27 March 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and road prayers

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Senator PEARCE:
Minister of Home and Territories · WESTERN AUSTRALIA · NAT

– These regulations, together with the Ordinance under which t hey are made, are at present being, subject to review. As a matter of fact, they Are. in draft in the Attorney-General’s Department, and will shortly be made available.

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– Will the Leader of the Senate state whether it is the intention of the Government to give Parliament an opportunity to discuss the final disposition of the battleship Australia under tie terms of the Washington Treaty ?

Senator PEARCE:

– I cannot promise that any- special motion will be brought forward to enable that matter to be discussed, but I imagine that it is capable of being discussed on several propositions that will shortly be submitted to the Senate.

Senator FOLL:

– Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a statement that appeared in the press recently to the effect that an agitation has - been started in Japan by a certain number of people, who have approached the Government of the United’ States of America, as one of the signatories to the Washington Treaty, in an endeavour to save Admiral Togo’s battleship, which ]they state is now obsolete, and which they wish to keep as a national memento? If such a course were approved, would it not create a precedent, and enable the

Commonwealth to deal, in a similar manner with: Australia’s first battleship, the Australia?

Senator PEARCE:

– I have seen a statement somewhat of the nature referred to. I do not think any governmental action was taken. The agitation seemed to be confined to private individuals. If such action were taken by Japan, with the consent of the Allies, it would undoubtedly create a precedent, and it is just because of that fact that it is undesirable for Australia to create the- precedent.

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Assent to the following Bills of 1923 reported..: -

Removal of Prisoners (Territories) Act. Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. Post and Telegraph Bates Act. Post and Telegraph Act. War Service Homes- Act. Advances to Settlers’ Act. River Murray Waters Act. Sulphur Bounty Act. Customs Tariff Act. Shale On Bounty Act. Special Annuity Act. Tariff Board Act. Income Tax Act. Income Tax Assessment Act. Income Tax Collection Act. Land-‘ Tax Assessment Act. Taxation of Loans Act. Agreements Validation Act. Wheat Pool Advances Act. Air Force Act.

War Precautions Act Repeal Act. Loan Act.

Appropriation Act 1923-24.

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Tha PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - I have to announce that I have received a memorandum from His Excellency the Governor-General forwarding a copy of a letter received by the British Ambassador at Washington from the Secretary of the Department of State, Washington, on the subject of the resolutions of the Senate and the House of Representatives relating to the death, of the late President of the United States of America:.. The letter reads as follows : -

Department of State,

Washington, 12th October, 1823


I have the Honour to acknowledge the receipt of your note, No. 865, of 5th October, 1923, with which you were so- good as to transmit, at the request of Hia Excellency the GovernorGeneral ot the Commonwealth of Australia, two sets of extractsfrom the records of the Australian Parliament signed by the President of the Australian Senate and by the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, and containing resolutions relating to the death of the late President Harding.

Thanking you for your good offices in bringing the resolutionsto the knowledge of this Government, I shall be grateful if you will kindly assure the Governor-General that these evidences of the friendly regard which the legislative bodies of the Commonwealth of Australia entertained for the late President are most highly appreciated by the President and the Government of the United States.

I have directed that one set of the resolutions, together with your note, be deposited in the permanent archives of the Department of Statefor preservation, and I am forwarding the other set to Mrs. Harding, who doubtless will be no less appreciative of the friendly sympathy of the Australian Commonwealth.

Accept, sir, the renewed assurances of my high consideration. (Sd.) Charles E. Hughes

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– I have to inform the Senate that, on the death of Sir Walter Davidson, Governor of New South Wales, in September last, I conveyed to the Premier of that State the sympathy and sorrow of members of the Senate, and that I have received a reply from the Premier of New South Wales thanking the Senate, and stating that the message of sympathy has been communicated to Dame Margaret Davidson.

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– I have to announce to the Senate the receipt of a letter from Miss Bakhap, on behalf of the members of the family of the late Senator T. J. K. Bakhap, thanking the Senate for its resolution of sympathy on the occasion of the death of that honorable senator.

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The PRESIDENT laid on the table his warrant appointing Senator Greene to be a member of the Committee of Disputed Returns and Qualifications, to fill the vacancy existing on the Committee.

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The following papers were presented : -

Advances to Settlers Act - Regulations -

Statutory Rules 1923, No. 206.

Air Force Act and Defence Act- Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1923, No. 154 -No. 199.

Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinatons by the Arbitrator, &c. -

No. 38 of 1923- Line Inspectors’ Association.

No. 39 of 1923 - Commonwealth Medical Quarantine Officers’ Association.

No. 40 of 1923- Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers’ Association.

No. 41 of 1923 - Meat Inspectors’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 42 of . 1923 - Australian Postal Electricians’ Union.

Nos. 43 and 44 of 1923 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service, and Commonwealth Legal Professional Officers’ Association.

No. 45 of 1923 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.

No. 46 of 1923 - Arms, Explosives, and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia ; Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Australasian Society of Engineers.

No. 47 of 1923 - Postal Sorters’ Union of Australia.

No. 48 of 1923- Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No. 49 of 1923- Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

Nos. 50, 51, 52, 53, and 54 of 1923- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association; Australian Postal Electricians’ Union; Australian Postal Linemen’s Union; Line Inspectors’ Association; and Commonwealth Public Service Artisans’ Association.

No 55 of 1923 - Arms, Explosives, and Munition Workers’ ‘Federation of Australia ; Amalgamated Engineering Union; and Australasian Society of Engineers.

No. 56 of 1923 - Arms, Explosives, and MunitionWorkers’ Federation of Australia.

No. 57 of 1923 - Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association.

No. 58 of 1923 - Australian Letter Carriers’ Association.

No. 59 of 1923- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association.

Audit Act - Finance : Treasurer’s Statement of Receipts and Expenditure during -year ended 30th June, 1923, accompanied by the report of the Auditor-General.

Audit Act -

Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 211; 1924, No. 3.

Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1922-23- dated 8th October. 1923. Financial Year 1923-24- dated 4th October, 1923; dated 14th November, 1923; dated 28th November, 1923; dated 20th December, 1923 ; dated 16th January, 1924; dated 26th February, 1924; dated 13th March, 1924.

AustralianSoldiers’Repatriation Act- Report of the Repatriation Commission for year ended30th June,1928.

Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923. Nos. 101, 112, 113, 127, 129, 130, 165, 194, 195; 1924, Nos. 8, 18, 21, 25.

Commonwealth Bank Act - Aggregate Balance-sheet of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, together with Statement of liabilities and Assets of the Note Issue Department, and Auditor-General’s reports thereon -

As at 30th June, 1923.

As at 31st December, 1923.

Commonwealth Bank Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, Nos. 2, 32.

Contract Immigrants Act - Return for 1923, respecting Contract Immigrants admitted or refused admission into the Commonwealth, &c.

Customs Act-

Proclamations -

Dated 5th September, 1923. prohibiting exportation of all seeds and maize contained in second-hand bags.

Dated 9th November, 1923, prohibiting exportation (except under certain conditions) of certain cinematograph films.

Dated 21st November, 1923, revoking proclamation of 20th December, 1919, relating to the exportation of cinematograph films.

Dated 5th December, 1923, relating to the exportation of animals and the skins thereof.

Dated 5th December, 1923, relating to the exportation of birds and the skins, eggs, and plumage thereof.

Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 119, 132, 148,166, 193, 205; 1924, No. 20.

Deceased Soldiers’ Estates Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 10. Defence Act -

Regulations amended. &c. - Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 107, 115, 159, 102, 163, 170, 171, 172. 173, 179, 198, 200, 201; 1924, Nos. 9,11, 12.

Royal Military College of Australia - Report for the year 1922-1923.

Electoral Act- Joint Electoral Rolls in Victoria - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1924. No. 37.

Excise Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules, 1923, No. 150; 1924, Nos. 19, 20, 32.

High Court Procedure Act - Rule, of Court - Dated 24th October. 1923.

Immigration Act- Return for 1923, respecting persons admitted or refused ajrlriiission into the Commonwealth, &c.

Income Tax Assessment Act - Regulations, &c, amended- (Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 130, 170, 177, 197; 1924. No. 23.

Iron and Steel Products Bounty Act - Statement by the Minister for Trade and Customs of reasons for allowing the use of certain imported articles in manufactures (Tractors) on which bounty is payable.

Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired -

For Customs purposes - Carnarvon, Western Australia.

For Defence purposes - Adelaide, South Australia; Liverpool, New South Wales; Peninsula, Perth, Western Australia.

For Lighthouse purposes - Eclipse Island, Western Australia.

For Postal Purposes -

New South Wales - Belmore, Erskineville, Roseville. Wentworthville.

Queensland- Goomeri, Mundubbera , Sarina, Toowong, Yarraman.

South Australia - Brinkworth. Cummins, Rose Park. West Adelaide.

Tasmania - Lilydale.

Victoria - Chelsea, Goroke, Hampton,

Heyfleld, Lake Boga, Mildura. Nvah West.

Western Australia - Dahvallinu, Kondinin, Koorda, Northam.

Meat Export Bounties Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 125.

Nationality Act - Return of persons to whom naturalization certificates were granted during 1923.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended. &c- Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 128, 160, 101, 202, 203, 208, 209, 210; 1924, Nos. 13. 16, 17, 34, 35.

New Guinea -

Ordinances of 1923 -

No. 31 - Re-appropriation 1921-22.

No. 32- Land (No. 3).

No. 33 - Expropriation (No. 2).

No. 34- Mining (No. 2).

No. 35 - Interpretation and Amendments incorporation.

No. 36 - Laws Repeal and Adopting.

No. 37- Supply (No. 3) 1923-24.

No. 38 - Business Tax (Amount).

No. 39 - Companies.

No. 40 - Public Service (No. 3).

No. 41- Supply (No. 4) 1923-24.

No. 42 - Mininsr (No. 3).

No. 43-43upply (No. 5) 1923-24.

No. 44 - Mining (No. 4).

Ordinances of 1924 -

No. 1 - Laws Repeal and Adopting.

No. 2 - ‘Native Labour.

No. 3 - Town Boundaries.

No. 4 - District Courts.

No. 5 - Companies.

No.6- Supply (No. 6) 1923-24.

No. 7 - Land.

No.8- Supply (No. 7) 1923-24.

Norfolk Island - Report of Administrator for year ended 30th June, 1923.

Norfolk Island -

Ordinances of 1923 -

No. 6 - Melanesian Mission Lands (No. 2).

No. 7 - Slaughtering.

No. 8 - Administration.

Northern Territory -

Ordinances of 1923-

No. 12- Health.

No. 13- Darwin Town Council (No. 3).

No. 14 - Slaughtering .

No. 15 - Contracts.

No. 16-Brands.

No. 17- Dog.

No.18 - Government Hospitals.

No. 19 - Dingo Destruction.

No. 20 - Police, and Police Offences.

No. 21 - Workmen’s Compensation.

Ordinances of 1924 -

No. 1 - Opium Smoking Prohibition.

No. 2 - Slaughtering.

No. 3 - Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement).

No. 4 -Workmen’s Compensation.

No. 5 - Health.

No. 6 - Poisons.

No. 7 - Tin Dredging.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act, and Northern Territory Crown Lands Act (of South Australia) - Proclamation, dated l6th January, 1924, resuming a reserve for recreation purposes in the Hundred of Bagot, together with statement giving reasons for such resumption.

Papua -

Ordinances of 1923-

No. 4 - British New Guinea Development Company Limited.

No. 5- Customs (Export) Tariff.

No.6- Supply, 1923-1924.

No. 7 - Pearl, Pearl-shell and Beche-de- mer.

No. 8 - Registration of Firms.

No. 9 - Navigation.

No. 10 - Dangerous Drugs.

No. 11 - Supplementary Appropriation (No. 2), 1922-1923.

No. 12 - Appropriation, 1923-1924.

No. 14 - Companies.

No. 15 -Customs (Export) Tariff (No. 2).

No. 16 - Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement).

Ordinances of 1924 -

No. 1 - Mineral Oil and Coal.

No. 2- Mineral Oil and Coal (No. 2).

Public Service Act -

Appointments -

Attorney-General’s Department - N. P. P.Webbe.

Department of Health - P. J. Campbell; R. Y. Mathew; E. A. Richards; R. W. Cilento; L. E. Cooling; A. H. Baldwin.

Department of Trade and Customs - I. J. Burch; A. Moore; K. Ditcham; C. D. Matheson; A. J. Sutherland.

Department of Works and Railways - K. B. Hudson; A. M. Opie; J. M. Norton.

