9th Parliament · 2nd Session
ThePresident (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator NEEDHAM brought up the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts on Canberra Housing.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Aet^-Determinai tions by the Arbitrator, &c. -
No. 47 of 1023- Postal Sorters’ Union of Australia - Further reasons for judgment.
No. 3 of 1924 - Professional Officers’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 4 of 1924 - Meat Inspectors’ Association, Commonwealth Public Service.
No. 5 of 1924 - Australian Postal Electricians’ Union.
No. 6 of 1924- Postal Sorters’ Union of Australia.
Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired -
For Customs and Postal purposes - Uran- gan, Queensland.
For Postal purposes - Gladstone, New South Wales; Nuriootpa, South Australia.
Public Service Act- Appointment of H. P. Taylor, Department of the Treasury.
Quarantine Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1923, Nos. 156 and 169.
Keport of the High Commissioner for Australia in the United Kingdom for the year 1923.
Territory for the Seat of Government - Ordinance ‘No. 2 of 1924 - Stock.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon, notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions arc as follow : -
asked the. Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Larkin Aircraft Contracts
asked the Minister re presenting the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The Minister for Defence has supplied “ the following answers : -
Debate resumed from 28th March (vide page 107), on motion by Senator
That this Senate approves of the conclusions of the Imperial Conference, as set out in the summary of proceedings, relating to -
That this Senate approves of the resolutions of- the Imperial Economic Conference relating to -
Upon which Senator Gardiner had moved -
That in paragraph 1 all the words after “That” be omitted, -with a view to inserting the following words: - “ the Senate approves of the foreign policy of His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain, as indorsedby a majority of the representatives of the British people in the House of Commons; aiming, as such policy does, to bring about good-will between nations and advance the peace of the world.”
.- It is not necessary for me to add to my remarks on Friday last in reference to the e instruction of the Singapore Base and the present defence policy, except to say again that I cannot agree with those in this country who are perhaps inclined to accuse the present Government of Great Britain of disloyalty for their action in abandoning, for the moment, at any rate, the construction of a Naval Base at Singapore. As I stated on Friday last, there are, occupying prominent positions in the Imperial Government, men whose records are unblemished as far as their loyalty to the British Empire is concerned. I refer to such men as Lord Chelmsford and Mr. J. H. Thomas, who, during the recent war, worked to the utmost of their ability and strength in the interests of the Empire. I cannot indorse the opinion expressed by some people that these men baree neglected a vital section of the defence of the British Empire.. As one who spent his boyhood in the Old Country I welcome, to a great extent, the accession to power of the British Labour party in Great Britain, as many necessary reforms in the Old Land will- be more easily brought about by the- present Government than by, perhaps, a Conservative- or a Liberal Government. We know that Ramsay Macdonalds Ministry is practically held in the leash by the great Liberal party of Great Britain, bub when one considers the conditions that exist amongst a large section of the workers in Great Britain, one cannot but feel glad at the recent turn of events. It is only natural that we in Australia should feel very much concerned about the abandonment of the construction of the Singapore Base, but it is very difficult for us, with the information at our disposal, to speak very strongly on the subject. There is a- conflict of opinion amongst leading naval and military experts, and statesmen in Britain. As I stated previously, if Great Britain were, prepared to pay for the construction of the Singapore Base it would be stupidity on our part to object. I believe that, as conditions in Great Britain are gradually restored to normal, and the workers are relieved to a certain extent of the heavy burden “of taxation, this question will be re-opened. I do not think that the abandonment for the time being of the Singapore Base necessarily means that the Pacific defences are to be neglected for all time. Japan has faithfully adhered to her treaties with Great Britain. In 1914, when the British Fleet was absent from the Pacific, and Australia was left practically undefended, an easy prey to any powerful Pacific nation, the Japanese Government loyally observed the Treaty, threw in their lot with the Allies of Great Britain, and helped to convoy our troops overseas, thus showing that they were desirous of retaining cordial relations with Great Britain. I notice from the report of the Imperial Conference, 1928, page 5, that a message was sent to the Japanese nation by those assembled at the Imperial Conference offering the sincere sympathy of the nations of the world in that great disaster which overtook Japan during the recent earthquake, and in the reply made by the Japanese Ambassador m London, on the instruction of the Japanese Prime Minister, Great. Britain was described as “ The old and never failing ally of Japan.” We must face conditions as they are, and while we must take reasonable precautions’ to protect our trade routes and our shores, still we cannot take j>arb in a mad race for armaments to the extent indulged in prior to the war of 1914. That mad race for armaments recommenced after the conclusion of hostilities, but gradually lessened as the result of the Washington Conference. The statement that the proposed construction of the Singapore Base had met with the eriticism of other nations waa answered by Senator Pearce last week ; and also, I understand, by Earl Balfour in London, who said that at the Washington Conference other big nations in the Pacific gave their blessing to the proposal .
– Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, the Prime Minister of Great Britain,, only last week made a similar statement.
– Mr. Ramsay Macdonald practically admitted that the. Singapore Base was. for defensive and not aggressive purposes. In any case we require further information on the subject. I notice on page 6 of the Imperial Conference report that, it was decided by the representatives of the Empire who were present at ‘the Conference, that it was not desirable that any section of the Empire should enter into an individual treaty with any other nation without the proposal first being submitted for the approval of the rest of the Empire. That gives us additional proof of the great freedom that exists within the British Empire. It was practically admitted at the Conference that we have the right to make treaties with nations without consulting the Motherland. While the Opposition are not desirous of discussing the question of defence, as evidenced by their barren defence policy, we expected at any rate to hear, from them on a matter so important as that of the nations within the British Empire having the right to make treaties of their own with other nations. Every part of the Empire made tremendous sacrifices in the recent war, and Australia gained for itself the right to express its views o.n the foreign affairs of the Empire. The political situation in Great Britain is such that there may be a change in foreign policy every other week; and unless we are prepared to exercise our right to put forward our views, we must continue to be dragged at the tail of whatever political party happens to be in power in Great Britain, and accept any treaties or obligations into which it may enter. The people of Great Britain are evidently as desirous of granting to the outlying parts of the Empire the right to express their views as we are of putting forward our views. I trust that, after the motions now before Parliament have been carried, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) will make known to the British people, through the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the fact that the people of Australia are desirous of having a voice in the foreign affairs of the Empire. As Senator Pearce has said, if we wish to exercise those rights, we must also accept the responsibilities attaching to them. Australia, by its conduct in the late war, showed that it is prepared to accept those responsibilities. We have such large powers, and so great a measure of independence, that it would be possible for action by us to cause a breaking off of negotiations between Great Britain and a foreign country. The operation of our Tariff, for instance, often causes considerable irritation to other countries. We have power to place an embargo on any article from any country, and we know that, in the past, wars between nations have been declared on more slender pretexts than that. One of the reasons why the British Empire plunged into war- with South Africa was the price charged by the Boers for dynamite supplied to British miners. Australia will be strengthened if we adopt the proposals of the Imperial Conference, and require that the whole of Great Britain’s foreign policy shall be discussed by all parts of the Empire before the Empire, as a whole, is committed to it. I recognise that there will be times when this will be difficult. Our representation in London will have to be altered. The High Commissioner has no executive authority, and cannot commit the Government without receiving special authority frqm it. Senator Pearce said that if we seriously thought, as part of the great Britannic Commonwealth, of participating in Great Britain’s foreign affairs, we should have to consider whether Australia’s representn-f tion in Loudon, was satisfactory.
asked a question to-day relating to the application mad.c at the
Imperial Conference for full citizen rights for Indians domiciled in Australia. I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Sastri, when he came to this country, advocate the claims of Indians who are now resilient here, and I was impressed with the moderation with which he stated his case. He said that there was no desire on the part of India to dispute Australia’s right to continue the White Australia policy, and that the educated Indian sympathized with that policy, and realized that it would be against the interests of both countries to alter it. Seeing that we shall not be asked to open our doors to the entry of more Indians, but simply to give a vote to the 1,400 Indians who are resident here, the request is not unreasonable. Believing that it will do something to consolidate two important parts of the Empire, and make them better understood by each other, I am prepared to give a vote in favour of such action being taken by the Government.
Another matter dealt with at the Imperial Conference related to the status of residents of the Mandated Territories. Seeing that the residents of those territories are to all intents and purposes British subjects, the Conference acted wisely in deciding to recommend the Governments of the various parts of the Empire to grant naturalization certifi- cates to them on application. At the Conference, also, the status of British women married to aliens was considered, and certain modifications of the existing law were recommended. These matters, small though they may seem, are an indication that the gathering of Empire statesmen in London was desirous of dealing, not only with the big questions of State, but also with many of the anomalies that now exist iti the British Empire. [Extension of time granted.] The subjects dealt with at the Imperial Conference embrace many that are of the greatest importance to the countries represented, and the decisions arrived at show how necessary it is for such gatherings to be held periodically. The Empire statesmen meeting in conference get to know each other, and become better acquainted with the requirements of the Dominions. In this way the delegates are able not only to submit propositions concerning their ‘ own country, but also to sympathetically assist in the settlement of questions in which other Dominions are involved. The Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) upheld our best traditions and his work was equal to . that of other Prime Ministers who have visited Great Britain as our representatives. He performed his arduous and important duties in a manner that gained added respect in the Old Land not only for himself and his Government, but also for the people of Australia.
