16 July 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

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

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

By leave, I move -

That the Senate expresses its sincere regret at the death of ex-Senator William Harrison Story, and places upon record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, and extends its profound sympathy to his widow and family in their sad bereavement.

In submitting this motion I draw attention to the fact that the late honorable gentleman had a distinguished career. He was elected to the Senate for South Australia at the general elections of 1903, 1910, and 1914. He was a member of the select committee on the tobacco monopoly in 1905, and was one of the parliamentary party that visited England in 1911, at the invitation of the Imperial Government, on the occasion of the coronation of King George V. In 1913 he was a member of the select committee appointed to inquire into the case of H.

Chirm. He was a member of the Standing Committee on Public Works from 1914 to 1917. On the 3rd April, 1917, he resigned from the Senate, and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives for Boothby, South Australia. He was re-elected at the general election of 1919, and was Government Whip from the 30th April, 1918, until his defeat at the general election of 1922. Ex-Senator Story was personally known to most of us as a man of lovable character and genial! personality, and he combined with these qualities a considerable amount of ability and great application to the service of the public. It is safe to say that strenuous application to parliamentary duties shortened the life of one who had a splendid physique, and I think honorable senators will agree with me that we should pay a tribute to his memory by passing the motion I have submitted.

New South Wales

– I second the motion with extreme regret. During the many years that we were associated with ex-Senator Story in this chamber his genial attitude towards his fellow senators and his close attention to his public duties, could not fail to give one the view of him so ably expressed by Senator Pearce. He was a member of the Senate when I was elected in 1910, and I found it a pleasure to work with him. I had the opportunity, during an extended tour in 1911, to become very closely acquainted with him, and I read of his death with a great deal of real sorrow and regret. I mourn his loss as a friend. It is surprising how rapidly men who but a few years ago were in the full vigour of their manhood seem to be passing away. On, behalf of honorable senators on this side of the chamber I express the most sincere sympathy with the members of the family of the late honorable gentleman. One realizes how deeply they must feel the loss of a husband and father such as exSenator Story was.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens:

– On behalf of myself and the Senate generally I desire to say how deeply we all regret the departure of the late ex-Senator Story, because we all known that, irrespective of party feeling, he was a friend to every one in the Senate, and that every one in the Senate was his friend. Personally, I regret the loss of a dear friend. Ex-Senator Story was a man of most genial and likeable character. He devoted a long life of full physical vigour entirely to the public interest, and without very much reward. I can honestly say, on behalf of all honorable senators, that, while he was a colleague of ours, no one could have been more unselfish or more assiduous in the discharge of his duties, and that no more likeable man has ever entered this chamber. We all sincerely mourn his untimely death - because, in view of the physical vigour of our late colleague, it was untimely - and we trust that his widow and family will be comforted by the knowledge that he had the warmest regard and friendship of every man with whom he was associated.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.


– I shall take appropriate steps to convey to the widow of our late colleague and his family the terms of this motion, and the expression which honorable senators have given to our sympathy with them.

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Senator PEARCE:

– On the 4th inst. Senator Kingsmill asked the following questions : -

  1. What was the actual delivered cost of the s.s. Fordsdale to the Commonwealth Government ?
  2. At what price was this steamer taken over by the Commonwealth Shipping Board?
  3. What are these figures likely to be in the case of the s.s. Ferndale, recently launched at Sydney?

I desire to inform the honorable senator that these questions were referred to the Commonwealth Shipping Board for advice, and I am now in a position to advise him as follows : -

  1. Until accounts at Cockatoo are finalized the actual cost cannot be given, but it is anticipated that £821,000 will closely approximate actual dockyard costs. In addition, there are charges estimated at £37,500 for administration and general expenses of the Ship Construction Branch at Melbourne from 1st July, 1919.
  2. The board does not consider it desirable that the price at which the s.s. Fordsdale and s.s. Ferndale were taken over by the board should be made public, as it is not usual for shipping companies to disclose such figures with regard to ships being run .by them. As this Parliament has decided that the Line should be controlled on ordinary business lines the Government does not propose to further urge the board to disclose this information.
  3. It is anticipated that the finished dockyard cost of -the s.s. Ferndale will be £790,000, owing to various economies effected, and as a second steamer of similar class invariably costs less ‘than the first. In addition, the administrative and general expenses of the Ship Construction Branch at Melbourne are estimated to amount to £25,000.

Senator PEARCE (by leave).- With reference to the remarks of Senator Kingsmill on the 2nd July, regarding replies given to similar questions previously asked by him, and particularly to his statement - “ 1 asked these questions because they deal with a very important matter, namely, whether this country is justified in paying about three times as much for ship construction in Australia as would be paid for vessels built in Great Britain - “

I am advised by the Commonwealth Shipping Board that most of the material for these vessels was purchased when prices were at- their greatest height, and that the cost of each vessel would be £100,000 less if materials were purchased to-day. The board further states that if the construction of these vessels had been proceeded with when the materials were purchased, the cost would have closely approximated that of similar vessels built in England at the , same time. With regard to the honorable senator’s complaint that the information asked for by him on the 16th May last was conveyed to him by letter instead of being answered by the responsible Minister in this chamber, I desire to refer the honorable senator to my remarks on the adjournment on the 21st May, when, in reply to his request for the information required by him, I said that urgent telegrams had been despatched to the Commonwealth Shipping Board requesting an early reply, and that “ upon receipt of the information desired by the honorable senator it will be forwarded to him.” As the Senate adjourned from the 21st May until the 11th June, ,and as it was understood that the information was urgently desired, the answers to the honorable senator’s questions were forwarded by letter on the 28th May, in pursuance of the promise made by me.

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Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT

– On tie 3rd July, Senator Gardiner asked the following questions : -

  1. What amount of overtime has been paid to letter carriers for the years 1922 and 1923 ? .2. How much of this was paid for work done on holidays?

I promised the -information would he obtained. The following are the replies : -

  1. 1922, £7,759; 1923, £11,181.
  2. 1922, £4,832; 1923, £6,163.

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CHARGE Against O. J. Thompson.

Senator PEARCE:

– On the 20th June, I was asked by Senator Drake-Brockman whether one O. J”. Thompson, an officer of the New Guinea Public Service, who is at present under suspension, is still being paid his salary, and 1 promised to make inquiries from the Administrator as to the position.. I am now in receipt of advice from the Administrator that payment of Thompson’s salary ceased on the 1sth November, 1923.

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Munitions Supply

Senator NEEDHAM brought up the report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts upon expenditure on munitions supply.

