9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator theHon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Can the PostmasterGeneral state when the proposed new postal rates, if the Postal Bates Bill is passed, will come into operation?
SenatorCRAWFORD. - The Bill provides that the new rates shall come into force on a date to be proclaimed.
– Have the Ministry made up their minds when the proclamation will he issued, and when the reduced rates will come into operation?
– I should be glad if the honorable senator would give notice of his question.
– I should like to know if the Minister representing the Postmaster- General can supply an answer to my question, asked on 1st August, with regard to the agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the Eastern Extension Cable Company relating to Australian cable rates?
– I am sorry to have to inform the honorable senator that I have not yet received the replies, but the Department has been asked to get the information as quickly as possible.
– Has the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs obtained the information, for which I asked some time ago, with regard to the proposed Forest Products Laboratory ?
– Again I have to express regret that I have not yet received the information. I think it probable that the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, now being held in Melbourne, is occupying the time of the officials of the Institute of Science and Industry, but I shall make a special effort to get the information for the honorable member.
Retrenchment in Tasmania.
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways to bring* before that Minister the position of certain Tasmanian officers of the War Service Homes Department, who are about to be retrenched, and I shall be glad if he will see that they are placed on the same footing as other officers who have been retired.
– I shall bring the matter mentioned by the honorable senator under the notice of the Minister for Works and Railways.
Payments to Wool-Growers
– Will the Minister representing the Prime Minister make a statement, before Parliament adjourns, relative to the wool-tops contract, in answer to a question which has been asked on several occasions ?
– I am under the impression that answers were furnished in reply to the question.
– No. It was stated that the matter was under consideration.
– I shall endeavour to get an answer when a decision has been arrived at.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
If a promise was made ‘by the late Prime Minister that wool -growers would receive the same payment in respect of wool supplied to the Colonial Combing, Spinning, and Weaving Company Limited, under contract for manufacture of wool tops, as if such wool had formed part of the wool sold to the Imperial Government under the Imperial purchase scheme, when will the Government give effect to such promise?
– The matter is at present under consideration.
Gift to the Commonwealth.
– (By leave). - I desire to take this opportunity of expressing the Government’s appreciation of the generous and public-spirited action of Dr. Colin
Mackenzie of the Australian Institute of Anatomical Research in offering, as a gift to the Commonwealth Government, the Institute’s collection of Australian fauna, and in undertaking to house the collection, free of charge, until it can be removed to Canberra and, during this period, to maintain at his own expense a reservation of 80 acres at Badger Creek, Healesville, in which certain of the rarer specimens of Australian fauna are living in their natural state. This offer, and a further offer, by Dr. Mackenzie to act as Director, without salary, in furtherance of the work of the Institute, has been gratefully accepted by the Government. The collection, which will form the nucleus of an Institute of Zoology to be established later at Canberra, is one of the finest in the world, having been built up as a result of many years of patient effort and at considerable expense. As the value of the collection lies less in its historical interest - which is undoubtedly great - than in its importance as an aid to medical science in the study of comparative anatomy, and in the pursuit of a better understanding of the organs of the human body, it will be readily appreciated that the donation of .such a gift at a time when our fauna is rapidly becoming extinct, “and the collection of representative specimens is becoming increasingly difficult, constitutes an act of practical patriotism the merit of which it would be hard to over-estimate.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !
The following papers were presented :-
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination bv the Arbitrator, &c. - No. 12 of ‘ 1923 - Australian Postal Linemen’s Union. ,
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired for Portal purposes - Artarmon, New South Wales. Landsborough, Queensland.
Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act- Particulars of Bounty paid, &c., Financial Year 1022-23.
Effect of Tariff
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The Department has supplied the following answer: -
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers are -
Motion (by Senator Elliott) agreed to-
That the time for bringing up the report be extended to this day week.
Presentation to GOVERNOR-GENERAL
– In accordance with the an- nouncement which I made to the Senate yesterday, I shall proceed to Government House at twenty minutes past 3 o’clock to present the Address-in-Reply, agreed to by the Senate, to His Excellency the GovernorGeneral. I shall be glad if as many honorable senators as can find it convenient to do so will accompany me. I shall suspend the sitting until 4 o’clock, at which hour I shall resume the chair.
Sitting suspended from 3.10 to h p.m.
– I desire to inform the Senate that, accompanied by honorable senators, I this day waited upon His Excellency the Governor-General, and tendered to him the reply to His Excellency’s Speech at the opening of Parliament, when His
Excellency was pleased to make the following reply: - Mr. President and Gentlemen, -
It gives me much pleasure to receive the Address which has been adopted by the Senate, in reply to the Speech which I delivered on the occasion of the opening of the second session of the Ninth Parliament of the Commonwealth. I desire to thank you for your expression of loyalty to His Majesty the King.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator CRAWFORD) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill bc now read a second time.
The circumstances which necessitate the passing of this Bill may be briefly stated. In 1919 an agreement was made between the British Government, the Commonwealth Government, and the New Zealand Government, to provide for the administration, under a Mandate ‘which was conferred by the League of Nations, of the Island of Nauru, and for the working of the phosphatic rock deposit on that island and on Ocean Island, those deposits having been bought by these three Governments from the company that previously owned them. That agreement was brought before the Commonwealth Parliament and approved by it in 1919. It provided that the administration of the island should be vested in an Administrator. The first Administrator was to be appointed for a term of five years by the Commonwealth Government, and thereafter by the other Governments in succession. Pull powers of administration were given to the Administrator. In 1921, during the visit of the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand to the United Kingdom, the three Governments decided that it would be better to make more explicit provision for the exercise of the powers conferred upon the Administrator. A draft agreement, having that as its object, was drawn up.
Some delay occurred in finally deciding upon the terms of this supplementary agreement, and it was not signed until 30th May of this year. It is now submitted for the approval of this Parliament. The chief provisions of the agreement are as follows: -
The reports to be rendered to the League of Nations are to be sent to the League by the British Government. The agreement provides certain safeguards which are not contained in the original agreement, and gives the Government responsible for the administration greater powers of control over the executive, both in regard to legislation and administration. As the administration of Nauru came under review by the League of Nations in 1922, and as an impression has become prevalent that abuses were discovered - the impression being due to certain statements that were made at the time when the League was meeting - and more effective control of the administration was necessary, if this new agreement was published without explanation it might be thought that it was made because the conduct of the administration had been unsatisfactory. That is not so. To avoid any possibility of such a reflection being cast upon the Administrator, whose conduct has been entirely satisfactory, it is desirable to state that the agreement was drafted nearly a year before the meeting of the Mandates Commission in 1922; and that, save as to the provision for disallowance of regulations, it introduces no change into the practice that has prevailed since the administration of the island has been under the control of the Commonwealth. This new agreement does not in any way affect the provisions of the agreement of 1919 relating to the working of the phosphatic rock deposits.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
– I move -
That ‘the Bill be now read a second time. In moving a motion for the second reading of a Bill recently I referred to it as a machinery measure. Some honorable senators considered that I was not justified in using that term. On this occasion, therefore, I shall say that this is an amending Bill, the object of which will be to facilitate the administration of justice within the bounds of the Commonwealth. It is a very short Bill of only three clauses. The first amendment deals with section 15 of the principal Act, and simplifies the serving of a summons on any person who avoids his responsibility - such as a father who leaves his family and disobeys an order of the Court. This matter has been brought under the notice of the AttorneyGeneral’s Department by the Minister of Justice in New South Wales, in a letter dated 23rd June, 1923, which reads - .
I am directed to inform you that- the Minister of Justice has had before him the question whether a summons for disobedience of an order under section’ 11 of the Deserted Wives and Children Act, 1001, or section IS of the Infant Protection Act, 1005, can be served under the provisions of the Commonwealth Service and Execution of Process Act, 1901- 19.12.
The view is held that no provision is made by section 15 of the last mentioned Act for service of a ‘Summons in the case of a complaint for disobedience of, or failure to comply with an order, and Mr. Ley will be glad if the Federal Attorney-General will favorably consider the matter of the amendment of the Act to permit of the service of such summonses.
That is the reason for clause 2. In connexion with clause 3, the SolicitorGeneral (Sir Robert Garran), in a state ment submitted to the Attorney-General (Mr. Groom), said -
The deputy chief judicial officer of the territory of “Papua has brought under notice the fact that, while under the Service and Execution of Process Act provision may be made for the service and execution in a territory of process issued and judgments given in the Commonwealth, no provision is contemplated dealing with the service and execution of process between the territories themselves.
The Bill makes provision for only two amendments of the principal Act, and as no new principle is involved,. I trust the measure will have a speedy passage.
– In this instance I do not think it necessary to ask for an adjournment of the debate, as it appears, from what the Honorary Minister (Senator Wilson) has stated, that these amendments of the principal Act are necessary to enable its administration to be more satisfactorily carried out. Since the inception of Federation, additional Territories have come under the control of the Commonwealth, and the law must necessarily be amended so that it will apply, not only within the Commonwealth, but also within the Territories.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Service of summons for offence or complaint in any part of the Commonwealth).
– As I have not a copy of the principal Act before me, perhaps the Honorary Minister (Senator Wilson) will explain the effect of the proposed amendment.
– There seems to be a difference of opinion, even in the Department, as to whether an amendment of the principal Act is necessary; but as the Minister for Justice in New South Wales has raised the point, the amendment has been made to remove all doubt.
– I am not altogether satisfied with the explanation given by the Honorary Minister (Senator Wilson). Under the New South Wales law a man who deserts his wife, and who refuses to maintain her, is imprisoned. During the period he is in prison the amount he is paid for the work he performs whilst in gaol is deducted from the amount owing for maintenance, but when he is discharged he has then within a specified period to meet the total amount still owing, which is impossible. He is again imprisoned, and in some instances men have to spend practically the whole of their lives in gaol.They are liberated for two weeks, which is the time occupied to allow a fresh process to be served, and they are again arrested. A man should not desert his wife; but if he can prove that he is willing and anxious to meet his debts, if sufficient time is allowed, it is cruel and unjust to inflict unnecessary punishment upon him. I know a mechanic who, whilst in gaol for desertion, reduced his liability, but during his imprisonment his indebtedness under the maintenance order increased to such an extent that it was impossible for him to meet the liability when he was released. I believe this provision will be the means of tightening up the law in that respect, and will make it still more difficult for such unfortunate persons to meet their liabilities. If such is the case, I shall oppose the clause.
– The law in relation to such cases is the concern of the States. This Parliament can only facilitate the service and execution of process throughout Australia in connexion with the laws which the various States have enacted for the protection of wives and children. It is quite possible that a State might enact an unfair law, and I gather from what Senator McDougall has said that the New South Wales law is somewhat harsh in this direction. That, however, is not a concern of the Federal Parliament. Our only concern is to provide facilities for bringing to book those whom the States say should be proceeded against. Our job begins and ends there. It is not within our province to criticise the laws of the States, and it is certainly not within our province to amend those laws, or to legislate in regard to the particular matter mentioned by Senator McDougall. I am not sure that I have touched upon the point which is worrying the honorable senator. He invited the legal members of the Committee to explain the matter, and I have tried to do so in so far as I have understood him.
– If an explanation similar to that made by Senator DrakeBrockman had been given in the first place by the Minister (Senator Wilson), it might have allayed my anxiety. The law in New South Wales was tightened up on the advice of the Minister for Justice. Senator Drake-Brockman, who understands law far better thanI do, has said that wecannot legislate in these matters. Our Constitution, however, provides for the Commonwealth to do so, but all Governments have been too cowardly to tackle the problem. The Commonwealth shouldput these wrongs right in all the States. It should make the law uniform so that a man cannot cross the border between two States and escape his liabilities. Every legal man to whom I have spoken admits that the Government has neglected its duty in not providing this legislation. Senator Drake-Brockman’s explanation has satisfied me that the Bill will merely convenience the States, and facilitate their service of process.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 3 (Application of Act to Territories) .
– Does this clause apply to all the Mandated Territories, or is it confined to the territories held by the Commonwealth before we assumed control of the Mandated Territories?
