28 February 1923

9th Parliament · 1st Session

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The Senate met at 10.30 a.m., pursuant to the proclamation of His Excellency the Governor-General.

The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair.

The Clerk read the proclamation.

The Deputies appointedby His Excellency the Governor-General for the opening of Parliament, the Right Honorahle Sir Adrian Knox, P,C., K.C.M.G., Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and the Eight Honorable Isaac Alfred Isaacs, P.O., a Justice of the High Court of Australia, havingbeen announced by the Usher of the Black Rod, entered the chamber and took their seats on the dais.

The Senior Deputy, through the Clerk, directed the Usher to desire the attendance of the members of the House of Representatives, who being come,


Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :

His Excellency the Governor-General not thinking fit to be present in person at this time, has been pleased to cause letters patent to issue under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth constituting us his Deputies to do in his name all that is necessary to be performed in declaring this Parliament open, as will more fully appear from the letters patent which will now be read.

The letters patent having been read by the Clerk,


Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :

We have it in command from the Governor-General to let you know that as soon as the members of the House of Representatives shall have been sworn, the causes of His Excellency calling this Parliament will be declared by him in person at this place; and it being necessary that a Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be first chosen, you, Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, will retire to the place where you are to sit and there proceed to the choice of some proper person to be your Speaker ; and thereafter you will present the person whom you shall so choose to His Excellency, at such time and place as he shall appoint.

Mr. Justice Isaacs will attend in the House of Representatives forthe purpose of administering the oath, or affirmation, of allegiance to the honorable members of that House.

The Deputies, and the members of the House of Representatives having retired,

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The PRESIDENT (Senator the HonT Givens:

– I have to announce that I have received a communication from His Excellency the Governor-General enclosing a certificate of the choice of Mr: Allan McDougall as a senator to fill the casual vacancy in the representation of New South Wales in the Senate, caused by the resignation of Senator H. E. Pratten

Certificate laid on the table and read by the Clerk.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the HonT Givens:

– I have to announce that I have received a communication from His Excellency the Governor-General enclosing a certificate of the choice of Mr. William George Thompson as a senator to fill the casual vacancy in the representation . of Queensland in the Senate, caused by the death of Senator John Adamson.

Certificate laid on the table, and read by the Clerk.

The PRESIDENT (Senator, the HonT Givens:

– I have to announce that I have received a communication from His Excellency the Governor-General enclosing’ a certificate of the choice of Mr; Albert Alfred Hoare as a senator to fill the casual vacancy in the representation of South Australia in the Senate, caused by the death of Senator R. S. Guthrie.

Certificate laid on the table, andreadby the Clerk.

SenatorsMcDougallThompson,. and Hoare made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.

Sitting suspended from. 10.51 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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His Excellency the Governor-General, having bean announced, by the Usher of the Black. Rod, entered the chamber. Being seated, His Excellency commanded the Clerk to direct the. Usher, to inform the House of Representatives that he desired the attendance of honorable members in the Senate chamber forthwith who being come with their. Speaker;.

His Excellency was pleased to deliver the following Speech : -

Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

Commending your deliberations to the guidance of Divine Providence, I now leave you to the discharge of your high and honorable duties:

His. Excellency the Governor-General and. the members of the House of Representatives having retired,

The President (Senator the. Hon; T. Givens) took the chair at 3.12 p.m. , and readprayers.

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Senator PEARCE:
Ministerfor Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT

(By leave.) - I have to announce tothe Senate that theRight Honorable William Morris Hughes tendered his resignation to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, and that His Excellency was pleased to accept it. His Excellency thereupon requested the Honorable Stanley Melbourne Bruce to form an Administration. He has done so, and has allotted the offices as follows: -

The Hon. Stanley Melbourne Bruce, M.C., M.P., to be Prime Minister and Minister of State for External Affairs.

TheHon. Earle Christmas Grafton Page, M.P., to be Treasurer.

Senator the RightHon.George Foster Pearce to be MinisterofStatefor Home and Territories.

TheHon. Littleton Ernest Groom, M.P., to be AttomeyGeneral.

The Hon.WilliamGerrand Gibson, M.P., to be Postmaster-General.