I now wish to deal briefly with the various matters discussed at the Economic Conference where many subjects of vital importance to Australia were considered. We are to a certain extent hampered in criticising the decisions of the Economic Conference because the attitude that will be adopted by the British Parliament when they are submitted cannot be foreshadowed. The Prime Minister’s work at that Conference was to a certain extent interfered with by the British general elections which occurred at that time; but I cannot agree with those who say that the general elections prevented the immediate granting of our requests. The Leader of the Conservative party in Great Britain (Mr. Stanley Baldwin) went before the electors on the question of Protection, but exempted, I believe, the imposition of duties on raw materials or foodstuffs. Honorable senators will agree that raw materials and foodstuffs are our principal exports’ to Great Britain, and consequently we are not affected to any great extent by the result of the British elections. Some evidently have lost sight of the fact that duties are already imposed in Great Britain on many items exported from Australia to that country. It was not suggested that additional duties should be imposed against other countries, but that existing duties should be reduced on goods imported from Australia. That was not an unreasonable proposition. We do not know at present whether the House of Commons which is to deal with the proposals in a non-party manner will reject, the scheme. It has been admitted in Great Britain that Australia performs a very useful function in supplying raw materia] to British manufacturers. Australia is sending away approximately 650,000,000 lbs. weight of raw wool per annum, and the time has arrived when we should manufacture this product into the finished article for ourselves. A few weeks ago I was discussing the question of cotton growing in Australia with a gentleman engaged in the cotton manufacturing industry ill Manchester who came to Australia to ascertain what progress was being made in cotton production. He seemed to regard it as a matter of course that the present policy of Australia would be continued, and that cotton would be produced, placed in bales, sent to Great Britain for manufacture into the finished article, and then returned to Australia in that form. That is the position which largely exists in connexion, with our woollen industry, and I cannot understand why Australia shoiild export such a large percentage of raw wool for manufacture into the finished article abroad. Even if we do not go to the extent of manufacturing the whole of our wool into cloth, which is impracticable at present, we can manufacture and export wool tops to other parts, and thus gain for ourselves a large proportion of the benefits now obtained by manufacturers overseas. The quantity of wool scoured in Australia is only a fraction of the total tonnage sent overseas, and Australia is not likely to progress if we continue to devote the whole of our attention to the export of raw material and neglect in a degree our secondary industries. Two years ago, when the Tariff was under consideration, we imposed heavy duties on manufactured articles, but, notwithstanding this assistance, Australia’s secondary industries are not progressing as they should. It must be admitted that manufacturing industries have played a very important part in those countries which have encouraged their secondary industries. Germany, Japan and America all have large and important manufacturing centres, and, generally speaking, their advancement in this regard has been most marked. I am now, and have always been, in favour of supporting primary production; but our secondary industries are equally important. A few days ago I was discussing the position of the beef industry with a cattle man, who said that if we had in Australia another city such as Sydney, the export of beef would be unnecessary, as the home market ‘ would absorb our production. Secondary industries should work in conjunction with primary indus tries, because they are really interdependent. At the Economic Conference the most ardent advocates of Free Trade admitted that a good deal could be said in favour of inter-Empire trade. The report of the proceedings at the Economic Conference sets out the various matters of importance which were discussed, and the deliberations at that gathering should be the means of bringing about a better understanding, not only between Great Britain and the Dominions, but also between the various Dominions themselves. I am very glad that the Imperial and Economic Conferences were held. Although there may be no apparent result from them in the immediate future, matters of vast importance to Australia and the Empire generally were discussed, and benefit will ultimately accrue. It will be admitted on all sides that Australia’s representatives ably upheld the reputation of this country at both gatherings. Again I desire to congratulate the Prime Minister upon the statesmanlike manner in which he represented us, and Senator Wilson for the work he did at the Economic Conference, not forgetting the sale of surplus canned fruits, which has meant a great deal to a section of our primary producers.
– I rise to oppose the “ amendment submited by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), and I regret that I have to do so in the almost total absence . of those honorable senators who form His Majesty’s Opposition in this Chamber. Their presence usually enlivens a debate, and cheers a speaker on his way. The two subjects I intend to discuss are the Singapore Base and Imperial preference. Not that I regard those two matters as of equal importance. I look upon the Singapore Base as a necessity for national and Imperial existence, while Imperial preference is, after all, merely a business arrangement. I do not share in any respect whatever Senator Foil’s doubt as to what attitude we should take up on the establishment of a naval base at Singapore. I have already said that I look upon it as the sine qua non of Imperial existence, more especially so far as the Eastern Empire is concerned.
– Would the honorable senator pay any price for it?
– I hope the honorable senator does not contend that Australia should not be prepared to pay any price whatever for ‘ the continued existence of the British Empire. I regard the proposal in the most serious light. As the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) has remarked, we must be either in the Empire or out of it. Personally, I desire to remain in it, and I realize that if the Empire goes down Australia will become non-existent. Therefore, I say that no price we can raise is too great to avert such a calamity as the fall of the Empire.
SenatorFoll. - I did not say anything about Australia going out of the Empire.
– Quite so; but I ‘do not wish to approach the subject in a huckstering spirit. Singapore seemed to be destined to become a British Possession. The very name itself, meaning the city of the Hon,” seemed prophetic as to who should be its ultimate owner. I regard Singapore, now happily the city of the British lion, as one of the pivots of the Empire. Sir Stamford Baffles, one of the greatest Imperialists Britain ever had, chose well when he selected Singapore and presented it to Great Britain. He had several reverses during his career; he was in a position filter to ‘ lay at the feet of the Empire Java, then the richest island in the world. The offer was refused, and this broke Sir Stamford Raffles’ heart. Now it is proposed by the very Empire for which he did so much, to insult his memory by failing to make the best use of his magnificent gift. Such a policy as that can in no way receive my support. Singapore is a peculiar city. To the casual observer it does not appear to be a place of such great importance as those who have an opportunity of looking below the surface realize it is. I spent some little time at Singapore during the war. Part of my mission was to inquire into the possibilities of trade between ‘ the Malay States, ohe Dutch East Indies, and Western Australia, and I was in a position to realize what the casual visitor does not, namely, the immense volume of tirade and the variety of directions in which that trade runs through Singapore. It is not a place that “ boosts “ itself, and in that respect it differs from ail
American, and a great many Australian cities. You have ‘to learn the place. You have to search to find out the volume of this ‘trade, but when you do you are astounded at it. There are trade routes running north, south, east and west from Singapore. Ships pass in and out every day in numbers which stagger those who take notice of them. Yet when an opportunity occurs to make this place what it should be - not alone the throat, but the very solar plexus of the Eastern Empire - the project is abandoned. My visit to Singapore, the Malay States, and the Dutch East Indies, gave me an altogether new conception of what the British Empire means to these eastern countries, and a new idea of What the pax Britannica nieans to these subject races. The visitor must be impressed by the respect and esteem in which British rule is held, and that appreciation has been earned by the fact that the underlying principle of British rule there - and I hope in all parts of the world - is justice. Such a visit makes one proud to belong to this Empire - prouder even than one was before that experience. The very importance of the British Empire is a source of weakness. Most other countries are a good deal more self-centred than Great Britain is. Britain’s interests ^ are in widely separated parts of the globe, “ and the very distance of the Dominions and dependencies from the heart of the Empire is at once a responsibility to the Empire itself and a danger to those within it. Britain has been more than generous in the1 way that she has up to the present shouldered responsibility for the protection of the Dominions. Now that they are growing to manhood, would it not be niggardly for them to refuse, if they were asked - and they have not yet been asked to any great extent - to contribute to the’ utmost of their power to the defence of themselves and of the Motherland, which has done so much for them in their earlier stages of development. I would never be a party to any such hesitation. One of the principal ways in which this contribution can be made is the defence of our trade routes. Two- thirds, possibly more than two-thirds, of the immense shipping which passes in and out of Singapore every day is tinder the British flag, and surely the most suitable place for the principal means of defending trade routes - a naval base of the first order - is where those trade routes meet. At all events, when one considers the atithorities who have spoken on this subject, I, for one, am not inclined to be in any doubt . about the matter. Of course, some who would be excellent authorities are compelled, by the nature of their occupation, to remain silent on the subject; their tongues are tied because they are occupying official positions ; but those who have already pronoivnced upon this question are among the first authorities in the Empire -on naval matters, and they are undoubtedly in favour of the establishment of the base at Singapore.
– What was the attitude of Mr. Lloyd George ?
– In this connexion I did not propose to pay much coaisideration to. the attitude taken up by MY. Lloyd George, because I would look to the advice given by experts whose duty it is to pay attention to such matters rather than to that of the politicians - I say it with bated breath and with all reverence - who made it so extremelydifficult to bring the late war to a successful, issue.
– The honorable senator would not include Mr. Lloyd George in his condemnation ?
– I have said what I have said. The honorable senator may draw bis own conclusion.
– The honorable senator was ready to lick Lloyd George’s boots twelve months ago.
– I have never been inclined to perform that act of obeisance to any politician or any one else; but, if it had to be done, I would rather do It to a man of action than to a man of words. I cannot believe for a moment that the action of the present British Government will be upheld. I am inclined to agree with authorities in Great Britain that the’ construction of a base at Singapore is simply deferred, and not abandoned, and one of the strongest arguments which those in favour of the base can use may be supplied by the practically unanimous support of Australia for this proposition. Australia is becoming a. country of such magnitude, and it has i-endered, as honorable senators have said, such service to the Empire, that its demands must count very high in the oouncils of that Empire. Therefore, I esteem it necessary that this motion should be carried and go forward with practically the unanimous voice of this Parliament,There were times when matters of such’ strategic importance as this were not openly discussed. They were the subject’ not altogether of secret arraugenient, but of conferences between diplomats alone.