– That is where the trouble has arisen. The clause does cover the Mandated Territories.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
The Government submits this Bill in the belief that it will do much towards reclaiming land that is now infested with vermin. The Government has put aside £250,000, to be used for advances to persons with small capital who take up land. Objection has been raised to the assistance being distributed through the States, and it has been asserted that the States already do the work satisfactorily. The Government is aware that the States render assistance of this character. They have their Agricultural Departments and Vermin Boards, and to a large extent they meet thenecessities of the settlers. The Commonwealth Administration, however, feels that something more should be done by offering loans free of interest to assist the smaller men in tackling this great developmental problem. The Government does not wish to duplicate, but to supplement, the work that is being done by the States. The different States have varying systems under which advances are made for the purchase of wire netting. In New South Wales, the interest rate is 6 per cent., in Victoria it is 4 per cent., with¼ per cent. to be paid to the local councils to recoup them for working expenses and looking after the interests of the Government ; in Queensland it is 5 per cent.; in South Australia it is 6 per cent. ; in Western Australia it is at current rates; and in Tasmania it is 6 per cent. , The Commonwealth Government is prepared to waive, for a stated period, the payment of interest. As the States know the circumstances of settlers better than any Federal authority can, they will be asked to recommend the persons to whom the assistance should be granted. The States must accept the responsibility for repaying the principal liability when due. It should be distinctly understood that this money is to be distributed through the agency of the States. They will make recommendations to the Federal Government, and will be responsible to the Commonwealth for the principal. Honorable senators know the difficulty there is in coping with the dingo and rabbit pests, but it is necessary to eliminate the great economic waste resulting from them. The Bill represents an honest effort on the part of the Government to bring a.bout settlement in outside pastoral areas, and in other districts to which the benefit of the State wirenetting schemes has not yet been extended. The amount of an allocation will be decided according to the merit of the application. We look upon this as an Australian problem, and not as one in which State should compete against State. In the distribution of the grant, we shall act on lines somewhat similar to those adopted in connexion with the grant for main roads development.
– Is the allotment to be made according to area or population?
– Both aspects will be taken into account; but the main consideration will be whether or not the money is required. My Leader (Senator Pearce) has already informed the Senate that it is the ambition of the Government to do something to assist settlement in the Northern Territory. As it is practically impossible to bring that vast area into useful occupation without wire netting, the Northern Territory is to be included in the scheme, and every application from that part of Australia will receive full consideration.
– Is the benefit to be confined to small settlers?
– Not at all.
– Certainly not, if it is to apply to the Northern Territory.
– If a farmer at Riverton, in South Australia, where I have some interests, has a holding of 1,000 acres, he is regarded as a big landowner ; but in the Northern Territory, a property of that area would be too insignificant to be noticed. I can assure my honorable friends opposite that the Government have no desire’ that this scheme shall overlap the excellent work already being accomplished by the States.
– It is a piece of Socialism.
– There are many kinds of Socialism. If this £250,000 were to be utilized for the purpose of supplying wire netting under the existing State schemes, it would not serve a particularly useful purpose.
– Is the money to be free of interest?
– Yes. If it were distributed as - an ordinary wire netting grant through the medium of the States, we should have some people paying interest to the States and others having the use of Commonwealth money free of interest. Millions of acres are to-day a barren waste, because the land is breeding vermin instead of producing something of material value. The proposal is offered to the States as an incentive to people to take up this waste land, and the more of it that can be settled the greater will be the protection afforded to adjoining land-holders.
– On what terms will tho money be advanced?
– That matter wil be largely determined according to the recommendations made by the States. The details of the scheme will be dealt with by regulation, but the States must accept responsibility for the repayment of the principal. The Commonwealth will find the money, and will advance, it free of interest for a given period. As to the duration of that period, the States must concur. There is nothing to prevent them from fully protecting themselves in their own way, so long as the money is used for promoting settlement in country that needs protection from vermin. The small man will thus have a number of years in which to rid such land of rabbits and dingoes without having to pay 6 per cent, interest on fencing material.
– Rabbits are now ls. each, and the poor man often buys them for meat.
– Rabbit destruction is contemplated only in the districts where the rabbit hampers settlement. I know of many areas where the grant will help considerably.
– Will the Country party accept this Socialistic project?
– If the honorable senator gives notice of his question, I shall consult that party. At the moment I am speaking on behalf of the Government, and I feel sure that all honorable senators are anxious to assist in bringing about the desired result. This measure will benefit especially the smaller men. The big pastoralists have available to them the machinery provided by the State Governments, but the smaller men are not in the same favorable position. This measure, therefore, should give an impetus to the settlement of those waste lands to which I have referred, and be of substantial benefit to the Commonwealth.
– It is a Socialistic effort.
– The honorable senator may term it a Socialistic measure if he pleases. We are all in’ favour of certain forms of Socialism, and if this measure, which is being designed to insure the development of Australia is Socialism, then I must be declared a Socialist.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner), adjourned.
– I move. -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This is a very small measure consisting of only one clause, the object of which is to repeal the Aliens Registration Act of 1920, which superseded the War Precautions Act and the Aliens Registration Regulations of 1915. It came into operation in 1921, but for some time now its provisions have not been enforced. We notified the States that we intended at the earliest opportunity to repeal the Act, which imposes upon aliens in the Commonwealth the obligation to register with and report from time to time to the police. Although the Act was necessary during and immediately after the war, it is now a dead letter, and nothing is to be gained by allowing it to remain upon our statute-book.
– This measure is another evidence that the Government are returning to sanity, and that, as a Parliament, we are getting away from the hysterical legislation passed during and immediately after the war. As such I welcome it. I should be a little less than human if I did not take advantage of this opportunity to point out that when this legislation was under discussion three years ago, I urged that all such measures should be removed from our statute-book. Although the Opposition were not so numerous then as now, with the assistance of ex-Senator Earle, I divided the Senate on the second reading of the Bill, the repeal of which is now sought by the Minister. The experience of the last three years has demonstrated the wisdom of the Opposition on that occasion. The Aliens Registration Act is only part of the panicky legislation introduced and passed after the war by a very nervous Government. Notwithstanding the bitterness now engendered by party feeling, I rejoice that the Ministry are becoming normal again, and that they realize that Australia wants no more of this absurd issuing of passports to permit a man to go from one street to another, for that is what this Act really amounted to. Under this law aliens were compelled to register their names with the police, and if they tra velled from place to place were required to register their names with hotelkeepers, boardinghouse proprietors, or wherever they were staying. I well remember the picture I drew on that occasion, of the possible embarrassment of such foreign looking gentlemen as ex-Senators de Largie and Plain, if the provisions of the Act were unfortunately put into operation when they were travelling throughout the Commonwealth. They have gone, and now the legislation which they helped to pass is going, too. I am glad for the simple reason that it is an evidence that the effect of the war upon Ministers’ nerves is wearing off.
– Does the honorable senator say that there was no justification for this legislation at one time?
– I do not think it was ever necessary.
– Yes, it was.
– Well, I challenge the Minister to point to one single instance in which legislation of this nature was necessary in the interests of the Commonwealth.
– If the Minister does not, I shall quote an instance justifying the Act.
– My own impression is that its only effect was to cause a great deal of inconvenience to a lawabiding section of our community, and that this inconvenience was altogether out of proportion to any benefit which the legislation might have been to the Commonwealth.
– Was not the honorable senator a member of the Ministry that brought in the Bill under which the war precautions regulations were made?
– I was a member of the Ministry that introduced the War Precautions Bill for war purposes, and the honorable senator has been supporting a Government that since then has used war precautions legislation for the purpose of interfering with the liberty of. the individual. That was never contemplated when the Bill was under discussion. As far as I am concerned - I speak for myself only - I think that if there was a war tomorrow, one of the first measures to be introduced should be a War Precautions Act to safeguard this country during war time. But in time of peace we should have nothing to do with those Old World ideas as to passports, and compelling people to register whenever they may care to move about in Australia. The Act merely made things easy for the Defence Department. That was one reason why I objected to the Bill three years ago, and that is why I rejoice in its repeal now. The experience of the last three years has shown that ex-Senator Earle and I were right when we opposed the passage of the measure which is now to be repealed. At the time st good deal was said about the danger to be apprehended from foreigners who might come to this, country, and the Government proposed to meet the danger by the simple method of requiring foreigners to register their names with hotelkeepers, boardinghousekeepers, or other people with whom they might be staying. It was absurd on the face of it. I have no doubt that the Minister would prefer that I did not stir “up the past. “ Vex not its ghost.” But I cannot resist the temptation to refer to the panicky legislation passed by the previous Administration, and express my pleasure that there is evidence now of a return to normal conditions. The Act which this Bill will repeal is only one of the- absurd measures which must go. If the Ministry fail to repeal other equally absurd after-the-war Acts that have been placed on our statute-book, the people will return to power a Government that will. There was not the slightest justification for the Act which is now being repealed, and I am wondering if those honorable senators who supported the Bill three years ago will be able to give us some justification for their attitude on that occasion.
– When Senator Gardiner was speaking, I stated by way of interjection that there was justification for the measure which is now being repealed. He said, “ No,” and the Minister said “Yes,” and I intimated that I would quote at least one instance as justification for the passing of the Act. The first arose out of the Science Congress held in Australia just at the commencement of ‘ the war. Included among the delegates to that Congress were representatives from that country in which Senator Gardiner sees no vice. We had here delegates from’ Germany, and notwithstanding what happened in Europe during the war, Senator
Gardiner spoke “as though there should be no feeling of resentment towards that country at all. He suggested that we should have no feeling of suspicion as to their conduct. But what happened then proved the necessity for the Act, and showed how careful we ought to be when we level criticism against the military authorities.
– The curse of the world !
– Well, let us examine the position. The incident I am about to relate occurred in Senator Hoare’s own State, and it was related to me without any suggestion that it was to be regarded as confidential by Mr. Glynn, who was a member of the Commonwealth Ministry of the day. The story, as told by Mr. Glynn, is that the suspicion of the military authorities had been aroused as to the manner in which these scientific visitors from Germany would behave, and to what extent they would respect the confidence reposed in them as visitors to Australia. There was a difference of opinion as to how they ought to be dealt with. The civil authority, in the person of Mr. Glynn, was on the point of thrusting the military on one side and saying, “ You are dealing with these men in an autocratic, arrogant, and unbrotherly way; let me deal with them as man to man.” Mr. Glynn considered that the military officials ought to be kept in check. ‘ He wanted to treat these men as gentlemen, but the military authority wanted to treat them as men upon whom it was very necessary to keep a sharp and a close watch. The civil authority, the dominant force, did not have sufficient sense to see what lay behind the visit of these men. They turned out to be nothing but spies. They collected all the information they could and sent it to their own country. Senator Gardiner would treat those men as gentlemen, whereas they deserved to be hung from the nearest lamp-post. Whilst Senator Gardiner was receiving them as gentlemen they would have daggers concealed in their garments. Events proved that the military authorities were right and the civil authorities were wrong. Those visitors abused the confidence reposed in them as only Germans can..’ We were not dealing with a chivalrous foe. It was necessary, therefore, to continue to exercise the powers conferred upon the Government by the War Precautions Act. These men would not keep their word. They abused the confidence reposed in them in order to serve their own and their country’s ends. They had, so to speak, a dagger concealed about them, and they endeavoured to plunge it into the hearts of their hosts. The honorable senator asked me to justify the continuance of this legislation after the war. There was a justification for it. It was necessary to take precautions for a long time after the Armistice. The war did not end with the Versailles Conference. There could have been a recurrence of war at any time until the Treaty of Peace was signed. I support the repeal of this Act. I compliment Senator Gardiner on the fact that he is bubbling over with good-will, generosity, and every form of moral virtue. I envy him the possession of those superfine qualities. I consider, however, that in dealing with these people it was necessary to resort to stern measures, especially when our eyes were opened to their real characters.
– I waited to hear Senator Lynch’s acceptance of the challenge issued by Senator Gardiner, but I did not hear it. Senator Gardiner challenged Senator Lynch to produce an instance during the currency of this Act. This Act, which I shall gladly assist to repeal, was passed in 1920, two years after the signing of the Treaty of Peace.
– It was a continuation of the War Precautions Act.
