-operate the Citizen Forces of the Commonwealth in connexion with the Air Force. ‘We have been informed that the retiring age of aviators or the active members of the proposed new arm is to be forty years. We are not going to make aeroplane enginesat present, which I very much regret, and the Minister has further explained that cadets from Duntroon may choose the Air Force as their profession if they are fitted therefor. The honorable senator gave us a little information on’ the subject of the development of air routes, and he told us that aviators of the Australian Flying Corps would be given preference in the proposed new Force. With further technical information, so far as it went, the Minister explained the Bill, but he said nothing as to the number of aeror planes we are to get for the expenditure of our money ; he did not tell us where the hangers are to be established, and he did not even indicate where the branches of the Air Force are to be organized, and what States are to have the honour that within their area there is to be the first development of an Australian Air Force.
– Victoria and New South Wales, of course.
– The Minister for Defence said nothing on these points. He told us that he was going to create a new administration. In passing this Bill we are going to give the Minister for Defence the power to create a new Department with all the staff and expensive paraphernalia which that involves.
– The Minister for Defence said that much of the work was to be done by the. Defence Department.
– I do not think that he said anything of the sort. I am following his statements in the order in which they were made, and he certainly gave us to understand that there is to be a large administrative staff, because he told us t/h’at (the ground * personnel was going to be as four is to one as compared with the air personnel. There is nothing -in the Bill to prevent officers who have never flown being appointed to this Air Force
I do not complain of the Ministry bringing down a Bill for the creation of an Air Force in connexion with the development of the defence of Australia, because, in my view, the future of our defence must tend more and more in the direction of defence in the air and defence under the sea. I fail to understand how 5,000,000 of people can possibly be expected to stand ‘the financial strain involved in the huge expenditures on military and naval armaments on the lines of those in use during the war.
The Minister may reply to some of these criticisms that the government of the Commonwealth is responsible government, that the Ministry are responsible to Parliament for the manner in which it expends the public funds, and ‘that Parliament, in its turn, is responsible .to the people; but, if I understand h’m rightly, he said that this Bill is to create an Air Force moulded on the lines and basis of the British Air Force. If that be so, the honorable senator should be in a positionto give the Senate the information, which I suggest is lacking. at present, in connexion with definite matters on which most of the money will have to be spent.
– I think .that the honorable senator misunderstood me. What I said was that our method of control is going to be somewhat the same as the British method. That is to say, our Naval and Military Services are to be under one control. That is all that I said about the British Air Force.
– Then I did misunderstand the honorable senator. I should like, however, to say practically the same thing in another way. If the Minister has an estimate from a responsible officer of his Department that when the proposed Air Force gets going the normal annual expenditure will be £500,000 a year, he must be in possession of detailed estimates showing how the money is to be spent.
– I gave some of that information. If the honorable senator will look at my speech ‘he will see that I mentioned the number of squadrons we are going to establish.
– As well as I can remember^ an interjection was made by« Senator Foster during the Minister’s speech asking the number of planes that would actually be in the air.
– I promised to supply that information.
– That is so. But I think that information of the kind and information as to where the hangers are going to be, the number of them, and other items of the paraphernalia in connexion with the .proposed Air Force should be in the possession of honorable senators when they are called upon to consider this Bill.
I, for one, very much regret the dispersal of the Australian Flying Force. It occurs to me that very much earlier than has been the case a decision might have been come <to in connexion with the future air defence of Australia, whereby the services of many of those very fine flyers who have had experience in actual warfare might have been secured for this country. I’ remind the Minister that, so far as training is concerned, many of the very fine and successful flyers connected with the Australian Flying Corps at the Front had, between their civilian employment and their subsequent war work, an average of not more than twelve months’ actual training.
This is a Bill which can be dealt with more advantageously in Committee, where it should be very carefully considered by honorable senators. The fullest possible information should be, and, I believe, will be, given by the Minister in connexion with the expenditure of money. I ap-. prove of the principle of the development of our defence by the establishment of an Australian Air Force. T approve also of the suggestion to map out the country. There will be plenty to do, but I do not want to see a new Department imposed and inflicted upon this community at this time without our getting value for our money.
Debate (on motion by Senator Duncan) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 6.27 pan.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 April 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1921/19210413_senate_8_94/>.