9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
The following paper was presented : -
Defence - Report, by Lieutenant-General Sir H. G. Chauvel, G.C.M.G., K.C.B. (for Inspector -General), on the Australian Military Forces (Part I., 31st May, 1024).
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Public Service Grievance
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
Will he lay on the table of the Senate the document presented to him from the Civil Service Association at Rabaul, during his recent visit to Mew Guinea, dealing with some alleged grievances of the Service?
– If the honorable senator will call at the offices of the Home and Territories Department, I shall be pleased to make arrangements for him to peruse the documents in question.
Bill read a third time.
Debate resumed from 18th June (vide page 1341), on motion by Senator Pearce-
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- I realize that this Bill deals with an important subject, upon which there is perhaps justification for a considerable difference of opinion, especially with reference to the appointment of the proposed Commission. The Government, in order to give honorable senators a lead, should be in a position to say whether the work at Canberra, up- to the present, has been satisfactorily performed, and if it is likely, in the near future, to increase to any great extent. Honorable senators, I believe, hesitate before agreeing to the creation of a Commission to take over the work of developing the Capital City area. The Minister (Senator Pearce) has informed us that the appointment of the Commission will not remove from Parliament control of operations at Canberra, but the Bill will clearly give to. the Commission powers which hitherto have been under the direct control of Ministers responsible to Parliament. If the change from control by the Director-General of Works to a Commission is to be one in name only, I shall have nothing to say in opposition to the proposal; but I do not think it right to relieve Parliament of all responsibility in connexion with work at the Capital City. The Bill provides for the appointment of three Commissioners, one, the chairman, being required to give the whole of his time to the duties of his office, and the two assistant Commissioners to be called in from time to time as their services may be required to confer with the chairman. I approach this question with an open mind. I shall support the second reading of the Bill, but my present intention is to oppose the appointment of three Commissioners. - In my opinion, one Commissioner should be quite sufficient. I do not anticipate, nor do I share the views of those who say that in the near future there will be big developments at Canberra. The continuance of the work at Canberra is now the accepted policy, and, as large sums have already been expended in developing the city, it would now be futile for one to offer any opposition. It has been stated by some honorable, senators that there will be considerable development, in the Federal Capital Territory in the near future, but with - that opinion I do not agree. Competitive designs were called for, and on the accepted plans the city has been laid out. Sewerage, water, and power schemes have been installed, a provisional Parliament House is in course of construction, and provision made for the erection of an administrative block, so that the Commission, if appointed, will merely have to cany on work the foundation of which has already been carefully laid. Criticism has been offered concerning the methods adopted in connexion with certain undertakings, but it is admitted that the officers at Canberra have done their work well. Many of those who have visited the Federal Capital speak in the highest terms of commendation concerning the activities there, and, if the work of construction is proceeding as satisfactorily as we are led to believe, one naturally wonders why three Commissioners should be appointed. One Commissioner, who would have the assistance .of experienced officers in the Department of Works and Railways, the Home and Territories Department, and the Treasury, would be ample. It has been stated that it is necessary to appoint a Commissioner capable of dealing with the financial side of the undertaking.
-brockman . - We would want a super-man capable of working continuously for 24 hours a day.
– That would not be necessary. Many extensive commercial undertakings, handling larger sums and doing more important work than ls involved in this instance, are controlled by one man. It is reasonable to assume that, when the Commission is appointed, a new Department will be created and additional officers engaged, which, in the circumstances would be unwarranted. In addition to Parliament House, the administrative building, and the dwellings required by public servants, very few buildings are likely to be erected in Canberra for many years, as there will be little to attract other than those directly or indirectly connected with the government of the Commonwealth. Canberra is not likely to become a commercial city. A3 provision has been made for a building in which Parliament can meet and for the administrative offices, there is no necessity at present for other extensive works to be undertaken. My present intention is to support the second reading of the Bill, and in Committee to suggest the appointment of one instead of three Commissioners, unless the Minister (Senator Pearce)^ when he replies, can justify the appointment of three Commissioners.
– One naturally wonders what justification there is for the appointment of three Commissioners to control the work of the Federal Capital, because it is generally admitted that under the present system good work is being done there. The Bruce-Page Government should be termed the “ wooden” Government, because they believe in government by Commissions and Boards. Senator Duncan expressed the fear that if the Commission to be appointed doe3 not comprise some of the principal officers now in control at Canberra a grave injustice will be done. During the war the Government of the day appointed Boards for controlling certain governmental activities, but, even when peace was declared, additional Boards and Commissions were appointed, until to-day there are 34 of such bodies in existence. It would be interesting to know to what extent the burden of the taxpayers has been increased in consequence of this delegation of authority. It is said that the rich pay their fair share of taxation. These burdens filter through the different strata of society until they eventually reach the shoulders of the workers, where they remain, because they cannot be passed on to any one else. The Government should be honest with itself and with Parliament; it should say that it is not able to govern, and should not throw on these Boards the responsibility for its mistakes. Can it be wandered at that the people are asking the reason for Parliament’s existence t Government should be by Parliament, not by Boards. Honorable senators and honorable members in another place are paid £1,000 per year each to govern Australia. If we are not prepared to accept the full responsibility which our position entails we should advise the electors, to abolish Parliament and save the present expenditure. The Minister (Senator Pearce) has referred to the good work done by similar Boards in America. Who has received the benefit of that work - the toiling masses ? Never ! The benefit has been derived only by the financial magnates of America. That will be the result also in Australia. If one could get to the bedrock of the matter it would be found that the Government is obeying the dictates of those financial magnates. The Minister treated lightly the cost of appointing this Commission, and stated that the system had proved highly successful in America. No other country can equal America in the matter of political bribery and corruption. That country is ruled by trusts and combines. Seven men control its destinies. They have the power to prevent the running of every railway, close every mine, throw every town and city into darkness, and starve the people.
– They do not attempt to exercise it.
– We do not want that state of affairs in Australia. The people must be governed by Parliament, not by Boards. What will ‘be the duties of these Commissioner^? If the men who are now charged with the administration of the Federal Capital area are not doing their duty they should be replaced by others. But every honorable senator says that those officers have done their duty effectively and well. Nothing can be said against them, yet the Government proposes to change the system in order to provide fat billets for some of its friends.
– The honorable senator is really amusing.
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well that there is truth in my statements. That fact is recognized also by the electors-. This Government attained power on the plea that economy must be practised, and immediately incurred additional expense by appointing a number of Boards. Senator Duncan referred to the potentialities of Canberra and drew a picture of what the city will be in the future. Where is its greatness ? Where are its wonderful potentialities? The city has been planted in .a howling wilderness. Will the surrounding country make Canberra., selfsupporting? Will the city possess any commercial value?. Or will it be left to the- politicians and the officers connected with Parliament? I contend that the, latter will be the experience. Those who are so placed that they can. leave the city will only be too pleased to shake from their feet its dust or its snow. A most astounding feature of the discussion that has taken place on this measure is that each honorable senator opposite who has spoken has opposed certain of its provisions. Senators Duncan and H. Hays be- .lieve that the Government should appoint only one Commissioner. Senator Duncan is afraid that some serious harm will result from these appointments. Yet those honorable senators, will assist the Government to put the measure through.
– Amendments can be made only in Committee.
– I hope that Senator H. Hays will stand by what he has said, and see that only one Commissioner, is provided for. We are aware of what happened after the Bill was introduced in another place. A caucus of the Government party was held, and it was. decided to make a material alteration. W& will not have tie opportunity to defeat the Bill, but I promise honorable senators opposite that it will not be longbefore the Labour party will occupy the Government benches, and a number of these Boards, will then be cast into oblivion.
– The arguments so far advanced on the Ministerial side of the Senate are not sufficient to convince me that the Bill is necessary. Some honorable senators who support- the measure say that three Commissioners are too many. I do not desire to see any Commissioners appointed, and I shall do what I can to prevent the passage of the Bill. Years ago the people of Australia were asked to express by referendum their opinion on the Commonwealth Constitution Bill, and they were made aware of the fact that if they voted for it there would be a. capita) situated at least 100 miles distant from a harbour city. Having approved of that measure the people are, of course, committed to a Federal Capital. I have always been in favour of the proposal. Various Governments have, from time totime, recognized the verdict of the people, and have proceeded with the work at Canberra, and, up to the present, satisfactory progress has. been made. But apparently the present go-slow Government, has received an intimation from one source or another that it must go ahead at express speed so far as Canberra isconcerned . . We have even been informed by the newspapers, probably -to expedite the building of the Capital, that the first Cabinet meeting of the Composite Government has been held in the new Capital. I suppose that item of news was heralded from one side of Australia to the other, and even reached the heart of the Empire. We are also told that the Government is extremely anxious to have the temporary Parliamentary buildings at Canberra completed before the present Parliament expires by effluxion of time. Why this great anxiety to leave Victoria? This State has an invigorating climate, magnificent sea beaches and glorious vistas from the hilltops within a stone’s throw, comparatively speaking, of this building.
– Look- at the Yarra !
– The Yarra is a beautiful stream, and apparently it would do some honorable senators good to pay a visit to the beauty spots in and around Melbourne.
– Let them go to Footscray, but they should take the precaution of wearing a gas mask.
– They should go further afield than Footscray. A short distance inland the Yarra is’ one of the most beautiful rivers in Australia. We have in Melbourne a press that is kindly disposed to this Parliament and to the members of it, and we can here enjoy the conveniences and comforts that make for happiness and civilization; yet everybody supporting the Bill is saying, “ Hurry up and let us go to Canberra.” Do they forget that in winter time they will be more or less frozen, and in summer time more or less scorched ? I, too, want to go to Canberra, but I do not wish to do so in a hurry. We ought to consider seriously what is proposed in this Bill. You, Mr. President, like myself, are over 21 years of age. In the winter time we shall have to board a train at Spencer-street, and after travelling on the comfortable broad gauge of Victoria as far as Albury, we shall have to change trains in the middle of the night. When we reach Yass in the early hours of the morning there will be another call for us to leave our warm beds and step into one of the Bruce-Page ‘’’ Lizzies,” which we are told will whirl us to Canberra, a distance of some 40 miles, at the rate of about a mile a minute. It will certainly hu most bracing on- a cold morning in winter, and we- shall need to be clothed like arctic explorers. If we desired t.7 reach Canberra in a perhaps more convenient way, by taking a little more’ time over the trip, we could continue the train journey from Albury to Goulburn, change trains there, and proceed to Queanbeyan, from which, after a further change of trains, we could reach the Capital.
– I suppose the honorable senator objects to travel in any other way than by cable tram?
– Those trams provide a very up-to-date means of locomotion, notwithstanding what has been said to the contrary, for they are most convenient to both young and old. Ever since I have been able to think for myself I have been opposed to nominee institutions; they should not be countenanced in any democratic community. Up to the present satisfactory progress has been, made at the Capital city. The work has been carried on by two Departments of the Commonwealth, and I have not heard of any complaints worth serious consideration respecting those who “Iia ve been entrusted with its supervision. Large works have been commenced by these Departments, and, now that they are almost completed, we are told that it is necessary to have a Commission of three. It waa proposed by the Government in another place that there should be three permanent Commissioners, as there would be, they said, ample work for them at the Federal city. But after’ making that statement they amended the Bill to provide for one permanent Commissioner and two part-time Commissioners. What is the definition ofl a part-time Commissioner ? Paradoxical as it may sound, is he to be a sort of permanent casual - that is to say, is he to be a permanent employee of the; Service, only partly employed, and allowed to perform duties outside the Service during the time that he will not be engaged on work in the Federal Capital city?
– That is obviously so.
– What a hotchpotch proposition that is. It is proposed to hand over absolute control of the Federal city to three Commissioners, one of whom is to be the permanent head, and the others to be appointed temporarily and allowed to engage in any calling or sphere of activity they desire. I want to make my position clear. I am .against the Bill. and. the appointment of any
Commissioners. Even if there were any justification for a Commission, the Government would not be justified in appointing one permanent Commissioner and two part-time Commissioners. What are to be the duties of the Commission? Is that body to be a sort of super-Parliament at the Federal Capital ? If so, the people of this country will not tolerate for a moment the establishment of such an institution. If the Bill is passed, the Commissioners will be clothed with extraordinary powers. In October next leases of land in the Federal Capital will be submitted to public auction, and the Commission, if appointed in the meantime, will have control of that matter. It will have power to impose rates and taxes, and to float loans. It will be entrusted with the revenues of the Capital, and with the spending of them, and have power to engage a staff of officers, employ them as long as it likes, and pay them what salaries it thinks fit. The Commission will have power to engage all sorts of labour, and to dismiss employees, apparently, at its own sweet will. I ask the Minister what is to become of the public servants who may be transferred from the various capital cities to the Federal city ?
– They will still be public servants under the Public Service Act. This is specially provided for in the Bill. Evidently, the honorable senator is not fully acquainted with its provisions.
– I have read the Bill, but perhaps not so closely as a lawyer would read it. I guarantee that the honorable senator himself does not clearly understand some of its provisions respecting the duties of these Commissioners, and the power that they will be able to exercise.
– I am quite willing to explain any one of them to the honorable senator.
– The Commissioners, if appointed, will require a staff. If there be on that staff some officers who are public servants and some who are not there will be dual control. A portion of the staff will be subject to the discipline of the Minister, and come under ,the Public Service Act; the other portion will be under the discipline and be subject to the instructions of the Commissioners. Are we to understand that dual control is to be exercised ?
– Why dual control ?
-^1 should have said dual power.
– Officers that are transferred to Canberra, will be under the control of the Commission until such time as they are re-transferred to the Public Service.
– That is my point. I asked the Minister what was to become of the public servants who might be transferred to the Capital to be under the control of the Commission. The Minister said clearly that those public servants would still be public servants.
– Of course they will.
– Under the control of the Board ?
– They will be public servants under the control of the Board, but for the purposes of grading and accruing benefits they will remain within the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board.
– Will the officers who may be employed by the Board itself have an opportunity of entering the Commonwealth Public Service?
– They will have the same opportunity of entering the Public Service as any other citizen in the Commonwealth ; neither more nor less.
– That staggers the honorable senator.
– It does not. We are told that no one can enter the Public Service unless he has passed a prescribed examination. I know, however, that some of the most lucrative positions in the Public Service are filled by officers who have not qualified in the ordinary way for appointment to the Service. Even if the Bill be passed, there is no guarantee that the positions of Commissioners will be filled by public servants. In any case, there is no real necessity for the measure. I cannot understand why the Government are showing such a keen anxiety to pass it, and to appoint these Commissioners. The people of Australia are not clamouring for this Parliament to remove from Melbourne to Canberra.