-Senator Lynch, in reply to the challenge of Senator Gardiner, has instanced something that occurred during the war. , As Senator Gardiner said, the War Precautions Act was necessary. I presume that, if war occurs again, it will be necessary to have a similar Act. But this Act was passed, with the assistance of Senator Lynch, two years after the Treaty of Peace had been signed, when such legislation should not have been necessary.
– The reason I spoke was to justify the passing of the War Precautions Act.
– That was during the war. There was no war in 1920. Immediately the Treaty of Peace had been signed the War Precautions Act should have been repealed. I supported the passage of the War Precautions Act; but I was eager to see that Act repealed immediately the Treaty of Peace was signed. Senator Lynch, and every other honorable senator, knows that the government of the country was carried on under the provisions of the War Precautions Act for some years after the war. Senator Lynch claims that the Act, which is now to be repealed by this Bill, was a child of the War Precautions Act. I contend that it should not have been born. It was a disgrace to the Legislature, and it is just as well to remove it from the statute-book.
– The Continental people have found that the registration of persons entering and going through their lands is a necessity. I think that it is. In’ 1915 a book was published by S. Hirzel, Leipzig, entitled The Dawn of the Nations in the Pacific Ocean, by George Inner. Heading this book I received a distinct shock. This is what is said about Tasmania: -
Some years ago I visited Tasmania, the most southerly island of Australia, the celebrated home of the tall tree fern and the giant kauri pine. High above the seaport town of Hobart on a spur of Mount Wellington there is a German village, which was founded in the eighties by about 100 families from Schleswig-Holstein. It is called Bismarck. When I went to Hobart all the children of that village, without exception, spoke English, and the parents were beginning to cease speaking German. I saw to it immediately that a German Australian pastor was sent there as teacher and shepherd, and for the time being he has saved the German lambs from being choked by the English thorn-bush. The German language now dominates there once more, and every Christmas the Germans from the whole of the surrounding districts assemble round their Consul to celebrate a German feast.
That is the report of an investigator who was specially sent out by the German Government to go into the question of Germanism in the Pacific Islands. I could quote what he did in Queensland, New South Wales, and Tasmania; he sets it all out clearly and definitely. This work has never been translated into English. It was a work supplied to the German Government during war time. It does not speak of these things as having been done during the period of the war, but for some years previous to 1915. When we appreciate the fact that a man can come out from Germany, be welcomed to our shores, shown round, met by the president of the Royal Society, and give a lecture - this man was asked and consented to deliver what proved to be a magnificent lecture - while at the same time he is carrying on German propaganda in Australia, we shall realize that it is time we got busy and kept our eyes open. Do honorable senators think for a moment that the Continental people could live if they did not take these precautions? Because we allowed this man to come here, Australian-born children, who in many instances had only one German parent, were turned into strong German subjects. We need to be mighty careful. We shall have to face other wars; we cannot look forward to a period of peace. Wars will occur continually, and Australia has to consider its position in relation to other countries. We must be very careful in dealing with the registration of aliens.’
– Was not the last war fought to end all wars?
– The last war was fought to end all wars. We all thought we knew a good deal about the matter, but we found that many theories failed in the realization. In the Pacific there are many questions that might lead to war at any time. Australia would be extremely foolish if it did not watch carefully those people who come here for the purpose of proselytizing the children who are born here, and who otherwise would become good Australian subjects.
– I welcome the proposal to repeal the Aliens Registration Act. It indicates to me that the period of the war, even in the opinion of. the Government, is terminated. I do not think that the Act has been necessary since 1920. Of course, while the war was being fought the position was entirely different. At that time it was essential that Australia should have a measure providing for its protection. We should have been exceedingly foolish had we not taken steps to protect ourselves. I regret that other nations are not adopting this practice. It is deplorable that a nation like the United States of America should, have the impertinence to levy a poll tax upon Australians when they enter that country, or that Tasmania should tax the people who go there from the mainland.
– Order! The honorable senator must know that that has nothing to do with the Bill.
– We should resent the imposition of restrictions, upon people who are prepared to come here and become good Australians. I sincerely trust that an effort will not be made to exclude people from Australia on account of poverty, or have them followed from place to place by officials as was done under the War Precautions Act. I look forward to the time when the provisions of the War Precautions Act, which have been embodied in subsequent legislation, will disappear entirely from the statute-book.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause 1 (Short title).
– I do not know what liberties I am allowed in discussing this clause, but I should like the opportunity of replying to a statement made by Senator Lynch in the Senate. I asked Senator Lynch if he knew of one instance in which the Aliens Registration Act had been of any use, and the’ honorable senator, with the impetuosity of his race, said he would give one. Instead of quoting what occurred during the period when the Act was in operation, he immediately rushed back lo the pre-war period and cited an instance of some persons who, whilst partaking of the hospitality extended to them, obtained information for the benefit of another country. Under the Act passed iri 1920, that could not be prevented. An embargo has been placed upon Germans entering the Commonwealth, but it is quite possible that in the next European war the Germans will be our Allies, and the other nationals will, to use a vulgarism employed sometimes in this Chamber, be given the “ order of the boot.” So far as Senator Lynch’s sneering references to illwill are concerned’, I may say. that I have as much ill-will towards some, as has Senator Lynch, but I crush, it. What has Senator John D. Millen’s statement to do with the Bill?
– It has a lot to do with the repeal of the Act.
– It does not make the slightest difference, because an alien can still register and report to his people on the other side of the world. While war is still the game of European nations, and Australians are foolish enough to participate in European conflicts, the representatives of other nations will continue to come to Australia. Illconceived and pin-pricking legislation, such as the War Precautions Act, is always likely to cause irritation. Senator Grant, for instance, is always perturbed because of some regulation applied to people visiting Tasmania. The War Precautions Act passed by the Government of which I was a member, and Senator Lynch a supporter, was administered by us in such a way that it preserved and protected Australia’s interests, without injuring private individuals; but when Labour went out of office its provisions were twisted in such a disgraceful way by certain panicstricken individuals who were quite incapable of administering a reasonable law, that inconvenience and hardship were caused to very deserving people.
– It is true that this measure repeals the Aliens Registration Act passed in 1920, which superseded the War Precautions Act passed in 1916 and thatin that and subsequent years regulations were framed providing for the registration of aliens. When the War Precautions Repeal Bill, which repealed certain provisions of the Act, was passed, this Act which provided for the retention of certain of its provisions was passed.
Clause agreed to.
Clause 2 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.
Bill read a third time.
.- I move-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
This Bill, which has been framed largely on humanitarian grounds, is one which I trust the Senate will pass without unnecessary delay. Although it empowers the removal of prisoners from Territories under the control of the Commonwealth, its main object is to provide the necessary authority to remove white prisoners from the Mandated Territories ‘to the mainland. It is only on a rare occasion that a white man is imprisoned in the Mandated Territories, where at present the prison accommodation is very limited. There are times, however, when a white man is imprisoned, and in view of the desirability of upholding the prestige of the white race, and also on humanitarian grounds, it is unwise that . white men should be imprisoned with natives. When a white man is committed to prison in any of the Territories under our control, other than the Northern Territory, we desire to have the power to transfer him to a prison in Australia, and if this measure becomes law, the Judge who sentences a prisoner will be empowered- to commit him to a gaol in Australia. To preserve the health of a prisoner it is essential that he should be given a certain amount of exercise, but the prison in the Mandated Territory is so situated that a prisoner, when being exercised under a native guard, is exposed to the view of the natives. That is extremely undesirable. We are entering into arrangements with the Government of Queensland, whereby we shall be able, we hope, to bring prisoners from the Mandated Territories to that State, where they will be placed under ordinary prison regulations.
– And will be more comfortable.
– Yes, and in more healthy surroundings, which is eminently desirable.
– When released from prison, will a man be returned to the Mandated Territories?
– Yes, if he so desires. The introduction of the Bill has been delayed because certain negotiations have been proceeding, but there are now only one or two details, such as the expenditure - involved, to be settled. The Premier of. Queensland is in agreement with the Commonwealth on the matter, and I ask the Senate to pass the Bill without any unnecessary delay.
– This is one of those measures which honorable senators might quite innocently support, but which might be administered in such a way as to inflict hardship on some persons. The Minister (Senator Pearce) has explained that the Bill has been introduced in the interests of white prisoners who, if it becomes law, may be removed from the Mandated Territories to the mainland; but it is possible that a transfer may be made from one Territory to another, probably to the disadvantage of the prisoner. When we passed the War Precautions Act we did not think that any undue hardship would be inflicted on any section of the community, but it was administered in such a way by our successors that considerable inconvenience, annoyance, and expense was suffered by many deserving people. If the measure has been framed on humanitarian lines, as the Minister suggests, merely to relieve prisoners of the necessity of undergoing periods of imprisonment in a tropicalclimate, I shall offer no objection to the motion.
.- Will the Minister make available some more information regarding the agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the State Government of Queensland? Incidentally, I may mention that the surroundings of the Queensland prison at St. Helena,in Moreton Bay, are probably more beautiful than those of any other prison, The prison stands on one of the prettiest islands in the bay. Will the Queensland State Government have the right to refuse to take a prisoner when requested by the Commonwealth Government? Could it object to receive a prisoner on the ground that it did not approve of the reason for his being sent to gaol?
– The States will not have power to review sentences. All they will undertake to do will be to take charge of prisoners.
– It appears to me that the Bill is intended to apply only to Papua.
– It applies to the Mandated Territories.
– Does it include tho Northern Territory?
– If may, but we do not propose to apply it to the Northern Territory at present.
– If the definition in the Bill includes the Northern Territory, it should be amendedi There is only a limited number of white men in the Territory, and accommodation should be provided for them on the spot. I realize that for a limited time it may be desirable to remove prisoners from the mandated Pacific Islands to a gaol in the Commonwealth.
– I intended to draw the attention of the Minister to the sufferings of the prisoners in the Northern Territory. I differ from Senator Grant, for I think that the Bill should apply to the Northern Territory. One of the worst sights of my life - and I hope I shall never see another like it - was a white man stripped naked pacing, his little cell in the Northern Territory prison at Fanny Bay. As I looked through his small trapdoor, he said, “ Are you a white man? For God’s sake get me out of this. I would sooner die than remain here.” I made inquiries from the gaoler, and found that he was a long-sentence prisoner convicted of cattle stealing. He may have deserved ali he got. As to that I do not know, but if I was condemned with him, I would sooner be taken to hell than to the prison he was in. After I came back from the Northern Territory, I tried to induce the Government to look into the matter, and this Bill is the first gleam of hope I have seen. I welcome it, and hope it will be made to apply to the Northern Territory, so that humane conditions can be provided even for men in gaol. Many men are sentenced for cattle stealing in America. The offence has been rife there for many years, and sentences of a few months’ imprisonment, or a year at most, are imposed. It is contended in this country that the sentences must be heavy because any one in need of meat has only to drive a bullock down, slaughter it, and leave half of it behind. I saw white men working, in the buff, with Chinese in the mines, -and it was difficult to tell the difference betwen them. When I asked a white man whether it would not be better to wear a shirt, he said, “ No. I like a clean shirt when I am finished. If I had it on here, I would have to throw it away when I had finished.” It is horrible to think of white men being herded with black men, as I saw them in the prison at Fanny Bay. The man to whom I have referred had an hour’s recreation each day under the guard of a black man. He told me that that hour was probably the worst hour of the day. I welcome the Bill, and applaud the humane feelings of a Government that proposesto give some ray of hope to even those human beings who have been sentenced for small crimes.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Definitions).
– I should like to have a distinct understanding from the Minister as to whether the Bill will apply to the Northern Territory. It does not appear to me that it is applicable to the Northern Territory. The definition reads - “Territory” means a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth, and includes any Territory governed by the Commonwealth under a mandate.
There may be some justification for the removal of prisoners from the Northern Territory at the present time, but if the Government is to continue to govern that Territory, it should not take prisoners from Darwin to other parts of Australia. If it does, I presume the State Governments will object. The Government should provide suitable accommodation in the Northern Territory itself. I do not suggest that the accommodation should be such as Senator McDougall has described.