The Hon. Austin Chapman, M.P., to be Minister of State for Trade and Customs and Minister of State for Health.

The Hon. Percy Gerald Stewart, M.P., to be Ministerof State for Works and Railways.

The Hon. Eric Kendall Bowden,M.P. to be Minister of State for Defence.

The Hon. Llewelyn Atkinson, M.P., to be Vice-President of the Executive Council.

Senator the Hon. Reginald Victor Wilson to be Honorary Minister.

Senator the Hon. Thomas William Crawford to be Honorary Minister.

In this Chamber

The Prime Minister will be rep resented by the Minister for HomeandTerritories (Senator the Right Hon. G. F. Pearce, P.C.).

The Treasurer will be represented by the Minister for Homeand Territories (Senatorthe Right Hon. G.F. Pearce, P.C.) and Senator the Hon. T. W. Crawford.

The Minister for Trade and Customs, the Minister for Defence, andthe Attorney-General will be represented by Senator the Hon. R. V. Wilson.

The Postmaster-General and the Minister for Works and Railways will be represented by Senator the Hon. T. W. Crawford.

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NewSouth Wales

– Following the usual custom, may I be permitted, on the announcement just made, to congratulate Senator Pearce on (his return to the leadershipof the Senate? I say thiswith a deep feeling of regret, which I iknow the honorablesenator shares withme, for the- illness ofSenator E. D. Millen. following acustom,which (doesnotaltogether appealto me, Itake this opportunity formally to announce to (the Senate, andto you, sir, that Ihavebeen electedtoleadtheOpposition.

HonorableSenators.-hear, hear !

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Assent to the following Bills of last session reported.: -

Connnonwealith Public Service Act.

Senate Elections Act.

Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act-

Nationality Act.

Trade Marks Act.

Jury Exemption Act.

Service and Execution of Process Act.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act.

Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act.

Invalid and Old-agePensions Appropriation Act.

Immigration (Loan Act.

Customs Tariff (Sugar) Act.

Superannuation Act.

Estate Duty Assessment Act.

South Australian Farmers Agreement Act-

CustomsTariff (New Zealand Preference) Act (No. 2).

In come Tax Assessment Act.

Income Tax Act-

War ‘Precautions Act (Repeal Act.

Shale Oil Bounty Act.

British Empire Exhibition Appropriation Act.

Appropriation Act . 1922-1923.

Sitting suspended from3.20 to 5p.m.

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The President laid on the table his warrant appointing the followingsenators the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications -Senators Fairbairn, Gardiner,Glasgow, Hoare, Keating, Lynch,and McDougall.

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The President laid on the table “his warrant nominating Senators Buzacott, Newland, Plain, and Rowell to act as temporary Chairmen of Committees when requested so to do by the Chairman of Committees, or when the Chairman is absent.

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– I ask the Leader of the Senate if he will cause to lie laid on the table, to-morrow, a copy oi the compact between the Nationalist and Country parties, which has brought about the existence of the present Government?

Senator PEARCE:

– The honorable senator knows quite well that it is not usual to answer such a question - that st atements are made at the proper time by the Government as to its policy and its position, or other matters of public importance.


– If, as indicated the Minister, we are not to have the agreement laid on the table of the Senate, may we assume that the presence of j3ena tor’ “Wilson in the Cabinet i3 a guarantee of a Free Trade policy, and, on the other hand, that the presence in the Cabinet of Senator Crawford is a guarantee of Protection and higher duties ?

Senator PEARCE:

– The honorable senator, with his long parliamentary experience, is quite aware that it is not usual to make statements of policy in reply to questions. The presence in the Cabinet of the honorable senators referred to, and their respective outlook on the issues mentioned will, no doubt, be fully debated before we are very much older.

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Senator FOLL:

– In view of the disadvantage caused to Australia by the location of the Federal Capital in Melbourne, I ask Senator Wilson if we may assume that, as he is now a member of the Government, he will give his full support to the project to have the capital removed to Canberra with the least possible delay?

Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT

– The question asked by the honorable senator is one of jolicy, but I may state that the people have decided that the Federal Capital shall be established at Canberra. In my speeches last session I said that I thought that when we went on with the project we ought to do so in a business-like manner.