– Yes, they are.
– They are not. What will be the advantage if Parliament does go there in a year or/two;-? ‘There ;is no real need for the appointment of these Commissioners. What is the reason for the proposal. It may suit members of Parliament representing States other than those of Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania to remove to Canberra. From their view-point it may be well for the work at that city to be expedited. There never was any real justification for the expenditure of large sums of money in the employment of an army of men at Canberra. What has been the result? The policy of the Government has made skilled labour scarce in certain cities of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable senator’s party believes in that.
– My party believes in fair working conditions. My remark was in answer to certain arguments advanced from time to time by honorable senators supporting the Government that my party, by its advocacy of the limitation of apprentices, has been responsible for the dearth of skilled labour in the Commonwealth. I answer that by saying that the Labour party, being always in favour of good wages and good working conditions, is * anxious t o see essential works proceeded with first. There is a shortage of houses in nearly all the cites of the Commonwealth - at all events there is in this State - and we say that the withdrawal of artisans from Melbourne and other capital cities to the Federal Capital has made it more difficult for those essential works to be proceeded with.
– If all this work is offering in Melbourne, how is it that skilled labour has gone to Canberra?
– The probabilities are that the Government found it impossible to get the number of artisans required in order to complete the building programme within the time limit fixed, and were obliged to offer special inducements. I do not know what wages are paid at Canberra.
– Twenty-three shillings per day.
– You cannot get bricklayers for 23s. a day at Canberra.
– Award rates are being paid there.
– And men are paid full time at Canberra, whereas in Melbourne they are not.
– The fact that an army of skilled workmen is employed at
Canberra makes it more difficult for essential works in the capital cities of the Commonwealth to be proceeded with as rapidly as is desired, and we say that the Government, being responsible for this state of affairs, deserves no consideration from honorable senators on this side of the Chamber in connexion with this Bill. The appointment of the Commission will mean additional expenditure. The Commissioners will require a staff to do their work, and although it is proposed that the Chairman shall receive a salary of £3,000 a year, no amount is fixed as the remuneration for the other two members of the Commission. I presume they may be paid any amount.
– Up to £2,000 a year.
– Assuming that the maximum expenditure on the remuneration of the Commission is £7,000 a year, it is certain that expenditure on account of the staff will make the total amount much larger.
– As in the case of any other municipal body. .
– The Commission will require a very big staff,- so it is likely that the £7,000 a year representing the salaries of the Commissioners will be a small amount compared with the total expenditure to be incurred by the Commission. This form of city government is one which I cannot support. It is the first time in the history of the Commonwealth that such a proposal has been made.
– Brockman. - Because there is only one Federal Capital City.
– And there is only one Federal Parliament. If there was any logic in the reasons advanced by Senator Duncan in support of the Bill that, owing to the large amount of work ahead at Canberra, it would be injudicious to entrust it to an elected body, what would have happened in regard to Federation if he, supposing he had been in public life then, had taken up the attitude that after the people had approved of the Constitution it would be necessary to appoint Boards or a Commission to do tie work which properly should be discharged by the Federal Parliament? It is because I am an advocate of and a believer in the municipal form of government for cities that I am opposing this . Bill. I do not know whether there is any likelihood of it being defeated, but T understand that certain honorable senators have expressed themselves strongly in regard to the number of Commissioners. When we get to the Committee stage, if it- is desired to reduce the number of Commissioners, T shall support any -amendment to secure that- end.
Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) £3.59].- In speaking ‘to the second reading of the Bill I wish to- draw attention to- the fact that for some years now work at the Capital city’ has been more or less of a developmental character, and that it is hoped, eventually, to found a city worthy of the Commonwealth. I could well understand the- ‘ honorable .senator who preceded me if his remarks had been directed to the state of affairs that existed a few years ago. But having . visited the Territory annually during the “ last four years and having taken a keen interest in its development, I have come to the conclusion that the time- has arrived when some provision should >be made for its permanent administration. The Federal Territory, as every honorable senator who nas visited it with an unbiased mind must admit, is far- from being a “ howl-“ ing wilderness “ as suggested by Senator Hoare, and by certain sections of the press of Australia. On my first visit to Canberra I found, to my surprise, that the city was situated in the centre of as fine a stretch of undulating pastoral country as T have seen in New South Wales. 1 do’ not suggest ‘that it is an agricultural area suitable for closer settlement, but knowing as. I do from personal observation that the pastoral country surrounding Canberra is better than asheeptothe”acre land, I can give the lie direct to any one who declares that Canberra is a “ howling wilderness.” Any land in New South Wales that is “better than a-sheep-to-the-acre is looked upon as good pastoral country. I was at Canberra only ten clays ago, and found the conditions as cold as any one could wish to meet with anywhere. The weather had been cold for some time. The ranges were covered with snow. During my visit I saw a herd of cattle in beautiful condition being driven in from one of the soldier settlements to the - periodical sale at Queanbeyan, and I was surprised at their splendid -condition.. I was informed that all the returned soldiers are making a good living on their blocks, the land being well suited for their purposes. Much work has already been done at Canberra. I recognize, of course, that mistakes have been. made. These are inseparable from any large work of public construction, but the city is now taking shape and the work done during the last year or two has been most satisfactory. The time has arrived, in my judgment, when steps should be taken to> put the affairs of the Capital city area under a permanent administration, not so much with regard to necessary public works as with reference to municipal administration. I was very pleased to find that the departmental officers responsible for the work have made tha living conditions of tie workers so comfortable. A certain -section of men employed in the laying of tramlines and the making of roads are housed in tents. I have never yet seen a colony living in tents under such, admirable conditions as the tent dwellers in Canberra. The tents are good. Each tent is floored; each floor has a skirting round it, and better than all, the entire area occupied by the tent-dwellers is effectively sewered. Along at a .place called “The Gap,” I found 30 or 40 wooden buildings, or rather shells of wooden buildings, each of four rooms, provided with electric light, water laid on, bath -and sink, and every convenience except a brick chimney. At present there are galvanized iron chimneys and fireplaces attached to each building,- but I understand that within, the next month or two steps will be taken to erect brick chimneys in those buildings. From inquiries I found that the workers were highly satisfied with all that had been done on their behalf by the departments -concerned. I approach consideration of the details of this Bill with mixed feelings. T agree with what has been said by ‘the Minister (Senator Pearce) that something must be done in the way of appointing an administrator or Commission to control future developments “at Canberra. But I do not- feel justified in giving support, to the proposition embodied in the Bill. Consistent, of course, with satisfactory control, we ought -to proceed warily for a few years, and I .believe one Commissioner, who would have as his .advisers the heads of the Departments now carrying out the work, would be ample for the nest five years. We could- then see whether that form of administration was suitable for the growing needs of Canberra, and, if it were found necessary, the personnel of the Commission could be increased. I do not believe that it is in the best interests of the Commonwealth, or of the development of Canberra, to appoint an expensive Commission, because, one Commissioner with the. assistance of those capable officers who are already engaged there would be quite capable of doing all that is required. I shall support the second reading of the Bill, but when it is in Committee I trust it will be amended in such a way that the Government will be assured of having all the assistance they require for the next five years, when, if the development of the Capital City necessitates it, a larger Commission can be appointed.
– No one can rightly accuse me of not being a supporter of Canberra, as I have from the commencement always been very keen on the Seat of Government being . transferred from Melbourne to that city at the earliest possible moment. After listening to the honorable senators’ who spoke yesterday and to-day, I am more than ever convinced that the work at the Federal Capital is now proceeding as rapidly and effectively as it possibly could under the proposed Commission. The work which has already been done by departmental officers has been commended on every hand, and the Government have been especially fortunate in having at their disposal the services of such highly-trained and efficient men as those who are directing -constructional work at Canberra. “If we were to search throughout Australia I do not think we could find officers more competent, or who rank higher in their professions, than the members of the present Advisory Committee. As a member of the Public Works Committee for six years, I was able to judge the capabilities of the departmental officers responsible for the constructional work at Canberra, and I realize that it would be difficult to find more earnest or more efficient officers. Considering that such satisfactory work has been undertaken, and such splendid progress made during the last few years, I fail to see why .it is necessary to make’ any alteration at the present juncture. In. addition to the assistance given by tile Advisory Committee, the Public Works Committee also investigates every work undertaken there the cost of which exceeds a fixed amount, and after that Committee has made its recommendations and the work is completed, the Public Accounts Committee inquires into the financial side of the undertaking. The Bill provides that the “Public Works Committee shall still inquire into the larger works, and the Accounts Committee will also have authority to make whatever investigations is considers necessary. I have always been opposed to the appointment of Boards which usurp the responsibilities of Parliament, and, in my opinion, that is a strong reason why this Commission should not be appointed. Quite apart from the fact that the appointment , of a Commission is unnecessary. . the question of the expense must also be considered. I ‘ do not object . to the salary to be paid to the Chief Commissioner, because, if a suitable man is to be obtained, an attractive remuneration must be offered. It is interesting to note, however, that the salary of the’ Chief Commissioner is to be higher than that received by the’ Prime Minister of the Commonwealth, who, in conjunction with his colleagues, is responsible for the government of the whole of the Commonwealth. In this instance the Commission will have control of operations in a comparatively small area, and the responsibility of the Chief Commissioner’ will be small in comparison with that of the Prime Minister. It is provided that the two Commissioners acting under the Chief Commissioner shall bo paid fees, but at present we have no idea of what amount will be involved. I an unable to find any limit fixed in the Bill, but it is reasonable to assume that the fees paid to each Commissioner will nearly approximate the remuneration paid to the Chairman. The fees prescribed will doubtless bring the cost of the Commission up to a substantial figure. We have also to consider whether the gentlemen appointed will be compelled to live at the Federal Capital, or whether they will be permitted to reside in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Port Darwin, or Hobart, thus involving rail and steamer fares, as well as travelling expenses, when they visit the Federal Capital. As the two Commissioners will not be serving continuously, it i3 probable that the Commission will sit daily for a fortnight or a month at a tine, and that considerable expenditure will be involved in paying their travelling and other expenses. ‘ The estimated cost of the Commission should be stated. Immediately it is appointed, a staff of secretaries, accountants, clerks, typists, and timekeepers will be appointed whose salaries will add tremendously to the cost. I do not think I shall be very wide of the mark in saying that the cost of the Commission is more likely to be £20,000 than £10,000 a year.
– Docs the honorable senator think that such expenditure is justified ?
– It would be if it could be shown that, up to the present, work has been carried on in an unsatisfactory way, but we are authoritatively informed that the progress being made is all that could be desired. I should much prefer to see a Minister appointed who would be responsible to Parliament, and whose sole duty it would be to control the Federal Capital. If a Minister were appointed for the purpose, the control 1 would be taken from the Department of Works and Railways and the Home and Territories Department and placed under that one Minister, who would be responsible to Parliament, and Parliament would be responsible to the people. I shall take my full share of the responsibility for everything the Government do, and I wish to be in a position to defend their actions and my own whenever necessary. But I shall certainly decline to acceptany responsibility for the expenditure that is- incurred, or the work that is done at Canberra, by a Commission. I regret the nature of the opposition that is sometimes shown to Bills introduced by the Government, because it is of a factious character and has its genesis in the fact that the Government is responsible’ for their introduction. Some honorable senators lose sight of the interests of the taxpayers. I look at this matter largely from the view-point of the taxpayer. At present there is a determined agitation for .a reduction of taxation. I think the people of Australia are well entitled to some reduction, but if we continue to pile up costs by appointing Commissions such as this we shall not. be in a position to make any considerable reduction. I owe to the taxpayer the duty of pleading for some consideration for him when he is not able to make the plea himself. The present method of administering Canberra can very well continue until Parliament meets there. We shall then have the opportunity of seeing what is really required, and thus will be in a better position to determine the best means of government for the Capital City. Once Commissioners are appointed it will be almost impossible to remove them from their office. I have never heard of that step having been taken.
– They will be removed two years hence.
– That will depend upon the nature of the agreement’ that is made with the gentlemen who are appointed. I take it that their appointment will confer on them certain rights, and that any future Government will be obliged to honour the compact made by this Government.
– Not necessarily ; they will be relieved of their positions.
– The conditions governing their appointment will present difficulties that are not at present appreciated by Senator Needham. I regard clause 14 as the crux of the Bill. I believe that it will place a very dangerous power in the hands of an outside authority. I direct the attention of honorable senators to sub-clause h, which gives to the Commission the right to levy rates and taxes upon the residents at Canberra. We have often heard the phrase : ‘.’ No taxation without representation.” Those who will live in Canberra will not have a representative in the Federal Parliament, nor will they be represented in the municipal government of the city. The three Commissioners will have full power to collect revenues, to carry on the construction work, to provide gas and electricity, to make provision with regard to markets, weighbridges, the destruction of vermin and noxious weeds, and every other matter connected with the Territory. Not very long ago the residents of Port Darwin did not have a representative in the Federal Parliament, although they had local municipal government. Certain of the residents decided to go to gaol rather than to pay the taxes that were levied. I can imagine a demand for the payment of a tax being made upon Senator Findley by this Czar whom it is proposed to appoint. The honorable senator doubtless would say: “I will go to gaol rather than pay * ray rates .and taxes.”
– We will start a “ No rate, no tax “ campaign.
– Believing that the people have the right to decide the manner in which the revenues shall be spent, I should assist Senator Findley in that agitation. This Commission should not be given the power to insist upon the payment of taxes by the residents of Canberra, unless those residents are given the opportunity to elect representatives to a local council. Those who will go to Canberra will be drawn from every State in the Commonwealth and, not being as docile as the residents of New South Wales or Victoria, they will probably demand the right to elect representatives to a local council. The Bill deliberately denies them that right, and if Parliament passes it in its present state it will be responsible for an act of injustice to a considerable section of the citizens of the Commonwealth. I point out, further, that clause 17 confirms that power in the hands of these gentlemen. I take the stand that no amendment made in Committee can perfect this measure. If the Senate agrees to the motion for the second reading of the Bill I am content to allow the remaining stages to go through. The Bill ought to be thrown out. Summed tip, I oppose the Bill because, in the first place, it is quite unnecessary to ensure the progress of Canberra. Ample proof has been given that the work at Canberra is proceeding as rapidly as possible. The Bill is undemocratic. Surely honorable senators of this democratic Chamber are not going to inflict upon their fellowcitizens legislation that they themselves would resent root and branch. The measure will have the effect of increasing very’ considerably the cost of government and thus placing a further unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Australia. Those tax-‘ payers have the right to expect - and at present they do expect - to retain, through their representatives, full control of all taxation. My final objection is that under the present administration the work at Canberra is proceeding as expeditiously and as satisfactorily as it could under the proposed Commission. I have always been opposed to the appointment of Boards to control utilities under the Government, and I have frequently indicated that I intend to oppose any further appointments. Some of the Boards that arc already in existence are not rendering the satisfactory service that was expected by this Parliament, and I for one do not intend to risk further waste.