– This definition clause certainly does include the Northern Territory,the Federal Capital Territory, Norfolk island, Papua, and the Mandated Territories; but the agreement that we are entering into with Queensland applies only to prisoners from the Mandated Territories. I agree with much of what Senator McDougall has said. Although the Fanny Bay prison, as a prison, is not a bad place, and compares favourably with other prisons, the climate of that part of the Northern Territory is such that a man who is confined in a cell must have a trying experience, and must suffer injury to his health.Senator McDougall’s remarks have certainly set me thinking whether it would not be advisable to ascertain whether the Government or Queensland would agree to take longsentence prisoners from the Northern Territory. If a man is compelled to remain in the Fanny Bay prison during the wet season, he must have a horrible experience. The Bill will give the Government power to enter into agreements with the States to transfer prisoners from the Northern Territory. When their sentences have expired the Commonwealth must, as provided in clause 8 of the Bill, take them back to the Territory. We cannot unload them on the States. We have no prison in the Federal Capital Territory, and, as far as I know, no lock-up . It may be necessary, in the early stages of development there, to imprison a man, by agreement with the New South Wales Government, in a New South Wales prison. I agree with Senator McDougall, that if we could make arrangements for long service prisoners in the Northern Territory to serve their sentences in a climate which would be more bearable than the northern portion of the Northern Territory in the wet season, it would be an act of common humanity to them.
– I do not wish to convey a wrong impression. Senator Grant has assumed that prisoners in the Northern Territory are treated inhumanly, owing to the kind of prison there. They have to be confined, under prison conditions, until theirsentence has been carried out; but the climate under which those conditions are imposed is calculated to. drive a man insane. A prisoner would certainly end his life if he had a chance to do so. Some have committed suicide, and others have attempted to take their own lives. Because these men have committed crimes, we should not subject them to inhuman punishment. They should be taken to another part of Australia, where the conditions for serving their sentences would be more humane. I hope the Minister will apply the Bill to the Northern Territory.
.- I believe that Senator McDougall has made a very practical suggestion, and I was pleased to hear the Minister say it had set him thinking. When I and other members of Parliament were in Darwin, we paid a visit of inspection to the prison. We were there in winter time, but the heat was even then intense. Furthermore, the coloured prisoners greatly outnumber the white men, which makes the surroundings all the more distasteful to the white men. It would be a humanitarian act to allow prisoners to serve their sentences in the congenial atmosphere of a country such as Queensland.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 to 6 agreed to.
Clause 7 (Escape of prisoner from custody).
– Is not two years’ imprisonment, which is provided by this clause in the case of a prisoner who escapes from custody, rather severe?
– Under the Acts Interpretation Act, two years would be the maximum penalty.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 8 to 14 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Honorable SENATORS.- Hear, hear I.
– The apparent enthusiasm of honorable senators on the Opposition side augurs a cordial reception for this measure. Its purpose is to vote £85,000 for the assistance of the State of Tasmania during the current financial year. It will be remembered that commencing with the year 1912-13, financial assistance was rendered by the Commonwealth for a period of ten years, and the total sum paid during that period was £900,000. The last payment tor that period was made in 1921-22, and during the last financial year a special Act was passed to enable a payment of £85,000, to be made for another year. It is anticipated that Parliament this year may approve of the Commonwealth’s retirement from certain fields of direct taxation. As a result of this, and the’ financial arrangements contemplated between the Commonwealth and the several States with regard to Customs revenue, it may not be necessary in future to provide for a grant to Tasmania by means of a Bill, as was done last year, and is now being done once more, because the finances of the Commonwealth and the States may be so arranged that the State will be able to finance itself without resort to such legislation. We know that the condition of the public finances of Tasmania renders it necessary for this grant to be made. Any fair-minded person will admit that the present position of that State is not due to the people being insufficiently taxed. They are, undoubtedly, imposing a very heavy burden of taxation upon themselves, and they have many very difficult circumstances with which to deal. It is essential that until the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States have been adjusted on some basis of permanency, so that there may be some clear line of demarcation between Commonwealth and State fields of taxation, we should continue the grant as at present.
– The discussion of this measure might well have been adjourned. If the lengthy programme that lies before us is to be dealt with, then honorable senators will have to sacrifice their rights in helping the Government to despatch the whole of the business. This is an important matter, and I think that the Government would have granted me an adjournment had I asked for it. I shall endeavour to show that Tasmania’s claim is not only unfair, but that in view of what has happened in the last eight years, that State has no reasonable claim against the rest of the Commonwealth. It is easy to say that Tasmania should receive £85,000 this year. The Minister (Senator Pearce), if I did not misunderstand him, seemed to suggest that, pending a settlement of the financial affairs of the Commonwealth, we could afford to renew the grant to Tasmania this year. I venture to say that the fact that there has not been an adjustment of the financial arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States, is a very good reason for not making the grant for the current year. Tasmania is not now in a worse position than the other States. It is not suffering from the effects of drought, as some of the other States are. I am told that it is the most glorious little spot in the world ; that it is a land flowing with milk and honey - and apples.
– The honorable senator must come over to “our State and prove that.
– I shall do so when business is such that I can afford to do justice to that delightful country. Looking back to the time when the Commonwealth was inaugurated, one finds that even Tasmania put in its little claim when the Constitution was framed. “What is known in New South Wales as the <e Braddon blot “ to some extent manacled and’ handicapped the Commonwealth in its early stages. Section 86 of the Constitution states -
On the establishment of the Commonwealth, the collection and control of duties of Customs and .of Excise, and the control of the payment of bounties, shall pass to the Executive Government of the Commonwealth.
Section 87 provides -
During a period of ten years after the establishment of the Commonwealth, and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provides, of the net revenue of the Commonwealth from duties of Customs and of Excise, not more than one-fourth shall be applied annually by. the Commonwealth towards- its expenditure. The balance shall, in accordance with this Constitution, be paid to the several States, or applied towards the payment of interest on debts of the several States token over by the Caramon - wealth.
The foregoing provisions were duc to representation made by Tasmania at the Federal Convention. . It should be remembered that the framers of the Constitution were not permitted to draft the best instrument that their brain could devise, for it was a Constitution of compromises, giving something to Tasmania, something to Western Australia, and something to New South Wales. My State, for instance, was to have the Federal Capital within its territory.
– Every State received something.
– South Australia did not receive anything.
– South Australia, I am told, was always on the lookout for something.
– But it did not get much.
– I do not wish to make comparisons between the States. I am following a path I have trod fairly consistently, and I desire to enter my protest against public money being given away, unless it can be shown that there is a well-justified claim. Tasmania was assured of a certain return from Customs revenue in exchange for the sacrifice to the Commonwealth of its own Customs revenue. The ten years period has passed. I well remember a most energetic commercial traveller, whom Tasmania sent to this Parliament as its representative, in the person of Mr. Jensen. That gentleman advanced the claim that the Federal Parliament was legally bound to pay this money to Tasmania.
– There is no doubt about that.
– There was very good reason to doubt the legality of the claim. We had a hard-headed Treasurer in the Labour Government, in the person of Mr. Andrew Fisher, who held that Tasmania had no legal claim.
– There was a moral claim.
– The honorable senator can regard it as a moral claim if he likes. But it was urged on behalf of Tasmania, that there was a legal obligation on the part of the Commonwealth to pay this money. To clean up any doubt, the Government appointed a Commission to inquire into the whole subject, and they were so generous to Tasmania as to make Mr. Jensen the chairman. The Commission found that Tasmania had no legal claim. But what happened ? I shall ask the Minister in charge of the Bill to correct me if I am at fault. I shall state the facts as I remember them. When it was shown that Tasmania had no legal claim, Parliament agreed to grant that State £500,000 nayable annually and in diminishing ((mounts, commencing with, I think, £95,000 in 1912, and diminishing within the period of ten years to £5,000 in. 1921-22. Of course, everything went well with Tasmania then.
– What about the honorable senator’s rapacious State insisting upon the Federal capital being m New South Wales?
– I shall always stand up for the rights of my State. The capital city site was guaranteed te New South Wales under the Constitution.
– And the people approved of it
– And we have to pay for it.
– That is the price which Tasmania has to pay as one State in the Federation.
– The claim was never agreed to by the Federal Convention. It was a ‘ ‘ reach-out “ by George Reid.
– Order! There are too many interjections.
– I am quite delighted to get these interjections, especially from the Tasmanian representatives. They show that they are interested in the debate. I was endeavouring to show, and I think I succeeded, in proving that the original agreement was that Tasmania should be paid £500,000 in diminishing amounts for a period of ten years, ending in 1921-22. During that term, all went as merry as a marriage bell. Parliament voted the money, and I well remember an electioneering placard which Mr. Jensen distributed throughout his division, showing a huge carpet bag. with, printed upon it, the words “ £500,000.” As a result, he came back with a thumping majority because the people believed he had collected from the mainland States, £500,000 for the State of Tasmania.
– He had the Commonwealth “ in the bag.”
– Mr . Jensen practically collected that amount for Tasmania. But what happened to the rest of us? We were beaten at the nextelection. The mainland States did not take too kindly to this idea of passing £500,000 over to Tasmania, and as a result, the Labour party, by one vote, lost their right to govern this country. The Cook Ministry, which succeeded the Labour Administration, took up this question of a Tasmanian grant, and decided that Tasmania should receive £90,000 each year for the ten years’ period. There was an election within twelve months, and the Cook Ministry did not get back. Because I am now very much ‘afraid myself, I am going to do all I possibly can to protect the interests of the already overtaxed people of New South Wales. Tasmania has now been getting this annual payment from the mainland States for several years. When the war came in 1914, -that State did not participate to the same extent as the other States in the expenditure on Avar preparations, and since the war, Tasmania- has been living upon the depleted revenues of the other States. Surely the people of Tasmania realize that the time has come when they should cease to live upon the other States. New South Wales will be called upon to pay about one-third of the amount to be handed over to Tasmania.
– The Now South Wales contribution will represent 45 per cent, of the total, payment.
– Is it fair to thrust this additional burden upon’ New South Wales? Tasmania should bear her share of the war burdens.
– So she is.
– Then why ask for this money? There is no legal right to it, and the representatives of the other States are under no moral obligation to add to the burdens of their taxpayers by voting this money, especially since Tasmania has benefited more by Federation than any other State. The Bill provides that Tasmania shall receive out of’ the Consolidated Revenue, £85,000, and as I have shown, the taxpayers of New South Wales will be called upon to pay about £30,000 of that amount.
– Tasmania is contributing her share of the cost of the Mur’ ray River scheme.
– The Murray River scheme is for the development of the whole of Australia. New South Wales, which owned the Murray River from bank to bank right down to- the South - Australian border, was generous enough to surrender her claim in order that the other States should have an equal share of the waters of that river. But the honorable senator will not drag me away from my point.
– Tell us then in what way Tasmania has derived greater advantages from Federation than the other States?
– That is a fair’ question. Tasmania certainly sacrificed her Customs . revenue, amounting, I suppose, to about £1,000,000 a year. But in return the Commonwealth Government have been paying a considerable amount year in and year . out by way of old-age -and invalid pensions. “The State has been entirely relieved of that obliga- tion, because conservative and all as Tasmania is, the Government would undoubtedly have been obliged to follow the intelligent lead of the mainland States by making provision for its aged and invalid poor. That is one distinct benefit which Tasmania has reaped from the Federation. I am reminded also that in pre-war days Tasmania kept a little army.
– Do we not pay our share of the defence expenditure?
– I hope that when Senator Ogden has the floor he will be able to show that Tasmania has done something. I am showing that the Commonwealth has relieved that State.- of considerable expenditure in the maintenance of a standing army. Of course, I regard Tasmania as part of the Commonwealth. It is because I do so that I am opposing this measure. I do not want Tasmania to be considered, as a State apart from the Federation. This reminds me that if Tasmania had remained outside the Commonwealth she would have had a Customs barrier of about 45 per cent, against her exports to the mainland.
– What’ on ? .
– On everything Tasmania supplies.
– We supply mainly raw material, which the mainland States must have. The mainland could not have beer without our hops.