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Senator LYNCH:

– I ask the Leader of the Senate if, when questions of policy are receiving more mature consideration at the hands of the Government, attention will be given to the revision of the Tariff on reasonable lines so far as rural producers who have to dispose of their products in the markets of the world are concerned ?

Senator PEARCE:

– I direct the honorable senator’s attention to the reply just given to Senator Gardiner. It is probable that in the course of debate some statements on this question may be made.

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Senator BAKHAP:

– I ask the Minister . representing the Prime Minister if the Government will take into early consideration the advisability of giving effect to the resolution, several times passed by the Senate, affirming the desirableness of appointing a .High Commissioner to represent Australia at Washington?

Senator PEARCE:

– I shall bring the honorable senator’s question under the notice of the Prime Minister.

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Preference to Returned Soldiers,

Senator FOLL:

– Is the Leader of the Senate aware that a considerable amount of dissatisfaction exists as a result of the appointment, to the Superannuation Board, of the Public Service nominee from outside the ranks of returned soldiers? May we take it that the Government intend to adhere to the policy of preference to returned soldiers?

Senator PEARCE:

– The Government intend to adhere to the policy of preference to returned soldiers. As to the particular case mentioned by the honorable senator, I ask him to give notice.

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The following papers were presented: -

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Artibrator, &c. -

No. 21 of 1922- Postal Sorters Union of Australia.

No. 22 of 1922- Commonwealth Foremen’s Association.

No. 23 of 1922 - Australian Postal Electricians Union.

No. 24 of 1922 - Australian Postal Linemen’s Union.

No. 25 of 1922 - General Division Officers Union, Trado and Customs Department.

No. 28 of 1922 - Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

No. 27 of 1922- Commonwealth Postmasters Association.

No. 1 of 1923 - Federated Public Service Assistants Association.

No. 2 of 1923 - Commonwealth Telegraph Traffic and Supervisory Officers Association.

Audit Act - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial year 1922-23 - Dated 31st January, 1923.

Contract Immigrants Act - Return for 1922, respecting Contract Immigrants admitted or refused admission into the Commonwealth, &c.

Electoral Act and Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, No. 163.

Immigration Act - Return for 1922, respecting persons admitted or refused admission into the Commonwealth, &c.

Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations amended, &c. - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 150, 200; 1923, No. 12.

Inscribed Stock Act - Dealings and transactions during year ended 30th June, 1922.

Land Tax Assessment Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, No. 199.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired - For Commonwealth Bank purposes - Adelaide, South Australia.

For Defence purposes -

New South Wales - Cootamundra ; Wamberal.

For Postal purposes - New South Wales - Branxton; Mayfleld;

Neutral Bay; Port Kenibla; Sydney.

Queensland - Corfield; Dirranbandi; Indooroopilly; Malanda; Millmerran.

South Australia - Henley Beach; Hyde Park; Outer Harbour ; Owen; Tanunda; Whyalla.

Tasman ia - Sorell .

Victoria - Albert Park; Ballarat; Belgrave; Brighton; Carnegie; East Melbourne; Elsternwick; Fairfield; Mildura; Thornbury.

Western Australia - Kununoppin; Manjimupp; Nungarin.

Nationality Act - Return of persons to whom naturalization certificates were granted during 1922.

New Guinea -

Ordinances of 1922 -

No. 31- Timber (No. 2).

No. 32- Land (No. 2).

No. 33 - Native Administration.

No. 34 - Gaming.

No. 35 - Commerce (Trade Descriptions).

No. 36- Supply (No. 3) 1922-23.

No. 37 - Commerce (Trade Descriptions). (No. 2).

No. 38 - Public Service (No. 3).

No. 39 - Native Administration (No. 2).

No. 40 - Birds and Animals protection.

No. 41 - Customs Tariff.

No. 42 - Laws Repeal and Adopting.

Ordinances of 1923 -

No. 1 - Land.

No. 2 - Administrator’s Powers.

No. 3 - Licences.

No. 4- Supply (No. 4) 1922-23.