– This debate has certainly been entertaining in more respects than one. First of all, it has revealed that wonderful unanimity that we now always expect from honorable senators opposite. The speeches of Senators Gardiner, McDougall, Findley, Needham, and Hoare have not deviated one syllable one from the other. Honorable senators on this side in this respect labour under the disadvantage that they possess freedom of conscience and freedom to express their views. If an honorable senator on this side honestly disapproves of a Bill ho is at liberty to oppose it; and he does oppose it. Some honorable senators opposite may agree with the provisions of a Bill as heartily as honorable senators on this side, but they do not vary in the slightest degree in their opposition to the measure. I warn honorable senators on this side that honorable senators opposite have decided to treat this as a party measure.
– Nothing of the kind.
– That statement is an absolute lie !
– They hope to secure the votes of two or three honorable senators on this side. If they can defeat this Bill I guarantee that at every street corner to-night, in the State election campaign, the friends of honorable senators opposite will trumpet forth the fact that the Labour Opposition in the Senate has defeated the Bruce-Page Government on the Seat of Government (Administration) Bill.
– That is an absolute lie!
Thu PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - I did not quite catch the interjection which Senator Needham previously made, but he repeated it so loudly, with an attempt at emphasis, that I could not help hearing it. His interjection is not only disorderly, it is highly offensive, and I call upon him to unqualifiedly withdraw and to apologize for having made it.
– I will not apologize.
– The honorable senator will obey my ruling.
– Do not get heated.
– You, sir, are President of the Senate, but you ought not to become heated. I withdraw and apologize, but I say that the . statement which the Minister made is incorrect.
– The honorable senator knows that the proper course for him to pursue is to- obey the ruling of the Chair.
– I have done so.
– That ruling is that he withdraw, and express regret for having made use of an offensive remark.
– I have already done so.
– Another entertaining phase of this debate is the extraordinary view that is taken by some honorable senators ‘ opposite regarding the functions of this Parliament. I have always been under the impression that the function of a Parliament is to legislate, and that the function of a Government’ is to administer; but apparently some of our friends opposite think that it is the function of a Parliament to administer. As a matter of fact, if there is one body that is, from the very causes that give it life, unfitted to administer, it is a Parliament. Under the British system of . parliamentary government, Parliament .has, luckily for itself, never attempted to administer: yet Senator McDougall objects to all Boards. He says, “ This is the work of Parliament; it is for this that we are elected.” He quite ignores the fact that Parliaments are never elected for such a purpose. All British Parliaments have recognized that fact- from time immemorial, and have contented themselves with legislating only, reserving to themselves the right to criticize administration. They have delegated the administration of affairs in the first place to Cabinets, and in the second place to corporate bodies and others, who derive their administrative authority from the Parliaments. What is local government to-day? It amounts to a recognition by a State Parliament that it cannot concern itself with the minutiae of municipal go- vernment, such as attending to sanitation and hygiene, the control of which is entrusted to the local governing bodies.
With those matters of lesser importance Parliament has neither the time nor the organization to deal. What do the State Harbour Boards and Trusts indicate but a recognition by Parliament that it has no time, and has not the necessary organization, to enable it to administer those functions. When I hear’ old parliamentarians like Senator Newland objecting to Boards without discrimination, it makes me rub my eyes and wonder whether, Rip Van Winkie’ like, those members have been asleep while sitting in Parliament. Both Federal and State Parliaments have found it necessary to delegate all the lesser functions to other bodies, always retaining the power to end or mend the life of the “corporate body it creates, and also reserving to itself the financial control. When I hear Senator Newland say that all Boards have been a failure, and that he would not support the appointment of any more of them, I wonder whether he’ would condemn the Murray Waters Commission.
– There is no comparison between that Commission and the Commission proposed in the Bill.
– The Murray Water Commission furnishes a- very apposite illustration. In that case we had to deal with a work that was to be of a Federal character, for more than one State was interested. There were the navigation interest and the irrigation interest, - and South Australia was more concerned at the time in the navigation than in the irrigation aspect, whereas Victoria and New’ South Wales were taking great quantities of this water for irrigation purposes. The three States, each with its different interest, were at last brought together, and they decided to so construct works on the Murray that the river could be used both for navigation and irrigation. Each of the State Parliaments concerned attempted to do so, and what happened ? Nothing was done. Year after year there was a lot of talk in Parliament, but no progress was made. It was then decided to invite the Commonwealth to co-operate, and the only way in which Federal cooperation could be obtained was by the appointment of a Commission. Such a body was appointed with certain definite powers, the Parliaments retaining financial . control, just as is now proposed in connexion with the Federal CapitalCommission. Since the appointment of the Murray Waters Commission. there have been changes of Government in each of these States, and also in the Commonwealth, but the work of. the Commission has. gone on continuously and: economically. There is nobody in the Commonwealth to-day, not even Senator- Newland, who utters, one word of criticism of the work of that Commission. In his happy-go-lucky style the honorable senator tells us that he is against all Boards, although his. own State is specially interested in the work of a Commission which Taas furnished a remarkable instance of Parliament being helpless, and acknowledging its helplessness so far as such an undertaking is concerned. I could quote numerous instances of a similar kind, but I have merely mentioned one case that I thought would particularly appeal to Senator Newland.
– The. Murray Waters Commission is in quite a different category from the Federal Capital Commission.
– A curious turn has been given to the debate by Senators Newland, Gardiner, and others, who argue that it is urgently necessary to grant local government in the Federal Capital. If the residents of Canberra were allowed to govern themselves, would this Parliament allow the municipal council of Canberra to expend millions of money contributed by the taxpayers of Australia? Where is the cry of Senator Newland and other alleged democrats, of “ No taxation without representation “ ? What about the representation of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth who contribute the millions? We should have the genial ratepayers of Canberra, no doubt, welcoming such a proposal. What a glorious thing it would be for them I’ They would fix their own rates, be it remembered, but the millions that the Commonwealth is to expend on roads, streets, sewerage, gas, and electricity would be provided by the taxpayers outside the Federal Territory. How carefully’ these honorable senators have considered their proposal before voicing it on the floor of the Senate! Yet these are the honorable gentlemen - Senator Newland and others - :who put’ this argument up in opposition to the proposal in the Bill.
– That is distinctly wrong. The Minister is misrepresenting me.
– I am astonished that they should suggest that the few hundreds of people now at Canberra should be given the government of the Federal Territory. I would invite honorable senators to remember that 85 per cent, of the people at present in the Federal Capital are Government officials, whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. When one examines, the proposition a little further, and remembers that these officials would be able to elect the representatives who are to govern the city, who are to make the roads and footpaths and provide the gas, electric light, and other conveniences, and who’ are, incidentally, to fix tha salaries to be paid in the Federal Capital in the carrying out of the work, one sees that the argument does not bear investigation. Seeing that the proposed council would have unlimited funds upon which to draw, since it would determine what its annual rate should be, while the Commonwealth would have to provide the money for the carrying- out of the works, it would, indeed, be a happy picnic.
– If the Government made the land available, there would be plenty of revenue.
– I quite agree that Senator Grant would give his unqualified approval to the proposal.
– I rise to a point of order. The Minister has misrepresented what I said. I made no suggestion whatever that the municipal council should control the expenditure of any money received- from the Government or from any .other source, apart from the rates collected in the Capital city.
The- PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. T. Givens). - That is not a point of order. The honorable senator has merely made a personal explanation, which he should have asked leave to make at. the conclusion of the Minister’s speech.
– I accept the honorable senator’s assurance as to. what he thought his remarks conveyed, but when he reads- the report of his speech in Hansard he will find that he strongly advocated the right of the people- of Canberrato have municipal government. Let us see what that would mean.. The people would be given a vote, and they would at once proceed to elect the municipal council. ‘ Would that council not have to make streets’, footpaths, and water channels, install electric light and gas, and do all the other work that municipalities commonly carry out ? Who would find . the money for all those services?
– The council would.
– Would this Parliament allow the future of the Federal Capital - the kind of city it is to b& - the width of its streets and footpaths and the planting to be done, to be determined by the people who happened to be living in Canberra?
– That is already fixed.
– It is not my view. If that is what is intended, why was there a world-wide competition in order to obtain the best lay-out of the city? Is the carrying out of Mr. Griffin’s plan to be entrusted to a municipality of Canberra ?
– If the municipality were not entrusted with that work it would be deprived of the most prized possession of a municipality - the right to determine the lay-out of its own city.
– In every municipality throughout Australia the .width of the streets is determined under legislation passed by the local Parliament.
– Those honorable senators who have submitted this view have expressed it loosely, and without logically considering the result of their own argument. This Parliament decided to adopt the best plan obtainable to enable it to build a Capital worthy of Australia, and therefore Parliament must also find the money for the work; otherwise we should have Parliament on the one hand taxing the whole of the people to raise the funds for the construction of the Capital, and a municipal council that did not represent the taxpayers expending the money.
– That is an exaggerated explanation.
– It is the true one.
– There have been loose thinking and talking on this Bill, and attempts have been made to draw an analogy between Canberra and Sydney. No city in the British Empire supplies a true analogy, for Canberra is unique in the Empire. To find an analogy we should have to go outside the Empire. Our Constitution is modelled on. that of the United States of America, and the only Federal Capital analogous to ours is Washington, which site is in a Federal Territory, just as Canberra is. Sydney is not a Federal Capital, and it is not located in Federal Territory. It is the capital of the State of New South Wales, and the laws of that State extend throughout its borders, with the one exception of the comparatively small area reserved as Federal Territory, where no State law can operate. That territory is as much Tasmania as it is New South Wales. It was suggested that we should give to the people of the Federal Capital Territory political representation, and one honorable senator even said, “We ought to tack the Territory on to some adjoining electorate.” Evidently there are still honorable senators who look upon this Territory as part of New South Wales. Politically, it has no more to do with New South Wales than has the Kimberley district of Western Australia, and to tack those people on to any other constituency, politically, is to refuse to recognize the distinct status that that Territory has iu relation to the Commonwealth. If, in looking at this Bill, one loses sight of the main principles that are being dealt with - a. Federal Capital in Federal Territory - then one goes astray and is faced with a mass of contradiction, but if one holds fast to those principles one will see that there are reasons for this Dill that did not exist in relation to any other city. Because we propose the appointment of this Commission, it is argued that we are advocating the commission form of government as being superior to the municipal form of government. That is where the confusion of thought has arisen. We are bringing this Bill forward, not because we believe that the commission form of government is better than the municipal form of government, but because we say that for a Federal Capital in Federal Territory we cannot logically have a municipal form of government, as that would be inconsistent with, and involve the destruction of, the Federal idea. We must have one of two things - either the Federal Parliament must control and govern that area and all appertaining to it, or also the Federal Parliament must, for its own convenience, hand over to some other authority, created by it, its control and administration. To refute the attempt to draw an analogy between Canberra and Sydney, I shall take the question of electric light. Would any one in his proper senses believe that the few hundred people at Canberra would install an electric light system there similar to that provided by the Commonwealth ? Of course not. The works at Canberra, are being constructed, not on a village scale, but on a national scale by the nation, and the whole of the people of the Commonwealth must carry the burden, and not the few local inhabitants.
– Thirty -five years ago an electric-light system was installed in the town of Young.
– On a very small scale. The power-house at Canberra would swallow up the lighting systems of a dozen such cities in New South Wale3, or in any other State. I now come to some of the objections to the appointment of the Commission. First of all, the taunt was thrown at the Government by the other side that this Bill, when originally introduced in another place, provided that there should be three permanent Commissioners, but that owing to some mysterious outside influence the Government had to climb down and agree to appoint only one permanent Commissioner and two part-time Commissioners to be paid by fees.. I have with me the original Bill -introduced by the Government in the House of Representatives. The pertinent clause is clause 6, sub-clause 3, which reads -
The Chairman ‘of tho Commission and any member of the Commission remunerated solely by way of salary, shall devote the whole of his time to the duties of his office.
Clause 7 reads -
It is obvious that . the Government did not intend that the three Commissioners should bo whole-time men, If they had so intended, why the reference to some being paid by salary and to some being paid partly by salary and partly by fees? What was done in another place was this: They struck out the words “partly by fees and partly by salary,” and, in my judgment, somewhat strangely struck out the limitation of £2,000 per annum. This Bill as amended by another place provides that the Chairman shall be paid £3,000 per annum, and that the other two members of the Commission shall be paid by fees as prescribed.
– There is no limit to the amount of fees?
– There is no limit to the amount of fees which may be paid.
– Then the position becomes all the more dangerous.
– Honorable senators on the other side seem to think that the style of the Government was cramped by some mysterious outside influence. If they look at the Bill in its present form they will see that the Government have been left with a freer hand than they had under the Bill as originally introduced. I wish to deal with the criticism against the appointment of three Commissioners) because there seems to be a general agreement on the part of those in favour of the Bill that there should be at least one Commissioner. Some doubt was expressed as to whether there ought to be two other Commissioners. The Senate should consider the varied phases of the work which the Commission, if appointed, will” have to carry out. First of all, it is absolutely wrong to say, as Senator Newland has said, that this Commission will be more costly than the present form of control. His argument that the present Advisory Committee is costing nothing is incorrect. If the honorable senator had heard or read my second-reading speech-
– I said nothing of the kind.