– I realize at once the serious disability that would confront the people of the mainland if hops were unprocurable. But my impression of the Tasmanian bop-growers is that they have been making insistent demands that hops from America, where the market is in a very depressed condition, shall be kept out of Australia in order that the Tasmanian production may have full control of the Australian market. Substantial benefit has also been conferred upon Tasmania by the Commonwealth in order to encourage the development of the carbide iudustry. We placed an embargo upon importations for the benefit of a Tasmanian industry.
– And the Commonwealth Government fixed the maximum selling price.
– Yes, at three times the amount which the manager of the Tasmanian company said represented the cost of production.
– That statement discredits the whole of the honorable senator’s speech.
– My opinion is backed up by Mr. Gillies, who declared that carbide could be produced for £12 10s. per ton, yet when the works were in full swing, and when the retail price of carbide had reached £42 per ton, the Tasmanian company still wanted the Government to prohibit the importation of carbide. I challenge the honorable senator to disprove those figures. Was it of no benefit to Tasmania for the rest of Australia to pay £42 a ton for its carbide, in face of the evidence that it could be sold at £22 per ton? The people of Tasmania must be told in plain language to cease their complaints, and to “ carry their end of the log.” It may press heavily upon their shoulders, but they will have to realize that, on account of * our enormous contributions to the war, generous though we have been in the past, this grant cannot continue. =
– Man for man, Tasmania carries as much of the war debt as any other State.
– Why should Tasmania receive this gift of £85,000, while Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales receive nothing? Before Federation was inaugurated, we were told that it would cost 2s. 6d. per head of the population. The whole of New South Wales was circularized to that effect. In New South Wales a Commission was appointed to inquire into the probable cost. Mr. Bruce Smith was chairman of that Commission, and when he reported that in the future it would probably cost from 15s. to 15s. 6d. per head, he was assailed by those who. wanted Federation at any price, and told that his calculation was absurd. According to this year’s Budget, the 5,500,000 people in Australia have to find, not 2s. 6d., but over £12 per head, to finance the Government of the Commonwealth. I want honorable senators from Tasmania to realize that it is infra dignitate of such a rich State to pass round the hat.. If Tasmania says that she gets no benefit from association with the Australian Commonwealth, then I ask where would that State be in regard to its potato crop if it were outside the Commonwealth? Instead of getting a gift of £85,000 a year, it would be compelled to expend that sum in the sale of its crop.
– A school boy could make out a better case than that.
– It will then be so much easier for grown men to answer. The first time I heard it claimed that Tasmania was entitled to a grant was when Mr. Jensen said it had a legal right to ifc, and Andrew Fisher denied that there was any such right. Mr. Jens>en was appointed to the Commission which inquired into the matter, and that Commission brought in a report which recognised that Tasmania had no legal claim to a grant. That having been recognised, a grant “of £500,000, to be spread over a period of ten years, was made voluntarily. Had successive Governments continued to make the grant in the spirit in which it was made in 1912, Tasmania to-day would have been prepared for the difficulties with which it is confronted. No. sooner, however, had one Government passed out of office than the amount of the grant was nearly doubled, in order to buy Tasmanian votes. During a period of ten years Tasmania has received from the rest of the people of Australia no less than £900,000. Tasmania rejoices in a bountiful rainfall. It is a compact State, with an area far less than that of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, or Western Australia. There is not a big mileage of Government-owned railways. The sooner Tasmania becomes self-reliant the better it will be for that State. It has not been so since I have been in this Parliament. I was a member of the Labour Government that first dealt with this question of a grant. It took eighteen months for the representatives of Tasmania to persuade that Government that a grant ‘ should be made. It was first contended that Tasmania had a legal claim to the grant. When that contention was shattered, an arrangement was come to which was embodied in the Bill of 1912. That measure dealt with the claim of Tasmania in a just way. It was provided that Tasmania should bs given a substantial grant by the Commonwealth in that year, and that the amount should diminish in each succeeding year until it was eventually wiped out altogether. Since that grant fizzled out, it has been renewed each year by the Government. The time hap now come when we should refuse to vote this money.
I hope that honorable senators will realize that this is not a party matter. I imagine that the Government would be highly delighted if the Senate threw out this measure. The other place, on one occasion, sent along a Bill to repeal the Entertainments Tax Act. The Senate valiantly said, “We refuse to relieve the taxpayers of Australia of this taxation.” The Government smiled a very broad smile. It was happy because it knew it would receive a greater amount ff revenue than it had anticipated receiving. On this occasion it will be very much the same. If honorable senators representing Tasmania can submit arguments to convince me that that State has legal or moral claim to the amount proposed to be paid, I shall be quite prepared to listen to them!
– The honorable senator is already biased.
– The honorable senator has made up his mind long ago.
– I am not biased ; but I made up my mind ten years ago that Tasmania had no legal or moral claim to a grant such as is now proposed. There are new Tasmanian representatives now in the Senate who may be able to cause me to change the opinion I have always so strongly held. If they can justify the payment of this grant to Tasmania, similar consideration will have to be shown to other States.
-Western Australia could do with £1,000,000.
– I believe that that State, with its present land settlement system, could more rapidly develop its large tracts of vacant country if it received a grant of the amount mentioned,, but this is not the branch of the Legislature in which such a proposal should be made. In the Senate the rights of the States have to be preserved, and although I bear no ill-will towards Tasmania, I strongly object to this proposal. The payment of a bounty to assist an industry, such as was done in connexion with meat for export, is a vastly different proposition from a. proposal to bundle £80,000 of Commonwealth money into the Tasmanian revenue to make it easier for the Government of that State to manage its finances. It is an unprincipled act, and although I have the greatest reverence and respect for those great men who framed the Constitution, I cannot help realizing how short-sighted they were in failing to see the difficulties which would eventually confront the Commonwealth. Under the Braddon clause provision was made for the payment to Tasmania of three-fourths of the Customs and Excise revenue for ten years, and payments have continued ever since.
– And also tc» the other States.
– It was a peculiarity of Sir Henry Braddon to take caro that Tasmania’s position should be assured.
– A strong endeavour was made to adopt some other means, but eventually they had to come back to his proposal.
– And if they had not come back Tasmania would have been left out. Sir Henry Braddon was a great man in Tasmania in those days, but he never looked beyond the ten-year period. ‘
– -If the Customs and Excise revenue had not been distributed between the States, what would have become of it?
– If the Tasmanian people would display that loyalty which they pretend to possess, they would shoulder their own burden, instead of cadging from the taxpayers in the other States as they are doing, to-day. If I agree to this grant, how shall I be able to face my constituents in New South Wales, who will have to contribute towards it?
– That is the honorable senator’s concern.
– Of course it ia, and while I atn a representative of that important State, I shall always endeavour to express the views of its people.
– The honorable senator must remember that Tasmania is carrying a heavier burden of taxation than New South Wales.
– The simple remedy is for the Tasmanian people to return a Labour Government.
– We have tried that.
– Yes, and during that period the State enjoyed great prosperity
– That was the beginning of the trouble.
– Not at ali. Judging by the way the personnel of the present Tasmanian Administration is being changed from time to time, one can easily understand why the State does not prosper.
– The honorable senator should not forget what has happened in New South Wales.
– If there is one State in the Commonwealth which has sst a splendid example of constitutional government since it received its charter it is New South Wales. Sir Walter Lee, who was Premier, and then Treasurer, in the Tasmanian Government, ha? now been asked to again, lead the Government, which is a strong indication of the absence of co-operation.
– Has not that been done in this Parliament ?
– Yes ; and Tasmania was mentioned as a precedent’. When we have to meet an annual burden of nearly ‘£20,000,000 as interest on our war loans, a proposal of this kind is very inopportune. Tasmania has enormous areas of rich land, which should be thrown open and developed. If that were done it should be able to carry as large a population, proportionately, as any other State in the Commonwealth.
– Does the honorable senator think that our resources can be developed without revenue?
– Surely Tasmania does not have to depend upon, assistance from the other States to develop its resources. I shall now submit certain figures in relation to the Customs and Excise revenue contributed by the different States.
– If they are not more accurate than other figures which the honorable senator has quoted, little notice will be taken of them.
– If the honorable senator can mention a single instance in which I have wilfully quoted inaccurate figures, I am prepared to resign my position as a member of the Senate.
Sitting suspended from 6.S0 to fi p.m.
– X find that in 1920-21 the State taxation per head waa £3 10s. 8d. in New South Wales; £4 J 7s. lid. in Queensland; £3 6s. in South Australia; £3 fis. 7d. in Tasmania; £2 7s. 6d. in Western Australia; and £2 10s. 4d. in Victoria. There is an extraordinary difference in. the amount of taxation paid per head in the different States. New South Wales and Queensland pay more per head than Tasmania, and South Australia pays about the same, there being a difference of only 7d. The Government now asks these over-taxed States to pay still more for the benefit of Tasmania. Let me read the following carefully prepared statement of how the Customs and Excise revenue is raised for the whole of the Commonwealth of Australia: -
The Trade and Customs Department is the greatest taxation machine in Australia. Tasmania contributes very little towards that taxation.
– The figures do not show that.
– The figures show that of a total taxation of over £32,000,000, Tasmania contributed only £398,000.
– Melbourne and Sydney are distributing centres from which Tasmania draws supplies of overseas goods on which duty is paid.
– I have quoted the amount of Customs and Excise duties collected in Sydney and Melbourne, and the people of New South Wales and Vic- toria must pay those amounts.
– No, that is not so.
– Tobacco or beer manufactured in Melbourne or Sydney may be sold and consumed in Tasmania.
– The honorable senator has quoted £398,383 as the amount of Customs and Excise duties paid by the people of Tasmania. The correct figure is £895,000.
– Anticipating that the Tasmanian representatives would deny the accuracy of my statements, ;I ‘ have fortified ‘myself with a return furnished to me by the Depart ment of Trade and Customs, Melbourne. That return I have just read. Honorable senators may tell the. officials of that Department that their figures are incorrect. I obtained the figures to-day. It is easy for honorable senators to say that they are not correct.
– Has the honorable senator worked out those figures per head of the population?
– I have stated the taxation of the States at so much per head, and I said that those States which are most heavily taxed are being called upon to make a gift to Tasmania. I am sorry to stir up the feelings of honorable senators from Tasmania. Before any of them were in this Chamber, a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into a leakage in the customs revenue of their State. The Commission reported a trifling loss to Tasmania, and estimated it at £10,000 per year. It also recommended that a scale of diminishing payments should be made over a period of ten years. The Commonwealth has honoured that recommendation, and has gone one year beyond it. The time has now arrived when all the States should realize that they must shoulder the responsibility of managing their own affairs. We should have a unified Australia, and the cost of State Governments should be abolished. State Governments’, maintained as sovereign entities, are too costly. Let us have as many small selfgoverning bodies as need be, but sovereign State Parliaments, with the right to levy taxation, and to borrow money, are too heavy a load for the people of Australia to carry. Let the people of Tasmania realize that. I understand, in fact, that they have realized it by dispensing with the services of their Governor. Tasmania has set an example of economy in that regard. In New South Wales, two years ago, there was a strong party in favour of creating a new State.
– It is strong even now.
– The Nationalist party swallowed it when it incorporated Dr. Earle Page and someone else. The New State party looked at one period as if it would make a big bid for a new State. The new State would have comprised an immense area of land, but nota very large population, and I am certain that it would have come capinhand to this Parliament for a large donation to keep it going. At Rockhampton there is a strong movement for a now State. Existing States and prospective States should be told that if they want the luxury of self-government they must pay for it. That portion of Australia that comprises the heavily taxed States of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, cannot afford to carry their own load as well as the load of the smaller States.
– Does the honorable senator say that Victoria is more heavily taxed than Tasmania?