Home and Territories Department - W. G. Duflield.

List of Permanent Officers of the Commonwealth Public Service as on 30th June, 1923.

Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 120, 137, 138, 145, 146. 168, 190, 207, 212; 1924, No. 7.

Report of Royal Commission appointed to inquire into certain purchases of sugar by the Commonwealth through Mr. W. E. Davios in September and October, 1920.

Shale Oil Bounty Act - Regulations amended -Statutory Rules 1923, No. 140.

Sulphur Bounty Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 149.

Superannuation Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 167.

Territory for the Seat of Government - Ordinances of 1923 -

No. 7 - Leases.

No. 8 - Seat of Government Railway.

No. 9 - Trespass on Commonwealth Lands.

No. 10 - Trespass on Common wealth Lands.

Trading with the Enemy Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 189.

Treaties of Peace (Austria and Bulgaria) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 152, 153, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188; 1924, Nos. 27, 28.

Treaty of Peace Act- Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, No. 31.

Treaty of Peace (Germany) Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1923,Nos. 151,180, 181, 182; 1024,No. 46.

Treaty of Peace (Hungary) Act - Regulations -Statutory Rules 1924, No. 29.

War-time Profits Tax Assessment Act - Board of Referees Rules - Statutory Rules 1923, No. 142.

Report of tho Royal Commission in connexion with Joinery supplied to the War Service Homes Commissioner in March, 1920.

Post and Telegraph Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 116, 117, 118, 122, 123, 143, 144, 157, 158, 178, 191, 102; 1924, Nos. 4, 5, 6, 14, 15, 22, 41, 42, 43, 44.

Railways Act - By-law No. 27.

River Murray Waters Act - River Murray Commission - Report for year ended 30th June, 1923.

War Service Homes Act -

Land acquired in New South Wales at Bega, Coogee, East Maitland, Nowra, Richmond, Rose Bay, Walcha, Waverloy, Wollongong, Yass.

Memorandum of Arrangement between the War Service Homes Commissioner and the State of Tasmania relating to the purchase of land,’ erection of dwelling houses, &c, in that State.

Revocation of notification of acquisition of land at Richmond, New South Wales.

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Senator FOLL:

– Will the AuditorGeneral’s report, which has just been presented, be printed so that it may be discussed by the Senate, or will the placing of it on the table make it available for discussion ?

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens:

– The report is already in print, and will be available for discussion when the opportunity offers.

Senator PEARCE:

– The AuditorGeneral’s report is presented to the Senate to enable honorable senators to discuss any financial proposals that may be submitted in the light- of that report on the finances of the Commonwealth.

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Wages Paid at Swan Bay.

Senator GUTHRIE:

– Some time ago 1 asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence a question relating to the wages paid to employees of the Defence Department at Swan Bay and elsewhere. Is a reply yet available?

Senator PEARCE:

– On the 24th August Inst Senator Guthrie asked the following question : -

Is there any truth in the statement that, at Swan Bay, near Queenscliff, the Defence Department is paying certain employees less than the basic wage?

I am now advised by the Minister for Defence that the reply to the question is in the negative.

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Senator PEARCE:
‘Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT

(By leave.) - The following arrangement has been made for Ministerial representation in the Senate during the absence of Senator Wilson: -“The Minister for Trade and Customs and Minister for Health will be represented by my honorable colleague, Senator Crawford, and the Minister for Defence and the AttorneyGeneral will be represented by myself

Senator Gardiner:

– Why not appoint an Acting Minister?

Senator PEARCE:

– Is the honorable senator open for the job?


– No, but I have known one Minister to be in charge of the Senate with disastrous results to himself.


Senator OGDEN:

asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

If the Federal revenues ore largely benefited as a result of the operations- of “ Tattersall “ sweeps, will be take steps to repeal any legislation which places an embargo Upon the delivery of letters to that institution’?

Honorary Minister · QUEENSLAND · NAT

-It is not pro- . posed to take steps to amend the law in the manner’ suggested.

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Senator PEARCE:
Western AustraliaMinister for Home and Territories · NAT

(By leave.) - The motion I intend to submit reads -

  1. That the summary of proceedings of the Imperial Conference, 1923, and the resolutions of the Imperial Economic Conference, 1923, bo printed.
  2. That this Senate approves of the conclusions of the Imperial Conference as set out in the summary of proceedings relating to-

    1. Foreign relations;
    2. Negotiation, signature, and ratification of treaties;
    3. Defence.
  3. That this Senate approves of the resolutions Of the Imperial Economic Conference relating to -

    1. Imperial preference; jb) Imperial Economic Committee.

Copies of these summaries the being distributed, so that honorable senators will have at their disposal full information on the matters te -which the proposed resolutions relate. It will be remembered that the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) undertook to call Parliament together immediately after his return from these Imperial Conferences’, and promised that he would not only place before Parliament the ‘fullest information in regard to the various subjects dealt with, but also- outline the attitude he had assumed thereat. More publicity was given through the press to the transactions of these Conferences than to those held on any previous occasion, and this makes my task a light one, since honorable senators are already well aware of a great deal that took place. It is my intention, therefore, to refer more particularly to the matters mentioned in the motion I have just read. A great many subjects were dealt with at the- Conferences, hut it is unnecessary for me to refer to a large number of them. Summarized, the- reasons for the Conferences were (1) to promote a good understanding between the nations comprising the British Empire; (2) to try to obtain greater unity of action; and (3) to try to extend reciprocal trade within the Empire. The Conferences had these objects in view.

These Conferences, I would remind honorable senators, are consultative .and not executive. And I draw attention to the fact that, notwithstanding a statement to the contrary that has been made in

Australia, the Prime Minister, both at the Imperial Conference and outside it, made it quite clear that he could not commit this Parliament to any of the resolutions arrived at, but that they would have to be confirmed by this Parliament. Although these resolutions are not binding on the Parliament - and the Prime Minister has made our position quite, clear in that respect - I maintain that they are entitled to the greatest respect and the fullest consideration by every part of the British Empire, because they embody the views arrived . at, after consultation and consideration, by the political heads of the various selfgoverning Dominions and of Great Britain itself. They represent, so far as parliamentary government can express them, the opinions of the people of the Dominions and of Great Britain. The view of this Government is that these Conferences are of great value, that they should be held more frequently, and that a secretariat should be constituted in which all the Dominions should be represented. By that means, during the periods between the Conferences, the various subjects that had been brought up and dealt with could be kept alive, and a record made of what action had been taken with respect to them, so that it would not be necessary to begin de novo, as frequently happens, at each recurring Conference. An example of the kind of secretariat to which I refer, and what could be done by it, is afforded by the Imperial War Graves Commission, whose duty it is to see that the graves of the Empire’s sacred dead are eared for in a proper manner. Every Dominion of the British Empire is represented on that Commission. Australia’s representative is the High Commissioner. We are as much interested in such a matter as are the people of the United Kingdom, and our voice is heard on the Commission, which, without elaborate machinery, affords a very effective means of enabling every part of the Empire to express its views. It seems quite practicable to arrange something of the same kind in regard to the Imperial Conferences.