– It is. only the strength of the Emjpire that enables us to discuss such matters openly.
– Quite so. Formerly we used to talk a great deal of the policy of the “ open door “ ; now we seem to nawe replaced that by the policy of the “open mouth,” a remark which I hasten to explain does not apply to honoi’able senators opposite.
– The honorable senator need not worry. We are not taking . a bit of notice of him.
– I am glad to have that assurance from Senator McDougall, because when he does take notice of anything he usually does it in a decidedly drastic and almost truculent manner.
– The honorable senator growls when we talk, and growls when we do not talk.
– The honorable senator must have misunderstood me. I have, as the Americans say, “410 kick coming,” ‘because he is silent. I rejoice to hear him speaking, but I rejoice still more when he shows his acquiescence . with what I am saying by keeping quiet. Having given the Imperial viewpoint, let me look for a moment at the Australian aspect of the construction of the Singapore Ease. The importance of our Eastern trade is immeasurable. We have to look for a market, not only to Great Britain, but also to the countries of South-eastern Asia, and the . first desideratum for a successful trade is the protection of the trade route. Therefore, we should . be mad if we did not throw into the scale all the influence we have in order that this very desirable consummation may be achieved. Without a market for our products- and that market which most readily. suggests itself is in South-eastern Asia - what is . the use of an immigration policy? So many matters hinge upon this question that I refrain from taking up the time of the Senate in speaking ‘too long about them. There is, however, another aspect which is perhaps somewhat more selfish. I refer to the view-point of “Western Australia. For the . last forty years Western Australia and Singapore have been in very close trade connexion, and those honorable senators who know the history of that connexion are aware that the north-western portion of Western Australia practically owes its development to the presence of lines of steamers whose head-quarters are at Singapore. As a matter of fact, without those steamers the development of that portion of the Commonwealth would be greatly retarded, if not altogether stopped. I am not one who praises the actions of shipping companies. Most of them throughout the war endeavoured to grab everything they could and give nothing in return. Of course, I am alluding to the ship-owners and not to the officers and men, of whom too much good could not be said. But I must say, in reference to the companies trading between Western Australia and Singapore, whose freights were perhaps the highest in the world at the beginning of the war, that when the war had gone on for three or four years their freights were the lowest in the world, because no change was made in them during the progress of the conflict. Therefore, Western Australia has much for which to thank Singapore. We must find a. ready market for the meat produced at the Wyndham meat-works. Wyndham is the closest part of Australia to the South-Eastern Asian markets, and by the courtesy and grace of the constituents of honorable senators opposite it is hoped that meat will be produced there. At present, owing to the high wages that had to, be paid upon construction work, and still have to be paid for running the works, it would almost pay the Government of Western Australia to close the establishment rather than keep it running. However, it is to be hoped that’ such a state of affairs will not always be the case, and that in the future a market will be opened in South-Eastern Asia for the meat produced at Wyndham. But that will only be possible if the trade route is protected.
– The trade of the NorthWest would be destroyed if those meatworks were closed.
– That is true.
– Does the honorable, senator recommend that the works at Wyndham should be closed?
– Not in the least. I simply say it would pay the State better, if it did not owe a duty to its settlers, to close the works, rather than keep them runningj and the contributing causes are principally the high rate of wages and the high cost of construction.
– Surely the labourer there is worthy of his hire.
– That is true, but whether the result of his labour is worth what is paid for its hire is another question. I feel sure that the Singapore Base will be established, . and that the passing of this motion will not be one of the least factors in bringing about that achievement. The base, when built, will be practically the main Pacific base, but subsidiary bases will be needed in Australia, and I think that for a subsidiary base either Henderson or Albany could very well be chosen. The only difficulty in that regard is the fact that they are situated in Western Australia.
– That is a big difficulty.
– It is, from a political point of view. At any rate, the fact that these places are in Western Australia has proved a great deterrent to the construction of a base at either spot. I trust -that when the Singapore Base is established as the main naval base for the Eastern Empire, a subsidiary base will be fixed upon at Henderson or Albany.
I look upon Imperial preference, with which is closely bound up intra-Empire trade, as being not nearly so’ important a subject as that with which I have just dealt. Nevertheless, it is fraught with a great deal of difficulty. Imperial preference has much to recommend it if brought about in the manner indicated, namely, by the reduction of existing British duties against Dominion products; but at the same time, if any restrictions are to be placed upon us, it presents another aspect. One of the greatest markets Australia can expect to enter is that which is to be found in South-Eastern Asia. There we have a read)’ market for all the flour, wool and meat we can send, but if we estrange the peoples of that part of the world who are not inside the Empire - and there are many of them prospective customers of ours - by making it impossible for them to trade with us in several directions, we shall run the risk of having our markets curtailed. Already, a great deal has been done by private enterprise to establish markets for our products in China, the Dutch East Indies, and Japan. We must look at this as being a purely business proposition, and, in comparison with the other great subject, it is a business proposition. We need to go very carefully and to tread delicately, before we take any steps which may estrange people who may be our future customers. Then when it comes to a question of having Free Trade between the various Dominions of the Empire - because not all the products of the Dominions go to the main centre, that little island in the North Sea; they pass from one Dominion to another - other difficulties at once disclose themselves. For instance, if all the Canadian softwoods are admitted free into Australia, it will be good-bye to the Australian timber industry. That would not be an unmixed evil, from my point of view, because the sooner we start to cut less of our hardwoods and reserve them, as other countries have done, for home use, preventing their export for the purpose of providing paving blocks and railway sleepers when they may and should be used for cabinet-making and such like purposes, the longer our forests will last. But Inter-Dominion Free Trade would mean a serious blow to many people engaged in the timber industry in Australia.
– The price of timber in Australia is unreasonable. It is too high.
– I do not see how it can be reduced, and when compared with the price of ordinary articles of popular use in Australia, it is not any higher. If we compare the cost of production in Canada and Australia, making every allowance for the difference in the timber that is dealt with, we find that one man in Canada produces as much per day as two men do in Australia. I do not think it is because the Canadian is any better at his work than the Australian, but I suppose that as the latter is not being paid by results he has no need to hurry himself.
– Perhaps it is a matter of climate.
– Honorable senators can take the statistics and work out their own solution of the problem.
– One man works on soft wood, and the other on hard wood.
– I am taking all that into consideration. As a matter of fact the ratio is about 3£ to 1, and not 2 to 1.
– In Canada there is cheap freightage.
– The cost of which I speak is on trucks or on rafts at the mill.
– The combine makes a profit of 50 per cent, before the timber is used here.
– Nothing of the sort.
– It was shown! to be so quite recently.
– I have a few words to say about the attitude taken up in this respect by the honorable senator who proposed this amendment, and his followers. Why this ominous silence ? I do not know to what reason we .can assign it. It cannot be that it is a little trick to take advantage of the Government. It cannot surely be that owing to the proximity of the South Australian elections, the gentlemen who guide the destinies of the Labour party are afraid of the opinions that might be voiced if full freedom of speech were allowed. It is not to be thought of that little petty matters like these should be put in the foreground when big matters of Imperial interest are under discussion ! Is it indifference ? Is it the creeping onward of internationalism ? I understand that the highest peak of fame to which a gentleman who occupies a seat on the Opposition benches or who holds the tenets of my friends opposite may rise, is that he should divest his mind of all national feeling, throw aside all the traditions which have made our nation famous, and give up all that has been an incentive to our earning the position in the world which we at present occupy, and think only of the brotherhood of man. Is it possible that that has taken possession of the Opposition, and that they are absolutely indifferent to these other matters ? I hope it is not so. It ia true that some little time back we had at manifestation of this soft from gentlemen of Russia and America, principally, who belonged to a band of brothers called tire Industrial Workers of the World. They apparently have disappeared, but I should like to know whether they are still working below the surface. I hate to think that that is the reason for the Opposition’s attitude. What would their great leader, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, think of this silence? This is merely a formal protest. They practically say to him, “Yes, Mr. Macdonald, as a matter of courtesy and party loyalty we support what you have done, but for goodness sake do not ask us to say anything in support of your action, because we cannot do it.” 1 s that the reason ? It is one of these three reasons, and I leave honorable senators to arrive at their own conclusions, because decidedly the members of the Opposition will give us no information at all.
– There is nothing in common between the Austraiian Labour party and the British Labour party. They art: as wide apart as the poles.
– That, fcheii, is the reason ? Now we have it. If ever this matter is thought of in after years the people, when considering it, will remember the silence of honorable senators opposite very much longer than they would have remembered any speeches of theirs.