SenatorGARDINER. - Certainly I do. The Customs and Excise duties paid by Victoria amount to over £10,000,000 a year. The figure for Tasmania is very small by comparison. Tasmania is the home of cheap labour. It oven paid its Governor a salary that would not support him, and he had no Arbitration Court to which he could appeal for a living wage. Tasmania is the home of low wages and long hours. Its people are not paid sufficient wages to enable them to consume enough dutiable goods to make the State a payable concern. Its people appeal to the rest of Australia for assistance. The other States employ their people at a wage which permits them to smoke, drink, and use other dutiable goods. Tasmania employs its people at such a rate that the whole State has become impoverished, and it comes to the States where the good wages are paid, and a high standard of living maintained, for a grant of £85,000 a year. Where will this matter end? When Mr. AndrewFisher led this party, we accepted the Royal Commission’s report as representing the end of the payments to Tasmania. Many of us voted for the Tasmanian Grant Bill which he introduced on the understanding that the payments therein recommended would be the last that would be made. I remember that ex-Senator Ready was very anxious that I should not vote against Tasmania, and the only consideration that induced me to vote for the payments was that I understood they would be the last. No sooner was the ten years completed, however, than Tasmania was paid £85,000 in the following year, and it is proposed to pay another £85,000 this year. If it were possible to pay that money without overburdening the rest of the taxpayers, I suppose there would not be much objection to it. The war has happened, and Tasmania has had the protection of the other States that built ships. The time has now come for Tasmania to realize that fact. It is not separate from the Commonwealth, but is part and parcel of it, and is not entitled to special treatment. It must take its chance with the rest. Queensland does not ask for a special grant, although its people are taxed to the extent of £4 17s.11d. per head. I have tried to deal with this matter from the point of view of a representative of the heaviest taxpaying State in the Commonwealth. I do not mean that the people of my State are the heaviest taxed per bead, but they pay the most taxes in the aggregate. Alert and up-to-date business men conduct its businesses on a larger scale than those of any other State, and naturally their incomes are greater; and it has alert, active, and well-organized trade unionists, who receive high wages and consume beer, tobacco, and other dutiable goods. In addition, they pay taxation on the boots and clothing they wear. Senator Duncan has estimated that the Customs taxation paid by that State is between 45 and 48 per cent of the whole. I think that calculation is not far wrong. In, view of Australia’s heavy indebtedness, with the interest bill increasing year by year, I protest against votes of this character being given to individual States. When Western Australia entered the Federation arrangements were made to prevent it suffering special hardship, but they were made on the principle that each year the payment to the State was to decrease. 1 have endeavoured to show that Tasmania is not over-taxed compared with the other States, and that it has not suffered through entering the Federation. The mainland is the best customer that Tasmania has. The best of Tasmania’s young men and women cross to the mainland.
– They find it easier to make a living on the mainland, teaching the people here how to do things.
– The people of Tasmania certainly can teach the value of unity, and I wish that New South Wales had . the same unity amongst its Parliamentarians that we find amongst those from Tasmania. It is necessary in the interests of the Commonwealth to resist any unfair claims made upon it.
– There has been no unfair claim by my State.
– The Royal Commission that considered Tasmania’s case was most generous. Mr. Jensen, the chairman, was a Tasmanian, and the late Sir William Lyne, who was born in Tasmania, had all his interests there. That Commission decided that Tasmania had suffered no injury. It suggested a grant, which the Fisher and Cook Governments paid to the last shilling, and the Commonwealth has since been paying an annual grant of £85,000. Before another such payment is made, however, Tasmania should be called upon to justify its claim.
– The honorable senator does not admit that it has a moral claim ?
– Not unless that can be proved. If Tasmania has a moral claim, then each of the other States has an equal claim. It received its share of the Customs revenue for the ten-year period, and it subsequently received the per capita grant of 25s; It also received £500,000 from the Labour Government led by Mr. Fisher, and a further £400,000 from the Cook Government.
– The honorable senator has already told us that.
– It is worth repeating, because it was the price paid by the Cook Government for its majority of one in another place.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.
– The speech to which honorable senators have just listened, judged according to its true value, would hardly merit any serious reply..
– It is one of the best I have heard in the Senate.
– In the first place, one does not know whether or not the honorable senator was in earnest) according to some of his statements, I can only assume that he was joking. Since there are a number of unsuspecting individuals in the community, even in Tasmania, letalone New South Wales, who might be tempted to believe some of the misleading statements by Senator Gardiner, I think it is my duty, and the duty of other Tasmanian senators, to say something in reply. The honorable senator has never been to Tasmania4 to’ make inquiries on the spot, and he has. looked on the statistical records with a biased eye. He started out on the assumption that the framers of the Federal Constitution acted unwisely when they provided in express terms, that consideration might be given to necessitous States. I have great respect for the framers of the Constitution. It was because they saw that certain States might be injured as a result of Federation that they expressly gave the Commonwealth . Parliament power to come to their assistance if it were proved that they had suffered through joining the Union. Before Federation had existed very long, although the people of- Tasmania had voted by a huge majority in favour of the Union, many of her public men urged that Federation should have been rejected, claiming- that Tasmania had suffered a severe loss.
– Did Tasmania make any bargain in coming in!
– No, I am corning to that aspect later on. Senator Gardiner was careful not to say that New South Wales was the highest taxed State per head of the population; but he made the most remarkable assertion that his State paid the highest amount of taxa- tion. Of course that is a schoolboy’s argument. A State with a population of 2,000,000 naturally should pay more in taxation than Tasmania does with its 216,000 people. The honorable senator was afraid to give the actual figures, which show that Tasmania, up to last year, paid a higher measure of taxation than any part of the Commonwealth excepting Queensland. The honorable senator made use of an argument which was tantamount to saying that, because his physique was greater than that of, say, Senator Needham, he was entitled, to more consideration. Tasmania comprises only 16,000,000 acres, more than half of which is unoccupied and unalienated. It consists largely of “mountainous bush country which will never be of much commercial value. We have had to build railways at very high cost to provide transport facilities for some isolated districts that have a rich soil. We have had to build many costly roads. We have spent £5,000,000 of borrowed money upon roads and bridges to open up far back settlements. We certainly have advantages in regard to rainfall, climate and so on; but, in order to give facilities to the people in scattered areas, we have had to incur a liability for roads and bridges, which is not equalled by any “other State. Twenty-nine per cent, of Tasmania’s total loan moneys has been expended upon railways; and 26 per cent, on roads and bridges. The average expenditure from loan for the other States for reproductive public works such as railways amounts to 53 per cent., and only 9 per cent, has been devoted to roads and bridges which are totally unproductive. From public works and services, Tasmania receives only 38 per cent, of its revenue, whilst the average for the whole of the States is 56 per cent., and the New South Wales figure is 62 per cent.
– Socialism in our time !
– It is because bounteous nature has endowed New South Wales with, a fertile soil that she obtains so much from that source. Thirty-three per cent, of Tasmania’s total revenue is derived from taxation, whereas New South Wales obtains only 21 per cent, from this source, and the average for the Commonwealth is only 22 per cent.
Will the honorable senator persist in his argument that New South Wales is the heaviest taxed State in the Commonwealth ?
– My statement was that New South Wales paid more in taxation than any other State.
– Because it has the greatest number of people. That is a ridiculous argument. Where the population is greater, the people naturally pay more in the aggregate. Figures relating to the increase in the deposits in the Savings Banks from 1901 to 1920 show that in New South Wales the increase was 358- per cent. ; in Victoria.. 337 per cent.; in Queensland, 359 per cent.; in South Australia, 308 per cent.; in Western Australia, 348 per cent.; and in Tasmania, only 289 per cent. Thaw figures indicate clearly that Tasmania is entitled to some consideration from the Commonwealth. Let us take another interesting table, covering the same period - the percentage increase in population. In New South Wales it was 48 per cent ; in Victoria, 25 per cent. ; in Queensland, 46 per cent.; in South Australia, 32 per cent. ; in Western Australia, 77 per cent. and in Tasmania, only 26 per cent. Another table, that relating to employment in factories, also tells a tale, and shows how Tasmania stands in comparison with the mainland States. These figures are for the period, 1908-20, and show that the average number of hands employed in factories in New South Wales increased bv 62 per cent. ; in Victoria, by 45 per cent.; in Queensland, by 40 per cant.; in South Australia, by 21 per cent. ; in Western Australia, by 24 per cent.; and in Tasmania, by only 14 per cent.
– What is wrong with Tasmania?
– I shall tell the hon- oi able senator. I am glad of his interjection. I invite honorable senators to cast their minds back to the early history of Federation, and remember, if they can, who then represented New South Wales in the Federal Parliament. During those years New South Wales sent to this Parliament confirmed Free Traders, who were opposed to the imposition of Tariff duties for the establishment of local industries. Tasmania, on the other hand, was represented by .such ardent Protectionists as Sir Philip Fysh. Sir Edward Braddon, Mr. King O’Malley, Senator Keating, and Senator O’Keefe. As a result- of the protectionist Tariff, passed by this Parliament in .spite of opposition from the Free Trade representatives of New South Wales, that State has become a prosperous manufacturing State. So far as T am concerned, whenever the interests of my State are assailed - I care not whether the assault comes from my own colleagues or from honorable senators supporting the Government - I shall do what I can to justify her position, irrespective of party consideration.
– But the honorable senator is “cadging” from the rest of Australia.
– The honorable senator does not care to listen to what T am saying, because it does not suit his purpose. In 1907, when the Tariff was under consideration in the Senate, New South Wales was represented by Senators Neild, Gray, Walker, E» D. Millen, Gould, and Pulsford, not on« of whom stood for the policy of Protection. New South Wales, as I have said, has become a rich manufacturing State as the result of the Protectionist policy, supported by the Tasmanian parliamentary representatives, and now Senator Gardiner suggests that Tasmania is a penurious applicant for some kind of charity. I resent that imputation. But let me return to an analysis of figures having relation to the material prosperity of the several States. I refer honorable senators now to a comparison of wages paid in manufacturing industries. In New South Wales, during the period already mentioned, the total wages paid have increased by 200 per cent. ; by 177 per cent, in Queensland; in Victoria, by 144 per cent. ; in South Australia, by 106 per cent. ; in Western Australia, by 47 per cent.; and in Tasmania, by 73 per cent. An examination of figures relating to the deposits in all banks, including savings banks, shows that since 1901 the percentage increase in rich New South Wales has been 248 per cent., in Victoria 217 per cent., in Queensland 188 per cent., in South Australia 276 per cent., in Western Australia 228 per cent., and in Tasmania 177 per cent. If the figures I have quoted mean anything, they indicate that Tasmania is contributing largely towards the subsidizing of New South Wales industries.
– In what way is Federation responsible for the present state of affairs in Tasmania ?
– I have quoted these figures as an answer to the honorable senator’s allegation that Tasmania, if she were properly governed, need not look to the Commonwealth” for financial assistance. I have shown that, as a result of Federation, New South Wales has substantially benefited, and that, on the other hand, Tasmania has suffered. The honorable senator also declared that Tasmania had reaped more advantages from Federation than any other State in the group.
– Quite right.
– He went on to point out that the Commonwealth had instituted the system of old-age and invalid pensions, and suggested that Tasmania had especially benefited in this respect. As a matter of fact, the people of Tasmania pay their proportion of the cost, per head of population, of the Commonwealth invalid and old-age pension system. We do not profess to be any better than the people in the other States, but we have met our obligations, and have endeavoured to do the right thing. Prior to the inauguration of the Commonwealth, the State Government ha’d control of the Customs and Excise, and during the- year before Federation collected in Customs and Excise revenue 49s. per head of population. The Commonwealth revenue from this source is now £6 per head, and the States get returned to them 25s. per head. The honorable senator also suggested that the Commonwealth Defence scheme had relieved Tasmania of the cost of maintaining her local defence forces. That, of course, is quite a fallacious argument. We pay our proportion of defence, which, I think, is 17s. lOd. per head of population. We are evading none of our obligations. Had we remained outside the Federation, we need not have spent anything on defence, and could have safely sheltered ourselves behind the Commonwealth defence system.
– Tasmania is not alone in that respect.
– My sympathies also go out to Western Australia, We are, as it were, brothers in distress. The Government of that State have ‘ also appealed to the Federal Government for assistance. Senator Gardiner endeavoured to show that, had Tasmania remained out of the Federation, the mainland market would have been closed to her produce, or, at all events, that there would have been a duty of 45 per cent upon all her exports to the mainland. Let us examine that position, and sec if the honorable senator was correct.’ Tasmania exports potatoes, which New South Wales wants. She exports hops for the brewing of that beautiful beer, of which Senator Gardiner spoke in a previous debate, and which the people get in New South Wales. She exports, also to the mainland, apples and other kinds of fruit. Nothing else. Not one of these commodities could be denied access to’ the mainland markets in any circumstances.