The recent Imperial Conference was notable in one particular, which I think affords a striking instance of the freedom enjoyed within the British Empire. I. refer to -the fact that for- the first’ time the Irish Free . .State was represented in the. same way as the self-governing Dominions. The discussions at the Conference, as honorable senators will see from the full record of the transactions, proceeded with a recognition of, and with emphasis upon, the one great central fact, that, in the interests of Britain, the Dominions, the Colonies and Dependencies of the Empire as a whole, and of civilization generally, the unity of the British Empire should be preserved and strengthened. Around that principle all the discussion and the resolutions centred and at that end they aimed. Differences of opinion may arise as to the methods which should be adopted to achieve that object, but to this central principle I should imagine that all the members of this Parliament can subscribe and give their hearty adherence. These Conferences, working on that principle, proceeded to discuss the various means by which the consolidation, preservation, and strengthening of the “British Empire, which means so much to the world, might be secured.

We come, first of all, to the question of foreign policy, which is of great importance. This, in my judgment, is the touchstone of one’s view as to the British Empire and as to the position in that Empire of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the other selfgoverning Dominions. We lay ‘ it down that Australia, as a part of the Empire, i6 interested in Britain’s foreign policy, and desires to be consulted in regard to that policy. We adopt that attitude because we say that we cannot- be in the Empire and at the same time be out of it. If we are in the Empire, then, obviously, its relations with other countries must affect Australia as they affect every other part of the Empire. I ask honorable ‘ senators who may be doubtful upon that point to apply to themselves what I think is a very effective test. ‘ They may be looking at the Empire, as Australians, from within the Empire, and from “that point of view they may not get quite the right focus. I ask such honorable senators to try to put themselves for the moment in the position of a Japanese subject, or that of a citizen of the United States of America, or a Frenchman, and then to say what their view of the British Empire is. In such circumstances they would not look upon Australia as a separate or divisible part of the Empire; they would view the Empire as one unit. ‘ To a Japanese, an American, or a Frenchman, the British Empire is one, and in so far as foreign affairs are concerned that is the correct view. It is true that within the Empire we have the greatest freedom and liberty in managing our own affairs - we are free and untrammelledbut that is ‘ not the point of view of foreign nations. Foreign affairs and foreign relations within the Empire have to be looked at from- the same point of view as they are looked at from outside the Empire, otherwise we get a wrong perspective. If Britain is at war, then from the view-point of the enemy, every point of the Empire is available for an attack. We know that foreign relations are the determining factors for war or peace, and as we live today, unfortunately, in a world of war, this is a most vital and important consideration. If the conduct of Britain’s foreign relations leads to war, we are just as liable, just as open, to attack as is any other part of the Empire. Therefore, from that point of- view, Britain’s foreign policy is of vital concern to us, and we should be consulted in respect to it. Before decisions are arrived at on matters of foreign policy, we should be informed of what is proposed, and our opinion should be sought. Australia stands for peace. We are not a war -loving people. We do not desire war. No section of the people of the Commonwealth desires wax. Obviously, peace is the policy that we should pursue and, therefore, Australia’s voice in any consultation in regard to foreign affairs would be in the direction of securing peace.

There is another point which I should like honorable senators to consider. It was emphasized at the recent Conference, and it is that in the case of war not only would our territory be open to attack, but our ocean-borne trade, which is so vital to us and to the Empire, would also be liable to be attacked, to be interrupted, to be destroyed. That is an additional reason why we should be consulted in regard to matters of foreign policy. We demand consultation, and claim that our views, together with those of the other self-governing Dominions, shall be heard. The Government invite the Senate to subscribe to that principle. We feel that the time has arrived when this Parliament, and not merely the representatives of the Commonwealth at the Conference, should voice that view. We have, therefore, taken the unusual course on this occasion of inviting Parliament, by direct resolution, to subscribe to that view, and to publish it to the world.

The Imperial Conference, proceeding to discuss the question of how peace could be secured, came to several conclusions, which can be summarized in three paragraphs. It put, first of all, the maintenance of the unity of the British Empire. The Conference believed, as we believe, that this is the greatest factor for peace in the world to-day. Without it peace cannot be secured. We point to the whole policy of Great Britain since the war, and the keenest critics of that policy cannot but admit that it is Britain that is leading the Powers in the direction of peace - that is securing the peace of Europe to-day. The Conference said, secondly, that the cultivation of the closest possible relations between the great English-speaking nations of the world - between the United States of America and the British Empire - was yet another way of securing peace; and, thirdly, that still another way of securing peace was by giving the fullest possible support to the League of Nations, so as to insure its power and prestige throughout the world. I wish to draw particular attention to the emphasis which has been laid on the concluding words of .that paragraph, “ the power and prestige of the League of Nations.” The League of Nations cannot secure peace, any more than we could do, by merely passing resolutions. To achieve tha’t desirable end it must have the power to enforce its decisions. The world, had an object lesson in that regard not long ago, in connexion with the incident at Corfu, when a great Power showed its readiness, ana”, indeed, determination, to use its naval strength to enforce its will upon another nation. No one who recalls the history of that trouble will deny that the only means that the League had to enforce respect for its decisions - the only claim it had to make its voice heard on that occasion - was that Britain was a member of it, that Britain was taking a prominent part in the efforts to maintain peace, that she had a great fleet in the Mediterranean, and that she had the power, if she chose to use it, to enforce the decisions of the League, and so keep these combatants from each other.

Senator Ogden:

– The actions of the League in that case were not altogether effective.

Senator PEARCE:

– Its efforts were eventually effective; it was responsible for the settlement of the trouble.