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Senator WILSON:

– On the 3rd July, Senator Foil asked the following question : -

I desire to ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence (Mr. Bowden whether the new aerial mail service between Adelaide and Sydney is satisfactory, and whether it is the intention of the Government to sec that the original contract, which included a service in the Northern Rivers District of New South Wales and Brisbane, is to be complied with at an early date?

I am now able to report that for various reasons the Adelaide-Sydney aerial service has not been entirely satisfactory. The contractors have until the 31st of August next to commence service between Sydney and Brisbane. After that date the matter will be reviewed by the Cabinet.

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Senator.PEARCE.- On the 26th June, Senator Needham asked whether I had any information to give the Senate in connexion with a reported discovery of oil in the Eitape District, New Guinea. I replied that a telegram in relation to a reported discovery of oil had been received from the Administrator, but that it was of such a character that I could not make it public at that stage.

Advice has now been received from the Administrator that a discovery of oil was. officially reported by the chairman of the Mandated Development Company, and that the average yield was stated to be 20 gallons per day. The oil was obtained near Matapau, on the Wakip River. It was known that an oil seepage had occurred near Matapau, and the area was visited by the AngloPersian Oil Company’s geologists, who reported that while small quantities of oil could probably be obtained by drilling, into the fault planes, such operations would probably not repay outlay ‘and working costs, and consequently a test well was not recommended.

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Amount of Duty Paid

Senator WILSON:

– On the 18t]] June, Senator John D. Millen, on behalf of Senator J. B. Hayes, asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs the fallowing questions, upon notice -

  1. The amout of duty actually paid by the Tasmania!! Government (and not refunded) on machinery and material for the Tasmanian State Hydro-Electric Works?
  2. The amount refunded or remitted?
  3. The amount paid by the Victorian Government (and not refunded) on the machinery and material for the Victorian State Electrical Works?
  4. The amount refunded or remitted?

I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information : -

  1. £90,829.
  2. £78,438.
  3. £138,002 (including £37,492, which has been approved for refund, but not yet refunded ) .
  4. £304,119.

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Senator PEARCE:

– On the 3rd July,

Senator Graham:

asked the following questions: -

  1. Whatwas the total profit made by the Commonwealth Government on the export of gold during the years 1914-1918?
  2. How much gold, if any, was purchased by the Commonwealth Government on account of the Australian Notes Issue during war years, and in which of the war years was it purchased ?
  3. If gold was so purchased, from whom and in which State or States, and at what price per standard ounce was it obtained?

I then replied that steps were being taken to obtain the desired information. The Treasurer has now furnished the following particulars: -

  1. The only profit made by the Commonwealth Government was the sum of £11,572 10s., collected early in 1916, upon gold previously obtained from the hanks. No profit has been made by the Commonwealth Government on the export of gold received after the control of gold production was placed in the hands ofthe Government in August, 1916. 2 and 3. The following tabulation shows approximatelythe value of gold purchased by the Commonwealth Government through each ofthe mints on account of the Australian Note Issue during the years mentioned: -

The price paid was£3 17s. l0½d. per standard ounce.

Information as to the names of the sellers of the gold is not available.

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SenatorMcDOUGALL. - I desire to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate if, in view of the buoyant state of the revenue, the Government have considered the desirability of abolishing the tax on the lower priced amusement tickets.

Senator PEARCE:

– The financial proposals of the Government will be fully disclosed in the budget papers, whichwill shortly be placed before the Senate.

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The following paperswere presented: -

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

No. 24 of 1924- Postal Sorters’ Union of Australia.

No. 25 of 1924 - Arms, Explosives, and Munition Workers’ Federation of Australia.

No. 26 of 1924 - Australian Postal Assistants’ Union.

Audit Act - Transfer of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1923-24 - Dated 1st July, 1924.

Australian Imperial Force Canteens Funds Act - Fourth Annual Report by the Trustees, for year ending 30th June, 1924.

British Oversea Settlement Delegation to Australia - Report of Inquiry into Conditions affecting British Settlers in Australia. (Paper presented to British Parliament.)

Customs Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1924, Nos. 83 and 87.

International Labour Conference - Recommendation re Emigration, Immigration. and the Repatriation and Transit of Emigrants, adopted at FourthSession, held at Geneva, October -November, 1922.

Lands Acquisition Act - Notifications of land requiredfor Postal purposes -

Brocklesby, New South Wales.

Drysdale, Victoria.

Penong, South Australia.

St. Helens, Tasmania.

New Guinea - Ordinances of1924 -

No. 23 - District Courts (No. 3).

No. 24 - Appropriation 1923-24.

No.25 - Licences.

Public Service Act - Appointment of C. C.

King, Department of Works and Railways.

TariffBoard Act - Annual Report of the Tariff Board for year ending 30th June, 1924; together with Schedules showing board’s recommendations andMinisterial action in connexion therewith.

Territory for the Seat of Government-

Ordinances of 1024 -

No.1. - Leases (No. 2).

No.7 -Rates.

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Senator GRANT:

– I ask the Minister for Home and Territories what steps, if any, have been taken by the Government to advertise particulars of the proposed sale of city leases at Canberra on the 1st October ?

Senator PEARCE:

– No steps have been , taken up to the present, because the proposed subdivision has not yet been submitted for approval.

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Assent reported.

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Formal Motion of Adjournment

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens:

– I have received from Senator Needham an intimation that he desires to move the adjournment of the Senate until 10 a.m. to-morrow, in order to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely, “ The recent rinderpest outbreak in Western Australia.”

Senator NEEDHAM:
“Western Australia

– I move-

That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn until 10 a.m. to-morrow.

Four honorable senators having risen in their places in support of the motion,

Senator NEEDHAM:

– I offer no apology to the Senate for asking it to consider this matter. It is within the memory of honorable senators that a few months ago a disease, which was declared to be rinderpest, made its appearance among stock in an area adjacent to Fremantle, in Western Australia. When the outbreak was reported the State Government took immediate action. It got into touch with the Commonwealth Government, with the result that the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) left Melbourne for Western Australia to represent the Commonwealth Government in connexion with the necessary steps to be taken to prevent the spread of that terrible disease. The co-operation between the Commonwealth and the State Governments was splendid. From the moment of the outbreak until now, Western Australian members of Parliament in both Houses have repeatedly interviewed the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), or, during his absence, the Acting Prime Minister (Dr. Earle Page), and have urged that the Commonwealth Government should bear the whole of the cost. In an interview which I had with the then Acting Prime Minister, Dr. Earle Page, he told me that his colleague, Senator Pearce, had left for Western Australia to represent the Commonwealth Government, with full power to act. The spread of the disease was prevented, but only at a heavy cost to the people engaged in the industries affected by it. I believe that an agreement was entered into between