Norfolk Island -

Preserved Fish Bounties Ordinance - Regu lations amended.

Report of Administrator for year ended 30th June, 1922.

Northern Territory -

Ordinances of 1922 -

No. 15 - Jurors and Witnesses’ Payment (No. 2).

No. 16 - Taxation.

Ordinance of 1923 -

No. 1 - Registration of Firms.

Public Service Ordinance - Regulations amended (two cases).

Northern Territory Representation Act, and Electoral Act - Regulations, &c. - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 154, 167, 168; 1923, No. 5.

Papua - Ordinances of 1922 -

No. 4- Customs (Export) Tariff.

No. 5- Appropriation, 1921-1922.

No. 6. - Supplementary Appropriation (No.

No. 7- Supply (No. 1), 1922-1923.

No. 8 - Supplementary Appropriation (No.

No. 9- Appropriation, 1922-1923.

No. 10 - Quarantine.

No. 11 - Customs Tariff.

No. 12 - Native (Half-caste) Children.

No. 13 - Bank Holidays.

No. 14- Appropriation (No. 2), 1922-1923. Public Service Act - Appointments and Promotions -

Department of Health - R. E. Butchart.

Department of the Treasury - W. F. Grace-Calvert; R. W. Hamilton; J. F. Hughes.

Department of Trade and Customs - A. D. Allanson; W. L. Atkinson.

Department of Works and Railways - J. Fleming; H. H. Paterson; H. W. Phillips.

Postmaster-General’s Department - R. P. Tate.

Prime Minister’s Department - R. Ford; G. P. Gay; W. N. Rowse; F. G. Thorpe.

List of Permanent Officers of the Commonwealth Public Service as on 30th June, 1922.

Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 137, 149, 152, 153; 1923, No. 4.

Territory for the Seat of Government - Ordinance No. 0 of 1922: - Noxious Weeds.

Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 138, 193.

Commercial Activities Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1922, No. 166.

Customs Act - Regulations amended - StatutoryRules 1922, Nos. 139, 140, 182.

Defence Act -

Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 156, 157, 158, 159, 177, 178,194, 195, 197, 1923, Nos. 2, 8, 9, 10.

Royal Military College of Australia - Report for year 1921-1922:

Defence Act and Naval Defence Act - Regulations Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 160, 161.

Defence Retirement Act - Regulations StatutoryRules 1922, No. 196.

Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 141, 171.

Excise Act and Excise Tariff - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1.922, No. 183.

High Court Procedure Act - Rules of Court -

Dated 1st November, 1922 .

Dated 13th December, 1922.

Institute of Science and Industry Act - First Annual Report of Director; covering period from 18th March, 1921, to 30th June, 1922.

Meat Export Bounties Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1922, No. 181.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended &c- Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 164, 165, 175, 176, 179; 1923, No. 1.

Shale Oil Bounty Act- Particulars of Bounty paid; &c, Financial Year 1921-22.

Post and Telegraph. Act - Regulations amended. - Statutory Rules 1922, Nos. 83, 91, 92, 103, 115, 133, 134, 172, 173; 1923, Nos. 3, 11.

War Service Homes Act - Land Acquired in New South Wales at - Concord (two notifications.)’ ; Croydon’; Double Bay.; East Maitland; East Moree; East Orange; Enfield; Gladesville; Goulburn; Granville; Hamilton (two notifications); Lidcombe; Mascot; Parramatta; Randwick; Undercliffe; Wauchope:

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The PRESIDENT (Senator, the Hon T Givens:

– I have to report that His Excellency the Governor-General was pleased to deliver his Speech to Parliament this afternoon, and, as honorable senators have already been supplied with a copy of it, I do not think it necessary for me to read it again. I therefore content myself with reporting the Senate. (For Speech,vide page 6.)


– I have the honour, to move -

That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Opening Speech be agreed to: -

ToHis Excellency the Governor-General.

May it Please Your Excellency:

We, the Senate of. the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliament assembled, desire to express our loyalty to our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to thank Your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.