The third of the series of motions which I propose - to submit summarizes the conclusions of the Conference on the subject of peace. I invite honorable senators to closely scrutinize these proposals, for there is nothing in them to which any honorable senator, who desires to assist the cause of peace, cannot subscribe.

Senator Gardiner:

– Does the Minister propose to divide his motion, seeing that the paragraphs contained in it deal with distinct matters ?

Senator PEARCE:

– The Standing Orders permit the President to submit the paragraphs separately if it be considered desirable to do so. la the memorandum circulated, honorable senators will find a much fuller statement of the proceedings of the Conference than is comprised in the summary I have given.

A number of questions dealing with foreign relations were dealt with. * One was reparations by Germany, and the French occupation of the Ruhr, a matter which was fully discussed after the facts had been submitted to the Conference by the British Foreign Minister. After an examination of the facts presented, the Conference determined that the question could only be adequately dealt with by securing the co-operation of the United States. Honorable senators who have traced the history of this matter, will recollect that the Conference happened to be sitting at the time it came into prominence, and, as a matter of fact, it was on the recommendation of the Conference that the British Government took action to endeavour to get the United States of America to join in the appointment of two Committees to ascertain the means of. balancing the German budget and to estimate the amount of Germany’s foreign credit, and arrive at means for’ securing the return of capital to Germany. These steps were taken while the Conference was- sitting, and I am glad to say that the efforts of the British Government to secure the co-operation of the United States of America were successful, the Government of the United States of America being represented on both of the Committees appointed. These Committees will shortly submit their reports, but already, as a result of their appointment, there has been a change in the attitude of France, which, I venture to say, is largely attributable to the fact that America has been brought into the issue, although only in an indirect way. Great Britain, which all along has been pursuing a conciliatory policy, and endeavouring to retard and check the wilder attempts to recover reparations, has in this respect, I think, achieved a notable victory, and has certainly done a great deal to stabilize conditions in Europe. The Conference had also under review the treaty arrived at between the Allies and Turkey, and gave its assent to the principles of that treaty, which will shortly come before this Senate for ratification.

Discussion also arose as to the position in Egypt. The geographical situation of Egypt is of immense importance to Australia,: it lies across one of the arteries of our trade; and as the granting of selfgovernment to that country had opened up a new set of problems to the Empire, and also to Egypt, it was well, I think, that while our Prime Minister was in London the position in Egypt should be discussed. Not only did it give him the opportunity to ascertain the British view of Egyptian matters; it also enabled him to place before the Imperial authorities the Australian view of the question, and the importance of the Egyptian situation to this part of the Empire.

Another important subject that came under review at the Conference was the relations between the British Empire and the United States of America, a matter which is all-important, not only to ourselves and to the Empire, but also to the whole world. One serious source of irritation was affecting the relations of these two great countries at the time the Conference was sitting, and that was the inability of the Government of the United States of America to carry out effectively the law prohibiting the manufacture and sale of liquor in the United States. Negotiations were on foot to secure an extension of the limits within which the Government of the United States of America could seize vessels for search in order to enforce its liquor prohibition laws, and the Conference agreed to recommend Great Britain’s acceptance of the right of the American Government to ‘search vessels -within a 12-miles limit, in order to enable its prohibition laws to be carried out. Whatever may be out opinion in regard ‘to prohibition, I nave no hesitation in saying that the decision arrived at had a very wholesome effect upon the relations “between’ the two great countries., because every matter that affects the United .States of . America is seized nipon hy the opponents of Great Britain in the States to lay to keep the two nations .apart. Any step we .take to obviate that is .certainly in the right direction.

In .regard to information on foreign affairs, the Prime Minister has been ‘kept fully and freely informed during the last twelve months. We have no complaints on that score; but there is something to he done by ourselves. I am not quite sure ‘that the machinery we possess for handling the information we receive is adequate or properly organized. The Prime Minister proposes very shortly so to organize his Department that the information freely and fully sent along to us stall be utilized in the proper manner., .and that Parliament, if necessary, may ‘.be informed of those matters in respect of foreign, policy .of which it should be cognisant.

Honorable .senators will recollect -that when the Prime Minister left to attend the Imperial Conference, the representation of the Commonwealth .Government “by Minister resident in London was under consideration. The Prime Minister undertook to investigate .the matter when he- was in England, .and ,as a result of his own experience, .he has come to .the .conclusion, which the Government. share, that, under present .conditions it is. impracticable for the Commonwealth to have a resident Minister in London. JA is, in fact, -one of -those proposals which must stand aside until, perhaps.,- advanees in the development off -aviation jot some other means will annihilate time and space to :a greater” degree than is at present possible. At present it is imprac-

Senator Pearce. ticable, although it may be most desirable, to have a Minister representing the Commonwealth in London.

Senator FOLL:

– May not that be .altered if there is an alteration iu the position of the Dominions dm relation to foreign affairs?

Senator PEARCE:

– I do not know. There .are .some ^occasions in which it is impossible even to wait to use the cable.

I come now ,to the Economic Conference There were a large number of resolutions dealing with very important subjects but as almost all .of .them will have to come before .the .Senate in some form .or other, either in the .shape of special resolutions m as portion of the Budget, it is not necessary .to -deal -with the greater pari of them at .this juncture. There are, however, two questions - that of Imperial preference and .the establishment of &n Imperial Economic Committee - -.that will not .be the subject of special legislation, and ase therefore dealt with io the motion I propose to submit to-day. Australia ‘has already adopted in ite Tariff Act .the .policy of a preferential Tariff .to Great Britain, and we .are simply asking for reciprocal action on the part ,o!f that country,. The resolutions passed by the Conference .upon this point were as follows: -

  1. Tariff Preference. it was .decided to adopt the -following ‘Resolu tion: -

This Imperial Economic .Conference holding that, .especially in present .circumstances, all possible -means’ should be taken to ‘develop -the resources of Che Empire and tarde between the Empire .countries, .desires to ire-affirm -the ^Resolution on .She .subject of Imperial Preference passed :by the Imperial “War Conference of 1917.

  1. Imperial Preference in Public Contracts.

It was decided to adopt the following Resolutions - ( 1-) “ That this Imperial -Economic Conference reaffirms the principle that in all Government contracts effective Preference be given to goods made and ‘ materials .produced within the Empire .except .where undertakings entered into prior ito this .Conference .preclude .such in course or special circumstances Tender it undesirable or unnecessary.”