– I then pointed out that one of the members of the Advisory Committee receives £1,000 per annum, and that all the members receive travelling expenses when they travel from Sydney to Canberra. Another member of the Committee draws £400 per annum. It is a mistake to think that there is no staff. The Committee have the necessary clerical staff to enable them to carry out their duties. There are three so-called honorary members, but only one is a purely honorary member. The cost of the Advisory Committee is a forecast of what that of the Commission will be. There is no necessity for the appointment of a larger staff. I now come to the question of the duties of the Commission. At present the administration is divided: the construction of works comes under the Works and Railways Department, and this land, municipal, financial, and all the other varied functions are administered by the Home and Territories Department. There are two heads - one, the Director-General of Works, Colonel Owen, who, while resident at Canberra, directs and supervises the works; and the other, Mr. Goodwin, who deals with local government and other matters at the Capital. So that to-day there are two Government Departments dealing with the administration and control of Canberra, which necessitates a fair amount of work on both sides. Any one who is familiar with the variety of the work will know that it is impossible for one man to direct, with wisdom-, the various activities there. I ask honorable senators to consider what they are. Take the work of construction. Senator H. Hays is under a misapprehension when he says that all the main construction works have either been completed or designed. I assure him that that is not so. For instance, be spoke of sewerage. As a matter of fact all that Has been done so far in relation to sewerage is the construction of the main outfall sewer. That is only the backbone of the system - all the ribs have to be added and the connexions made.
– That work- has been done very well.
– I remember the time ‘when the work of sewerage at Canberra was attacked in this Parliament. If I am not mistaken a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into that work, and reported that it had been very well carried out. The sewerage has not yet been completed, and is really only in its initial stage. Then there is the work of street . making, which has not yet been begun. The advent of private enterprise iii October next, when leases will be offered for sale, means the opening up of shopping and residential centres, requiring the., provision of streets and footpaths, and gas, electric light, water and sewerage services. I now come to public works. Ib is true that work on the Parliament House has been commenced; but so far as the administrative offices . are concerned we are only just calling for competitive designs. There are big buildings still awaiting designs. Mr. Griffin’s plan did hot provide for the various public buildings, but only for the lay-out of the city. For instance, a war memorial estimated to cost anything up to a quarter of a million, and probably more, has yet to be designed.- There are works such as the post office, the town hall, and probably a military barracks yet to be constructed. One can think of a great number of other works that will be required if the Commonwealth Government is to function fully as far as the central ad- . ministration is concerned at the Federal Capital. Practically none of these works have yet been provided for, and, therefore, if this Bill is passed, they will come under the control of the Commission. We know that the present railway connexion is of a very rudimentary character. There is no provision for tramways yet we know that the scattered nature of the city will render such a service essential to bring the people from the residential centres to the administrative and shopping centres. Honorable senators will thus see that there is a great deal of essential work yet to be done.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I move that an extension of time be granted. ‘The PRESIDENT. - An extension of time for a reply can only be secured by the suspension of the Standing Orders.
Question - That the Bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Cox, C. F. Crawford, T. W. Drake-Brockman, E. A, Duncan, W. L. Givens, T. Glasgow, Sir Thomas Guthrie, J. F.
Kingsmill, W. Millen, J. D. Pearce, G. F. Reid, M. Wilson, R. V.
Teller: Payne, H. J. M. Noes.
McHugh, C. S. Needham, E. Ogden, J. E.
Teller: O’Loghlin, J. V. PAIRS
Newland, J. Barnes, J. Gardiner, A. Barker, S.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 4 agreed’ to.
Findley, E.. Graham, C. M. Grant, J. Hoare, A. A. McDougall, A.
Greene, W. M. Foll, H. S. Thompson, W. G. Russell, E. J.
Clause 5 -
For the purposes of this Act there shall fcu a Federal Capital Commission which shall he charged with the general administration of this Act.
– This is one of the vital clauses of the Bill. It proposes a complete departure, so far as Australia is concerned, from our system of local government. With the exception of the United States of America, I know of no other -country where the system of government by commission has superseded government of local areas by representatives elected by the ratepayers. It has been said by the Minister (Senator Pearce) that the position at Canberra is so entirely different -from that obtaining in any other Australian city that an entirely different system is necessary for its government. It has been stated that it would be entirely wrong to give a handful of people at Canberra the right to expend large sums of public money collected from the taxpayers of the whole Commonwealth. With that I agree, but I do not consider that contingency need be feared. If settlement were permitted upon the 64 square miles representing the city area, Canberra would produce locally all the revenue required for the public works. Surely Canberra is not for ever to be regarded as a place where public money is to be sunk without any return. If the present policy is continued, no doubt that will be the result. If, however, the Government adopt a different policy, and permit people to settle in the area, Canberra should, before long, pay handsomely. If in the other cities of the Commonwealth the Government had not parted with the fee-simple in the land, the rentals would have passed into the -coffers of the local councils instead of into the pockets of private individuals, and would have been available for all essential public works. They would have had more money than they knew what to do with. If Canberra makes the progress which we all expect it will and if settlement, be permitted, the return in rentals should show a- handsome surplus over expenditure, and possibly permit the local governing body to reduce the rates. Canberra, in short, ought to be one of the most desirable residential and business cities in the whole of Australia.
-(Senator Newland). - I must ask the honorable senator to connect his remarks with the clause.
– I intend to’ do so, Mr. Chairman. At the present time, with all due respect to the opinion held by the Minister for -.Home and Terri- tories, I think that the. work carried out at Canberra, partly under his direction and partly under the more vigorous administration of the Minister for Works and Railways (Mr. Stewart), has been fairly satisfactory. As a matter of fact, the only drawback is the persistent determination on the part of the Minister in charge ‘ of the Bill to hold the land at. Canberra out of use. The work done under the supervision .of Mr.” Goodwin, the Surveyor -General, and under Colonel Owen, the Director-General . of Vorks, has been carried out quite as well as we could hope to see it done under a Commission. I want the present system to remain undisturbed until Parliament meets at Canberra, and until the Minister for Home and Territores can be induced to relax his monopolistic- hold-‘ on the thousands of allotment’s which-:1, -he is keeping out of use.. “If -.only’ nE& Swill relinquish . his strangle hold on the land, the development of Canberra will be satisfactory in every respect::;;’:’”!
– again” remind the honorable senator” that he is digressing. The clause deals with the establishment of the Commission.
– Very well. I repeat that I want existing conditions to continue until Parliament meets at Canberra, and we can provide for the residents there to have the right to govern themselves. It is all very well to say that, if we granted the people of Canberra local autonomy, they would be spending money raised by the taxpayers of the Commonwealth; but if we give people the right to settle there, at a very early date the rentals received will provide enough revenue not only to meet all expenditure, past, present, and prospective, but to provide a. surplus as well. For’ this reason I intend to oppose the clause.
– I hope the Committee will negative the clause.
– Why not test the question of control by Commission on the next clause? This clause merely declares the ‘Commission a corporate body.
– We shall get to the next clause later. No -argument has been advanced by the Minister for the creation of a Commission. He said, in reply to remarks made by you, Mr. Chairman, that it would be an outrageousprecedent to permit the people of Canberra to control, through a local council, the expenditure’ of considerable sums of public money; that it would be unwise to clothe such a body with such authority that they could tax the whole of the people of Australia to enable them to carry out works that might be considered necessary at Canberra. We are Australian people. We have one destiny, and are all actuated by the desire to be essentially Australian. To whom is the Federal Capital to belong? To the people of Australia. By whom would an elective body be chosen? Not by antiAustralians, but by Australians who, for the time being, would be residents of the city.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that the few people resiT - dent in - Canberra should elect the councillors and ask the taxpayers of Australia to. find the money? t .- Senator FINDLEY.- That is the argu ment pf the man who advocates that property rights are greater than those of human beings.
– I am not suggesting that.
– Perhaps not. The number of residents in Canberra today is comparatively small, but within a few years it will undoubtedly be very large, and those most concerned at the Seat of Government should have the right to say by whom they shall be governed. What is to prevent the Federal Parliament passing an Act, such as a State Parliament would, bringing into existence a municipal form of government and giving to those elected as councillors the power to control the Capital City? What is wrong with the work which is at present being performed? Why is a Commission necessary?
– We have an Advisory Committee at present.
– Yes, and responsible to- whom ?
– The Minister for Works and Railways.
– Exactly, and operations could be continued as at present for a considerable time. The sug gestion was made that if we were not favorably disposed to an elective municipality a member of the present Cabinet, who. would have the assistance of men with experience and judgment, should be placed in control of Canberra. In such circumstances the work could be done just as well as by these three Commissioners, who will receive high salaries. If citizens at Canberra were elected to responsible positions it is said, to use the vernacular, they would play “ ducks and drakes “ with the taxpayers’ money. What a bogy to trot out ! In what way would they be appointed? Would there be anything to prevent the Parliament, after assembling there, passing an Act bringing into existence a governing body ? The Minister said, “ From whom could the councillors be selected ? A lot of public servants and others.”- Surely the public servants are as much entitled to representation as those outside the Service. Arguments have been advanced by “ die-hards “ and Tories why public servants should not have the same rights as other citizens. That principle was embodied in legislation in Victoria a few years ago, when the public servants were disfranchised, but were given special representation in the State Parliament. It was not long, however, before that legislation was repealed, and the public servants in this State, and throughout the whole Commonwealth, now exercise the rights to which they as citizens are justly entitled. If a municipal council is established, the public servants should have as much right to representation on such a body as those who are not in the Service. There is no justification whatever for a departure from the principle which the people of Australia have wholeheartedly endorsed from time to time,, and I shall endeavour to prevent this clause passing in its present form. It will not be long before the Seat of Government is transferred to Canberra, and I believe that the administration would be much better carried out without a Commission such as is provided for in this clause. I am opposed to a Commission, because it will be a superfluous and costly institution, the members of which will be clothed with extraordinary powers. If a Commission is appointed, the chairman will become more or less an autocrat, and the people in the Federal Capital Territory, and tlie people of Australia generally, will be in. a much worse position than they are at present, because they will be called upon to meet the expenditure which it incurs. What a poor opinion the Minister has of the intelligence and outlook of the residents of Canberra if he thinks that they will not be as much concerned in the development and future of the city as will the members of the proposed Commission. It will be their pride and ambition to assist to make the city a model one, and also to lighten as far as possible ‘ the burden of taxation. The Minister said, incidentally, that they would make the burden lighter for themselves and heavier for the rest of the taxpayers. If the Commission is appointed, its members will be placed in a better position than those of an elective body. There will be insufficient revenue for a time to meet the expenditure incidental to the successful carrying on of extensive work to be undertaken, and as there will be insufficient revenue, the Commission is to be given power to float loans of any amount.
– It will have power to float loans.
– On the recommendation of the Treasurer.
– That is only incidental. We are justified in presupposing that it will have to float loans. It will have the power; but if we had an elective body it would be permitted to raise money only under the terms of the Act under which it was created. Municipalities can, at present, float loans for comparatively large sums if the work on which the money is to be expended is justified.
– Local governing bodies can borrow without the authority of a State Treasurer. .
– Yes. Local governing institutions in different parts of Australia have done remarkably well. From time to time they approach the Treasurers of the various . Governments seeking subsidies, and these they receive from time to time, not from the people in their respective municipalities, but from the Consolidated Revenue, into which the money of the taxpayers of the State goes. The local governing authorities are responsible for lighting, road-making, and for everything which makes for the protection and betterment of the people in particular areas, and there should be nothing to prevent a municipal council at Canberra acting similarly. The number of residents at the Federal Capi-tal to-day is comparatively small, so small, in fact, that we ought not - to use the words of the Minister - to give serious consideration to the small band there. If there is anything in that line of reasoning, a number of places in the more remote portions of Australia should not have any form of local government. The number to-day at Canberra may be small, but when Parliament assembles there the population will be considerable, as members of Parliament, their wives and families, heads of Departments, the members of the Hansard staff, printing office employees, newspaper men, artisans, and others will have to be accommodated. Members of Parliament will have to be fed. They will not be permitted to go about in the garb of Adam, and will have to bo clothed and housed, which will mean that others will be employed in fulfilling their needs. More land will be placed under cultivation, there will be increased production; and as for every man placed oil the land work is provided for two others, it will not be long before a big population will be settled there.
-(Senator Newland). - The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
.- On this clause I shall endeavour to give effect to the proposal I made during my second-reading speech. The clause provides that “ for the purposes of this Act there shall be a Federal Capital Commission, which shall be charged with the general” administration of this Act.” My remarks on the motion for the second reading of the Bill must have conveyed to honorable senators the impression that I considered that one Commissioner would be sufficient for the work that would require to be done for some time at Canberra. I, therefore, think that the word “Commission” should be omitted and the word “Commissioner” inserted, and that “who” should be substituted for “which.” I have given the matter a good deal of consideration since I spoke earlier, and I have not heard anything that would induce me to alter my opinion.
– The honorable senator has not given me a chance to explain the matter in Committee. He might have waited until I could place before the Committee the arguments in favour of the provision that has been made.
– I shall not proceed further with my speech until I have heard the Minister’s explanation.
– I understood that this matter was to be tested on the next clause, but it may just as well be dealt with now. I invite the attention of the Committee to the varied nature .of the duties that will -devolve upon the Commission. I refer particularly to clauses 14, 17, 21, 22, and 23. Clause 14 refers to matters of a widely varying character, including the control and management’ of Crown lands ; the levying and collection of rates; the construction, maintenance, and operation -of tramways; the construction, maintenance, and control of . roads, bridges, culverts, &c. ; the provision of gas, electricity, water, and sewerage. One cannot conceive of a successful lands administrator having a .particular knowledge of all the other matters I have mentioned. Other duties will be the provision and maintenance ‘ of markets, weighbridges, pounds, and abattoirs; the destruction of vermin and noxious weeds ; the protection of public health and the maintenance of sanitation - purely local government matters, which differ widely from those previously mentioned.’ Honorable senators are aware that, before a man can secure appointment as a. town or city engineer he must pass an examination in; local government, sanitation, hygiene, and matters of that description. Then there will be additional- duties, such as the construction and maintenance of all works and buildings, as well as any other matters that are specified in any regulation. Honorable senators can see that there are three groups, each distinct and widely different from the others. Further duties are outlined in clause 17, and I invite attention to their importance. That clause refers to the accounts of the Commission, which relate, not merely to rates and charges for services, but to the rents received from lands leased by the Commission.
– I rise to order. Is. the Minister in order in discussing clauses that are not before the Committee? I shall not object if I am afterwards permitted to reply to his statements.
– (Senator Newland). - The Minister is advancing reasons why Senator Payne should not move the amendment he indicated. The Minister is quite in order in referring incidentally to other clauses.