– Prior to Federation, could Tasmania get her potatoes into Victoria free of duty ?
– I am not absolutely certain, but I think she could.
SenatorNeedham. - There was a Customs barrier against that commodity.
– In all probability potatoes were on the free list. At that time, I admit, Victoria grew a surplus of potatoes; but the production in this State has fallen off considerably, and at certain periods of the year it is now necessary to import a. large quantity from Tasmania, which possesses the soil and rainfall necessary for the successful cultivation of that commodity. Tasmania would have had that market in any case. Although at present only 4 per cent. of her population is engaged in manufacturing industries, compared with 10 per cent. in New South Wales, Tasmania is endeavouring to enoourage the establishment of new industries. I do not think there is any necessity for me to deal further with this matter, because I recognise the fairmindedness of honorable senators towards the little State that I am proud to represent. I shut my eyes to the assistance granted to Queensland. Tasmania in many ways helps that State to secure privileges.
– The honorable senator opposed the Meat Export Bounties Bill recently.
Senate OGDEN. - On that occasion it was proposed to vote £150,000 for the benefit of a few individuals. That is quite different from a request for a grant that will benefit the whole of the people of Tasmania. I should rather not discuss Queensland; because the sugar questionand a number of other matters will not bear close scrutiny. Let us deal with the general question. Senator Gardiner’s opposition to. this Bill comes with a very bad grace from a representative of New South Wales. That State declined to enter the Federation until it obtained an assurance that the Federal Capital would be located in its territory. The Commonwealth has already spent £2,000,000 on that project. Goodnessknows how much more will need to be spent before the Federal Capital is ready for our occupation. Tasmania is helping to pay for that. It is contributing to the expenditure of £500,000 by the Commonwealth Government in connexion with the development of the arable lands on the banks of the River Murray. That work is being carried out for the benefit of Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. Tasmania is not squealing; it is contributing cheerfully to that expenditure. It contributed towards the expenditure incurred in the building of the trans-continental railway to Western Australia.
– And it is now asking the Federal Government to pay back what it has contributed towards those works.
– No. Tasmania has cheerfully and uncomplainingly contributed to that national expenditure, although not deriving any direct benefit from it. On that moral ground it claims that it is entitled to receive some consideration from the larger and more prosperous States. It is helping to build the railway in the Northern Territory, which, acording to the statement of some honorable senators, will probably be covered with sand in the course of a, few years.
– There is no sand where that railway is being built.
– It is proposed to spend - at some time in the dim and distant future, I hope - about £14,000,000 in unifying the railway gauges. The Government seriously proposed to authorize, this session, the expenditure of £8,000,000 Tasmania will not reap any advantage by reason of that expenditure, but it will have to bear its proportion of the cost of the work. I do not think that Senator Gardiner was serious in his opposition to this proposal. I hope that, before next session, some arrangements will have been made between the Commonwealth and the State Governments, under which Tasmania will be given ample security, obviating the necessity for that State to come from time to time to this Parliament and ask for special consideration. It is true that Tasmania has received £900,000 from the Common.wealth Government. That grant has been made largely because of the disabilities that Tasmania has suffered as the result of Federation. A difficult and dangerous position has been reached in connexion with the finances of Tasmania. What has been the cause? We notice that Tasmania’s industrial activities are limited; that during the last forty years her population has gained to the extent of only 60,000 persons, and that the excess of departures over arrivals during the same period amounted to 29,000 persons. We know the reason is that we cannot offer sufficient inducement to people to settle in our State. We are u making valiant efforts to build up our industries in such a way that encouragement will be given, not only to the native-born, but to people from other States, to settle on our lands. An expenditure of £3,000,000 has been incurred in the development of hydroelectric Dower.
– Unlock some of the lands.
– There is not as much land locked up in Tasmania as there is in New South Wales ; but I should be very pleased to force that land open, because at present there is not very much good land available. Tasmania was landed in an expenditure of £3,000,000 in connexion with Repatriation. That should, have been a Federal, and not a State, obligation. The public debt of Tasmania has thus had added to it an amount of £6,000,000, which is a heavy burden to place upon the shoulders of 216,000 people. We hope, before very long, to offer to industrial enterprise the allurement of cheap power. In Hobart, power is being sold to the Electrolytic Zinc Company for £2 per horse-power. Other industries are starting, lt is intended in a little while to add to our activities the manufacture of superphosphates. The farmers of Australia will then be able to obtain superphosphates at a considerable, reduction on the prices at present ruling. We have established woollen mills. The carbide industry is struggling along, in spite of the opposition of the Federal
Government. We hope that, in the very near future, as the result of this expenditure of public money, we shall be able to look after ourselves and attract population from the other States, thus making it unnecessary for us to approach the Commonwealth Government for assistance. That assistance is urgently necessary at the present time. I should not like to see in the Federal Parliament a parochial spirit which would deny to a small State so badly hit and so handicapped as Tasmania is at the present time, some measure of relief. I hope that this measure will pass without serious opposition.
– Senator Ogden’s woeful tale, I am sure, must have moved the Senate almost to tears. From time to time we have heard of the scenic beauties of Tasmania, of its undeveloped wealth, of its illimitable resources, and . other advantages, and this has led quite a number of us to believe that, given the opportunity, Tasmania would become one of the brightest gems in the Australian union. I confess that I have cited Tasmania from time to time as an example of what a State ought to be, more’ particularly when I have been advocating the establishment of new States. The speeches that I have heard on this motion, more particularly the remarks of my honorable friend, Senator Ogden, have knocked sideways some of my most cherished opinions. The advocates of the new States idea in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, and other parts, argue that if the big States can be cut up into smaller areas greater efficiency will result than is possible under present conditions. I subscribe to that principle. I have been a supporter of the new States idea. I believe that, if the northern portion of New South Wales were constituted a new State, that area could be administered in a way that is not possible under existing conditions. We have always preached the doctrine that efficiency follows the establishment of small States : that the result is a lower cost of administration, lighter taxation of the people, and a number of other advantages. Now we are informed by the Tasmanian representatives that the smallness of Tasmania, with its consequent comparative weakness in resources, is a disadvantage, and, therefore, the large States that we have aimed at cutting up should not be subdivided. I listened with interest to Senator Ogden in his endeavour to refute some of the arguments adduced by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), who submitted certain facts which must be answered by those supporting the Bill, and particularly the representatives of Tasmania, if they wish to make out a strong case for this grant. I have other figures showing that Tasmania to-day is receiving fair treatment from the Commonwealth, but is not giving a fair deal in return. During the last session of the last Parliament, the Treasurer, through the then Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator E. D. Millen), supplied Senator Thomas with the following figures dealing on a percentage basis with the Commonwealth taxation paid by the various States : -
If we group the whole of the taxation figures, we find that the result works out in this way -
On these figures, Tasmania pays 2 per cent. of the taxation received by the Commonwealth. Tasmania has 41/2 per cent. of the total population of the Commonwealth within its borders, but its people are relatively paying less per head than the people in the rest of the Commonwealth.
– The figures of the Commonwealth Statistician put the position plainly.
– These figures are authoritative and clear, and, to repeat the words of the honorable senator, they are so plain that any ordinary schoolboy could understand them. Tasmania, with 41/2 per cent. of the population of the Commonwealth, is paying only 2 per cent. of the taxation collected. When other States come to the Federal Parliament for assistance, as Queensland did recently–
SenatorFoll. That assistance did not benefit Queensland solely.
– No. But other States have been attacked in this Chamber by Tasmanian representatives when appeals have been made on their behalf. On a percentage basis, as revealed by , the Treasurer’s figures, the proportion of the £85,000 which will be paid by each State will be - .
– Tasmania is making almost a similar contribution to Western Australia at present.
– If any State needs special consideration it is Western Australia.
– What would be Tasmania’s share ?
– Roughly, £3,000. These are unchallengeable official figures, published in Hansard, Vol. XCIX,, page 961. They clearly show that Tasmania is not paying her fair share of taxation to the Commonwealth in comparison with the other States in the Federation. I do not wish to enter into a discussion on some of the questions raised during the debate, but I wish to refer to the point raised by Senator Ogden, who said that New South Wales has received from the Commonwealth extraordinary assistance in the shape of the expenditure on the Federal Capital territory. Although a sum of £2,000,000 has been spent on that commendable project, the Federal Capital has not yet been established, but on the figures which. I have quoted, 45 per cent, of that amount has been contributed by the taxpayers of New South Wales. The Federal Capital territory was handed over to the Commonwealth by the people of New South Wales as a free gift.
– And will return substantial amounts in rents.
-Yes, which will more than pay interest on the capital cost.
– The land is still there.
– But a portion now belongs to Tasmania, which will eventually derive some benefit. The Federal Capital territory comprises an enormous tract of country equal in size to the good areas in Tasmania, and in that territory the people of . Tasmania now have an interest. In view of the facts submitted by Senator Ogden and others, one would be hardhearted to oppose the grant, and I do not intend to do so on this occasion. I feel, however, that the time has arrived when we ought to issue a warning to the Tasmanian people that this is the last occasion on which assistance in this form can be rendered.We have made that statement repeatedly since 1932, but every year its representatives approach the Commonwealth to save their people from carrying their fair share of taxation. The Tasmanian people must realize the responsibilities of citizenship, and make a determined attempt to square their ledger by imposing taxation upon their own people, and wisely administering their own affairs. There appears to be a growing disposition on the part of not only States, but also bodies within the States, to approach the Commonwealth for financial grants for all sorts of purposes. In agreeing to the demands which are made, the Commonwealth Parliament is going beyond its jurisdiction. If a State should become financially embarrassed owing to circumstances over which it has no control, it might be fair to ask for assistance, but Tasmania has not so suffered. It has never experienced drought, and has not had to make provision for assisting its primary producers.
– Yes it has.
– Not tothe extent that other States have. Tasmania has spent, perhaps, several thousand pounds in assisting its primary producers, where other States have spent millions.
– The honorable senator will find that Tasmania has spent more per capita on its primary producers than any other State in the Commonwealth.
– It evidently has not done sufficient, and an attempt should bo made to improve its position by efficient administration and by imposing higher taxation so as to bring its rate of taxation per head up to that imposed by other States, such as Queensland or New South Wales.
– Its taxation per head exceeds that of New South Wales.
– Not on the figures quoted by Senator Gardiner, who showed that the taxation of Tasmania is not equal to that in New South Wales or Queensland.
– Senator Gardiner quoted the figures for the year 1920-21.
– The taxation per head is lower than that paid by the people in States from which Tasmania is seeking financial assistance. If taxation were being imposed on an equal basis there might be some excuse for seeking assistance, in which case, it would be the duty of the Commonwealth authorities to see what could be done. Tasmanian finances do not appear to be in the condition indicated by some honorable senators and honorable members of another place. I believe Tasmania to be financially sound. Its industries are prospering. Tasmanians have boasted from time to time that when they have completed the hydro-electric scheme they will be able to undersell most of the industries with which they are competing on the mainland of Australia, even after they have paid freights across the straits. If that be so, Tasmania’s prospects are very good. They have a magnificent industry in “ Tattersall’s,” from which they receive an enormous revenue paid by ‘the people of the whole of Australia.
– In that respect Tasmania is trading on the immorality of the people of Australia!
– A most deplorable thing to do ! For these reasons I feel that, while we may give the grant to Tasmania on this occasion, it is time that we put our foot down and said, “ This is the last time we shall do it.” Unless Tasmanians can run their State as it ought to be run, and as the other States of the Commonwealth are run, independently of the Commonwealth and of each other, it is about time the Commonwealth put in a receiver and administered its affairs, in the interests of its people and the people of Australia generally. I shall vote for the Bill; but I hope I shall not be asked to give another vote in the same direction.
– I give this Bill my strongest possible opposition. I want to assure Senator Ogden, and any other honorable senator who may speak in its favour, that there is no doubt about my position. What are we asked to do? The Bill asks us to - grant arid apply out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, n sum for the purposes of financial assistance to Hie State oil Tasmania.
It goes further into detail, and says -
There shall be payable out of the Consolidated .Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, for the purposes of financial assistance to the State of Tasmania during the year ending the thirtieth day of Juno, One thousand nine hundred and twenty-four, the sum oi Eighty-five thousand pounds.