Sir James Mitchell, then Premier of Western Australia, and the Commonwealth Government, whereby a certain amount of compensation was to be paid to the sufferers, the Commonwealth Government to bear one-half the cost of the measures necessary to combat the spread of the disease. In other words, the total cost of the campaign against the rinderpest was to be divided between the Commonwealth and the State Governments. In addition, the Commonwealth Government has, I understand, offered the sum of £7,000 as compensation for special losses incurred. I would not occupy the attention of the Senate to-day were it not for the fact that, with other honorable senators representing Western Australia, I have received the following letter from the Prime Minister’s Department, under date 10th July : -

In connexion with the representations that were made by the deputation of senators and members of the House of Representatives on the 12th June in regard to the question of payment of the economic compensation in respect of the rinderpest outbreak in Western Australia, I desire to inform you that the Government gave full consideration to this matter. It has been decided however that, apart from the creation of an undesirable precedent, there is no basis for such claim against the Commonwealth. In the circumstances the claim for economic compensation cannot be recognized.

Yours faithfully,

Atkinson, for Prime Minister.

My remarks on this subject will be based upon two points. In the first place, I consider that the Commonwealth Government should have borne the whole cost, and that the State Government should not have been mulcted in one penny. Secondly, I contend that economic loss must also be considered. Both these propositions have been rejected by the Commonwealth Government. Deputations which waited upon the then Acting Prime Minister in Melbourne, and also in Perth, and which were attended by all honorable senators and members of the House ofRepresentatives for Western Australia, specifically stressed these two points. We have now been advised that the Commonwealth Government does not hold itself responsible for any portion of the economic loss incurred. I may add that many farmers have been nearly ruined. Of my own knowledge, I can say that in many cases the life-savings of farmers in the vicinity of Fremantle have been swept away. Men who had built up a good business lost their all through no fault of their own. Why? Because the dictum had gone forth from both the Commonwealth and State Governments that this disease was rinderpest, and that, if it were allowed to spread throughout Australia it would prove a danger to the pastoral industry. The people affected are still suffering. They have not been able to re-start their businesses, and the sum offered as compensation by the Commonwealth Government is ridiculously small. In addition to the Commonwealth Government meeting the cost of its own officers in Western Australia, and bearing half the cost of the state’s operations, an amount of £7,000 has been offered as compensation for the losses incurred. That amount I consider is insufficient. Many of these people have large families to keep, and they have not received any sum with which to start their business afresh. Many retail dairymen had specially grown crops for their herds, and those crops were rendered useless because they were not permitted to market them. Valuable plant is lying idle. As far as I know, that plant has not been put into operation again; if it has, it is not working to the extent that it was prior to the outbreak of rinderpest.

Senator J B Hayes:

– What is the reason for that ? Can they not get cows ?

Senator NEEDHAM:

– They had not the money. The whole of their money was invested in their business. That has gone, and the compensation .offered is too small to enable them to start afresh. Some of these retail dairymen had heavy rates and taxes to pay on property which they were leasing for their herds. They are not permitted to place stock upon that property for a period of twelve months from the time that the disease was declared to be stamped out. In other words, from the time that the Commonwealth and State Governments determined that the pest had been destroyed, and that no danger was to be apprehended from it, twelve months has to elapse) before these people can restock these leaseholds. That is a very severe handicap to the dairymen who are carrying on their business in the area affected. Now, consider the case of the wholesale dairymen. The destruction of their stock meant the total wiping out of their business. Many cases of that description can be quoted. They were not permitted to use their holdings, which thus became a liability to them. That liability exists to-day, and their plant is still idle. Then there were the pig raisers. That business was destroyed, and it has not been resuscitated. Bates and taxes have had to be met, families have had to be provided for, and the conditions attaching to the leases have had to be observed. I shall now refer to the private owners of cows. Most of those men grew crops. They kept their homes supplied with milk, butter, cream, &c, and in that way obviated the expenditure of about £1 per week. What has been the aftermath of the outbreak? Dairymen and other persons were faced with the necessity of purchasing new herds. ‘ That involved the making of fresh tests and experiments, with consequent greater expenditure. The loss of time and the heavy expenditure that must still be incurred, because of the wholesale destruction of the beasts that were supposed to be affected by the disease, must also be taken into account. I contend that a considerable time must elapse before those persons who were engaged in the various industries affected by the disease can recover their former position. The- point I want to make is that, although the outbreak of rinderpest was confined to the district surrounding Fremantle, had it not been so confined the consequences would have been disastrous to Australia. I am not making a parochial appeal. My claim that the Commonwealth Government should bear the whole of the. cost of combating the disease, and also the economic loss suffered as a result of the outbreak, is not dictated by the fact that the outbreak occurred in Western Australia. I would support a similar demand by any honorable senator if the Outbreak had occurred in any other state, because .of what the result would have been had the disease spread through Australia. In support of my contention that the whole of Australia was vitally concerned, I place in the witness-box Senator Pearce himself. On his return to Melbourne from Western Australia that right honorable senator said: “ We have been successful in combating the disease; it has been wiped out; but if it had spread throughout the Commonwealth it would have been 1 good bye ‘ to the pastoral industry of Aus- tralia.” I ask honorable senators to consider for a moment what the wiping out of Australia’s principal industry would mean? The cost in such a. contingencywould have to be calculated not in thousands of pounds but in millions of pounds. Therefore, when a disease which threatens to exterminate our great pastoral industry makes its appearance in any state it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to bear the whole of the cost of combating it. Why did the Commonwealth Government go to the assistance of Western Australia ? Was it because of any love for that state ? I do not think so. It was because the Commonwealth Government saw that, the outbreak of the disease constituted a menace to the great pastoral industry, and it was necessary to. at once co-operate with Western Australia to prevent the spread of the scourge. Just as it is the nation’s duty to repel invasion by a foreign foe, and the nation must bear the total cost of such repulsion, so, when a. disease attacks any portion of the country, whether the outbreak be amongst human beings or in cattle, it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to bear the whole of the cost of eradicating it. I have already stated that the Commonwealth Government has offered the sum of £7,000 to meet incidental losses. When a deputation waited upon Dr. Earle Page, who was then Acting Prime Minister, that honorable gentleman assured it that the arrangement which had been made between the Commonwealth and State Governments was a satisfactory one. Sir James Mitchell was then Premier of Western Australia, and I venture to say that, if he were Premier to-day, he would support, the stand that I am now talcing, and admit on review that he made a mistake in agreeing to Western Australia, paying half the cost. If the then Premier of Western Australia made the mistake that I contend he did, why should not the matter now be. reviewed, so that Western Australia may not be the loser, even to the extent of a penny ? That state should nob be the loser, for by the action of its government, supplemented by that of the Commonwealth Government, it saved Australia from a great pest. Quite recently the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Watson) received a letter from Dr. Cumpston, a copy of which was sent to every member from Western Australia. Attached to the letter was- the following list, showing claims which were not allowed, and also, the amount awarded on the claims which were recognized : -