– I am showing the necessity for the appointment of more than one Commissioner, because of the varied nature of the duties that will have to be undertaken. The rents will amount to a considerable sum, and the adjustment “of those rents - in view of the growth that is expected to take place in the city - will “cost very heavy duties upon those responsible for the administration of the Terri-‘ tory. The adjustment of the rents of the surrounding land has already caused me considerable concern. Disputes were continually arising in relation to allotments of land and rentals, and I found it advisable to appoint a small Lands Board - composed, it is true, of officials. The lessees were not satisfied, with the decisions of Mr. . Goodwin. Every unsuccessful applicant charged Mr. Goodwin with bias, or something of the kind, and the only way in which’ I could get peace of mind or give satisfaction was to appoint a Board of three members. I have given an outline of the works that will have to bc undertaken. They are of such a nature that the amount of borrowing necessary in the next few years will be substantial. Then clauses 22 and 23 provide for the preparation of the annual estimates for submission to the Minister in the first place, and, subsequently, to Parliament. One of the most difficult tasks of a Minister is the preparation of the annual Estimates. Imagine the task that would face a man who had to devote his attention to municipal matters, sanitation, health measures, and land questions, and then be responsible for the financial administration, which in the next few years will involve an expenditure of ‘ at least ?1,000,000 pen’ annum. The Government does not expect that the man . responsible for the financial administration will devote the whole of his time to it; but it considers’ that it can secure the services of a man who will lay down and direct the* ^financial policy, as well as see that the- accounts are properly kept, and that economy is being practised. The idea is that one of the Commissioners shall be a- financial nian, taken, probably from a. leading fe-ra of accountants in either Melbourne or Sydney. He will give the Chief Commissioner the benefit of his advice on financial matters, and see that the policy laid down is properly executed. The Government thinks it will also be able to secure the services of a person possessing a knowledge of local government, matters. When private enterprise enters Canberra, and shopkeepers and private individuals are erecting buildings on their leases, the city will not be a paradise for a member of Parliament, because his neighbours will be constantly bringing to his notice matters relating to local government, and will expect him to raise them in Parliament or to wait upon the Minister to see that they are remedied. We know how irksome such duties are. I have had experience of municipal life, and although I fully appreciate the importance of these matters of local government to the persons concerned,, I realize that the time of the Parliament of Australia will be occupied with much more important matters than those of sanitation or the condition of the streets of Canberra. We do not want the executive head, whose chief business it will be to look after the constructive side of the Capital, to have his time taken up with local government matters, although in that respect also we wish Canberra to be a model city; Therefore, we propose to enlist the services of some well-known authority on local government. There are many such persons in the various States, and we should be able to secure the services of some one whose advice will be of incalculable value to the Chief Commissioner, who could not possibly be skilled hi those matters in addition to those with which he will be principally concerned. i-
– Can the Minister indicate what the fees are likely to be?
– I have no idea what they will be. I imagine they will have to be made attractive. A man whose services would :be worth securing would be a leader in his profession.
– What axe these Commissioners likely to cost the country?
– I do not know what they will cost, but their services will be cheaply obtained if we can get the best advice available. A first class accountant can command a big fee. A first class town planner or city engineer is highly paid. We do not intend that these men shall give up their ‘ present occupations; we desire merely that they shall be at our disposal, and give us- the benefit of their advice.
– Can the Minister say what will necessarily be the qualifications of the Chief Commisioner ?
– I have gathered from the discussions in Cabinet that the Government will look for a man with an executive mind, who will possess considerable driving power and executive ability on the constructional side.
– Not a professional man ?
– He may be a professional man - an architect or something of that nature; but he must be something more than a mere architect; he must have an executive mind and a. strong personality allied to a driving power that will enable him to establish himself as the “ king pin “ of the Capital. I have not heard any individual referred to- in connexion with these appointments, but ‘the Government has decided that it would be well to place at the assistance of the Chief Commissioner the other two types of men to whom I have referred.
– Would the two types be sufficient? Would not a considerable number of other officers be necessary ?(
– I do not think so. The duties can be grouped under three main heads. One seldom finds a man who has dealt, or is dealing, with those three groups in his ordinary life. The Government, therefore, came to the conclusion that, in order to secure the best results, three Commissioners ought to be appointed.
– It seems to me that according to the Bill it would be possible for each of the two part-time Commissioners to draw in fees a larger sum than the salary of the Chairman of the Commission.
– I quite admit that, as the Bill reached the Senate, that is so; but not as it was introduced in the other Chamber. The measure was altered in the other House. The Government originally limited the payment of the two Commissioners to £2,000 each per annum. “
Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia [5.51]. - I indicated in my secondreading speech that I was against the appointment of the Commission, lock, stock, and barrel. I believe the Government should stand to its responsibility and control the Federal Capital right to its completion, and I shall welcome any amendment from any honorable senator that will help to destroy the Bill. 3Senator Pearce. - Of course the honorable senator will; he need not tell us that.
– Senator Payne lias expressed the view that there should be a one-man Commission. I realize that as the voting for the second reading of the Bill was fifteen to nine I must bow to the will of the majority, but I shall endeavour to assist Senator Payne so that the evil of having a Commission may be minimized. If there is to be a Commission it should consist of one man. When Senator Findley was speaking on the second reading he was told by Senator Drake-Brockman that he had not read the Bill; but we now find that very few senators on the Government side have read it, or if they have done so they have not understood plain English.
– The statement I made wa3 correct.
– Yes. Senator Pearce pointed out that the provision of lighting, water, and sewerage would have to be considered, as well as planting and road construction. When I was at the Federal Capital about six weeks ago T went down the main sewer where the men were working. If the Minister can tell us where we could obtain engineers capable of doing better work than I saw there, then Australia will be indeed lucky, for it is one of the. finest examples of such work that I have ever seen. From what I know personally of the officer in charge he is one of the most able men in Australia for that class of work. The Minister must admit that the roads in Canberra are well made, and that a Commission could not make better roadways than are now being constructed. The plantations are similarly creditable; the electric- light is already there; and the supply of water being pumped from the Cotter River to meet domestic requirements could be increased to such an extent as to make water available for generating electricity. Therefore all the public utilities necessary for any city are to be found in Canberra. The work is said to be in the initial stages, and the operations will no doubt have to be extended, but so satisfactory has been the preliminary work that it would be wrong to appoint a Commission at this stage. Senator Gardiner, in the course of his speech yesterday, pointed out the danger of the two part-time Commissioners being subservient to the permanent Commissioner. I also see that danger. The opinion of members of Commissions is often swayed by that of the permanent head. If there are to be three Commissioners the attendance of two of them should not be intermittent, but the attention of the whole three should be . continuously concentrated on the work. They should be in daily attendance and be paid properly for their services. I have no special objection to the salary proposed to be paid, but if a Commission is to be appointed all the Commissioners should be permanent officers. Why should we not adopt the system followed in the Victorian railways, which are governed by three permanent Commissioners, or else follow the system in Western Australia, where the railways are under one Commissioner. Whether we have one or three Commissioners a salary worthy of the position should be paid.
– I do not suggest an amendment for the purpose of destroying the Bill.
– If the honorable senator’s amendment is agreed to, it will destroy the measure.
– My amendment will not interfere with the underlying principle of the Bill.. I desire it to be clearly understood that, I do not wish to be associated with-r any honorable senator whose sole purpose is to destroy the measure. In view of the developments that have taken place in the last two or three years, and the approaching completion of the Capital, the time has arrived when there should be some administrative head at Canberra. I listened attentively to the speech by Senator Pearce, who reminded us that a number of problems would arise for solution at Canberra that would necessitate the appointment - of a Commission. He referred to such questions as the control and management of Crown lands, the construction and maintenance and operation of tramways, the construction of roads and bridges, the provision of gas, electricity, water, and sewerage. The Minister also referred to the financial operations which would have to be carried out under the auspices of the administration. He particularly referred to clauses 22 and 23, under which the Commissioners are to prepare estimates annually of their revenue and expenditure, and submit them to the Minister. He also pointed out that one Commissioner should be a sound financial man, and another a local government expert, while the chief Commissioner should have an executive mind and plenty of driving force. As to the chief Commissioner’s requirements I entirely agree, but I point out that there will be no need, say for the next four or five years, at any rate, to have a local government expert at Canberra. Local government, as I know it, has proved to be effective because it has been able to furnish the people living in particular municipal areas with those services that are essential to their health and comfort, such as light, water, and sewerage. The Commissioners, if appointed, will not be called upon to direct the provision of these services at Canberra, as they are already there. They have practically been completed by the existing Departments.
– Those services are not laid on to the residential areas at all.
– I quite agree with that, but the provision for connexion with them is there. I recently had the opportunity to view the Cotter Dam and the reservoirs at Stromlo and1 Redhill. The water service is laid on to many places in Canberra, and the only work remaining is the laying of the reticulation pipes, and this is not work requiring the services of a local government expert. The same thing applies to sewerage. The bulk of the work has been done, and all that remains is the linking up of the various areas with the main sewer. This work also does not require the supervision of a local government expert. If nothing had been done in those directions, I could understand the contention that it is essential at this particular stage to have three Commissioners, one of whom must be a local government expert; but I cannot agree with it, in view of the substantial progress that has been made with these works. I have no wish to jeopardize the future of Canberra, as I am very interested in it. I was once absolutely pre-. judiced against the place, but after four visits my former anticipations were dispelled by personal observation, and I am now convinced that Canberra has a reasonably good future before it. In many ways I was surprised to find that it was such a fine place; but we shall need to be very careful in our expenditure there. If a Commissioner is appointed, he will have every opportunity to avail himself of the services of men who are at present acting in an advisory capacity at the Federal Capital. On financial matters the Commissioner could have the advice of. the financial experts among the Depart?’ ments of the Commonwealth. The main thing is to have a Commissioner with an executive mind, with the ability to take up the reins of government and to drive along the administration of the Territory. At all events, for the next three or five years we should hesitate before incurring the expenditure that would be involved by appointing one permanent Commissioner and two others to act in an advisory capacity. ‘J”
– In the latter case the two Commissioners would be more costly than if they were appointed permanently.
– If one Commissioner were appointed for three or five years, we could, in the meantime, judge whether the development at the Capita4! city warranted the appointment of two additional Commissioners. I appeal to the Minister to give that suggestion reasonable consideration, and to give effect to it I propose to move -
That the word “ Commission “ be struck out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ Commissioner.”
– The honorable senator should really move the amendment on the next clause.
– I am quite prepared to allow this clause to pass, and to apply the amendment to clause 6.
.- After listening to the debate, I have concluded that it is necessary to appoint a Commission to control the Federal Territory. The very fact that w.e expect large revenues from that Territory, which comprises 1,000 square miles of land, makes it appear inevitable that the control of that area should be placed in the hands of a capable Commission free from parliamentary influence. The cost of the proposed Commission is excessive, and should he lowered. In looking through the Bill to discover a means of eliminating at least some of the cost, naturally the first solution that presents itself is a reduction in the membership of the Commission from three to one. At first I thought it possible to obtain the services of a man capable of doing all the work required of the Commission, but having heard Senator Pearce, -who opened this debate, and having carefully considered clauses 14. and 17 of the
Bill, which enumerate the various duties that will have to be undertaken by the Commissioner, I have now concluded that it is absolutely impossible for any one man to satisfactorily carry out this work.
– Even if three Commissioners were appointed, the work would still be carried out by their assistants.
– We require men with the training necessary to enable them to cope with the various phases of the work. The business aspect of it could be dealt with by a trained accountant, but tq .control and administer 1,000 square miles of land, we would need ‘ a man with a knowledge of irrigation and land development, and capable of leasing land at its proper value and drawing up the necessary regulations. It would be impossible . to hand that work over to, say, a construction engineer, who might very well deal with water, electric light, and other schemes. With a Commission composed of three experts an immense benefit would be derived by the exchange of their opinions. The future development of the Federal Territory will result in substantial revenues, and for that reason it should not be a one-man show. Even if the best man in Australia were appointed as Commissioner, it would not be very long before all sorts of complaints would be levelled at the Commission on the ground that it was a one-man show. For these reasons I support the appointment of three Commissioners. When the Committee is dealing with clause 7, I should like the Minister to give an indication that the fees of the other two Commissioners will be kept as low as possible.
– We are about to institute at Canberra something in the nature of a new and very comprehensive department. It is proposed to create a permanent head of that department and to give him the services of two alleged experts on all matters that may crop up in the Territory. What is the position to-day regarding the control of large cities of the Commonwealth? Generally speaking, in such cities the head of the local council is the Lord Mayor, who is,, associated with anumber of unpaid councillors. In addition, there is a well-paid council clerk. I presume that once the Commission is appointed, it will immediately look round for and appoint an intelligent and well: equipped secretary. It will also appoint an engineer, an architect, and an expert in land matters at Canberra.
– They are all there now.
– Whether they are there or not, we shall find that the moment we appoint one Commissioner or three Commissioners they will simply act as a kind of council and appoint trained accountants, architects, engineers, and other experts and well-informed men to advise them in the administration of the Territory. The proposal to appoint a Commissioner will not necessarily mean that he must be an expert in any one line, excepting probably that he will have a strong personality, with, some idea of executive government and with plenty of driving force; but he need not be an engineer or an architect so long as he has the qualifications mentioned. The Commissioner, although depending to some extent upon his own knowledge, will act largely upon the expert advice of other people. I do not think that it would De better to have the two additional Commissioners, -even although they are to be paid fees, instead of being appointed as permanent full-time Commissioners. Three permanent Commissioners are absolutely unnecessary, because for every department under the control of the Commission a permanent head will be appointed, and around him a local staff, until, in time, we shall have in miniature at Canberra another complete form of government. As time goes on that staff, instead of being composed of a paltry 70 officers, as it is to-day, will reach 800 or more. I should like to know from the Minister what the Advisory Committee> which has been frequently referred to in this debate, has done. So far as I am able to understand, I believe they recommended the Minister to hold Canberra lands out of use as long as possible ; but I am not quite ;sure on that point. The completion of the main outfall sewer at Canberra has been mentioned by honorable senators. They may not know, as I do, that the termination of that sewer is more than 20 feet below the level of the ground and that, none of the sewerage from Canberra will disappear by gravitation. It will all have to be pumped up at least 23 feet before it reaches the surface, and if it is to be spread over the surrounding country it will require to be pumped up at least 30 or 40 feet. The water supply is pumped up 800 feet from the Cotter River Into reservoirs, and reticulated thence through the Territory by gravitation-.
– What has this to do with clause 5 1
– It has to do with the power of the Commission and the work which the present Advisory Committee are alleged to have done.
– They have done a great deal of valuable work. . .
– I should like to know what they have done. In any case the proper course is to leave things as they are until we have a greater population’ at Canberra, and then establish some form of local government.