Being a new member, I approach with a good deal of diffidence and trepidation the duty that has fallen upon me; and I crave the indulgence of honorable senators. Possibly, if I were in the other House, where noises are fairly pronounced, I might imagine that I was addressing a meeting of electors in Rock- hampton. {: #debate-14-s2 .speaker-KLS} ##### The PRESIDENT (Senator the: Hon T Givens:
QUEENSLAND -- Order! The honorable senator may not make any reflection upon another place. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON: -- Then I shall say that in the presence of honorable senators I feel mote diffident than I might be in other circumstances. I think I can voice my congratulations on. the formation of a composite Ministry from parties, having the same views and objectives - a Ministry which I venture to say will, show continuity of policy and be of a stable character, enabling this country to return; to normal conditions, and securing the attainment ofthose progressive ideals at which we all aim; The present chaotic state of the world demands close attention to co-operation andco-ordination. with the Imperial Government in the matter of defence. It seems tome that we are far from having the peaceful conditions that it was hoped would emerge from the late great war, and, as Australia, is now a more important part of the Empire than ever, having been admitted to the discussion of world affairs, the new Ministers should direct their endeavours to a scheme of defence in co-ordination with that of the Mother Country. I take it that the best asset we can have in this more people, and that involves immigration. I suppose that the lines of previous policy with regard to immigration will be followed, and I hope that we shall have a stream of desirable settlers from 'Great Britain to Australia. {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator Hoare: -- An army of unemployed ! {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON: -- I welcome that interjection; it was made to me in Cairns when I was voicing my opinion concerning immigration, and the answer I then gave was that there are plenty of avenues of employment in the Commonwealth that if filled would increase production and decrease poverty. Take cotton .growing, for example. It is an industry with which I am acquainted, and I can . conceive of none better for the employment of immigrants. The cotton crop does not take long to grow, and very little agricultural .experience is needed by those who take up the industry. People could be .brought out from the Old Country to be placed on the land to grow cotton. There are ample areas available, and there is an enormous market for the product. {: .speaker-K18} ##### Senator Bakhap: -- We must free the industry from taxation at the start. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON: -- I am speaking of the raw article. We know that the imports of cotton to Liverpool amount to something like £240,000,000 annually ; therefore, cotton-growing would not interfere with any industry that has already been established in Australia. If there were any great increase in the production of maize, or almost any other product pf a like nature, down would go the price at'once, but it would be almost impossible to bring about an over production of cotton. Employment would be afforded to the men on the land and to the people in the cities. That is my answer to the objection that immigration would increase unemployment. There 'are other avenues for the profitableemployment of people on the land, and "I hope that proper attention will be given to them. There is the sugar industry, that looms so largely in the minds of 'Queenslanders. It will, no doubt, receive the earnest attention of the ^Government. I 'shall merely touch lightly upon 'the question at this stage. The financial importance df this industry to Queensland and the Commonwealth is -well known. The labour employed involves a wages, bill of about £6,000,'Q.OK) a year. One advantage to be gained by bettering the -conditions of the sugar industry, the significance of which is 'not generally recognised. is a strategical one. If anything is done that will have the effect of driving people out of the sugar industry, it will result in the depopulation of the littoral of north-eastern Queensland, a part of the continent which is of high 'strategical importance. The mastery of the Pacific -will probably some day - I hope the time ls long distant - be disputed, and then it will be highly desirable to have 'the largest possible settlement along the coast. We should, therefore, recognise the advantage of doing everything possible to encourage population in North Queensland, rather than discourage it. I hope that, whatever measures aru decided upon, they will be of such a character as to permanently stabilize the sugar industry in Queensland. Another matter of interest, not only » to the individual States, but also to the whole Commonwealth, is the finding of markets for our meat. I understand it was the policy of the last Government to devote a sum of money to propaganda in the Old Country with a view to opening up markets there for selling our meat at a better price, and incidentally bringing the price of cattle up to a reasonable standard. It was suggested to me the other day that there are markets to which we have .given little .attention. They are the countries termed in Great Britain the Far East, but we may refer to them .as the Near North. If we can encourage the consumption of meat in the Near North, and educate its people up to -the point of consuming even a small portion of meat per week, the aggregate gain will be very considerable. We have only to consider the teeming millions in Japan, China, India, and such other countries to realize the advantage of opening up markets in their territories. 