Some of the above claims may be exaggerated; I do not hold a brief for all of them. I confine my attention to the fact that, since there was a national danger, and our great pastoral industry was threatened, it was the duty of the Commonwealth to foot the bill. I am not attacking the Government; on the other hand, I commend it for its promptitude- in going to the assistance of the western state, in confining the disease to a restricted area, and eventually wiping it out of existence. But I claim that the Commonwealth Government has not done sufficient. This contention has been reiterated by Western Australian members at various deputations in Melbourne and Perth, and, since no redress has been obtained, I thought it well to place the matter before the Senate in order to see whether, as a result of this discussion, the Government might be induced to review the whole position, and consider the question of bearing the total cost incurred in stamping out a national danger.

Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories} [3.46]: - Before proceeding to trace the history of this matter from the Government point of view, I desire to reply to two statements made by Senator Needham. He stated that the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page · Western Australia · NAT

informed him that I had left for Western Australia with full power to act in the matter.

Senator Needham:

– The Treasurer told me that.

Senator PEARCE:

– I desire it to be clearly understood that that statement did not mean - and I take it that Senator Needham would not suggest that it meant - that I had power to commit the Commonwealth to any expenditure of an exceptional character without consultation with the Treasurer. I merely had authority to see that the powers possessed by the Commonwealth were put into operation. I was requested by Cabinet to act on behalf of the then Minister for Health (Mr. Austin .Chapman), the state of whose health prevented his going to Western Australia, and it was in that sense that I was given full power to act. Senator Needham remarked that the Commonwealth Government offered £7,000 as compensation for certain losses, and that that sum was quite inadequate. As a matter of fact, when the claims made under the heading under which that £7,000 was offered were investigated, it was found to be more than ample for the purpose. That is shown by the fact that claims to the extent of only £4,500 could be proved under the heading in respect of -which that amount was offered. I think that the present discussion -will serve a useful purpose, for the dispute relates to a matter on which the powers of the Commonwealth ‘ and the .states are not too clearly defined : I refer to the power of quarantine. It is instructive to look into the history of quarantine generally, as well as into the history of the particular £natter under consideration. This case of the operation of the Commonwealth and state powers in respect of quarantine does not stand by itself. There have been other occasions on which an attempt has been made at co-operation between the two authorities. I have in mind particularly the influenza outbreak, and I invite honorable senators to refresh their memory as to the attitude of trie states on that occasion. Several of the states, at any rate, asserted their right to do as they liked, and they declared that they would not be bound by anything t-hat the Commonwealth might do. Western Australia took up a very strong attitude along those lines. When I recall some Of the things that were done in my own State, I admire the courage and audacity of the Government of Western Australia. For one tiling, it commandeered the transcontinental train, and prevented passengers from landing at Kalgoorlie. The state authorities took control of the staff of the train, and compelled the passengers to remain on board for quite a period. Having requisitioned the services of the staff, they commandeered the provisions in ‘order to feed the passengers. They prevented the running of the train, and claimed that this had been done in the exercise of their undoubted right to protect the inhabitants of Western Australia from the intrusion of an infectious disease. The State of Western Australia asserted, in a most definite fashion, in that particular case, its undoubted right to exercise the state power of quarantine. I advise honorable senators not to be in a hurry to commit themselves on important principles, swayed, perhaps, by the merits of a particular case. If they commit themselves to a recognition of the right of any person who has been injured by the operation of a quarantine law to compensation they cannot stop at the operation of quarantine with respect to animals or property. Human quarantine must also be taken into consideration. Our laws of quarantine relate to human beings, stock, and plants. Let us Bee, first of all, what happens in the case of the quarantining of a human being. On a vessel coming from overseas, onwhich there is an outbreak of small-pox, there may be among the passengers several wool-buyers. I know from the records of the Home and Territories Department that a wool-buyer, representing a continental firm, purchased £1,000,000 worth of wool on a recent visit to Australia. Commercial travellers, with seasonal goods valued at thousands of pounds, may also be on the vessel.When the quarantine officers seize the ship they keep the passengers at a quarantine station as long as they think fit, and the persons so quarantined are absolute prisoners. Commercial travellers are not allowed to land their samples or sell their goods; woolbuyers are not allowed to attend sales and execute payable commissions for the firms they represent. The economic loss sustained by such men, owing to their detention in quarantine, would amount to thousands of pounds. The wool-buyer would probably expect to make, on the one trip, the whole of his salary for the year. The commercial travellers also would expect to make the whole of their salaries for the year out of the one visit to Australia, and, possibly, the firms they represented would look to that one visit to return them the whole of the year’s profits they expected to make out of the Australian trade.

Senator Kingsmill:

– After all, that is merely an expectation.

Senator PEARCE:

– It is also merely expectation that a cow will yield a certain quantity of milk. Those who keep cows or fowls know that they do not always come up to expectations. Cows do not always die from rinderpest. I have known a cow to die from eating an apple. No government in the world would allow compensation for any of these economic losses arising from the quarantining of human beings. I have had valuable plants forwarded by me to Western Australia absolutely destroyed by the method adopted by the state quarantine officers. I did not object to their methods. The officers were probably right inendeavouring to prevent the introduction of some insect pest that might have been brought in by those plants and have had a disastrous effect in Western Australia. Of what use would it have been for me to make any claim on the State Government for compensation for the loss of my plants? Would they have recognized it, or a claim for the economic loss to which I was put by the loss of the bearing capacity of those plants for, say, twelve months ?

Senator Kingsmill:

– Certainly not.

Senator PEARCE:

– Therefore, we cannot look at the rinderpest outbreak as standing by itself. If we commit ourselves to the principle of paying compensation for economic loss, direct or indirect, occasioned by this outbreak, we shall commit ourselves to something wider, and that is to the payment of compensation for losses that may arise through the quarantining of human beings or plants.

Senator J B HAYES:
TASMANIA · NAT; UAP from 1931; LP from 1944

– Were the owners paid for the cows actually destroyed?