The mere fact that on previous occasions this Parliament has seen fit to vote large sums of money to Tasmania is no reason why that injustice should be perpetuated. It was never intended that the rest of Australia should be called upon year after year to come to the assistance of Tasmania. I am surprised that men who are well fed, well clothed, and as sleek as professional agitators, should come here and go round cap in baud, begging from the remainder of the people of the Commonwealth. If we were living in a state of society where the laws were equally and firmly administered, those men would be given in charge under the Vagrancy Act, and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. If an ordinary workman in my State .is caught begging, he is immediately pounced upon by the police, taken before a magistrate, and, without remorse, is given a fairly long term* of imprisonment. Why ? Because the State is of opinion that he ought to assist himself and do some useful work instead of being a burden on the rest of the community. Yet we find that men who are apparently decent, upright, honest, respectable, well fed, and well clothed, have the hardihood to come to Parliament and ask us, the representatives of the other States,, to permit them to dip into the Treasury funds for something for which they have never worked. Senator Ogden relies upon the Constitution as something which gives Tasmania, if not a legal, at least a moral, right to accept this money from the Commonwealth. Section 96 of the Constitution says -
During a period of ten years after the establishment of the Commonwealth, and thereafter until the Parliament otherwise provides, the
Parliament may grant financial assistance to any State on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit.
The granting of assistance is merely optional. There is -nothing mandatory in that respect in the Constitution. On the flimsiest possible pretexts the Tasmanian representatives have been able year after year to extract enormous sums from the Commonwealth Treasury. ‘We. were informed by Senator Ogden that the State of New South Wales had repeatedly sent into this Chamber men who were Free Traders, and he blamed them for the alleged dilapidated condition in which Tasmania now finds itself. I entirely disagree with him. I do not admit for one moment that Tasmania is in the dilapidated and bankrupt condition that its representatives would have us believe when they try to justify themselves in begging a few pounds from the Commonwealth. Theirs is a most humiliating and degrading position for any respectable representatives of the people to occupy. I can understand those hon.orable senators being ashamed,’ of themselves when they come here cap in hand, creeping, crawling, and cringing for a gift of. a few pounds. It is a disgraceful, despicable position for them to occupy, and if’ I were a Tasmanian I would resent it even more bitterly than I do now. I believe in people paying their way promptly, and not leaning on others. So far as the Constitution is concerned, Tasmania has neither a moral nor a legal claim on the Commonwealth for any sum of money. I disagree entirely with Senator Ogden ‘s contention that the men sent to this Chamber by New South Wales have been in any way responsible for the present condition df affairs in Tasmania. I do not admit that the condition of Tasmania is such as to entitle it to a donation from the Commonwealth funds. Tasmania does not tax its people to the same extent as do the other States of the Commonwealth, and while. that remains so I contend that its representatives have no right to make a claim for support. The records placed at our disposal by the Commonwealth Statistician contain no evidence that Tasmania is imposing taxation to the same extent as is the rest of Australia. It is, no doubt, very interesting for honorable senators to quote statistics of the population, and area of Tasmania, but I hold that the best and most convincing argument is to be found in the amount of taxation per head imposed in Tasmania as compared withthat in the other States. On page 670 of the official Y ear-Book of the Commonwealth, number 15, there is a table showing the revenue of the States from various sources per head of the population in 1920-21. From that ‘I take the following statement: -
I invite the attention of honorable senators representing Tasmania to those figures. The average taxation from those sources in the whole of the Commonwealth is £15 2s. per head, but the people of Tasmania contribute only £9 17s. l0d. In these circumstances, it is an outrage of the first order that the representatives of Tasmania are attempting to commit upon the people of the Commonwealth. If the people of Tasmania’ were paying more per head in taxation, if its representatives were able toshow that its people could not pay more taxation, there would be some justification for granting relief from the Commonwealth Treasury, but in the circumstances prevailing their claim is most unfair. I certainly shall not give my countenance to it for one moment. Turning now to page 682 of the same official publication, we find figures which, perhaps, are not quite so conclusive, as they are not quoted per head of the population. They show that in 1919-20 by way of State land tax New South Wales collected £2,834; Victoria, £314,217; Queensland, £459,188; South Australia, £146,33.6; Western Australia, £46,415; and Tasmania, £87,785.
– The amount collected in Tasmania is more than that for New South Wales.
– Yes ; but New South Wales does not go cap in hand to the Commonwealth asking that its local revenue be subsidized. On page 685 one sees another interesting table which was partially quoted by Senator Ogden. It is a return showing the percentage of various items on the total loan expenditure of the States to the 30th June, 1921. He quoted the railways and tramways of New South Wales as representing 56.67 per cent, as against Tasmania with 29.67 per cent. He gave us to understand that the loan investments of New South Wales were put into utilities that were substantially revenueproducing. I doubt very much if that is correct. I am under the impression that, if the railways and tramways of my State pay interest on the capital cost, it is about as much as they manage to do. But there is another item that the honorable senator did not mention, namely - harbors, rivers, roads, and bridges. In New South Wales 11.31 per cent of loan money is invested in this direction as against 26.34 per cent. in Tasmania. I do not know whether those works are highly productive ; but it is utterly reprehensible on Tasmania’s part to impose a poll tax on all Australians entering and leaving Launceston. I have visited Tasmania on many occasions, and I probably know it almost as well as thosehonorable senators who represent it in this Parliament. It is not the infertilecountry that some of its representativeswould have us believe, for it has some magnificent stretches of forest and agricultural lands that are rich in every way. Let the Government of Tasmania raise more revenue from its big land-holders. In New South Wales the loan expenditure per head of the population amounts’ to £7 0s. 7d., as against £12 5s. lid. in Tasmania. That is not the way that the island State should act if it wishes to make progress. I do not attach very much importance to the deposits inthe Banks, because I think they indicate that the people, instead of speculating their money, allow others to invest it for them. In New South Wales the deposits per head amount to £51 5s. 3d., as against £36 4s. 7d. in Tasmania. The explanation of the difference, I take it, is that Tasmania, puts more money intoreproductive enterprises than New South Wales does. State taxation in my State in 1920-21 amounted to £3 10s. 8d. per head, as against £3 6s. 7d. in Tasmania. Here, again, Tasmania is. below New South Wales, and, as a matter of fact, it has the lowest figures for the whole of the Commonwealth.. In the circumstances, I cannot understand why the Government entertain the idea of giving that State a special grant. It is a demoralizing way of treating the people of Tasmania, who are strong enough and wealthy enough to stand on their own feet. I resent their effort to put their hand into the public purse.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clause 1 (Short title).
– I direct attention to the want of a quorum. [Quorum formed.]
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to.
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) - “ That the report be now adopted “ - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 17
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Crawford) read a first time.
Bill received from House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read’ a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.
– I move -
That the Bill be now read a second, time.
Before dealing with the provisions of the Bill, I should like to refer briefly to what has been accomplished under our War Service Homes legislation. Since the commencement of operations, the total expenditure to 30th June, 1923, was £17,022,907, made up of-
The allocation of this expenditure is as follows : -
Up to 30th June, 1923, 21,238 homes were provided, 7,966 built, and 13,272 purchased and the mortgages discharged. Homes have been provided in the various States as follow : -
The details as to houses built and houses purchased are as follows : -
Up to tha 30th June last the receipts amounted to £3,977,4.99, made up as follows : -
The .position, therefore, i £17,022,907 has been spent, and £3,977,499 has been received, and there is owing to the Treasury the sum of £13,045,408.
The actual loss to 30th June, 1922, is £1,103,088. The losses incurred during 1922-23, and further estimated loss on disposal of surplus stock, timber areas, litigation, &c, is £525,808, making a total of £1,628,888. The main items of the above loss are set out thus: -
Apart from this expenditure, there ha3 been expended from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to 30th June, 1923, as the Government’s contribution to the scheme, which is not charged to the soldier applicants, but is borne by the general taxpayer, the following sums in administrative expenses, namely : -
The Bill provides that the maximum term of repayment in the ease of widows and widowed mothers of returned soldiers may be increased to fifty years in the case of brick houses (now thirty-seven years) and forty years in the case of wooden houses (now twenty-five years). In addition, the Minister is empowered to increase the existing maximum periods in any cases where the circumstances justify it. The maximum periods at present are - Brick or concrete houses, thirty-seven years; wooden houses, twenty-five years.
– Does the Department expect that these wooden houses will last only twenty-five years ?
– That is the maximum period for which advances may be made at present. In the case of widows, the time may be extended to forty years. Wooden houses last .a considerable number of years if they are kept in a proper state of repair. The Bill also provides that the Commission may grant additional advances, exceeding £800 - which is the limit provided by the Act - for the purpose of enabling the applicant who is purchasing a home to install sewerage, electric light or other conveniences where such services do not exist. By another amendment the power of the Commissioner is restricted. At present, the Commissioner may expend up to £5,000 in connexion with any contract. The Bill reduces this amount to £2,000. Before he undertakes to expend above that sum, the Commissioner must seek and obtain the approval of the Min,ister. Under the. Act, the term of the appointment of the Commissioner is seven years. The Bill provides that he shall be appointed for a period not ex- ceeding three years. A further restriction is being placed upon the Commissioner in regard to the purchase of land. In the past, the Commissioner made extensive purchases of land. The Bill provides that the Commissioner may not purchase land except in connexion with a definite application. Proposed purchases of laud other than in connexion with definite applications - must first of all receive the approval of the Minister.
– The former Commissioner, by an ingenious method, got round that limitation.
– The previous Commissioner exceeded his statutory powers on a number of occasions. Although there is no reference to it in the Bill, it is well known that a number of houses which were built, especially in the early stages of this legislation, exceeded the statutory limitation of cost, namely, £800. Notwithstanding the fact that a great many of these houses, when they were valued, had placed on’ them a value considerably in excess of £800, the Government has decided that the soldiers shall not be charged more than £800.
– In many cases, the value is not there, yet thesoldier is being debited with that amount.
– Where that value is not present, the soldier will have to pay only the value of the property; and even though the value is in excess of £800, he will have to pay only £800.
– In many cases he was asked to pay a greater amount.
– He was. However; a Commission was appointed, and whenever a dispute arose the home was valued. The soldier is not now being asked to pay more than the true value of the home.
– Does that mean that the soldier who has a house worth more than £800 will be given a concession that the soldier who has a house worth under £800 will not get?
– Yes; because there was an implied contract that the house was not to cost more than £800. The; soldier will not be charged more than £800 unless he made arrangements to be provided with a higher-priced home. Another proposed amendment of the principal Act deals with the Bale of land. Whilst most of the land has been well purchased, in some instances the Commissioner paid more than its value. The Bill gives the
Commissioner power to sell the land at a price not exceeding the capital cost; in other words, the Commissioner may make i loss on the sale of land to soldier applicants, but he. may not make a profit.
– Will the maximum of £800 include provision for sewerage?
– No. Provision is made whereby the cost of sewerage and. lighting may be added to the £800. That applies to houses which may be built in the future as well as those that may be bought, in which no provision has been made for lighting or sewerage. There are quite a number of other amendments, but I think that they can be better explained in Committee, ‘ Debate (on motion by Senator Grant) adjourned.
– I move-
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Iask honorable senatorsto come tomorrow prepared to assist, as they have very generously assisted to-day, in putting through the Bills that await our consideration. I believe that, if honorable senators continue to give the generous treatment that they have extended to the Government during this session, it will not be necessary, as at one time I thought would be the case, for the Senate to meet on Monday. The debates have occupied only a reasonable length of time, and we should be able to pass the legislation that it is desired to pass, without having to ask honorable senators to attend on Monday,
– When may we expect to receive the Estimates?
– I hope that we shall receive them to-morrow. There has been a general debate already on the motion “ That the Estimates and Budget-papers be printed.” However, we should have them early in’ the coining week. In the belief that we shall make the same progress that we haveso far made, I do not intend asking the Senate to attend on Monday. It may, of course be necessary next week to have some morning sittings; that will depend on the progress we make.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.11 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 August 1923, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1923/19230816_senate_9_105/>.