– As Senator Kingsmill has Said,, it is very difficult to understand the silence and the snlkAness of honorable senators opposite. This extraordinary position, taken uip by such an aggressive Opposition as- -the Labour party, is unparalleled in paiflialnentary history. Sonorable senators, representing -on© of the biggest parties iii the Ooniimoinwealth. >come here to carry out their Pailiamentaay duties, anr! instead of doing -so tthey sulk, say nothing, and frequently absent themselves from the Chamber. I do not know df they advocate the “-Go-slow “ policy, but certainly they are practising it in this Chamber. They are not merely <going silow, but have absolutely -ceased Work altogether. They have gone even one better than their friends outside, who ha’ve made it very difficult for -many enterprises to carry on. Their policy is ndw to interfere with the legitimaite wdrk of Parliament. -Chey seem to enjoy doing nothing. As. Senator Kingsmill said, the general public, including their own followers, are just as anxious for the welfare and defence of Australia as are those engaged in primary industries, and the Labour party’s attitude will react upon them in years to come. In my opinion, the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), when in London, did magnificent work on behalf of the Commonwealth, and I desire, as an Australian, to congratulate him on the big fight he put up against heavy odds. Although the result of the Conference has not been as great as was anfcicijjated, it is not the fault of Mr. Bruce. The primary producers of Australia will long remember his efforts on their behalf ; in fact, during my recent travels people who do not support the Prime Minister’s party, spoke to me in high praise of his great work in trying to open up new markets for our primary products. If the Opposition think that by silence they will belittle the Prime Minister’s efforts, they are making a great mistake. The preference resolutions have not yet been considered by the House of Commons, and, as it is to be a free question, we still hope that the Imperial Parliament will in its wisdom adopt the r.ecom»endations of tha Economic Conference. We must . remember that the present British Government was elected on a Fr.ee Trade platform, and, considering the mallions of people in England strangling to obtain . a living, we do not wonder that that platform was ‘successful. According to press reports, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, and I think tb& President of the Board of Trade, Sir Sidney Webb, have stated that ‘there are means of obtaining preference within “the Empire other than by the imposition of duties, and that fchey will seriously consider ‘the question of sub sidies amd cheaper freights. If effect is givfen to ‘that policy a . better method of preference willi be given to Australia, as the -nation as a whole, instead of early the consumers of . Australian products, will pay for it. In -spite of the so-called ‘defeat of uhe policy of preference for Australian puoducts, I am still hopefiul -that, . even if -the House -of Commons does not adopt the resolutions : of the -Conference, some other means such as the payment of subsidies and cheaper freights will be adopted to give preference within the Empire. I am ex- tremely glad that the Ramsay Macdonald Government are in power. The British Labour party has always lacked an Imperial outlook. I make that remark, not in any jingoistic or ordinary commercial sense, but because I believe the experience which the party will gain while in power will enable it to appreciate more fjaliy the unity of the nations under the Union Jack. The narrow, limited outlook of the British Labour party was a detriment and a danger to the Empire, of which we are an essential part. The experience that it will gain while in office, however, will do its members a wonderful lot of good; in fact, since they have been in office, and since British Ministers ha.ve come into contact with Empire statesmen, they have, to a great extent, found that the Empire is a reality, and not a machine used aggressively by commercialism against the freedom of others. I trust and believe that the British Government’s -efforts to bring about the peace . of Europe, and to bring the nations of Europe within the control of the League of Nations, will meet with success. When stability is restored the effect will be tbeneficial in jnaiiy respects to the products of Australia. A -league . of all the nations is undoubtedly the greatest protection of the liberties and peace of , the world.; and, therefore, I do not view the advent . of the Labour -Government with any gloomy . forebodings. T,he British Government have been censured for their decision to abandon the construction of the Singapore ‘Naval Base ; nearly every sijeaker in . this “Chamber up to date has -roundly condemned -their action. T:t “has been stated that all the naval and military . experts have refuted strongly in favour of the base. Lodking at it purely from a commercial and an Australian . point of view, the Singapore Rase . appears to be necessary for the Imperial and Australian Navy, and for the safety . of this. country. There is another aspect that J would like to stress. The experts , who have -reported . in favour of the Singapore Base, . and have been ©pen in tbcir.-advocaoyi.of <it, are still with . the iGovernment as iits ; adviser-s. therefore, I conclude -that -the Admiralty officials met Mr.Ramsay Macdonald and members of this Cabinet in conference,.and reached an agreement with -them. Tlhe Government evidently feels that its duty is to leave the Singapore Base alone for the’ present, and make efforts to restore the peace of the world. Some guarantees must have been given to reconcile men like Earl Beatty, who threatened to resign if : the Singapore Base was not proceeded with. We have been told that after a conference with the Prime Minister of Great Britain the opposition of Admiralty officials to the abandonment of the scheme was withdrawn. It must have been agreed to make an experiment. I am in favour of . that experiment. Of avhom need we be afraid in the Pacific at the present time ? I ask each honorable senator and . each citizen to put that question to himself. I cannot find a possible enemy in the Pacific. We all know that Japan has ibeen unfortunately ruined for miany years. . She cannot restore herself as a nation and also . build a navy that will be any danger -to the British Empire. If she builds a navy she cannot restore her country, and if she restores her country she cannot ‘build a navy. Japan, as a danger, will be out of the count for a long time. I know that her population is dense, but she is not a particularly rich nation. That she could restore her country to j^’oductiveness, and at the same time increase her taxation to build a navy to menace Great Britain is not conceivable. The next power in the Pacific that
Ave have to consider is the United States of America. Need we fear her? From that source there is no clanger. We know that in these days troubles arise through trade, and the. only danger that could arise between the United States of America and Great Britain would be . over a matter of trade. From the history of America and Great (Britain, however, there would appear to be no danger of that.
SenatorKingsmill.- -It was a, trade dispute that . first started the trouble -between England and America.
– It was, but both countries have learned a lot since then.
-A doubt whether they have. We cannot build a navy or a naval : bnse -in a -few days.
SenatorREID. - I admit that.; but why should there she : any ..great haste? Why should -we rush instantly into the work of building the Singapore Base ? Why must we build it? Japan and the United States of America are the only two Powers that could menace us, and there would appear to be no danger from them. I stand second to no .person in my regard for the Old Country, and my admiration of the way in which her people have shouldered their burdens. I know from sad and long experience what it means to be in distress in that country. The real problem that Great Britain has to face is not how to build the Singapore Base, but how to find employment for the millions of people that are out of work, and houses for the thousands that are homeless. The unemployment and housing problems arc urgent, and the Government, if it deals with them, will not have money to spare for a base at Singapore. The British Government considers that its first duty is to the people who made the Empire and who have hitherto paid for it. The contributions of Canada, South Africa, and Australia to the Empire have been comparatively as nothing. The people of the Old Country are the heaviest taxed people in the world to-day. It is they who are carrying the responsibilities of Empire, and yet there are people in Australia who complain that Great Britain has deserted us in abandoning the Singapore Base. I would not have the slightest hesitation in voting in favour of Australia paying her share for a base at Singapore if I considered that such a base was necessary for our welfare. I am not speaking for or against the building of that base, but I am voicing my sympathies with the British Government in its efforts to solve its home difficulties. The people of Great Britain are interested more in their own homes than in the Singapore Base. Who speaks for the people of- Australia ? Members of the Opposition, who represent a great number of them, are dumb. They could speak for their section, but do not. We, on this side, can speak for the majority of the people who sent us here.
– We shall speak at the right time.
– Members of the Opposition should speak now, and let their followers and the people know where they stand. If they had any regard for the efforts of the British Government on behalf of international peace, and if there was any sincerity in the clap-trap that we so often hear about an “ International
Brotherhood,” they would now be speaking loudly in favour of the British Government’s policy.
– The honorable senator was formerly an advocate of it himself.
– I am advocating it , now, but I have acquired some common sense since I was a member of the Labour party, and am trying to look at the subject from a common-sense point of view. I am not in the least disheartened because the British Government has- decided not to proceed at present with the construction of the Singapore Base. We know that the Liberal party, which represents a large number of the people of the Old Country, including intellectual, wealthy, and cultured members of the community, is opposed to the construction of the base; that members of the Labour party are unanimously opposed to it; and that the Conservative party is split on the question. Tlie ‘ ‘ Jingo “ section is always shouting and putting forward every possible effort to promote schemes of aggression. Australia will lose nothing by the postponement of the work! As Senator Kingsmill has pointed out, Singapore is an important port. Thousands of ships go out of that port in all directions, and Britain could not possibly give it up. She could not leave it long as a weak spot in the Empire. It must be protected, but I believe that it will pay Great Britain to leave it alone for the present.
India is greatly interested in Singapore. It is the principal part of the Empire, so far as numbers are concerned, and is the part nearest to Singapore. If Great Britain were at war with an enemy in the East, India would probably be attacked first. The Indians are not very anxious about the Singapore Base, although they are very much nearer than we are to the danger point. Their view is the same as that of the British Government. Their finances will not stand the strain. India’s legislators have flatly refused to vote any money to assist in building the base. It is said that the base is necessary to protect India, but it is best in such matters to let India speak for herself. I try to Keep in touch with the progress of thought in India, and I know that the majority of her leading constitutionalists are not even in favour of having the base. They are not directly opposed to it, but they have so much to do at home that they do not regard Singapore as urgent.
– Some of them think that a base at Singapore would be a menace to their crude ideas of Indian nationalism.
– That statement applies to only one section of the Indian community. There is an extremist section, which has been carried away by the foolish statements of its leaders. That extreme element has been created by the bureaucracy that rules India to-day. That bureaucracy is the greatest existing danger to India, and its ill-considered and foolish attitude towards not only the majority of Indians, but also her educated people, has created the revolutionary section. I admit that that section is disloyal, and is doing all it possibly can to create trouble ; but we have people in Australia who are disloyal. There is quite a large and noisy section of men of that calibre here. There are disloyalists at the tail end of the Labour party. The Labour party may not agree with them, but they are camp followers, and cannot bc shaken off.
– Are there no extremists on the honorable senator’s side?