  1. “fl.’ha’t, ;as <faa- las -.practicable, efforts he . made .to insure that .the materials .used in .carrying out contracts be ‘of Empire production.”
  2. “That State, provincial, and local government authorities should be (encouraged .to -take, note .of the foregoing resolutions.

The resolution passed byShe Imperial War Conference of 1917 was as follows: -

Thetime has arrived when all possible encouragement should begiven tothedevelopment of Imperial resources, and especiallyto making the Empire independent of other countries in respect of food supplies, raw materials, and essential industries. With these objects in view, this Conferenceexpresses itself in favour of-

The principle that each part of the Empire, having dueregard to the interests of our Allies, shall give specially favorable treatment and facilities to the produce and manufactures of other parts of the Empire.

Arrangements by which intending emigrants fromthe United Kingdom may be inducedto settle in countries under the British flag.

It was that resolution which this Conference indorsed. Honorable senators will rememberthat, asaresult of the discussion whichtook place at the Economic Conference, the British Government of the day proposed to make certain Tariff alterations;an fact, they announced that they would make certain alterations in their Tariff forthe most part in the direction of talcing off duties. That would have had an important effect, because theyproposedto take off, as against the Dominions,duties on such products as currants and driedfruits, leaving the duties as they were against foreign countries.

Senator Guthrie:

– Would that have reduced the cost of living ?

Senator PEARCE:

-It would have reduced the cost of living, and it would have given a substantial preference to Australiamoreparticularly, as well as to other Dominions. That was not a resolution of theConference; it was announced at the Conference as a decision of the Government. It did not take effect, however, because legislation had to bepassed concerning it. The present BritishGovernment have given a general undertaking that they will allow those resolutions which were necessary to give effect tothat promise to be submitted to the British Parliament, and that the Parliament willbe unfettered in arriving at a decision upon them. That is of great importance to Australia. As these preferences do not in any way affect the decisions of the British electorates in favour of Free Trade-they are, in fact, in the other direction - one can only hope that the Parliament of Great Britain will confirm them.

At this Conference, Mr.Bruce moved for : the establishmentof anImperial Economic Committeeupon which Great Britain andtheDominionsshouldbe represented. The resolution dealing with that matter will be found on page 8of the EconomicConference Resolutions. The followingresolution was adopted : -

That,inthe opinion ofthis Imperial EconomicConference (Canada dissenting) -

) It lis desirable to establish an Imperial Economic Committee, comprising representatives of theGovernments represented in theImperialConference, andresponsible to those governments.

The function of the Committee should be to consider and advise upon any mattersof an economic orcommercialcharacter, notbeingmatters appropriate to be dealt withby the Imperial Shipping Committee, which arereferred to itby anyoftheConstituent Government,providedthat noquestion which has any reference to another part of the Empire may be referred tothe Committee without theconsentofthatother part of the Empire.

It , was further decided that in the constitution of the proposed ImperialEconomicCom- mittee representation should be allotted to the various constituent Governments asfollows-: -

Great Britain, ‘four members.

Dominions, two members each.

India, two members.

Colonies and Protectorates, two members. I amsorrytosay that not only did

Canadanot assent to that resolution,but that, apparently, thepresent British Governmentsawinit some menaceto the economic system to which they have committed themselves. I cannotconceive why. It seems to me that whether a countryadopts the principle of Free Trade or Protection, provided it is within the Empire, there cannotbe any objection to having a standing economic committee meeting toconsider means by which mutual trade between all parts . of the Empiremaybeassisted. Many questions arise.For instance, there is in connexion with Australiantrade the marketing and distribution of our products overseas. That, obviously, is a matter over which we havelittleor no control ; but if there were inthe United Kingdom an economic committee of this kind, and we were representedon that committee, we could,through it,bring facts and figures beforetheBritish Government, and possibly be able to evolve a system which wouldnot onlybenefit our export trade, but lead tocheaper living in the United Kingdom. Possibly somemeanswould fee providedby which those products could be taken direct to the consumer without, as is the case to-day, having to pass through the hands of so many agents and middlemen. Further, there are the questions of shipping, of freight, of communication. Although there is an Imperial Shipping Committee, there are many questions affecting shipping and communication with which at present there is no body to deal. We can deal with the mattei at one end, and the United Kingdom can deal with it at the other, but there is no body to harmonize the resolutions of both. This economic committee, the Government think, would fill that hiatus and do very valuable work.

I have left to the last one of the questions that is dealt with in the resolution - the question of defence. It is as well, perhaps, that I should read the resolutions dealing with defence. They will be found on page 7 of the summary of proceedings of the Imperial Conference, where it is set out that -

The Conference gave special consideration to the question of Defence, and the manner in which co-operation and mutual assistance could best be effected after taking into account the political and geographical conditions of the various parts of the Empire.

The Lord President, of the Council, as Chairman of the Committee of Imperial Defence, opened this part of the work of the Conference by a statement outlining the main problems of Defence as they exist to-day. He was followed, by the First Lord of .the Admiralty, the Secretary of State foi- War, and tho Secretary of State for Air, each of whom explained to the Conference the aspects of defence which concerned his special responsibilities.

In addition to these statements there was a full mid frank interchange of views in which the stand-points of the various representatives and tho circumstances of their countries were made clear. There were also discussions at the Admiralty and Air Ministry at which Naval and Air Defence were dealt with in greater detail. The points involved were explained by the Chiefs of the Naval and Air Staffs respectively and were further examined.

In connexion with Naval Defence one matter of immediate interest came before the Conference, namely, the projected Empire cruise of a squadron of modern warships. The First Lord of the Admiralty explained that the project was that two capital ships, the Hood and the Repulse, together with a small squadron of modern light cruisers, should visit South Africa, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand, and return by ‘-way of British Columbia, the Panama Canal, and Eastern Canada. The light cruisers would accompany the battle cruisers as far as British Columbia, but would return to England by way of the west coast of South America and Cape Horn. The Dominion Prime Ministers expressed their appreciation of this proposal, and assured the Conference that the ships would bc most heartily welcomed in their countries.

After the whole field of Defence had been surveyed, the Conference decided that it would be advisable to record in the following resolutions its conclusions on the chief matters which had been discussed: -

The Conference affirms that it is necessary to provide for the adequate defence of the territories and trade of the several countries comprising the British Empire.