Senator PEARCE:

– Yes; I shall give the whole of the facts. When I was instructed by the Commonwealth Government to proceed to Western Australia, I was told that I would have full authority, without any reference to the Cabinet, to act to the extent of the Commonwealth’s powers to deal with the matter, and that anything that extended beyond the full powers of the Commonwealth I would have to refer to Cabinet. The first thing I did was to get in touch with the experts whom the Commonwealth Government, with commendable promptitude, had already despatched to the scene of operations. As a matter of fact, it was the presence of those experts that enabled prompt action to be taken by the state government. These men had been carefully selected because of their previous experience - two of them had had previous knowledge of rinderpest outbreaks in Siam and South Africa. One of the experts was Mr. Robertson, of Victoria, a most capable officer. When I met these gentlemen they had not the slightest hesitation in declaring that the disease was rinderpest. In that respect they were rather singular. Local opinion was that the disease, whatever it was, was not rinderpest. For some little time after I arrived there was a fierce discussion in the Western Australian press, and the general opinion, particularly of those whose property or businesses had been affected, was that it was not rinderpest, and that the restrictions which had been imposed were totally unnecessary.

Armed with the opinion of the experts, I met the Premier, Sir James Mitchell, and the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Maley

Senator Lynch:

– Had the Commonwealth proclamation been issued at that stage ?

Senator PEARCE:

– No. Very little had been done in the way of restrictive measures. Throughout, Sir James Mitchell took a very serious view of the situation. He appeared to have little doubt that the disease, if not rinderpest, was, at any rate, something equally serious that needed prompt action on the part of the authorities. Mr. Maley was sceptical. He was by no means convinced that the disease was either rinderpest or of a character that needed rigorous action on the part of the authorities. As a result of my consultation with Dr. Cumpston, Mr. Robertson, Mr. Leonard, and the other expert who had been dispatched to Western Australia, I came to the conclusion that a committee should be appointed to have absolute and complete control of the situation. I was, to a great extent, actuated in coming to that decision by my knowledge of politics. The state Ministers were deluged with work. It was towards the end of the session, when Parliament was sitting night and day. All parties were just about to embark on an election campaign. I knew, from the experience of the experts in South Africa and Siam, that there was a very serious time ahead for Western Australia, that a considerable destruction of cattle and property could not be avoided, that a heated feeling would arise in the district affected, and that pressure would be brought to bear on Ministers, and particularly on local members, who were just about to seek re-election. Therefore, when I met the Premier and the Minister for Agriculture, I urged most strongly that a committee of control should be set up at once and given autocratic power to deal with the situation. Mr. Maley was quite opposed to my proposal. He was agreeable to set up a committee, but he wanted it to be merely an advisory body. He claimed that lie was quite competent to deal with the situation, and merely required the advice of the experts, for whose presence he was thankful to the Commonwealth, but he did not propose to give them the power for which I was asking. The Premier declared that if the Commonwealth Government pressed for the establishment of this committee, and claimed the right to suggest the names of two members of that committee, and if it also declared that the committee should have all the power for which. I wa3 asking, it should share the responsibility of the expenditure involved. When I asked him what that expenditure was he told me that the Government had given . a definite promise that it would pay half the cost of any cattle slaughtered. He also thought that the Commonwealth should share certain administrative expenditure. I told him that I would consult the Commonwealth Government, and later on I shall read to the Senate what I put before Cabinet on that point. Later on I was in a position to give Sir James Mitchell the assurance he required, and he concurred in what I put forward. At that stage, however, the question of compensation £or economic losses had not cropped up. The slaughter of cattle had only commenced. No one realized exactly how far the restrictions which the committee of control ultimately found necessary to put in force would have to go. No one could then foresee the complications that subsequently arose and which prompted the request for compensation for economic loss. The question certainly did not arise at that time. Sir James Mitchell told me that- the Government had been pressed, where property had been destroyed, to pay . compensation, and I promised him that. I would give consideration to that request. I told him that I would recom. mend that the Commonwealth should bear the whole cost of its own officers who were loaned to the state and one-half of the administration expenses. When the committee” of control was. set up it employed on patrol duty men whose herds had been destroyed, and who had been put out of business for the time being. Therefore throughout the outbreak the men who were deprived of their living were given a fresh opportunity to earn a living by doing patrol work.

Senator Kingsmill:

– In the circumstances they would be very strict guardians. They would see that “ the other fellow “ did not get off.

Senator PEARCE:

– They did their work very effectively.

Senator Needham:

– Their number was small.

Senator PEARCE:

– The number was large. The people who tried to get their cattle away had to be prevented from doing so. One important point which was brought under my notice by Dr. Cumpston as a result of his investiga- tions in Western Australia related to the introduction of the disease. The rinderpest undoubtedly had been introduced into that state from overseas, because it was previously unknown in Australia, and the point to whichI refer is brought out better than. I couldhope to do in a letter sent by the Prime Minister tothe Premier of the state. The essential feature of it is that by agreementwith the state governments animal quarantine is administered by state officers, yet in two important instances Western Australian officers in flagrant defiance of a strict instruction issued by the Federal authorities, permitted in one case skins and in another case manure to be landed. This was done without reference to the central authority, in Melbourne.

Senator Lynch:

– Were those skins and manure supposed to contain infection?

Senator PEARCE:

– In each case they came from districts where rinderpest was in existence not only at the time of the outbreak in Western Australia but for a year previously.

Senator Kingsmill:

– Immediately prior to the outbreak.

Senator PEARCE:

– Yes. There have been outbreaks of foot and mouth disease among cattle in Great Britain and America. The same question that has arisen here has also arisen in those countries, and in neither instance has compensation for economic loss been paid, because of the far-reaching claims that would arise; and the almost impossibility of determining what are and what are not economic losses. It is important that the Senate should have the full facts before it in connexion with this matter, and if time permits I should like to read, first of all, the minute submitted by me to Cabinet on my return from Western Australia. It reads -

Following upon the direction by the Cabinet to proceed to Western Australia to act for the Minister for Health in connexion with the rinderpest outbreak, I held a conference on arrival at Perth with Dr. Cumpston, Mr. W. A. N. Robertson, Major Sanderson, and Mr. Leonard, the veterinary experts who had been sent- to Western Australia to investigate the outbreak. The experts assured me that there was not the slightest doubt in their minds as to the nature of the disease. A. conference of veterinary experts had been held, at which a plan of campaign to combat the outbreak had been drawn up, and to which all had agreed. At this juncture the only cases that had been reported were at Spearwood. Mr. Maley, Minister for Agriculture, was controlling the situation direct, although as Parliament was just closing he had very little time at his disposal After I had had an interview with the Premier and Mr. Maley, I considered the whole situation, and came to the conclusion that a Board of Control mustbe set up, with absolute powers. I therefore submitted to the State Government this proposal, suggesting that Mr. W.N. Hedges should be chairman, and that Mr. W. A. N. Robertson should be the Commonwealth representative thereon, and insisting on full powers being given to the board. Mr. Maley desired that the board should have advisory powers only. I told the Premier that I could not consent to this, and that if the Commonwealth was to co-operate the board must have full powers, and eventually the State Government agreed to this. I found that the State Government had given a promise that compensation would be paid for cattle slaughtered, and as the conference of experts had recommended the slaughtering of all cattle and stock within the quarantined area, I came to the conclusion that it was essential, in order that the Commonwealth should retain control of the situation, that I should offer on behalf of the Commonwealth to meet one-halfof the cost of such compensation of cattle slaughtered.