Question - That the clause stand as printed - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . .
Cox, C. P. Crawford, T. W. Duncan, W. L. Elliott, H. E. Glasgow, Sir Thomas Guthrie, J. F. Hayes, J. B. Hays, H.
Kingsmill, W. Millen, John D. Payne, H. J. M. Pearce, G. F. Wilson, R. V.
Drake-Brockman, E. A. Nobs.
Findley, E. i McDougall, A.
Graham, C. M. O’Loghlin, J. V.
Grant, J. Teller: Hoare, A. A. Needham, E.
Greene, W. M. f Gardiner, A. -“Reid, M. Ogden, J. E. ^Russell, E. J. I Barker, S. oil, H. S. I Barnes, J.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 6 - (1.) The Commission’ shall consist of three members who shall be appointed by the Governor-General. … (.
– I moveThat the words “ three members,” subclause (1), be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ one member.”
Senator Payne expressed a wish to move, in the clause that has just been passed, for the reduction in the number of members of the Commission, but in my opinion that may best be done in this clause. The arguments advanced by the Minister, with regard to the danger of divided control of affairs in. the Capital city area, commend themselves to those who desire to have only one Commissioner . The two extra Commissioners will really be men selected for a special purpose, and they should be unnecessary. If the Chairman wanted the advice of an accountant, or an engineer-, or an expert on local government, he could engage one for a’ great deal less than the fee3 which it is proposed to pay under this Bill. I believe that one man should have complete control. The other Commissioners should not have power to override the chief Commissioner in .making recommendations to the Minister as to the manner in which necessary works should be carried out at Canberra. The Government proposal would certainly make for divided control. I very well remember that when the Government of the day, ..a Labour Ministry, .were passing the Commonwealth Bank Bill, the present Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) .fought determinedly for the principle of one-man control -for that bank. To-day he is fighting for an entirely different principle. I believe that all Government institutions should be under the control of one leading Commissioner. The Minister also referred to the constitution of the Murray River Waters Commission, and sought to justify the attitude of the Government by drawing an analogy between the constitution of this proposed Commission and that which controls the Murray River works. As a matter of fact the position at Canberra is entirely different. The Murray River Commission is acting on behalf of the Commonwealth and the three States interested - New South Wales, . Victoria, and South Australia - in an undertaking in which they are all financially concerned. I have no desire to delay the Bill in Committee. I believe it will pass as it is. We know that the Government are anxious to find work to do to keep the Senate busy. If I had my way I would pass this measure as quickly as possible and oblige the Government to introduce some really useful legislation.
Sittingsuspended from 6.30 to8 p.m.
Exemption of British Ships from Coastal Provisions.
Debate resumed from 8th May (vide page481), on motion by Senator Ogden -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, the operation of Part VI. of the Navigation Act is decidedly detrimental to the interests of the producers of Tasmania; and therefore Ministers should provide relief by exercising the power conferred by section 286, which authorizes the Governor-General to exempt British ships from the coastal provisions of the Act.
That this resolution be forwarded tothe
House of Representatives with a request for its concurrence therein.
– When this motion was last before the Senate, it was, I think, pointed out by Senator Drake-Brockman and other honorable senators that its subject-matter was in July or August of last year referred to a Royal Commission for investigation and report. Although this question deeply concerns the State of which I am one of the representatives in the Senate, I quite appreciate the contention that although it would not be improper, it is undesirable at this juncture to continue the debate on the question, seeing that it is now being investigated by a Royal Commission, which will later furnish its report. In the circumstances I ask leave to continue my speech at a later date.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
Debate resumed from 15th May (vide page 660), on motion by Senator Grant -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, itis desirable in the best interests of the progress of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea that immediate steps be taken by the Government to make provision for the election by the local adult residents of a Committee of nine of their number for the purpose of considering and advising the Administrator on all matters affecting the Territory.
Upon which Senator Pearce had moved by way of amendment -
Leave out all the words after the word “ that “ (second occurring) and insert in lieu thereof the words “ when the numbers of the non-official population justify it, action should be taken by the Government to make provision for an Advisory orLegislative Council consistingof nominated and elected representatives.”
.- In the Mandated Territory of New Guinea very important problems have to be solved, but considering that the present Administration has been in control for less than three years it has done splendid work. Any one who expects immediately to have perfection in an Administration which has to solve problems that have never before been submitted to any individuals or body of men must be disappointed.
– It would be very unreasonable.
– Yes. Taking everything into consideration splendid work has been done by those in control. The work has been so satisfactory that a perusal of the financial position occasions one very great surprise. On looking through the statistics I find that the record is better than any under the German régime, which in itself is a tribute to the manner in which affairs are managed. The year after the present Administration took control a loss of £6,000 was incurred, and I am assured that the figures of the last financial year will disclose a balance in favour of the Administration, or at any rate show that the revenue has been sufficient to meet the expenditure. When we come to other matters affecting the welfare of the Territory - nothing affects the welfare of the Territory more than the care of the natives - it must be admitted that the Administration has done good work. I found on inquiry when visiting the Territory last yearthat the Administration, with the aid of its Medical Department, had worked wonders in the prevention! and spread of diseases amongst the native races which had during the term of the German Administration decimated, in many instances, almost whole tribes. On New Ireland, where it was proved that the population had decreased by 50 per cent. in twelve or fourteen years, under German rule, the population showed an increase. The population of the Territory consists of about 1,000 whites, spread over a large area - one can travel for thousands of miles and still be within the Territory - about 1,800 Asiatics, and 232,000 enumerated natives. There are probably 250,000 unenumerated natives, because, at present, only the edge of the Territory has come under the direct control of the authorities. The island of New Britain, where the Seat of Government is established, is not, with the exception of the coast-line and a few miles inland, under the ‘ complete control of the Administration. In the interior the natives are still following primitive and barbaric customs, and the work of penetration can only be carried out by patient work, with due regard to the interests of the native population and the conservation of the interest of the tribes. As work of such an important nature will take many years to accomplish, the honorable senator. is somewhat premature in submitting the motion. . The white population there will have to increase considerably before it is necessary to create an Advisory Committee or .a Legislative Council. There are certain things in the Territory of which I do not approve, but on which I shall not touch at this juncture. We cannot expect perfection. It is, however, imperative that the Minister in charge of the Home and Territories Department should use his influence as speedily as possible in the direction of removing from the Territory any one whose presence is detrimental to its progress. It is no place for a “ dud.” Every officer of the Public Service there should be a man with an ideal. We cannot hope for any expansion or progress’ without the aid of the native population, and the eventual development depends entirely upon the manner in which the native population is dealt with. It is essentially a black man’s country; and it is very gratifying to find that ‘ the natives are working more willingly and in happier circumstances than under, their former masters. I learnt a few days ago that, during the last year, the medical branch of the Administration has been performing splendid work. It has very fine offices, and in the bacteriological laboratory valuable research work has been undertaken with such success that over 30,000 cases of hookworm were cured last year. When the present Administration assumed control, 90 per cent, of the total population was affected with this disease.
On New Ireland, lying to the north-east of New Britain, the natives were regarded as the most degraded race in the Pacific. Notwithstanding that, I can vouch .that tc-day a picnic party could go to any native village along the north-eastern coast of New Ireland, and have a comfortable picnic party, without the slightest fear of contamination through dirt. -1 have not seen any villages in Australia so clean and well conducted as those on the north-east coast of New Ireland. This happy position i3 attributable to the very fine work done by Colonel Walstab when in charge of that particular district. He is absolutely firm in his treatment of the natives, but they know that, although he is firm, he is absolutely just. If we can secure the services of such men to perform administrative work in the Territory, I shall have no doubt whatever in regard to its ultimate success. We are holding the Territory in trust. It is not our property. The League of Nations, in its wisdom, offered a Mandate over this Territory to, the Australian Commonwealth, and we accepted it. Australia was more or less compelled to accept the Mandate, because of the strategic importance of the Mandated Territory. It, therefore, appears to be imperative that the Administration should do all that it can to justify the confidence that has been reposed in Australia by the League, of Nations. Should that confidence be betrayed at any time .Australia will run the risk of losing the Mandate. It is regrettable that certain persons in Australia, and in the Mandated Territory, have endeavoured to discredit the work of the Administration. The other day I heard a statement that made” my blood boil. The brief opportunity that I had of looking into matters personally, on the spot, convinced me that such happenings as were alleged would be impossible under the Administration. It is not claimed that crime could not be perpetrated, but it is a fact that immediately knowledge of its commission reaches the Administration every effort is made to sheet it home to the offender and bring him to justice. There is one matter that should receive the very careful consideration of the Minister (Senator Pearce). Under the terms of the Mandate the first duty imposed upon the Administration is to do all that it can to improve the social, moral, and physical well-being of the native population. A clause of the Mandate insists that no intoxicating liquor shall be supplied to any of the native inhabitants. The coloured man, whom we do not regard as being on the level of the white man, is, by the customs of the Territory, placed on a higher pedestal than we would place any white man ; he is told that he must not take any intoxicating liquor, and that, if it is found in his possession, or he is proved to have taken it, he will be placed in the native calaboose, and yet he is permitted to handle it. It, behoves the Minister to see that drastic steps are taken to prevent the infringement of the terms of the Mandate in respect to that matter. The day may come when we shall have to consider the establishment of some body to assist the Administration,; but, taking everything into consideration, the Administration has proved eminently successful and satisfactory, not only to Australia, but to the League of Nations, and at the present time it does not appear to me to be necessary to take the action mentioned in the motion.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out be left out (Senator Pearce’s amendment) - put. The Senate divided.
Cox, C. F. Crawford, T. W. Duncan, W. L. Elliott, H. E. Givens, T.
Glasgow, Sir Thomas Guthrie, J. F. Hayes, J. B. Hays, H.
Kingsmill, W. Millen, John D. Newland, J. Payne, H. J. M. Pearce, G. F. Wilson, R. V.
Findley, E. Graham, C. M. Grant, J. Hoare, A. A. M’cDougall, A.
Drake-Brockman, E. A. Nobs.
McHugh, C. S. Ogden, J. E. O’Loghlin, J. V.
Teller: (Needham, E.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted (Senator PEARCE’S amendment) - put. The Senate divided.
Majority … … 7
Cox, C. F. Crawford, T: W. Duncan, W. L. Elliott, H. E.. Givens, T.
Glasgow, Sir Thomas Guthrie, J. F. Haves, J. B. Hays, H.
Kingsmill, W. Millen, John D. Newland, J. Payne, H. J. M. Pearce, G. F. Wilson, R. V.
Drake-Brockman, E. A.
Findley, E. Graham, C. M. Grant, J. Hoare, A. A. McDougall, A.
McHugh, C. S. Ogden, J. E. O’Loghlin, J. V.
Teller : Needham, E.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
– The proposal, as now amended, may be characterized as nothing more than the expression of a pious hopeIt is of such an indefinite and emasculated character that it is almost unrecognizable. Based upon the very limited experience I gained as a member of the recent Parliamentary delegation to the Territory of. New Guinea, and after consultation with almost every white resident I carne across -
– How many were there?
– What was their nationality ?
– The same question was asked by Senator Payne, What is the motive behind it?
– I understood -the honorable senator to say that those from whom he got his information were all British-born or of Australian birth.
– I said that in my opinion 99 per cent, of the residents were . native-born Australians, and those are the people from whom I exclusively obtained my information.
– Oh, no.
– My word must be accepted on that point.
– My eyes and ears cannot have deceived me.
– The honorable senator’s eyes, and Ms ears as well, have deceived him. I object to Senator Payne, backed up by his legal friend, Senator Drake-Brockman, endeavouring to mislead the Senate.
– I can give the names of those whom the honorable senator consulted if he would like- to have them.
– Let the honorable senator furnish ail the information be can.- I consulted amongst others the secretary of the Returned Sailors- and Soldiers’ Imperial League at Kavieng (Mr. Carter), the secretary of the Civil Service Association at Rabaul, and every other -white person I came across. It was on the information of British people only that I formed my opinions. I made an effort, by means of a question I asked fo-day, to induce the Minister who led the delegation to New Guinea to produce the document presented to him from the Civil Service Association at Rabaul; but so far that paper has not been produced. To-morrow I propose to submit a motion asking for its presentation. It is not sufficient for me to look at it at the office of the Home and Territories Department. I wish it to be laid on the table of the Senate, and later on to be printed. From that document we shall be able to ascertain, not the opinion of honorable senators supporting the Government who -visited New Guinea, but the views of the members of the Civil Service Association at Rabaul. Notwithstanding the assertion of Senator Payne, I maintain that that association is seething with discontent. That is the only impression to be gathered from a perusal of the document that was placed iri the hands of Senator Crawford, a copy of which, I believe, was also given to Senator Payne.
– No such document was handed to me.
– I suppose that if the other members of the party received a copy, I did. If so, it must have been removed, together with a hundred or more letters, from my table in the Commonwealth Offices in Sydney. Those letters were taken without my knowledge and consent; but, so far .as I am aware, the document from Rabaul was not amongst those papers.
– Did the honorable senator make a complaint about the removal of his correspondence?
– I complained to the attendant, and inquiry was made, but, so far as I can learn, no trace of the correspondence was found. The document clearly indicated that the members of the Civil Service Association at Rabaul were highly displeased, particularly with the Administration, the way in which the bungalows were made available, .the fact that they had no trial by jury, and the fact that their complaints were ignored by the Administrator. As a matter ot> fact, they have no representation at all. Most, if not all, of them are returned soldiers.
– It is only fair to say that practically all the white population there - that is, all the Britishers - consists of returned soldiers.
-Not the Germans. Senator GRANT. - There are only a. few Germans. The total white population - men, women, and children - numbers about 1,200. I gathered from the people that ti-ey were strongly in favour of having some kind of Committee- that would meet periodically at Rabaul so that it could, after conference, make representations to the Administrator with a view to ensure that, when regulations were made by the Minister at the instigation of the Administrator, the residents would at least have some voice in framing those’ regulations. Probably the Committee would not be able to meet more than once in three: months, but that would, I believe, satisfy them. I do not know how many white people there are on the mainland of New Guinea, which is almost as large as Victoria, but - ‘I do not suppose that the total would be more than 150. It should be .remembered that the residents are not only returned soldiers, but are mostly native-born Australians, who have been accustomed to exercise a voice in the affairs of the country in which they live.
– Has any joint action been taken for the purpose of getting a voice in that control ?