'The Government should exploit those fields, as such action would be of great advantage to the meat industry. I -am glad to 'learn that during the life of 'this Parliament considerable improvements are to be made in, and that a good deal of attention is to be given to the work of, the Post and Telegraph Department. I 'believe it would be 'very desirable to adopt the system of wireless broadcasting, which is so prevalent in the United States of America. Whatever we cam do 'to make -the conditions df 'the men on the. land more 'congenial should Joe done, and 1 can conceive of nothing which would be more useful to settlers in the hack-blocks than the benefit -which would follow the wireless broadcasting of information. Although I am not conversant with the technicalities of instalment, I understand that it is an inexpensive matter to equip a home with an inside or outside receiving set. This is a matter which should be carefully considered by the Government during the present session. I am also in favour of the State and Federal Electoral and Taxation Departments being amalgamated, as the present duplication causes a good deal of unnecessary expenditure 'and inconvenience to electors and taxpayers. In the matter of income taxation, I trust that some alteration in the present system of assessment will be made, as only a skilled mathematician can understand what is known as the curve system. I would prefer to see gradations made in such a manner that every one who ran might read. Although I am a business man of many years' experience, I cannot understand the curve system, merely because I am not a mathematician. The present system should be dispensed with and a more reasonable method adopted. As a commercial man, may I express the hope that the long-promised Bankruptcy Bill will be dealt with during the -coming session. Honorable senators from Queensland will then have the opportunity of submitting important amendments, because certain provisions embodied in the Queensland Act have been omitted from the Federal Bill. If they were included it would be the means of improving the measure. As honorable senators are probably aware, the Queensland Act, which is regarded as a masterpiece, was drafted by the late **Sir Samuel** Griffith. The Queensland Act is one which it would be hard to improve upon, and as I understand some very vital provisions in that Act have been omitted from the Commonwealth Bill, I trust we shall have an opportunity of submitting necessary amendments. The people of Queensland are all very deeply interested in the New-State movement. In central Queensland the tripartite division of the State has been advocated, and without going into the question closely, I may say that as the project has many supporters. I trust the Government will give full opportunity for discussing this matter during the coming session, so that eventually we may be able to subdivide Queensland and other great States into workable areas under one Federal control. {: #debate-14-s3 .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY:
South Australia .- I second the motion of **Senator Thompson** for. the adoption of the Address-in-Reply. I also take this opportunity of personally congratulating Ministers on having launched a Government which, I hope, will have an uninterrupted, brilliant, and successful career for many years. I congratulate the- Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce).** He seems to possess a talisman which . secures to him a. permanent Ministerial position. The right honorable senator has held office in nearly every Commonwealth Ministry, and is a big figure in the history of the Commonwealth Parliament. His reputation was very materially enhanced at the Washington Disarmament Conference, and I shall not be guilty of adulatory expression when I say that he has achieved a reputation as one of the world's statesmen as well as being one of the statesmen of the Commonwealth. I also extend my congratulations to my colleague **Senator Wilson,** who has been appointed one of the Honorary Ministers. **Senator Wilson,** as we know, is one of those rugged individuals who possess a considerable amount of innate ability and talent, and, as the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce)** said in South Australia, he can be regarded as " a gift from the gods." I am sure he will not disgrace the position which he now occupies as a member of the Federal Government. The other Honorary Minister, **Senator Crawford,** is, like myself, a man of somewhat retiring disposition. He is the Sugar King of Queensland, and what he does not. know concerning sugar is not worth knowing. No doubt he will be able to put the Government right, at any rate when the question of sugar is under discussion. While wishing the Government every prosperity and a successful career, I consider it my duty to say a few words concerning the most picturesque and romantic figure in Australian history, the pilot who weathered the storm - that little, great man, the Eight Honorable William Morris Hughes. Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear! {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- He resigned his position as Leader of the Federal Government in a way which was very creditable to himself. He resigned practically against the wishes of his own party, because of his sincere and noble desire to maintain harmony and cooperation between the great anti-Labour' forces in this Parliament. He retired from the highest motives of patriotism, and in the best interests of this country. We ought, therefore, to record our high appreciation of this great man. The right honorable gentleman had no adventitious aid; he possessed neither birth, rank, nor riches. He rose from the lowest ranks of the people, and we should honour him for what he has done. I have read his career, and I believe in his early days he followed such varied avocations as- umbrellamaker, key-fitter, shearer, " rouseabout," cook, actor, organizer, school teacher, and lawyer. He has played a most distinguished part, not only in controlling the destinies of this great Commonwealth, but in impressing his supreme ability upon the greatest statesmen of the civilized world. I may be voicing only my own opinion, but I have no hesitation in saying that the two greatest statesmen in the British Empire, if not in the world, today, are **Mr. Lloyd** George and **Mr. W.** M, Hughes. It is to be hoped that the services of the right honorable gentleman will be available to this Parliament, to this Government, and to this party. It would be a great calamity if we were to be deprived of his assistance. Although he may be temporarily eclipsed politically I do not think the right honorable gentleman cau be regarded as a back number. I believe he will come again, and will yet figure very prominently in the history of Australia and of the Empire. {: .speaker-KN7} ##### Senator Guthrie: -- He is too big a man to put down. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- I think so. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- If we all think that, he should be brought back at once. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- Will the honorable senator assist me in that direction ? I believe the Bruce-Page Government have commenced in accordance with the best principles of constitutional law and practice. Whilst the people did not commit themselves to either the Country; the National, or the Labour party, their vote was a distinctly anti-Labour one. The people wanted an anti-Labour Government; They did not mind whether it comprised certain members of the Country party and certain members of the National party, but they gave the representatives of those two parties a clear majority, and left it to the good sense and discretion of this Parliament to see that the two parties came together and formed an harmonious body. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- Anything but Labour. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- Yes. It' was the duty of the two parties opposed to Labour to unite. It seems that the voice of the people was expressed very emphatically in favour of economy, and I trust that this Government will see that economy is the fundamental principle underlying its policy. I am very glad to see that economy is already being practised, particularly in the use of motor cars. I know from personal experience that **Senator Wilson,** who is the arch apostle of economy, if it is within his power, will see that economy is practised in every direction. I might remind the Government of the Scotch proverb : " Mony a mickle makes a muckle." If economy is practised in small matters such as the use of motor cars, there are so many directions in which there has been that waste, the Government will be able to save hundreds of thousands of pounds as the months and years go by. I am glad that Ministers are realizing the truth of the axiom that a Government is meant to govern, and not to trade. I am pleased that they have sold the Geelong Woollen Mills. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- Have they been sold? {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- I understand that they have. If they have not, I advise the Government to sell them at the earliest opportunity, in order to obviate further losses. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- They are the only business undertaking which showed a profit. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- They showed a profit only because they had a monopoly in supplying uniforms to the Military Forces. Hampered as it is by red tape, it is impossible for a Government Department to compete successfully with. outside. manufacturers. I hope thatthe Governmentwill deal similarly with the Commonwealth Shipping Line. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- What, sell the ships ? {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- Yes. How can we compete against Lord Inverf orth and Lord Inchcape? It is impossible. When we have an opportunity of examining the accounts, we will find that our venture into the shipping business has been disastrous. I am quite as ignorant of the exact position of affairs as are other honorable senators, but I feel convinced that when we learn the facts we will be alarmed. The Commonwealth Shipping Line is surrounded with all sorts of difficulties. Our sailors and stewards are continually raising objections against their conditions, and putting obstacles in the way of the successfulrunning of the fleet. {: .speaker-JXV} ##### Senator NEWLANDS:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- Would you sell the Commonwealth railway, too? {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- No, I am not prepared to sell that; though we might find ourselves in pocket were weto do so. I trust that the Government will place in the forefront of their programme 'the building of the North-South railway. The Northern Territory was handed over to the Commonwealth on the distinct understandingthat that railway should be built from Oodnadatta to Port Darwin by the most direct route. SenatorFoll.