– There are no extremists on this side that advocate revolution. The extremist section in India has been mainly created, and is being fostered, by the bad feeling caused by the bureaucracy.
– The extreme .man of to-day is often the moderate man of to-morrow.
– Not always. Many extreme men who make trouble to-day do not live long enough to obtain common sense. The ill they do is left as a burden for others to carry. Apart from the Singapore Base, the safety of the East could best bo secured by granting India self-government. If India had full control of her own affairs the safety of the Empire in the East would be assured. India would then dominate the East. Japan is, comparatively, only a small part of $he East. If India had selfgovernment she would be one of the most loyal parts of the Empire.
– Does the honorable senator mean that India should have selfgovernment within or without the Empire ?
– I mean within the Empire. The leading constitutional authorities in India are strongly in favour of self-government for India within the Empire, and it is only in consequence of the action of a particular section which has misrepresented the position that trouble arises from time to time. Mr. Sastri and the Indian representative at the Imperial Conference, whose actions I most heartily support, are the men responsible for saving India from another mutiny. They are the real representatives of the opinions of a majority of the Indian people. With the position in India on a satisfactory basis, and a friendly Egypt, the Suez Canal would be safe, and in such circumstances trouble between Great Britain and other nations could easily be obviated. I congratulate the Macdonald Government on their endeavour to insure peace, and with that laudable object in view they have decided, for the present at any rate, to abandon the construction of a base at Singapore. That proposition was not considered at the Washington Disarmament Conference, but the present British Government are showing the world that they desire peace, and are carrying out the spirit of the Washington treaty.
I trust that the Government will adopt the resolution passed at the Imperial Conference in regard to the enfranchisement of Indians resident in Australia, as they are members of one of the most cultured races within the Empire. It is difficult for those who are not in close touch with the position in India to realize the situation that has arisen between the coloured and white races of the Empire. There is not a great number of Indians resident in the Commonwealth. Those who are here are reputable citizens engaged in business or settled on the land,, and are hot in sufficient numbers in any electorate to influence an election. If the Government adopt the recommendation of the Conference, and give the franchise to Indians at present resident in Australia, that will do a great deal to remove the feeling which now exists in India concerning the White Australiapolicy, which is misunderstood by a very large section, and will be a further means of bringing together citizens in different parts of the Empire.
Many of the Indians at present in Australia who are deprived of the privilege of voting, believe that they are regarded as unfit to become citizens- of the country in which they are settled, and in which they pay taxes. We need only reverse the position to understand their feelings. Personally, I support the Macdonald Government in its decision to delay the construction of the Singapore Base, as I believe such a. policy will be a ‘means of bringing about international peace and of promoting the interests of humanity. Before the present British Government assumed office, its members pledged themselves, officially and otherwise, to grant self-government to India when the opportunity arose, and that is an additional reason why I. am glad that it is in power. It is considering many public questions with an open mind, and’ is not influenced by the prejudices of the past. Some members’ of the British Parliament strongly oppose self-government for India ; but the present Prime Minister of Great Britain is acquainted with the situation, because he has not only travelled through India on several occasions, but has published several books concerning his travels. Although the British Labour Government has abandoned the construction of the Singapore Base, I believe that their efforts will be the means of insuring international peace, and of settling many questions which have long been delayed.
– On this the first occasion on which I have addressed the Senate, I do not intend to add verymuch to the debate; but. the questions submitted are so important that I do not feed justified in recording a silent vote. I have carefully followed the discussion, which, unfortunatelyup to the present, has been very one-sided. I have also read all the information. available on the deliberations of the Imperial and Economic Conferences, and believe that there can be only one opinion concerning the necessity of indorsing all the resolutions submitted by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce). At this juncture. I do not wish to criticise the attitude of the Opposition., but Icannot understand why its members remain silent. The resolutions submitted involve not only the safety of Australia itself, but also the safety of Australia’s ocean borne trade. If honor able senators opposite believe that there is a better method of carrying out the important work proposed, it is their duty to disclose it, and thus enable honorable senators to decide which is the better policy. They are neglecting their duty in refusing to discuss these important resolutions. The Prime Minister was an able representative of Australia at the recent Conferences, and apart from the great world, war I do not think anything which has happened in Europe for many years has aroused more interest than the proceedings at those gatherings of Empire delegates. When it was learned that there was a possibility of a naval base being established at Singapore, and that preferential trade was likely to be adopted, a general feeling of satisfaction prevailed throughout Australia. Later, when it was ascertained that the Singapore Base was likely to be abandoned owing to a change of Government, considerable consternation arose. What is likely to happen in regard to the preferential trade proposals cannot be foreseen, as the decisions of the Economic Conference have yet- -to be considered by the British Parliament. Those accustomed to political negotiations naturally expected misunderstandings to arise. We have nowreached the stage where a hitch . has occurred in the consummation of what we hoped for concerning peace in the Pacific, and also in regard to preferential trade. The Australian Parliament, as representative of the people, should show the British Parliament and people thatwe desire a base at Singapore. I listened attentively to SenatorReid,. and I earnestly trust that Australia is in the safe position he imagines it to be. Naval and military authorities, whose duty it is to study the question of defence, prepare before war actually occurs, and these experts have informed us that it will take years to construct a base in the Pacific. Ihave not heard any valid reason adduced to make one believethat a base at Singapore is unnecessary, and, although we have seen certain paragraphs in the newspapers,, and have heard scrappy interjections from honorable senators opposite, nothing tangible- has. been submitted in support of that view.
The Leader of the Opposition, Senator Gardiner, said- that such a base might possibly involve Australia in an expenditure of £25,000,000. That estimate was based on the assumption that modern battleships cost, approximately, £5,000,000 each. The cost of ship construction is not involved in the establishment of this base, because such a base would be utilized principally by vessels attached to the British Fleet. I believe the Minister, Senator Pearce, said the cost was estimated at between £10,000,000 and £11,000,000.
– That was the Admiralty estimate.
– Yes. Australia’s contribution might be comparatively small, but the question of cost is of minor importance where the safety of the Commonwealth is at stake. I believe it has been suggested in certain newspapers that by constructing a base in the Pacific we would insult a loyal Ally. I am glad that Japan is our Ally, and I hope she always will be: but we know that allies in one decade may be enemies in the next. We can retain our present friendly relations with Japan better by showing that we are in a position to defend ourselves than by remaining idle and saying, “ Let some one else do this for us.” If we pursued to its logical conclusion the policy of those who say that to build this base would be to offend Japan, we should not be able to build a ship, make a cartridge, fire a shot, or hoist a flag without offending another nation. What a helpless lot we should be, if we im potently adopted such an attitude. We should quickly forfeit the respect and esteem of any nation, whose respect was worth having. For these reasons, I support the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce). The benefits of the protectiou of the British Navy have been proclaimed so many times - we have heard of them from our infancy - that it is not necessary for me to recapitulate them. With our immense coast-line it is necessary for us to have naval protection, and. there must be a point in the Pacific at which capital ships can be docked, since their range of usefulness is limited to within a certain radius of their base. We know that Australia’s safety has depended in the past, and will depend for many years, on the protection of the British
Navy. During the late war we were fortunate that the seas were kept open. Imagine what our position would have been if they had been closed.
– It was the Japanese who kept the seas open.
– No. What kept them open was the British Navy, which bottled up the German Fleet in the Kiel Canal.
– I mean our seas.
– The honorable senator cannot differentiate between our seas and other seas. I do not wish to belittle anything that our Allies did for us. We know that the Japanese vessels convoyed our troops from Australia to the scene of war. and many times I have spoken in appreciation of their services. But it was the British Navy that kept the seas open. I wholeheartedly support the Leader of the Senate in his remarks concerning the Singapore Base. The speech he made last week was the first I have heard him deliver in this Chamber. It was an excellent address, and showed from start to finish that he was thoroughly conversant with his subject.
I desire to refer briefly to the important subject of Empire trade. When the Prime Minister persuaded the British authorities to give preference in the Home markets to Australia’s primary products, such as fruit, our producers and the fruitgrowers particularly, received the announcement’ with keen satisfaction. I have been closely associated with the fruit industry since the beginning of the late war, and I can say without hesitation that no primary producers have suffered greater hardships than those engaged in the fruit-growing business. When the wool-growers were enjoying better prices than they had ever previously obtained, our fruit-growers could not sell their goods in England because fruit was not a necessity.
– But jam was.