Honorable senators will note that a promise was made by the state without consultation orwithout authority from the Commonwealth Government.

The State Government also had in a general way indicated that they were favorable to further compensation of a general character, but on this I did not committhe Commonwealth. Further cases of the disease occurred at Beaconsfield, near Spearwood, later at Belmont, some 15 miles from the original outbreak, later again at Bassendean, on the opposite side of the Swan River from Belmont, and still later at Rottnest Island, 12 miles from the mainland, among cattle, some of which had been brought from the Belmont area just prior to the outbreak there. It became necessary to engage men not only to slaughter the cattle and burn the carcasses, but also to vigorously patrol various quarantine areas, to round up straying stock, and generally carry out the regulations drawn up by the Control Board. I agreed with the State Government that the Commonwealth should share one-half of this expense. The federal proclamation dealing with interstate and overseas exports from Western Australia had been promulgated, and it became necessary to arrange the payment of officers for enforcement. As this is a federal function, this expense will fallupon the Commonwealth.

That was at the wharf and various other points.

Later, in view of the possibility of thedisease spreading to the north and north-west, and viatheNorthern Territory to the eastern states, I arranged for the establishment of a buffer area and a patrol at two strategic points .100 miles and 250 miles north of Perth, thus lessening the possibility of stock straying from the south-western districts to the north.

The cost thus incurred was paid by the Commonwealth.

Vigorous methods were adopted to get all local governing bodies, police, and for reliable persons to report all’ cases of sick stock in the country. Where such reports were received, men wore at once detailed to make an investigation, but fortunately not one of these reported cases of sickness was found to be rinderpest. The outbreak has, in my opinion, come from either Singapore or Colombo* and us rinderpest is; always present at or near these ports, I naturally made, inquiries as to the action,, if any, that had been taken prior to the outbreak to guard against its introduction.. The- result of those inquiries is that 1 am not surprised at the disease having readied Australia, but owing to the laxity, and casual nature of inspections, and the non-enforcement of quarantine regulations, I am astonished wc have not had an outbreak before. The latest reports received by telegram from Mr. Robertson seem to indicate that the disease has been checked, if not entirely eradicated, but the experts consider it will be necessary to continue some measure of control over the affected areas for some three to six months yet. 1 wish to express in the highest possible terms my appreciation of the splendid maimer in which Mr. Robertson has dealt with the outbreak and carried out his unpleasant, duties. He has displayed splendid judgment, great tact and determination, energetic and capable administration, and the Commonwealth is under a heavy debt of gratitude to him and his very capable staff. I would suggest to the Cabinet that as a mark of appreciation of his work an honorarium of £200 should be granted to him. I desire also to express my appreciation of the work of tie chairman of the board, Mr. W. N. Hedges, and of Mr. Hampshire, the state representative thereon. The former, a very ‘busy man,, was indefatigable, and deserves recognition. I would suggest that the Acting Prime Minister should send him a letter of thanks, and also make some suitable public reference to his work. Before leaving Perth I had a conference with the Premier and the Minister for Agriculture on the question of further compensation, and they urged that it is imperative that compensation for the loss of property, such as’ milk-sheds, &c, that have been burnt, for the loss of means of livelihood by vegetable-growers - ,T invite honorable senator’s special attention to these points - who were prohibited from marketing their crops as they ripened, and some compensation for loss of business should also be paid. They are willing to accept half. liability with the Commonwealth, but they strongly urge that as. the destruction of ‘property was in the interests of the whole of Australia, and as Western Australia was not in any way responsible for the outbreak, the cost of meeting it should be borne by the Commonwealth. I recommend that the Cabinet approve of a sum. of £7,000 being made available for distribution among those who have suffered loss of property as set out above, and t’ hat a committee of Commonwealth officers consisting of the Chief of the Sub-Treasury (Mr Friel), the representative of the Auditor-General (Mr. Kennedy) and the Accountant of the Works and Railways Department (Mr. Payne), should he deputed, in consultation with the board of control, to distribute this sum of money for the above, purpose. I also recommend that in order to secure more effective enforcement of quarantine regulations in regard to the admitting of stock at Western Australian ports, the Commonwealth increase its subsidy to the State Government by £300 per annum, on the condition that the State Government proceed to appoint a fully qualified, uptodate veterinary officer as their chief stock inspector. The present inspector has just about reached the retiring age. summarized, I committed the Commonwealth Government as follows: -

  1. To bear the full expense of it3 own officers and assistants.
  2. 17° bear half the expense of the country patrol officers and their assistants specially engaged to deal with the outbreak.
  3. To pay half, the: cost of all cattle and pigs slaughtered by order of. the hoard of control in the quarantine area.
  4. To- pay the cost, of the north and wharf patrols.

I further recommend -

  1. The Commonwealth, as an act of grace to set apart the sum of. £.7,000 to be distributed by a Commonwealth committee to meet all other claims for destruction of property.

An attempt has been made to make capital out of the words “ act of grace.” There have been foul insinuations. The way in which I used the term was as against the question of legal right.

  1. To increase its payment to. the State Government by £300 per annum for quarantine services.
  2. To pay an honorarium of £200 to Mr. Robertson.
  3. To publicly recognize the services rendered by Mr. W. N”. Hedges.”

Cabinet decision. 16/1/24 was - Recommendations Nos. 1, 3,- and 4tapproved.

Recommendation No. 2 - referred to comsideration of Minister for Health. (Sgd.) Earle. Pace.

page 2083


Recommendation No. 2 refers to the question of increasing the subsidy to the State Government for inspection. The letter to the Premier of Western Australia conveying Cabinet’s decision reads -

Melbourne, 26th January, 1924

Dear Sir, -

With reference to the outbreak of rinderpest in Western Australia, and to the conference, which took place between yourself, the Minister for Agriculture, and Senator Pearce (Minister for Home and Territories), I desire to inform you that the Government has approved, as an act of grace, of a sum of ?7,000 being made available for distribution among those who have suffered actual loss of property as a result of the destruction of propertyin connexion with the rinderpest outbreak. The Government has appointed a committee of Commonwealth officers in Western Australia, consisting of Mr. Friel, Chief of the SubTreasury; Mr. Kennedy, representative of the Audi tor-General’s Department; and Mr. Payne, Accountant, Works and Railways Department, to consider claims, in consultation with the board of control, and to distribute this money among those who have suffered loss by destruction of property.