In this connexion the Conference ex pressly recognises that it is for thu Parliaments of the several parts of the Empire, upon .the recommendations of their respective Governments, to decide the nature arid extent of any action which should be taken by them.

Subject to this provision, the Con ference suggests the following as guiding principles: -

The primary responsibility’ of each portion of the Empire represented at the Conference for its own local defence.

Adequate provision for safeguarding! ‘ the maritime communications of the several parts of the Empire and the routes and waterways along and through which .their armed forces and trade pass.

The provision of Naval bases and facilities for repair and fuel so as to insure the mobility of the fleets.

The desirability of tho main tenance of a minimum standard of Naval strength, namely, equality with the Naval strength of any foreign power, in accordance with the provisions of the Washington Treaty on Limitation of Armament as approved by Great Britain, all the selfgoverning Dominions, and India.

The desirability of the de velopment of the Air Forces in the several -countries of the Empire upon such lines as will make it possible, by means of the adoption, as far as practicable, of a common system of organization and training and .the use of uniform manuals, patterns of arms, equipment, and stores (with .the exception of the type of aircraft), for each part of the Empire as it may determine to cooperate with other . parts with .the least possible delay and the greatest efficiency. (4! In the application oi these principles to the several parts of the Empire concerned the Conference takes note of:- (a) Tho deep interest of the Commonwealth of ‘ Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, and India, in the provision of a Naval Base at Singapore, as essential for insuring -the mobility necessary to provide ,for the security of the territories and trade of the Empire in Eastern Waters. (&) The necessity for the maintenance of safe passage along the great route to the East through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Tho necessity for the maintenance by Great Britain of a Homo Defence Air Force of sufficient strength to give adequate protection against air attack by thu strongest air force within striking distance of her shores.

The Conference, while deeply concerned for the paramount importance of providing for the safety and integrity of all parts of the Empire, earnestly desires, so far as is consistent with this consideration, the further limitation of armaments, and trusts that no ‘opportunity may be lost to promote this object.”

I submit that the most rabid antimilitarist, the most earnest advocate of reserving to Australia complete power to provide for its own defence, cannot find in those resolutions anything to which hh may not subscribe. They leave absolutely to Australia the decision of the methods, the means, the time, and the place of its own defence. What they do provide, however, is that since there are so many partners in this Imperial concern, it is both economic and advisable that those partners should have a common plan upon which to work, so that if, at any time, they require to operate, that plan will work smoothly, the various parts will dove-tail, and there will be that uniformity of organization, of material, and of equipment that is so necessary for effectiveness in time of war. At the same time they recognise that as the seas are practically one, that as there are no borders in the sea, therefore, in time of war our fleets must be one; they must be as effective in one ocean as they .are in another, because the Empire may not have the choice of the place in which a decisive action is to be fought. If the fleets are to be effective for the protection of the whole, they should n’ot only be organized in like manner as to discipline, as to method, and as to equipment, but should also be able to co-operate in any of the seas in which Empire interests are to be protected. Recognising, as they did, the importance to Australia and to the British interests in the East, as it is called there - it is our North - that this vital spot, this gateway, as Admiral Sir Frederick Field so truly called it, should be provided for, they recommended that an adequate base should be established there from which the fleets that protect our trade and our interests in those seas could work and co-operate.

Some attempt has been made, in various quarters, to make it appear that the establishment by Britain of a base at Singapore would be regarded by Japan as a menace and a threat, and that it would in some way be an infraction of the provisions’’ of the Washington Treaty. Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, himself, has “ scotched “ that idea by declaring that he is quite convinced that the establishment of a base at Singapore is in no sense an infringement of the Treaty, either in spirit or in letter. As one who had the honour to take part in the preparation of that Treaty, and who listened to the discussions, not merely in the Conference itself, but- what was’ far more important - in some of the Committees and at meetings of various delegates that were held in secret, the reports of which have not been published, I say that not only is it not an infraction of the Treaty, either in the spirit or in the letter, bub that the idea of a base being established at Singapore was clearly and distinctly understood, not only by the British Delegation, but also by the American and the Japanese Delegations, to be an essential part of Britain’s plan for the defence of its interests in the Pacific. Singapore was discussed in exactly the same way, and from exactly the same point of view, as Honolulu as an American Defence Base, and as certain islands to the south of Japan as a J apanese Base were discussed. The point at issue was this: The United States of America was proceeding to establish a base at Guam. With, a Naval Base at the Island of Guam, and with capital ships in the Pacific, she could have struck at Japan - because Guam is within effective striking distance of Japan - at China, at Australia, and at the Dutch East Indies. And, therefore, the United States of America was asked to forgo the fortification of Guam, because it was not necessary for the defence of the United States of America, while on the other hand it would have given that country an aggressive base from which it could strike at other nations. The United States of America gave up the right to fortify Guam, but not the right to fortify Honolulu, because it was agreed at the Conference that, with a fleet base at Honolulu, the United States of America could defend the Western States of America, but could strike at neither British nor Japanese interests in the East. The same arguments apply equally to Japan’s position in the Pacific. Japan was proceeding to fortify and prepare for a Naval Base in the islands lying farther south, which would have enabled her to strike at Manilla and the Philippines, and at Borneo, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other British possessions. Japan gave up the right to establish a base there, but she did not give up the right to fortify and provide Naval Bases on the islands off her mainland. Bases there would be too far away to assist her in striking at American or British interests, but would enable her to defend her own interests. Equally, Great Britain gave up the right to expand the fortification of Hong Kong, because that base is within striking distance of Japanese and American interests, but Great Britain did not give up - on the contrary she claimed and was conceded - the right to establish a base at Singapore. She claimed, and it was admitted by British and Japanese Naval authorities at the Conference, that a base at Singapore could not be used for the purpose of aggression either against America or Japan, but was essential to the defence of British interests in that part of the Pacific. No attempt was made by any Power represented at the Conferference to include Singapore in the prohibited area. It was clearly set out, and clearly accepted, that Singapore was the natural base that would be proceeded with by Great Britain to defend - her Eastern and Pacific interests. Those who say that the establishment of a- base, there, would be regarded either by Japan or America as a threat against their interests do not know what they are talking about, and would certainly receive no support from any of the Japanese av American representatives who participated in the Washington Conference. I make that statement without fear of contradiction. I read recently that Earl Balfour had stated that it was clearly understood that Singapore was outside the prohibited area, and that it was never asked that it should be included within that area. The United States of America gave up its proposal to establish a base at Guam, Britain gave up its proposed extension of fortifications at Hong Kong, and Japan gave up the . right to fortify islands to the south of Japan, because from bases there the interests of other nations could be- menaced. If it had been thought possible at that Conference that the British Government would not establish a base at Singapore, the outlook of the British delegation would have been completely altered. What were we considering? We were considering the question of peace, and particularly the peace of the Pacific. It was recognised that there were three great Powers whose interests predominated ; that they were fairly equal in naval strength, and that they were engaging in a wild policy of building ships in a mad race for armaments to dominate the Pacific. The Conference was an attempt by the late President Harding to bring those three nations’ together and stop their suicidal policy of building ships against one another. The representatives at the Conference were not such cheerful optimists as to believe that any one of the nations would strip itself of the power of defending’ its territories and trade; but what they asked the nations to do was voluntarily to give up the means of aggression. Why was a Limitation placed upon the building of capital ships? It was done because it was recognised that the most aggressive factor in naval warfare wa3 the capital ship. The American, Japanese, and British naval officers who> constituted the technical delegation that advised . us agreed that the capital ship was the aggressive weapon, but they also agreed that the radius of action of capital ships was limited to a certain* distance from their bases. It was considered necessary, therefore, to limit the number, not only of capital ships, but also of their bases. The bases were an essential factor in the discussion. Each nation was looking, not merely at the capital ships, but also at the bases from which they could operate. It was clearly and distinctly understood by the British delegation that tho base from which the British fleet of capital ships in the Pacific should operate would be at Singapore. The American representatives understood that their base would be at Honolulu, and tho Japanese representatives understood that their base would be the islands to the south of Japan. Now, after the treaty is signed and sealed, and Great Britain has consented to surrender her aggressive power in the