– I am referring particularly to fresh fruit, of which we used to export about 2,250,000 cases every year. For some time after the outbreak of war,’ we could not send any away. Later on when, the markets were opened and the growers were told that they could have their produce carried to the Old Country there were not enough ships to take the fruit away. In those days growers were sometimes able to find space for their fruit, and sometimes they had to watch . it rotting on the ground. In more recent years, they have occasionally obtained good yields, but this year half of the Tasmanian crop is blemished. Just as a feeling of hope was kindled in the industry when it was announced that Great Britain was to give preference to Australian fruit, so there will be a sense of keen disappointment among the primary producers, and particularly among fruit-growers, owing to the failure of this Parliament to send a unanimous protest -to Great Britain against the negotiations with respect to preference being deferred. As one who has taken part in several very important agricultural conferences in Australia in recent years, I know the importance that was attached to the expenditure of money at Singapore from the point of view of the establishment of an Eastern market. I can appreciate the importance of finding markets for our products. If we give the farmer a chance to sell his goods, we need not trouble much about legislating in his behalf. At all these conferences, means of finding markets in the East have been discussed. We have sent Trade Commissioners there, but markets have not been opened up to the extent expected. It was pointed out at the last conference that one of the ‘ reasons for the lack of outlets for our products was the fact that there was no distributing base with the necessary cool storage in the East. There was no one place where it would be worth while private enterprise establishing such a base for trading operations. When the primary producers heard that Government money to the tune of £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 was to be spent at Singapore, they recognised that it was the very thing they needed, because it would introduce there more English folk with English tastes, and would be an incentive to business people to establish at Singapore the nucleus of a large trade in flour, meat, wool, fruit, &c. The producers of Australia were building on this project as much from a trade point of view as from a naval stand-point. I cordially agree with the remarks of Senator Foll who believes that our secondary industries should be increased so that more of our primary products could be worked up into the manufactured article in our own country. Every farmer knows that there is no outlet like a home market. Our exports of wool and meat are most satisfactory. I do not know what Australia would have done this year if it had not been for its export of wool. If I were asked on what fines we could best help the farmers I should say, “Establish industries in the towns to enable the people to utilize what is produced in this country.’’ Senator Foll remarked that the cost of timber was higher than it should be. I live in a district that produces a great deal of timber, and I pointout that the softwoods of America are incomparable for value with Tasmanian and other Australian hardwoods. One of our disadvantages is that the trees from which Australian hardwood is milled grow -a considerable distance apart and there is from 40 to 50 per cent, of waste, whereas with American pine there; is no’ waste, and the timber is light to handle. I do not regard the American timber worker as more efficient than the Australian. Our hardwoods are the best in the world for building purposes and for furniture making, and our flooring boards are particularly serviceable, but our timber cannot compete in price with that from Canada.
– We cannot induce Australians to use their own timber. They prefer cheap Oregon.
– I should be inclined to increase the duty on Oregon so that its price would be made prohibitive. I suppose it is hopeless to ask the Opposition to relent and allow a unanimous voice to be expressed by Australia in favour of the Singapore Base and preferential trade’.
– The reason why so many honorable senators are opposing the amendment has been stressed from many points of view, and I feel quite justified in voting against it for the simple reason that I do not quite understand it. The purpose of the amendment has not been explained to the Senate by the honorable senator who proposed it. Honorable senators opposite ought to take some pains to make clear what is meant by their proposal.
– Perhaps they do not understand it themselves.
– I suggest that that is why no explanation is forthcoming. The amendment asks us to indorse the policy of the Government of Great
Britain which, it declares, has had the indorsement of a majority of the representatives of the British people in the House of Commons. That may be true, but at the same time the administration of affairs in Great Britain is now in the hands of those who represent- only a minority, and we ought not to be asked to agree to an amendment whose purpose is to indorse an action taken by a minority of the people of Great Britain. In that country there are 20,000,000 people entitled to exercise the franchise, but at the last general election not more than 14,500,000 voted, and of those who recorded their votes 5,500,000 supported Conservative candidates and 4,500,000 supported Liberal candidates, accounting for 10,000,000 out of 14,500,000 and leaving only 4,500,000 voters who supported the Labour Party. ‘In the face of these figures it cannot be said that those who are at the present time in charge of the administration of affairs in Great Britain represent the majority of the electors. They are simply in power because the forces opposed to them were divided just as they have been at recent elections in Australia. Had that not been the case the Labour party would not have been in power and the resolutions of the Imperial Conference would have been dealt with in a very different manner in this Parliament. It has been said that the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) went to England and came back with nothing. He has told us - and we believe it - that he did not go abroad to ask for favours, passing the hat round, as it were, to different British ministers, but that he went to London to represent the ideals of the people of Australia and take part, as he had a right to do, in the deliberations of the statesmen of the Empire at the Imperial Conference, putting forward the viewpoint of the people of Australia and concurring in whatever was agreed to by the majority at that Conference. He has got as much out of those deliberations as has any other representative of the overseas Dominions who attended the Conference, and it is idle to lay the charge against him that he came back with nothing, when he went there asking for nothing except for the right to take his share in the deliberations of the statesmen of the Empire. One would have thought that the members of the Labour party in this Parliament would not have let pass this opportunity to deal with some of the questions that so directly concern the working classes in all countries. Here was an opportunity for them to tell the world what they thought of the conclusions arrived at by such an important Conference. What the Labour party in Australia thought on these matters would have been illuminating to the politicians of Great Britain. But they have not availed themselves of this opportunity. Instead they have adopted the strange attitude of saying nothing whatever. I find no fault with them for the stand they are taking, but they are sadly and sorely discounting their influence in the public life of Australia by their silence during this debate on such important subjects, possibly the most important that could come before this Parliament or, at any rate, have come before it for very many year3. We are anxious to hear their views now. The time may come when we may not want to hear . them. They are on strike now. We may close the workshop on them at a time when they want to talk. Actions are like boomerangs; they are sometimes apt to swing back and hit the parties responsible for them. We have frequently heard it said that Parliamentary discussions have been prevented by the use of the “ gag,” and the Government who have been anxious to carry on the business of the country have been sorely blamed for not giving members of Parliament the opportunity to express their views. Now, however, honorable senators opposite tell us that they are anxious that the business of the country should be carried on, and therefore they are remaining silent. The truth is that they are silent because the order has gone forth to remain silent, possibly because it is thought that the Government may thus be embarrassed or that the work of the Prime Minister may be belittled in the eyes of the world, particularly of the British Empire. However, the Opposition’s idea in that regard has failed as signally as it has on many other matters. I should have thought that the members of the Labour party would be anxious to express an opinion upon such important subjects as foreign relations and the negotiation, signature and ratification of treaties. For many years past, even before the war, we have heard of the wickedness of secret, diplomacy and secret treaties. Indeed, they have been referred to as one of the primary causes -of past wars. Honorable senators opposite have asked the Government to take the people into their confidence before treaties and negotiations with foreign powers are finalized; but although the motion submitted by Senator Pearce clearly lays it down that the days of secret diplomacy and secret treaties are practically over; we are asked by the Labour party to agree to an amendment which will permit all negotiations for secret treaties, with the consequent horrors of war, to go merrily on their way. I should have thought that instead of submitting such a proposal, our friends opposite would have taken the opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister and those associated with him on at last coming to their way of thinking by declaring that secret diplomacy must come to an -end and that there should be open treaties between the nations. During this debate the subject of defence has been dealt with so often and so effectively that I do not . propose to occupy much time in discussing it.; but as I give to every honorable senator the right to express his own opinion in his own way, I claim the same right for myself. I was surprised to hear Senator Reid pointing out - I suppose to his own satisfaction - that there was no need for any haste in regard to the Singapore Base, and that there was no need to take any further steps for the defence of Australia. I hold a different view. The defence of a country can never be entered upon too soon. The risk of giving offence to a nation that to-day may ‘.be our ally and our friend, is not worth a snap of the fingers in comparison with the necessity for preparing our own country for defence in time of war. Lord Roberts and . others went up and down Great Britain trying in every conceivable way to arouse’ the people of that country to a sense of their danger; telling them that war was imminent, that Britain was quite unprepared, and that the lives of thousands of men and millions of money would be lost unless certain steps were taken. They were laughed at. People said that Lord Roberts was in his dotage and did not know what he was talking about. War came, and proved that if his advice . had been taken thousands of lives would have been saved and millions of pounds would not have been lost
– If his advice had been taken there would probably have been no war.
– Yes, if Great Britain had been as well prepared for war as her enemy was at that time, I believe there would have been no conflict. As a matter of fact the war started when England was supposed to be unprepared for it. We may delay the construction i’i these bases and the laying down of new battleships, but when war comes it will come suddenly. There will be no time to build ‘ bases or provide accommodation for the ships required or to lay down new vessels. The enemy will take his own time and choose his own battleground, and that time will be when wo are least prepared, and the battleground will be that part of the world ‘ where we are most defenceless. Therefore I deplore the delaying of precautionary measures for our own defence until we are in imminent danger, and until it is really too late to do so. I desire to point out to those who oppose the construction of the Singapore Base that in Australian waters at present are two capital ships on a mission of peace, fraternity, and good-will to the people of Australia. If one of those vessels, while sailing the Southern Ocean, were to break down, it would have to be abandoned, or else towed half-way round the world to Rosyth, in Scotland, for repair. Is . there a country so hopelessly and so helplessly situated as is Australia at present? But for the fact that wo have the protection of the British Fleet, and are a part of the British Empire, we would be the immediate prey of any great Naval Power in the Pacific.
– Capital ships are now to be replaced by light cruisers.
– If war were to break out, the conflicting countries would waste no time in constructing the type of vessel they considered necessary for adequate defence. The whole of the expert advice from . both military and naval authorities in Great Britain and elsewhere is in favour of the construction of the . Singapore Base. Whose . advice are we to take -the . advice of the man who has made war a life-study, and who was engaged in every ibranch. of defence during the war, or that of a man such as the Prime Minister of England, or, say, the Prime Minister of
Australia, or any member of tone Australian Parliament, who has had no experience at all concerning naval requirements? Only one prominent British Admiral has opposed the construction of the ‘base.
– And he left the Admiralty before the war.
– He has not been on . active . service for twenity-Eve years. If one requires a bootmaker, or a itadlor., he sends for . a tradesman, and if a -surgical operation is necessary, a surgeon is summoned.
SenatorFoll. - The honorable senator could mot . expect a member of the Admiralty to sanction . a reduction in naval construction.