– As a matter of fact, the members of the Public Service there are afraid that, if they take -any action whatever in that direction, they will be summarily discharged.
– That cannot happen, since they come under the Public Service Act.
– A careful examination of the list of Bien employed in New Guinea during the past three years will show that a considerable number of them, for one reason or another, have had to leave the Territory. A number of them told me that they were afraid to make complaints, and did not care for their names to be used ; ‘ a man who has been somewhat physically incapacitated as a result of the war does not find it easy to obtain a position in the south. I notice by reports in the daily press of thi3 city that some hundreds of returned soldiers are unable to obtain any employment, and, considering the hardships they have to’ endure in New Guinea, I regard them as underpaid. Th§ wages do not average Wore than £1 per day, and we should not forget that it is recognized as necessary for their wives to have a holiday in the south for three months in every twelve. The men themselves are not made of iron, and the enervating climate makes a trip southwards occasionally very desirable in the interests of their health. I understand that they have to pay the return -fare, as well as their expenses when in Australia, and the salary they receive is not more than sufficient to enable them to make ends meet.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon.
– That is one of the main reasons I advance in support of the motion.
– An advisory committee would have no control over the public servants there, because they are * under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board.
– In addition to the Public Service, there is a contraption called the Expropriation Board.
– That Board ‘deserves something better than that from the honorable senator.
– I withdraw that remark, and say that there is another important body operating in New Guinea, known as the Expropriation Board, and I do not regard the employees under the control of that body as being subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act. These men are doing strenuous work. They are entirely removed from the two or three important centres of population in the Territory, and for that reason alone undoubtedly ought to be given some voice in framing the regulations under which they are controlled. In no part of the Commonwealth are the people refused a vote in the election of their representatives. Even in Papua, just across the mountains of New Guinea, the white residents have the right to “elect at least some of the members of their local Legislative Council. But the very same type of men and women on the north-east coast of New Guinea have no voice whatever . in their country’s affairs.
– There is a much larger non-official population at Papua.
– What does it. matter whether the population is official or not? That excuse was given some considerable time ago as a reason why the residents of Canberra should not have a voice in the management of their own affairs. The Minister will find that the people of this country will not stand for transparent camouflage of that .description.
– There is no portion of . Australia under a mandate from the League of Nations.
– That does not matter. Those who at present have the control of the Territory are reluctant to hand over to the people there the right to govern themselves.
– I do not think ic could be done under a mandate, as the Commonwealth Government is responsible to the League of Nations.
– What does the honorable senator say in reply to the statement made by the Minister, and the documents presented by him containing reports from residents in that Territory ?
– Before I make use of any document whatever I am very careful to inquire whether it is authentic. I am not prepared to accept as true all statements that appear in the newspapers, not even in the Labour Daily. I wish to reply to a statement made by Senator Payne concerning the financial position of New Guinea. We have been informed by him that under the benevolent guidance of General Wisdom, the balance was about £6,000 on the wrong side of the ledger. That was in the year before last, as1 last year the accounts balanced. The Administration should not have the additional right to tax a man’s income.
– What was realized from income tax’? Only £290 odd, while £232,000 was realized in revenue.
– There is a tax upon imported liquors and exported copra. The Administration have the right to tax production, and imports, so there is nothing in the world to stop them from balancing their ledger. I should like to ask a question about the accounts of the Expropriation Board. «:i
– This motion deals not with the Expropriation Board but with the administration of the Territory.
– The main assets of the Territory to-day are the plantations, of which there are 263.
– On a point of order, I ask whether the honorable senator is in order in dealing with the Expropriation Board, when the motion under discussion relates only to the administration of the Territory?
– On the point of order, I remind you, Mr. President, that the Territory of New Guinea to-day is under the control of what is known as the Administration. The plantations there are the main assets of the country, and are under the control of the Expropriation Board
– Not the whole of them.
– The 263 expropriated plantations, under the control of the Expropriation Board, are the main assets of New Guinea.
– On a further point of order, I want to know if an honorable senator who raises a point of order is in order in leaving the Senate before you, Mr. President, have had an opportunity to reply ? That is what Senator Payne has done.
– I have no control over honorable senators leaving the Senate at any time, except when a quorum is called for, and in that case I can take action to prevent them from leaving while the bells are ringing. I draw Senator Grant’s attention to the fact, that, instead of addressing himself to the point of order, he is making statements which are not relevant to it. The point of order raised by Senator Payne was whether a discussion on the Expropriation Board was relevant tq the motion before the Senate. As I understand it, even if a Committee were appointed, it would have, under the form .. of local government which Senator Grant has asked to be established in New Guinea, no power or authority over the Expropriation Board, not even in an advisory capacity; I rule that the honorable senator’s remarks referring to the Expropriation Board are not relevant to the subject-matter of . the motion. -
– I shall bow to your ruling. It would be unwise at .present to dissent from it, although I believe that you, Mr. President, are quite wrong. The PRESIDENT. - Order! The honorable senator must not comment upon my ruling unless he proposes now to move to dissent from it.
– Senator Payne enlarged upon the success of the financial operations of the Administration, conveying to the Senate that so far as the Territory was concerned all was well, but in doing that he was perhaps quite unintentionally entirely misleading the Senate. I thought I would be in order in pointing out that the important section of the Territory; the producing section-
– The Expropriation Board is really an industry within the Territory, having nothing to do with the Administration at all.
– The employees of the Board would be entitled to take part in the formation of this Committee. From the motion itself , it is evident that the whole of the white residents of ‘the Territory would have the right to participate in the election of this Committee. Surely that includes the whole of tha overseers and their wives employed in this sub-department under the Administration.
– The election of such a Committee would have nothing to do with the operations of the Board.
– But those working for the Board would be entitled to take a place on this Committee.
– The proposal for the election of a’ Committee has been disposed of, and the amended motion is now under the consideration of the Senate.
– The amended motion proposes that at a later date, when the unofficial population equals the official population, action should be taken by the Government to make provision for an advisory Committee or Legislative Council. Does any one dare to say that the unofficial population does not include the employees of the Board J Undoubtedly they would be included. Those employees are more numerous than the Administration employees. s..;
– The honorable senator knows that they are controlled by the custodians of these plantations-, who are under the Treasury Department, and therefore they are official employees.
– They are residents of the Territory, and the motion has been amended on the initiative of the Minister for Home and Territories so as to give these people,after a certain time, the right to take part in the election ofa Committee to make recommendations to the Administrator. The plantations are worth more than £5,000,000. The present price of copra is about £26 per ton, but the moment the price goes up the value of the plantations automatically increases. A number of employees are engaged in the copra industry, which is the only one worth mentioning in New Guinea. Even a brewery has not yet been established there. The industries otherthan that of the productionof copra are negligible. I made an effort some time ago to ascertain from the Government the financial position of the Board. Did I get an answer? No. Did Senator Payne back me up inmy request? He did nothing of the kind. If Senator Payne likes to make inquiries of a casual and courteous character in the right quarter he will find that the’ Commonwealth Bank has a big overdraft on account of the operations of the Expropriation Board.
– I do not need to in quire, as I know all about it.
-Yet we are told that under the wonderful administration of New Guinea all is we’ll.
– I was not talking about the Board.
– But I was. The honorable senator cannot put a camouflage like that over me. The Board is underthe control of the Administration, and we cannot consider the affairs of New Guinea without considering the operations of the Board. In his statementSenator Pearce did not put the position fairly and squarely before the Senate. I do not say that he wilfully or deliberately refrained from doing so; but I should like the Government, at the earliest possible moment, to produce the balance-sheet of the Expropriation Board.
– That subject has nothing nothing to do with the question before the Chair,and I ask the honorable senator to confine his remarks to the amended motion.
– I thank you, Mr.
President, forhaving given me so much latitude. I do not regardNew Guinea as a fit countryfor the white man. We should teach the natives there to speak English, and to some extent we are doing that atthe schools at Kokopo and elsewhere. The object of the Administration should be to teach the natives to speak English, to give them to understand that the country belongs to them, and after a time that the white man may go further south to a more suitableclimate. I would not, however, advocate the immediate withdrawal of the white people from New Guinea.
– Order! The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
I move -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
As this is a short measure, and its principle is wellknown, it is not necessary that I should detain honorable senators with a long speech. The Bill proposes to amend section 57 of the Post and Tele graph Act 1901-23, which provides that -
If the Postmaster-General has reasonable ground to suppose any person to be engaged in the Commonwealth or elsewhere in receiving money or any valuable thing -
It has been held by the High Court that “reasonable ground” should be interpreted to mean that’ the PostmasterGeneral in determining whether he has reasonable ground to suppose that any person is engaged in any of these pursuits, is exercising, not a judicial or merely Ministerial function, but a discretion. That decision leaves it entirely free for the Minister, if he believes that any such undertaking is being carried on in opposition to section 57, to issue an order prohibiting the carriage of mails to any such individual or institution. The Act itself was passed in 1901, and the section referred to was inserted among its provisions for the express purpose of prohibiting the carriage of letters to the lottery then existing in Tasmania, and known as Tattersall’s. The representatives’ of Tasmania in the Senate opposed section 57, holding, of course, that it was an unfair discrimination against a State that had legalized this lottery, and also that the provision itself was not within the four comers of the Constitution. The constitutional point has never been tested, but there is extreme doubt whether, if it were, the Government would have the right to refuse to deliver letters ‘ to an institution legalized by the law of a State. I am not going to argue that point now. I am not approaching this subject as one who believes in gambling. On the contrary, I advise every ‘one not to gamble at all. I do not gamble myself. I very seldom have a ticket in Tattersall’s, and I feel quite sure that if opposition to this Bill were represented by the number of honorable senators who are not patrons of Tattersall’s, it would be very slight. Tattersall’s as a lottery was legalized first -in Victoria, but eventually the people of this State arose in righteous indignation, passed legislation, and Tattersall’s had to remove to New South Wales. It flourished there for a little while until New South Wales passed similar legisation, and Tattersall’s was forced to move to Queensland. The people of that State in their tura became self-righteous, and banished the institution, which eventually found refuge in Tasmania.
– And now Queensland runs the “ Golden Gasket “ lotteries.
– I may have something to say about that matter later. Tattersall’s became legalized in Tasmania in 1897. In that year the Tasmanian
Parliament- passed legislation giving the Treasurer the right to issue “licences to any body or corporation that cared! to deposit with the Treasury the sum of £10,000 for the purpose of conducting a lottery. Tattersall’s became; established under that law. At the present time the State Treasurer has the right, under the same Act, to license any. number of lotteries, provided the necessary deposit is lodged with the Treasury. I do not think it is likely that others will do so, as one organization there is sufficient. Let us see what Tattersall’s i* worth to Tasmania and to the Commonwealth, which holds up its hands inhorror at the thought of sich an evil, but, nevertheless, calmly sends the taxgatherer to collect revenue from the organization every year. The Commonwealth Treasury goes further. It makesTattersall’s its agent for the collection of. the tax on the ‘prize money which it distributes, and to this extent the Federal Government are virtually partners in this so-called illegal and discreditable business ! I have with me a document, prepared in Tattersall’s office, giving, thefigures up to 1923, and I can assure honorable senators that it is .quite reliable. I find that since 1904, following7 the death of George Adams, the founder of the institution, Tattersall’s has paid to the State of Tasmania in taxation the sum of £1,735,000. I find, further, that this “ illegal “ institution has contributed! of its ill-gotten gains no less a sum. than £514,279 to the Commonwealth Treasury..
– It is almost equal to compounding a felony, is it not!
– I should say it isworse than that. What is the annual value of this institution to Tasmania? This document shows that last year Tasmania collected £201,875 in taxation from Tattersalls. A substantial portion of that money came from the other States.
– Hear, hear! .
– Probably 80, or even 90, per cent, of it came from New South Wales, and perhaps some came from the honorable senator who has just interjected. Last year Tattersall’s contri.buted £110,000- in taxation to the Commonwealth, so that it is a fairly profitable institution for the Federal Government.
– And for Tasmania.
– As the honorable senator reminds me, it is also profitable for the State of Tasmania.
– And, on one occasion, for Senator Grant, who drew a prize !
– Is that so?
– Of course, the honorable senator does not believe that. ,
– Judging by the honorable senator’s reputation I do not think he would touch gambling, unless, of course, he were certain of a very large profit. If he were quite sure, perhaps he would not hesitate sometimes. It is remarkable how some men who refuse to put ls. in a sweep or lottery, or 10s. on a horse race, will go all over the country looking for the very best speculations in land, and take the unearned increment if they can get it. Thus there are various forms of gambling.
– If the honorable senator’s Bill would only give us the correct tip for the races, it might be worth something.
– Would the honorable senator put a few shillings on if it did?
– Some one would have to give it to him !
– But let me return to the subject-matter of the Bill. Is the holding of a lottery immoral ? I do not think it is any more immoral than is drinking in moderation. Gambling is not necessarily immoral. As a matter of fact, we gamble every day of the week. We gamble in land.
-brockman . - And in insurance.
– We gamble in wheat, in wool, and in many other forms of production. The paying of 5s. for a ticket in Tattersall’s is not more immoral than many commercial practices that are carried on every day of the week, and in every city of the Commonwealth.
– And” frequently it is more honest.
– Probably. I have here a long communication bearing on this subject from the Council of Churches in. Tasmania. It is signed by his Lordship the Bishop of Tasmania, a very fine and worthy gentleman; by Patrick Delany, Archbishop of Hobart; by the Rev. W. Corly Butler, President of the Council of Churches; by C. Bernard
Cockett, ex-secretary of the Council of Churches; by Donovan F. Mitchell, acting secretary Council of Churches; and, by G. B. Murphy, ex-Moderator of the Presbyterian Assembly. I know every one of those gentlemen personally, and . I honour and respect the efforts they make in looking after the morals of the people. The gentlemen whose names I have quoted are worthy representatives of the denominations to which they belong, but they are very illogical, as this institution was established in Tasmania in 1897 under the law of the State, and very few of them now raise their voices against its continuance. If this evil is to be curtailed or abolished, these gentlemen should approach the State Parliament and ask their representatives to repeal the Act under which it was created.
– Has not an attempt over been made?
– They have ceased in their efforts, because they know that the great majority of the public of Tasmania, for financial reasons, are opposed to the abolition of Tattersall’s. If Senator Payne were a member of the Tasmanian Parliament to-day, he would not dare to introduce a measure to repeal the Lotteries Act.
– Is the honorable senator to be my judge?