Senator PEARCE:

– It would be quite a wise thing for her to surrender bor power of defence if the other nations would do likewise, but will the United States take similar action in regard to Honolulu, and will the Japanese Government do likewise in regard to the bases to the south of J apan I ihat is the first question that should be cleared up by the British Government before it proceeds to surrender the power of defence, which is very different from the power of aggression’.

I wish to make another point in this regard. There seems to be behind the action of the British Government a belief that peace can be insured by weakness. There is a very significant inner history of the Washington Conference. Great Britain, Japan, and the United States framed the Naval Treaty. But they are not the only Powers that have possessions in the Pacific. Why were the other Powers with possessions there not invited to assist in framing the Treaty? These three Powers framed it because they had force behind them iri the Pacific. They were the great naval Powers in the Pacific. Holland has great possessions in the Dutch East Indies. Why was Holland not asked to take part in the discussion 1 She was not asked because she is a weak naval Power– because she has a small and ineffective navy. If weakness is the way to peace, why was not Holland asked to take part in the Conference? Great Britain was asked because she was regarded as a powerful naval factor, without whom there could be no peace. The American and Japanese nations took part for the same reason. A ratio of 5:5:3 was agreed upon for capital ships. Three Japanese capital ships can cruise in the Pacific, and are allowed to have a base there. The American nation can have five capital ships to cruise from their base in’ the Pacific; but Great Britain, if it has no base, in the Pacific, can have no capital ships there. Yet we are told that (his is the way to bring about further disarmament! Why need the nations in future consult Great Britain iu regard to the Pacific? She will not be able to strike in that part of the world. She has placed herself in the same category as Holland. She has virtually abandoned the Pacific, for the naval experts say that the battle-ship is the effective aggressive unit. Without a baBe in the Pacific, British battle-ships may come here on a peaceful cruise, as they are doing at the present time, but in time of war they dare not be left in the Pacific. If this policy is persisted - in it means that Great Britain voluntarily withdraws from herself the right to take Hie lead in promulgating peace measures in the Pacific in the future.

Senator LYNCH:

– Did . any of the weaker powers protest because they were not consulted ?

Senator PEARCE:

– They made very emphatic protests, to which, however, the other Powers did not listen. There is the further significant fact that France, although a strong power, and a signatory to the Treaty, did not take part in the preliminary negotiations relating to the drafting of the agreement. The agreement was drafted by Great Britain, Japan, and America. It was ratified afterwards both by France and Italy, but they were not consulted in the preliminary drafting. It was some time afterwards that they came in.. The decision of the British Government has opened up for Australia one of the most serious problems we have yet had to face, and I solemnly say that it is not the way to peace. So far from leading to peace, it is more likely to lead to war. In such an Empire as ours it is the greatest incentive to war that we could have. These resolutions are important, and the idea qf the Government in submitting them is that the Parliament of Australia should be something more than a mere debating society. They involve important principles to which Parliament should be asked to subscribe, and I invite the attention of honorable senators to the terms of the motion that I intend to move.

Senator Gardiner:

– Can the Minister tell us what would be Australia’s share of the cost of building a base at Singapore ?

Senator PEARCE:

– No; but speaking for myself, I would be prepared to advocate in my own electorate, and on every platform throughout the Commonwealth, that Australia should contribute on a population basis to the expenditure that the establishment of such a base would involve. That is not the View of this Government. The Cabinet has not considered what should be the proportionate payment, but we did intimate to the British Government that we were prepared to ask Parliament to make a substantial contribution to the cost of the base. I now move -

That the papers- Summary of proceedings of the Imperial Conference, 1923, and the resolutions agreed to at the Imperial Economic Confcrence, 1923 - lie printed.

I lay the papers on the table of the Senate.

Now South Wales

.- As the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) obtained the leave of the Senate to speak about the Imperial Conference, I expected him to give us some information concerning it. Since no such information has been furnished, and the trip of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) has been the failure we predicted it would be, I decline to discuss the matter.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Motion (by Senator Pearce), by leave, proposed -

  1. That this Senate approves of the conclusions of the Imperial Conference, as set out in the summary of proceedings relating to -

    1. Foreign relations.
    2. Negotiation, signature, and ratification of treaties,
    3. Defence.
  2. That this Senate approves of the resolutions of. the Imperial Economic Conference relating to -

    1. Imperial preference, (o) Imperial Economic Committee. Debate (on motion by Senator Gardi ner) adjourned.

Senate adjourned at 4.26 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 27 March 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.