– I believe that military aurel naval autliorities are honest men, ann tjt.01 give the l>est advice in the interests of their -country.
– Their views are coloured <by their profession.
– My honorable friend, when ill, calls in a doctor, and does not question his . honesty. I remind honorable senators of a notable speech delivered in another portion- of this building . by Admiral Field. Whilst that gentleman is a member . of the British Navy, . at present sailing on a special mission, we recognise that he is not . a free . agent, and . cannot say «Kactly . what die thinks. We know feat whatever he says must bo toned dowm to snit the requirements of ‘ the Imperial naval aniuhorities ; but in ibis speech ‘he made . no apologies at al! sfior iaipressiing upon us the absolute necessity of . a ‘naval base . at Singapore for . the defence of, not «mly Anflsti’.aiia, taut India and the southern possessions of Great Britain. A prominent member . of the Labour party . ©id that occasion made use -of a . statement that is -frequently repealed by different people in Australia. Mr. Anstey, the Deputy Leader iof the Labour party, said that his party, like the Government of Great Biritain, did -not believe in ; the construction of the Singapore Base,, and on . that . account they /had (congratulated the Prime Minister of Great Britain ior his timely action.. Mr. Anstey said - “We ave prepared . to defend Australia when war comes to the shores of Australia.” I deplone that any man should look forward to the time when Australia might suffer tobe horoosrs nhat befell France and Belgium and other coiuntntes . during the war,. If (possible, it is our duty . ho keep war from <our . shores. The Labour party anticipate a time when our men, women and children will bc slaughtered owing to their defenceless condition, whereas if a naval base were established at Singapore, the gateway to our country, we could defend our shores there more effectively than in Australia. For that reason, I marvel thaf’the Opposition should taflce no part in this debate. The resolutfaions ‘that were agreed to at the Economic Conference are . convincing arguments why senators opposite should take far -more interest in them ‘than should senators occupying this side of -the ‘Chamber, especially when dealing with questions such ; as aiaftionality, the White Australia policy, and others, which uhe Opposition claim are of far more importance ito them . than tbey -are to -us. Last Saturday -night, an South Australia, I heard Ae leader of the ‘Opposition in the Senate ‘(Senator Gardiner) talking to an audience with liis usual force, eloquence, and recklessness. He told the people there what a wio’ked man Sir Henry Barwell «was, and what a tremendous danger they would ‘run in voting foi* him or a single individual who supported the advocate -of -black labour. Senator ‘Gardiner told his listeners that amy mam who recorded . a ‘vote for Sir Henry Barwell or his supporters was voting for a iblack Australia. The people who stood -by . were amused, and they said What manner of man is tihis that has come -from New . South Wales, who, with all his eloquemoe, is telling us what we know to be absolute rubbish?” Here is the . opportunity for . honorable senators opposite . to . say . a few words in the interests of ‘the White Australia policy. It is not Sir HenryBar well or the Prime Minister, Mr.. . Bruce, who is the menace -to tho White Australia policy, hut ‘those who take part in the deliberations of the League of Nations. Any expression . of -opinion by the Opposition would do more . than their silence to (guarantee the Wihifce Australia policy. Indeed, I Jiaa’e mo dora bt whatever that, –when the League of Nations considers this iqnestioaa at ia ifutraire . meeting, it ‘will foe informed, possibly : to the j?oipar.dy -and detriment of Australia, of -the attitude adopted by the Australian
Labour party, who had nothing to say in defence of the White Australia policy. Surely the question of workmen’s compensation, which was also dealt with at the Economic Conference, is vital to the representatives of the Labour party, although I contend that we on this side of the Senate are just as truly representative of the working men as are honorable senators opposite, who claim to have taken this section of the community under their wing. Not one word of approval or condemnation - good, bad or indifferent - has been uttered by the Opposition on the question of workmen’s compensation. It would have been strange to see my old friend, the late Senator E. S. Guthrie, sitting silent when the right of the seamen to compensation was under discussion. Although the resolution of the Economic Conference provides that all workmen are, entitled to compensation, whether they continue to live in the State in which the accident happened or not, yet we have had not one word of commendation from the Opposition. Do they think that the worker outside will hold them guiltless when they discover that the Labour party did not approve of the resolutions of the Economic Conference establishing the right of compensation to workmen in all parts of the British Dominions? The Conference in its deliberations considered not only the workmen and the seamen, but also the alien, who, in the past, was not entitled to compensation under the Act. If the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner) is carried, the whole of the resolutions of the Conference will go by the board. In any case they may go by the board, but it will be some satisfaction to honorable members on this side of the Senate to know that, whatever may be the ultimate fate of these resolutions when before the Parliament of Great Britain, at least we gave them our whole-hearted and cordial support. I leave it at that. It is not worth while to. continue the argument any further. Enough has been said to show the people where the members of the Nationalist Government stand, and enough, too, has been said to show the people where the members of the Labour party, who ought to be in accord with every word in these resolutions, stand. It must not be forgotten that members of the Labour party stand for the defeat of these resolutions, which mean so much to the people of Australia. _ Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) [5.36]. - I shall not join in the chorus of disapproval of the attitude of the Opposition. I do not disagree with what the Opposition is doing on this occasion. I feel -that the attitude of the Opposition, being, as it is, a practical indorsement of the Government’s policy, is a matter for congratulation by those who sit on this side of the Chamber. Some honorable senators who have spoken previously seem to have somewhat misunderstood the position. Members of the Opposition in this Chamber are ready whenever they are opposed to any measures brought forward, or any motion submitted, to’ voice their opposition and what they, believe to be the opinions of those electors who support them! Upon this occasion they have declared, through their Leader in this Chamber, that they have nothing to say about the Government’s proposals. If they were opposed to them, they would very soon let us and the people of the country know the reasons for their opposition. Therefore, I am justified, not only by their attitude, but also by the amendment which their Leader has moved, in claiming that, so far from their being in opposition to the Government, they are actually supporting it. The motion so ably submitted by Senator Pearce asks the Senate to approve of the conclusions of the Imperial Conference, as set out in the summary of proceedings, relating to foreign relations; negotiation, signature, and ratification of treaties ; and defence. In the second place, the Senate is asked to approve of the resolutions ofthe Imperial Economic Conference relating to Imperial preference, and the Imperial Economic Committee. To that motion the Leader of the Opposition has moved an amendment to the effect that the Senate approves of the foreign policy of His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain. The first portion of the motion of the Leader of the Senate, dealing with “ foreign relations “ and “ negotiation, signature, and ratification of treaties,” refers to the foreign policy of the Empire, and, from my reading of the newspapers, I have not discovered that the British Government, since taking office, has in any way acted contrary to the spirit or the letter of the decisions of the Imperial Conferences on foreign policy. The foreign relations policy of the British Government ‘(is. broadly speaking, almost entirely the same as the foreign relations decisions of the Imperial Conferences. Therefore, an amendment to the effect that the Senate approves of the foreign policy of His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain almost entirely covers the first two references in the first portion of the motion. The Opposition, however, does not stop there. A confession has been made that this subject was insufficiently considered by the party, and that the statements by the Leaders of the Opposition in this Chamber and in another place did not express the intentions of the party. Senator Gardiner, in moving this amendment, made no reference to the fact that the Labour party was in favour of Imperial preference. It was only after the Opposition had been subjected to severe criticism that it found that it was in favour of Imperial preference. I am still hopeful that if this debate is continued a little longer, and the Opposition, has some ‘more time for consideration, it will find that there are other things it favours, and that there are in these proposals other matters of great importance to the Labour party and of vital moment to Australia. We shall then have other members of the party coming forward with statements that the party is in favour of this or of that. If we could only afford to prolong this debate for a day or two we would probably find that, after all, there was very little difference between the opinions of members of the Opposition and of followers of the Government on the majority of the questions dealt with at the Conferences.
– Members of the Opposition might then adopt all the resolutions of the Conferences.
– They might. The attitude of the Opposition to the policy of the Imperial Government is so extraordinary that it is Quite easy to imagine that whatever are the opinions of members of the Opposition to-day, they may be entirely different to-morrow.
– It is safe to say that members of the Opposition will be prepared to speak next week.
– I think so. Some members of the Opposition would be very glad to speak now, but for the decision of the party that they must not. Senator McDougall has been a picture of impatience throughout’ the debate. He has interjected frequently, and if I am any judge of him, he has never in his life appeared to be so ready, as he is at the present time, to jump up and join in a debate.
– It is only poverty of ideas that stops them.