- That was a great joke, put up bySouth Australia. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- Itwasnot a joke; the railway will prove of great advantage to the people of the Commonwealth. I remindSenator Foll that when Napoleon sold the Louisiana territory to theUnited States of America for £3,000,000, the people of America railed and stormed, saying that they had been victimized. As a matter of fact, the price paid was a fleabite compared with the worth of that country today ; "£300,000,000 would not represent its present value. The transfer of that territory conferred uponthe people of America one of the greatest possible boons. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- There were millions of people there all 'the time. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- No, there were not. At the time of the purchase there -were only 5,000,000 people in the whole of the UnitedSta tes of America. I do notknow howmanythere were in the Louisiana territory; there could not have been smany. It was a huge expanse of little explored but rich territory. The Northern Territory of Australia possesses metals and minerals of every description. it is capable . of growing cotton, tobacco, sugar - in fact, everything which iwill grow in a tropical country - and of carrying large numbers of sheep, cattle, and horses! One of 'the terms of the contract between South Australia and the Commonwealth Government is that the Northern Territory railway shall be completed. We -ask the Commonwealth Government to carry out their part of the bargain, as we are being asked to carry out the contract to remove the Federal Capital to Canberra. {: .speaker-KN7} ##### Senator GUTHRIE:
VICTORIA · NAT; UAP from 1931 -- The honorable senator is wrong in saying that the agreement provides for the building of the railway by the nearest direct route. It must 'go through South Australia, but not necessarily by the nearest direct route. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY: -- As long as it goes through South Australia it will be all right. I remind **Senator Guthrie** that wc have had the opinion of our most learned counsel in South Australia - men like **Sir Josiah** Symon, **Mr. P.** McM. Glynn, and **Mr. C.** J. Dashwood, Crown Solicitor of South Australia - that that is one of the terms of the contract, and it must "be carried out. The 'building of that line will develop country which is lying idle at the present time. We ought to be ashamed to allow that country to remain undeveloped year after year. I hope that the Government will Agree to establish penny postage. . Tie PostmasterGeneral'sDepartment aught not to be treated as a trading concern. It is meant to afford facilities for opening up and developing thecountry, facilitating settlement throughout . Australia. The establishment of openny postage not only would have theeffect of developing the country, but would prove a profitableunder taking, resulting in the receipt of a bigger income than is being received from theratesthat atpresent exist. I trust that the Ministry will suEnsiouait the innumerable obstacles with which cthey will have to icontend. I wish them.;a long and successful career,, and. I feel. sunesthat their acts of : administration will be directed towards insuring, the true- welfare of the people of this young Commonwealth Honorable Senators - Hear, hear ! Debate (on motion by **Senator Gardi-** ner) adjourned. {: .page-start } page 15 {:#debate-15} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT Motion (by **Senator Pearce)** agreed to- >That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn till 3 p.m. to-morrow. {: .page-start } page 15 {:#debate-16} ### ADJOURNMENT leadershipofsenateopposition.- {:#subdebate-16-0} #### Illness of Senator E. D. Millen {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT [5.65). - In moving - >That the Senate do now adjourn, I take the opportunity of congratulating **Senator Gardiner** on having been reelected to the position of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -The party system pre-supposes a Government and an Opposition, but I hope that we shall be able to carry out our duties with personal goodwill one towards another. I thank the honorable senator for his congratulations to myself. I express regret - which, I feel sure, is shared by every honorable senator - at the (serious illness of the late. Leader of the Senate **(Senator E.D. Milton).** Honorable. Senators. - Hear, hear ! {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I feel sure that I am voicing the feelings, of every honorable senator in trusting that **Senator Milieu** . will make a speedy recovery. HonorableSenators. - Hear; hear ! **Senator GARDINER** (New South Wales) [5.56]. - I thank the- honorable senator for his congratulations. In offering my congratulations earlier, I overlooked congratulating the honorable senator's two colleagues. I do so now. We differ politically, but there never will be any personal ill-will inmy opposition, although at times I may become angry. I am quite sure that "a gift from the gods " would be quite as: acceptable to this side of the House as it is to the other. Question resolved in the affirmative. Senateadjournedat5.57p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 28 February 1923, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.