– The honorable senator was a member of the Tasmanian Parliament for a number of years, and was also a Minister of the Crown, and during that period he never took any action to abolish this “ awful “ institution. Not one member of the Tasmanian Parliament has ever made any effort in that direction.
– It is too useful.
– Too profitable. In a small State such as Tasmania, with a population of only 215,000 people, an annual revenue of from £215,000 to £220,000 is obtained from this institution, and the question of its abolition requires very serious consideration before any one dares to move in that direction. In Melbourne a race meeting is held nearly every day, and horse-racing is a greater evil than Tattersall’s, as a man goes to the race-course with £5, £10, or £15 in his pocket, and, if he loses £5 at the outset, he chases it with the balance of the money, and eventually very often comes home without funds. In some instances it is even worse, because a man can bet upon credit, whereas under this system it is necessary for a bettor to put up the hard cash before he can obtain a ticket. I am not a very strong advocate of Tattersall’s, and if I were a member of the Tasmanian Parliament, and the State could finance itself without its assistance, I would favour its abolition. I am not an advocate of gambling.
– What did Tasmania do before it received financial assistance from this source?
– It managed to struggle along, but its population has not increased in proportion to its financial responsibilities. Tasmania, in common with other States with a small population, is in an unfortunate position. The young men, particularly, who arc unemployed in Tasmania, catch the boat to ihe mainland, where they are more likely to find work in the large cities. An honorable senator interjected that the Queensland Government abolished “Tatts” 20 years ago ; bub another Government in that State established a consultation known as the” “ Golden Casket.” I am not conversant with the conditions under which it is worked, but I understand that the whole of the proceeds are paid- into Consolidated Revenue.
– They go to the hospitals.
– It amounts to the same thing, because the expenditure of the hospitals has to be met out of the Consolidated Revenue.
– One-half of the net profits go to the support of Queensland hospitals.
– The contributions assist the Consolidated Revenue to that extent.
– Where does the other half go?
– I do not know. I am not attempting to deal with that aspect of the question. Although agents for “ Tattersall’s “ are not allowed to communicate direct, the Post and Telegraph Department delivers letters to tho “ Golden Casket “ consultation in Queensland. Why should there be such discrimination?
– A charity sweep is now being conducted in Tasmania, and subscriptions can be openly sent to the Tasmanian Treasurer.
– That is a special consultation conducted in the name of the Treasurer, and the Government have not the power to prohibit the carriage of letters so addressed. Probably I shall be told that the “ Golden Casket “ is a State institution, and that the Federal Government cannot, therefore, prohibit the carriage of letters directed to it. The injustice, however, still remains, because an institution in one State is allowed to carry on its operations, while another, in Tasmania, established under Statute, is not allowed too receive communications through the post. The Commonwealth issues postal notes and post office orders, and the whole business is carried on as efficiently as if the Government consented to carry the letters. What is the result ? Thousands of agents have been appointed, all over Australia, who collect money from patrons, which is forwarded through the banks, and eventually reaches its destination. The patron, however, has to pay a commission on the tickets purchased, and in the aggregate the amount is considerable. Not only do the patrons pay 8 per cent, to the agents who collect contributions, but I have known of a case in which an agent made a client who won a prize contribute a considerable sum for collecting it. The present system leaves the door open to a host of men who render no useful service to the community, to make a profit out of this institution. That is wrong. Let us be honest. If the institution is an evil one, let us abolish it, but we should not shut our eyes to the fact that contributions are being despatched to it. In order to prove that I am not wholly actuated by a desire to perpetuate the evil, I shall show patrons that it is not altogether a profitable investment to purchase a ticket. The cost of a ticket to subscribers living beyond Tasmania varies from 6s. to 6s.- 6d., including all postage, agents’ commission, &c. Taking 6s. 3d. ‘ as the average, we find that taxation and charges absorb 2s. 9d. of this amount, leaving only 3s. 6d. to go to the prize fund, as shown by the following figures: -
Average cost of ticket . . 6 3
Postage, 4Jd.; Agents’ commission, 5d . . . . 9.5 -
Tattersall’s commission . . 6 -
Tasmanian Government stamp tax . . . . 6 -
Tasmanian Government tax on prizes . . . . 5.4 -
Federal Government tax on prizes . . . . 0.1 2 9
Balance towards prizes 3 6
The subscribers are, therefore,- working against 43 per cent, on each investment, and there is a balance of only 57 per cent, to be distributed amongst the prize winners. Although it is not a sound commercial transaction so far as clients are concerned, the Federal Government have no right to take up the attitude that it is an illegal institution, by passing legislation to prevent the despatch of contributions through the post office. Not only do they collect revenue indirectly, but’ they also become partners, and get the institution to become their agent for the colleotion of the Federal tax. The principal reason that actuates me in moving for the removal of the embargo against the carriage of letters is not because it is a gamble.
– But because the honorable senator is honest.
– Notwithstanding the pressure that has been brought to bear upon rae, I ask the Senate to act honestly and do the correct thing.
– The honorable senator is asking the Senate to countenance and to legalize gambling.
– I have already stated that the Commonwealth is a partner in this concern.
– It is doing its best to stop it, by appropriating 2s. 9d. out of every 6s. 3d.
– The Commonwealth Government does not get that amount.
– It gets 10 per cent, of the prize money by way of taxation and an additional 4d. by way of postage.
– The postal receipts would be considerably increased if the embargo on the carriage of . mails were lifted and patrons were allowed to send for their tickets through the post office.
– Would Tattersall’s accept a lower commission if they did not have to pay a fee to agents in the different States?
– I am not in the confidence of Tattersall’s. . I have not mentioned this matter to the proprietors, but I believe they would prefer that the embargo on the carriage of mails should remain,- because if it were removed Victoria might relent, New South Wales might become sorry, and Queensland and some of the other States might again - open the door, with the result that the lottery would be lost to Tasmania and the owners would have to meet serious competition.
– The “ Golden Casket “ is a State industry in Queensland.
– If I had the power to decide whether an institution such as this should be legalized, I would decline to allow it. But it is almost indispensable to Tasmania in existing “circumstances, and I would not be a party to throwing away the revenue of £200,000 per annum which that State at present receives from it.
– The honorable senator would make it illegal in the other States, but he would allow it to continue in Tasmania.
– Had I been in the Tasmanian Parliament in 1897, probably I should have voted against it; but it is established, and the Tasmanian Government finds very useful the revenue received from it.
– Does the honorable senator think that it would be better for the Government to take it out of the hands of Tattersall’s and run it themselves ?
– I do not think it would be worse for the Government, to take the whole of the proceeds than it is for it, as a partner, to take only a portion. Tasmania would certainly be better served if the lottery were run as a State institution. I do not think the Tasmanian Legislature would agree to make a State lottery of it, as has been done in Queensland.
– Is the honorable senator quite sure that the Queensland Government has taken over the “ Golden Casket ” 1 Is it not run by a committee ?
– I understand that it is a Government lottery.
– The honorable senator is mistaken.
– I should like the Minister to explain why the Government refuses to carry mails to Tattersall’s when it carries them to the “ Golden Casket “ in Queensland. That discrimination is a sore point with Tasmania.
– Why does not the Labour Government in Tasmania nationalize “this lottery ?
– The nationalization of gambling is not part of the platform of the Labour party. I preach the gospel of work. I do not try to encourage any one to endeavour to get something for nothing. I move the motion because I believe that at present we are acting hypocritically. The Federal Government says it does not believe in gambling, and therefore will not carry mails to Tattersall’s, yet it is a partner in this immoral undertaking. I leave the matter in the hands of the’ Senate, and trust that it will decide to wipe out this anomaly that has existed since the inception of Federation. I have read the debates that took place when the Post and Telegraph Bill was before Parliament in 1901. That measure was in charge of Senator Drake, who was then PostmasterGeneral. This section would not have been agreed to but for the fact that Sir Edmund Barton, who was then Prime Minister, whipped up his followers and told them that, if it were not passed, the Government would resign. Consequently it was carried, but the majority in favour of it was not very great.
Debate (on motion by Senator Crawford) adjourned.
Training Camp at Fort Nelson - Repatriation Department : Living Allowances.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed - That the Senate do now adjourn.
.- I bring to the notice of the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) a question raised recently in Hobart regarding the training camp at Fort Nelson. Some of the trainees were taken before the police court for absconding from the camp. The reason they gave for their action was that there was insufficient food in the camp. I would not have taken much notice of a mere statement by the boys but for the fact that the magistrate who tried the boys was evidently so impressed by it that he stated that a Royal Commission should be appointed to inquire into the matter. I advance no opinion as to the truth or otherwise of the statement, but I should like the Minister to bring the matter to the notice of the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden) so that he may make inquiries and ascertain the facts of the case.
.- Last Friday I questioned the Minister representing the Treasurer regarding the operations of regulation 89k and 89l of the Repatriation Department. The replies which I received did not satisfy me. I hoped that they would contain a promise of more sympathetic administration and an observance of the spirit that is supposed to underlie the regulations. I do not pose as a champion of any particular branch of returned soldiers, but as I appreciate the services that have been rendered by these men, and am anxious to do all that I can to see that no want or distress is experienced by partially incapacitated soldiers in any part of Australia if it can be avoided, I bring the matter to the notice of the Senate. The first question I asked related to the number of applications received under those regulations, and I received the reply that under regulation 89l there had been 584 applicants, while only 62 applications had been granted.
– What were the applications for!
– For a special allowance to wholly and partially incapacitated soldiers, which, with their pensions, would assure them a minimum payment of 40s. or 42s. per week.
– Did the figures which the honorable senator quoted relate to Tasmania?
– No, that was the total number of applications received in Australia. Under regulation 89k- 688 applications were received, and 390 were granted. The reply stated -
The large number of rejections is due to the fact that many persons ineligible under the particular regulations gazetted apply as soon as a new benefit is promulgated. … In Regulation 89l it is stipulated that “ the Commission take into consideration as income earned any amount which the soldier should be receiving as earnings from the occupation which his disablement does not debar him from following.”
It would be interesting to ascertain the. number of instances in which applications were rejected when the occupations that could have been followed were not available. I desire to refer to that aspect of the matter most particularly. The regulation provides that the Commission may take into consideration the amount that the partially incapacitated soldier would have earned had he followed the occupation for which he was fitted. I have had brought to my notice the case of a soldier who lost one arm near the shoulder, and also had a gunshot wound in the leg. He has no trade or profession, and is unfit for anything except such work as lift driving. That work is not available to him. If it was the intention of the Department, when framing this regulation, to give the necessary assistance to these unfortunate men - many of whom are married - surely the request that I made in my second question is reasonable. That question was whether the Minister would approve of instructions being issued that the allowance under regulation 89K and 89l should be paid where the Deputy Commissioner for Repatriation, the State Board, or the Commission, as the cass, might be, was satisfied that the applicant was unable to do any available work and could only undertake employment that was not available to him. -If a satisfactory reply had been given to that question, I should not now be speaking. It was pointed out in the reply of the Minister that that attitude could not be adopted by the Department. I should like to know_ the reason. Surely if discretion is given to . the Board or the Commission to render additional assistance in the case of .a. man who, through incapacity, is compelled to leave his work’ to such an extent that his service is of no value to his employer, the same consideration should be shown where a, man is able to follow a particular occupation, and one only, and that occupation is .not available to him.
-brockman. - It seems to be a case that should be referred to the Soldiers’ Committee.
– There are a lot of cases that need to be referred to- that body.
– A number of people are doing all they can’ to obtain something approaching a living wage for the returned men, and it is distressing to find that a. large number of those who fought for us in the late war are now :n great financial distress. I am sure that the public of Australia would be behind the Department if it took steps to give sufficient assistance to these men to make their life bearable. Our wai- debt is large, and we ought to meet it cheerfully ; but even if our war expenditure would be increased by rendering adequate assistance to those who fought for us, we should not hesitate to do our duty in that respect.
– The number of these men is diminishing, ‘ for the poor fellows are steadily dying.
– I do not charge the Department with a lack of sympathy, since I know that there are difficulties in the way, . but no stone should be left unturned to afford relief. I hope the Minister will be able to assure me that the matter will be investigated, and that the leaders of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia, many of .whom are soldiers of the highest repute, will be conferred with for the purpose of evolving a workable scheme to alleviate the distress.
– I draw the attention of the Minister representing the Minister for Defence to the fact that, according to a twocolumn article in the evening Sun there are between 300 and 400 returned men in the city of Melbourne who are unable to secure any employment whatever. I do not say that the Minister is responsible for this state of affairs, but it is a deplorable circumstance. Some of the men are, no doubt, not quite normal, and they may have lost their employment on that account; many of them, however, are apparently in perfectly good health, and it is a. standing disgrace to the municipal councils, the State Governments, and particularly the Federal Government, that conditions should exist involving the unemployment of large numbers of returned men throughout the Commonwealth. To some slight extent, perhaps, the returned men themselves are to blame. I think that they should not confine their attention entirely to efforts to secure their own betterment, bub should take a wider view and try to effect a general improvement in the conditions of employment, since many who are not returned men are now without work.
It seems to me that the Government might well consider the advisability of bringing in an amending Bill to enable the Repatriation Commission and the War Pensions Department to deal more effectively with the applications coming forward for pensions, especially for incapacitated men, who under the Act are unable to obtain any degree of satisfaction. I am sure that every member of the Federal Parliament has had cases of this kind submitted to him, and no matter what steps are taken the law does not permit of any further financial assistance being given. The people generally are willing that the Government should make the necessary provision for such cases, and the time is certainly opportune to review the legislation in regard to these pensions. Our sailors and soldiers had no hesitation in responding to their country’s call several years ago, and having done so they now find it move difficult to obtain employment than it would have been had they remained in Australia.
– I shall bring under the notice of the Minister for Defence Senator Ogden’s statementas to the alleged lack of food in the military camp at Hobart. I understand that the Treasurer is at present engaged in the consideration of the regulations referred to by Senator Payne. I would point out that the regulations constitute an improvement brought about by the present Government about twelve months ago, when an extension of the benefits was effected. The regulations have now beentested by experience, andno doubt they need tobe reviewed in the light of that experience. I can assure the honorable senator that the Treasurer is now carefully looking into the matter. I would remind Senator Grant that the Commonwealth Government at present contributes a sum of money to the labour bureau conducted by the returned soldiers’ organization, in order to assist in finding employment for the unfortunate men who are now out of work.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 9.57 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 19 June 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1924/19240619_senate_9_106/>.