– I do not believe that. It is the decision of his party that stops him. Senator McDougall, Senator Graham, and other members of the Opposition who are interested in these subjects would like to give the Senate the benefit of their knowledge and opinions, but unfortunately for them, for the Senate, and for Australia, they have been tied up, and are not at liberty, although they are the chosen representatives of the people, to voice their opinions. I sympathize with them in the invidious position in which they find themselves; but, as Senator Pearce has said, perhaps next week a different decision will be reached by this extraordinary party, and honorable senators who belong to it may then be given that liberty of speech which they enjoy so much, and about which they talk so loudly. When that liberty of speech has been given to them we shall hear something from them regarding their real opinions. I would not be surprised if before long they and other members of the Labour party were found to be bitterly opposed to committing this country to a policy put forward by even a Labour Government in Great Britain, no matter what that policy might be, or what it might lead to. They ask us in cold blood, as a Senate, to approve of the foreign policy of His Majesty’s Government in Great Britain. In so far as that policy agrees with the decisions of the Imperial and Economic Conferences, it may he all right. But when we rein ember the wide ramifications of Great Britain’s foreign policy,, and the dangers that it entails, not only on Great Britain but on every part of the Empire, and when we bear in mind that this is the first time that the Labour party in Australia has asked this Parliament to indorse the policy of a Government in another part of the world without knowing what that policy is, we begin to realize how far that party has drifted away from its original ideals, which it placed before the people of Australia very recently. The foreign policy of the Government of Great Britain may, or may not, be good, hut I challenge any honorable senator opposite to explain it to this Senate. Members of the Opposition do not know what the foreign policy of the British Government is. The Senate does not know. The Government do not know. As far as I nm aware, there has been no general declaration of foreign policy by the British Government, or any member of it, since it took office. Nevertheless, we are asked to indorse that policy, without knowing anything about it. We arc asked to indorse it by those who know nothing about it, and who cannot explain what it means or tell us where it will lead us. I hope the day will never come when this Australian Parliament, representative of a free people, will indorse the policy of any Government in any part of the Empire unless it knows what thai; policy is, and has had an opportunity to consider it fully in all its aspects.
Senator Reid has spoken of one aspect of tlie policy of tlie British Government. It may be difficult to bring that under the heading of foreign relations. I refer to the treatment of India by the Empire. I hope that, however enthusiastic ray honorable friend may be, and I know he has been for many years a close student of the problems of India and the Indian people, nothing will be done hastily to give self-government to India, because that might have the effect of striking a vital blow at the maintenance of this Empire that we love so dearly.
– That was said by those who opposed the granting of home rule to Ireland.
– Yes ; and what is the position in Ireland to-day? It is a small country, with a small population, and, although its people enjoy all the benefits and obligations of selfgovernment, they are still fighting one another. Men can still be found there who will fire upon defenceless fellow beings. If that, be possible in a place like Ireland, where there is, perhaps, a higher degree of knowledge and learning than can be expected in India, what could happen in India, where there are over 400,000,000 people of many ra,ces, professing many religions, speaking many languages, and without any common ideals. Some of them desire to remain within the Empire, and are loyal to British sentiment, hut others are bitterly hostile to us.
– Millions of them donot know what the Empire is.
– Millions of them have never even heard of the British Empire, and they do not know anything about it. If those people are given selfgovernment and the right to say what shall or shall not be clone in tlie Empire, the result may be disastrous. I hope thuclay is not very near when that power will be given to them. I am fearful of the consequences, particularly from an Australian point of view. I am moreconcerned with the Australian than the Indian point of view. I believe the effect of any such action would be more serious to Australia than to India.
– It would be the best thing, that could happen to Australia;
– It might, or might not be. Prom my point of view, it looks as though it would not be. Senator Reid said that it would promote thesafety of Australia. He knows that this country stands solidly for the maintenance of the ideal of a White Australia.
– India has never sought to interefere with that policy.
– My honorable friend admitted that Indians have sought to interfere with that ideal when he said that Indians resident in the Commonwealth had asked for the full privileges and rights of Australian citizenship. A. united India with its own Government and control of its own defences would not be long in making claims upon Australia that could not possibly be granted. Before serious consideration is given to the question of self-government for India, we should clearly understand the aims and ambitions of those who are in control, not because they have a right, but because a vast majority of the Indian people have no interest whatever in the question. They have not even had an opportunity to express an opinion on the actions of those who are influencing Indian thought.
– Who has. a better right to control the destinies of a country than the people who live in it?
– That may be all right, but until tha Indian people are fitted to govern there is no occasion for Australia, which has its own problems to solve and its own ambitions to realize, to express an opinion on what should be done in India. We must also take the wider view, which embraces the well-being of the Empire upon the safety and maintenance of which we are depending. The representation- of Australia at the Conference has been all that we could desire, and our delegates have accomplished more than the most sanguine anticipated. When we remember that the plans of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) were upset as a result of the British election, and that he had to start almost «/e novo with the men now administering the affairs of Great Britain, we must admit that he has rendered a magnificent service to the people of Aus.: tralia. It must have been very dis.concerting to him, after engaging in strenuous labour, the results of which were almost available, to find that he was unable to carry on further negotiations or to finalize anything owing to the changed political situation in England. There was no opportunity to hold another Conference. The new Government which took office did not know its own policy; it had not the opportunity to give these questions consideration. Honorable senators opposite refer to the present British Government as a Labour Government, but we know that it is comprised of men with widely divergent views. It is not a Labour Government. Indeed, we have heard of it as one consisting of more titled gentlemen than any Government which has held office in Great Britain for many years. If one were to fire from a catapult at those engaged at a British Cabinet meeting to-day one could not fail to hit a marquis, a duke, or a lord, and it would be a hundred to one chance that a ‘Labour representative or a Commoner would not suffer. It is not a Government animated entirely by those humanitarian ideals which members of the Labour party are supposed to support. On the contrary, it is a Government which, in certain respects, is animated by selfish ideals, since it intends to disregard the interests of the Dominions. We have heard of the gesture of peace. The British Government does not intend to proceed with the construction of the Singapore Base; but at the same time it intends to construct six battle cruisers, not for our defence in the Pacific, but I suppose for the defence of Great Britain. It is said that additional cruisers are. to be constructed to provide employment for British artisans. This is the policy of a Government, the leader of which, we are informed, is animated by the highest ideals. He loves peace. The members of the Labour party in this Parliament, in the amendment which they have submitted, state that the policy of the British Government is to bring about good-will between the nations and advance the peace of the world. The present British Government, the members of which are supposed to advocate peace, is laying down the keels of additional cruisers - to provide employment ! Is there no other work in ‘Great Britain on which men can be employed apart from building engines of war ? Many of us who have visited Great Britain, and those who have had opportunities of reading of the conditions existing there, know that much could be done to make life easier for the great majority of the people other than by undertaking the work I have mentioned. The housing conditions in parts of Great Britain are deplorable, and a policy which has for its object improvement in that direction could at least be undertaken. Notwithstanding this, this so-called Labour Government with all its magnificent schemes of redemption, cannot find anything else for the unemployed to do but build engines of destruction. They speak of peace, they say that a base at Singapore must not be constructed as they are endeavouring to secure peace in the world. If it had been proposed that the base should be built in Great Britain, in all probability the work would have been proceeded with, but because its construction at Singapore has been suggested, the British Government has decided that the work can stand over for a time. I am afraid that the Government’s actions in this regard are indicative of its probable policy towards the Dominions generally, and suggest that we can expect very little assistance from it in the matter of Australia’s protection and development. It is true that the Government is supported in this attitude by a number of Liberals in the British Parliament. It is a notorious fact, as the- readers of political history know, that it is to the Conservatives of Great Britain that the Dominions have to look for the greatest measure of support. The members of the Liberal party in England, many of whom are idealists, are associated to a degree with a number of excellent idealists in the Labour party whose idealism will not permit them to come down to practical politics. With these two groups associated I am afraid that the ultimate result so far as the outlying Dominions are concerned may be very disastrous, and that it may take the Empire many years to recover its former position. It has been said, and it is commonly believed, that the present British Government will not remain in power for any length of time. If its attitude towards the Dominions generally is to be gauged by recent happenings- 1 trust that its term will be very short, and that it will be replaced by a truly British Government which will give consideration not only to Great Britain’s needs, but also to those of every part of the Empire.
– The Labour party in the House of Commons will come back after the next election stronger than ever, and it will continue to act loyally to Great Britain and the Dominions.
– It may, and it may give effect to some of those ideals which Senator Reid holds so dear but which are not likely to be beneficial to the Empire. As an Australian representative, speaking in an Australian Parliament, my first concern is for Australia and the welfare of the Australian people. I am not going to be so concerned if conditions elsewhere are not so good as’ they might be, the improvement of which would result in imposing hardships on the Australian people. I regret that the decisions of the Imperial Conference agreed to by practically all the delegates, and by the late British Government, which was a party to them, have not been given effect to by the present Administration. That is, I think, too much to hope for. We trust, however, that the Commonwealth Government will continue its representations to the Government in Great Britain and that as many as possible of the decisions of the Imperial and Economic Conferences will be carried out. In view of the change of Government in Great Britain, the fate of a number of the decisions of the Imperial and Eco nomic Conferences should receive consideration at the hands of all Governments in the Empire. If these Conferences are to be worth anything at all, the parties to them should be pledged to bring the decisions before their respective Parliaments, leaving to them the task of determining whether or not those decisions shall be carried out. Of course, it is impossible for any of the delegates to bind their Dominions to the decisions of the Conferences without reference to their respective Parliaments, but we now find that there is in Great Britain, a new Administration that does not consider itself bound to remit those decisions to the British Parliament for ratification. This state of affairs is to be regretted, and much consideration will have to be given to the position in the future. I support the motion submitted by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), and I congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce.) on the very able way in which he represented Australia at the Imperial Conference. At all stages of the discussions, he admirably stood up for Australia’s ideals. I think this is probably the first time that the Opposition has been unable to cavil in any particular at the manner in which a Prime Minister of the Commonwealth lias represented Australia at an Imperial Conference. No higher compliment could be paid the present occupant of the position, and I join with the Opposition in congratulating him upon the very fine work he has done for his country.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Gardiner’s amendment) - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 11
Question so resolved in the negative.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 6.15 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 April 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1924/19240402_senate_9_106/>.