The officers concerned have been informed of the appointment, and have been asked to meet to collect and consider the claims as early as practicable. Full information has been sent to this committee concerning the procedure which should be adopted.

It may be added that the Government has also decided to bear the following expenditure: -

  1. The full expense of its own officers and assistants.
  2. Half the expense of the country patrol officers and their assistants specially engaged to deal with the outbreak.
  3. Half the cost of all cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs slaughtered by order of the board of control in the quarantine area.
  4. The cost of wharf patrols at Fremantle.

Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) L. Atkinson, for Acting Prime Minister.

The Director-General of Health has submitted a letter from the Premier of Western Australia to the Prime Minister, which I shall read later, as well as the reply sent by the Prime Minister, and a financial statement in respect of compensation and claims. These documents were duly submitted to Cabinet, and the following decision arrived at: -

Action of Prime Minister in refusing to hear whole expense incurred in stamping out rinderpest outbreak approved.

Claim in regard to economic loss not approved. (Sgd.) S. M. Bruce.


The letter from the Premier of Western Australia to the Prime Minister reads : -

Premier’s Department,

Perth, May 24, 1924

Dear Sir,

Rinderpest Outbreak in Western Australia. I enclose statement of expenditure to 29th February, 1924, incurred by this Government and certified to by the Auditor-General. You will observe that the classification has been extended beyond that required by you, but the heads lend themselves to regrouping in any manner desired. The expenditure to 30th April is ?41,016 14s. 5d., but the accounts are not yet certified to by the Auditor-General. The total expenditure should not exceed ?45,000.

  1. Despite the agreement entered into with your Government by Sir James Mitchell for dealing with the expenditure incurred in connexion with the outbreak, I desire to urge that you reconsider the position with a view to your Government carrying the whole liability.
  2. It is generally accepted that the responsibility is a Federal, and not a State one, and this view has been stressed in scores of letters received from the State Governments and public bodies throughout the Commonwealth.
  3. Quarantine is a Federal function, and the fact that the introduction of the disease was from overseas, and that this State’s prompt action materially helped in restricting the outbreak to such a small area, should alone be sufficient argument for the granting of this very reasonable request.
  4. Through the preventive measures adopted, the pastoral industry, both of this State and of the Commonwealth, has been saved a set-back which words fail to describe, and it is absolutely wrong to saddle my finances with expenditure that is wholly national.
  5. While I acknowledge, with gratitude, the assistance already promised, I feel sure that on reconsideration you will agree that my request is reasonable and just, and that your Government will accept the whole financial responsibility in connexion with the outbreak.

I should be glad of an early and favorable reply.

Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) P. Collier,


The financial statement referred to in Mr. Collier’s letter is as follows : -

page 2084



Rinderpest Outbreak

Expenditure to 29th February, 1924. ? s. d.

Expenses of Commonwealth officer’s . . . . 260 6 4

That, of course, was wholly paid by the Commonwealth -

Country patrols and assistants specially engaged in dealing with the outbreak . . . . 5,428 5 1

One-half of that amount was paid by the Commonwealth and one-half by the State -

Compensation paid for cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs slaughtered by order of the Board of Control in the quarantine area . . . . 18,836 12 0

Senator PEARCE:

– The Commonwealth and the State each paid one-half of that amount -

(Sgd.) C. S. Toppin,


I shall now read the Prime Minister’s reply to the communication from the Western Australian Premier.

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon T Givens:

– The Minister’s time has expired.

Senator PEARCE:

– May I obtain an extension of time?


– That would require the suspension of the Standing Orders.

Senator PEARCE:

– Very well, sir. It is immaterial. My colleague (Senator Wilson) will read the Prime Minister’s reply.

Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT

– Taking up the history of this case at the point which my right honorable colleague, Senator Pearce, had reached when the time allotted to him under the Standing Orders expired, I desire to state that the letter from the Prime Minister’s department to the Premier of Western Australia reads as follows : -

Melbourne, 13th June, 1.924

Dear Sir,

I desire to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 24th May, relating to the question of compensation payment in connexion with the outbreak of rinderpest in your State.

The payment of the amounts specified in the statement with your letter has been authorized to the extent indicated in my letter of 26th January last. The detailed arrangements will be carried out between the Commonwealth Rinderpest Compensation Board and your Department of Agriculture.

It would be appreciated if a statement of the outstanding expenditure could be forwarded early.

The request that the Commonweath should carry the whole liability and the considerations advanced in your letter under reply, bring under discussion the nature of the arrangements between the Commonwealth and the Governments of the various States with respect to the administration of the Quarantine Act in its relation to diseases of animals and plants. As you are aware, it has hitherto been considered advisable and practically advantageous that the State Departments of Agriculture should act as the authorized representatives of the Commonwealth, and should discharge the legal and administrative functions under the Quarantine Act. This co-ordination of Commonwealth and State functions has, in the past, proved to be so advantageous and to be so free from administrative difficulties that no suggestion of any disturbance of this arrangement has been advanced. The Commonwealth has paid to the State Governments various amounts in respect of these activities on an assessment mutually agreeable,, and varied from time to time, according to the volume of work done. This arrangement has implied a mutual confidence and a mutual recognition of the advantages afforded. It has hitherto involved, not only a recognition of the obligation on both sides to give fully satisfactory service, but also implication of a joint liability in various directions. The principles involved in the administration of the Quarantine Act are, in their practical application, liable to extend themselves into somewhat complicated issues, and, in order to avoid a conflict and confusion which could very easily result, each fresh development should be deliberately studied with full knowledge of possible issues and with full experience of past events of a similar nature. Using the recent rinderpest outbreak as an illustration, if the principle were admitted that the Commonwealth must bear all expenses involved, then it must also be admitted by your Government that the Commonwealth should have a complete management of the outbreak from the commencement. The adoption of that administrative basis would inevitably entail the further surrender by the State of control of all intra-state diseases of animals or plants, and all control of interstate trade which might involve risks of the introduction into any one State of such diseases. It is, of course, understood that your Government would not he prepared to contemplate any developments so far-reaching as that indicated, and it is not considered -by this Government that any such development would be in the interests of good administration. It was a complete recognition of the difficulty which would have Occurred by this logical extension of the precedent which would have been created by Commonwealth control of the outbreak in any form, that inspired the form of Commonwealth assistance which was offered to the State. The rinderpest outbreak was controlled from first to last under State authority; the regulations controlling it were made by the State Government; the- Board of Control was created and authorized 'by the State Govenment and, while the Commonwealth was prepared to render, and did render, assistance, all steps wore carefully taken so that there should be no- evasion of. State authority in respect of the outbreak. Without wishing to introduce" any debatable matter into this discussion, it may be permissible to refer to the introduction of the infection. Inasmuch as the root of introduction is unknown, and likely to remain unknown, no advantage can be served by a discussion as to the allocation of responsibility. As illustrations, however, of the principles involved, may I take the liberty of reminding you of two administrative arrangements made by your officers which constituted technical breaches of the Quarantine Act of rather more than minor importance. The officers, of the Department of Agriculture, administering the Quarantine Act, made arrangements with, other State officers for the admission of sheep skins from Singapore into Western Australia under conditions which were not permitted by the quarantine regulations, and accummulated manure from stock carried on boats from Singapore was sold, to farmers at Fremantle. These two administrative arrangements were made without reference to the director of quarantine, and represented a departure front the prescribed procedure adopted by all State Departments as the administrative code under which their work for the Commonwealth Government was carried out. Either of these occasions may, or may not, have been associated with the introduction of rinderpest, but any discussion of this responsibility would now be idle. The- general principle involved, however, is clear. Under arrangements which have existed for the past fifteen years, State officers have administered' the Quarantine Act on behalf of the Commonwealth, and have dealt with animals and plants at the time of their importation under a uniform code prescribed for their use, no departure from which was sanctioned, except -by special authority, and the control of interstate movements of either plants or animals, and of epizootics, or outbreaks of plant diseases occurring within any State, were left entirely to State administration and control. If the Commonwealth is expected to bear the. whole expense of the control of animal and plant diseases occurring within any one State> then it is logical that the Commonwealth should have also the executive control from the commencement, not only of such outbreaks when they occur, but of the routine continuous administration necessary for the prevention of. such, outbreaks. The latter alternative represents an arrangement which would neither ba practicable nor advisable. It appears to this Government that the wisest course is that now adopted, as a result of experience, and to limit the Commonwealth activities in respect of disease, occurring within a State to financial or other assistance offered to the State. It is considered, therefore, that in the instance at present under discussion there is no justification for the Commonwealth assuming the whole financial liability, or for increasing the range of compensation payments beyond those which have already been" publicly notified. Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) L, Atkinson-, for Prime Minister. The Government, through **Senator Pearce,** agreed to share on an equal basis with the state the following expenditure: - (1) The full expense of its own officers and assistants; (2) the full' cost of the wharf patrols ; (3) half the expense of the country patrol officers and their assistants specially engaged to deal with the outbreak; (4) half the cost of all cattle and pigs slaughtered by order of the Board of Control in the quarantine area. To the expenditure under (1) and- (2) should be added other expenses, such as gratuity to **Mr. Robertson,** printing of report, *Sea.,* making a total of approximately £1,000. The expenditure under (3) and (4) up to the 29th February of this year was £28,896. This has been increased since, and at the 30th. April it was £41,016. The Premier of Western Australia estimates the complete total at £45,000, of which the Commonwealth share will be £22,500. Cabinet also approved of payments as an act of grace to meet all claims for the destruction of property up to a maximum of £7,000. Under this heading 562 claims have been received, which are classified as follows : - Class " A ": - Those whose claims came within the fallowing interpretation of " destruction of property - (1) Destruction of buildings, vehicles, harness, and agricultural implements by order of the Rinderpest Board of Control ; (2) destruction of fodder, forage, and standing crops by order of the Rinderpest Board of Control; and (3) actual loss incurred by marketable vegetables becoming unsaleable as a direct result of restrictive or prohibitive orders of the Rinderpest Board, of Control. All claims under this class have now been finalized.. The total complete amount is not actually known, but- 94 claims, amounting to £4,239, have been passed for payment. The. remainder will not bring the total above £4,500. Class " B " is a large group of claims which. have come, to be .known as economic losses, which may be detailed as follows: - The financial statement summarized is as follows : - >Departmental expenditure, f 1,000. > >Payments made from the £ 7,000 granted by Government - final, £4,500. > >Amount of half-share of joint expenditure with state will not exceed £22,500. > >Claims for economic losses, £43,367. The growers of vegetables within the area were prevented from fully marketing their product between the 15th November and the 30th December, 1923. Stock-owners were not allowed to re-stock until the 30th March. It is not the practice in any other country to pay compensation or any consideration, beyond the actual value of the animals slaughtered. {: #subdebate-15-0-s5 .speaker-KMI} ##### Senator GRAHAM:
Western Australia .- I support **Senator Needham's** remarks. I joined the other members from my state in interviewing the Prime Minister **(Mr. Bruce),** and, during iis absence, the Acting Prime Minister **(Dr. Earle Page).** It must be obvious to those who have any knowledge .of rinderpest that the people who lost their stock, as the result of government action to check the "disease, have been more or less ruined. Many of them, in addition to having their stock destroyed, lost sheds, fences, outbuildings, as "well as hundreds of tons of fodder. The economic loss must have been enormous. In some cases it -will take the sufferers fully twenty years to put their business in the position it occupied at the outbreak of the disease. The people of Australia are grateful for . what **Senator Pearce** did on behalf of the Commonwealth Government to prevent the disease from spreading to the eastern states. The action taken, I submit, was in the interests of the Commonwealth, and therefore the Commonwealth Government should bear the whole of the expenditure, and meet the claims for compensation. Under the agreement entered into "with the Western Australian Govern-' ment, the Commonwealth Government undertook to pay one-half the cost of expenditure incurred by the board of control, as well as one-half of the compensation paid for cattle slaughtered, and, in addition, the Commonwealth has made available £7,000 to meet special cases. **Senator Pearce** has just told us that the latter amount has not been entirely , spent. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Only £4,500, so far. **Senator GRAHAM-** The people of Western Australia are of the opinion that the Commonwealth Government should bear the whole of the cost. The Minister reminded the Senate of the action taken to check the introduction of diseaseinfected plants, &c, into Western Australia. I agree with him that plants from an infected area should be quarantined, and,. if necessary, destroyed in order to prevent insect pests from getting a foothold in a clean state. I have had some experience in this matter myself. **Senator Pearce** has also referred to the fact that the Western Australian Government held up the Trans-Australian train at the time of the influenza epidemic. I was among those who were quarantined on that occasion, but I was not recompensed by the Government. If one cow in a herd is thought to have rinderpest the -whole herd has to be destroyed; but when' smallpox is contracted by one or two passengers on a train or a boat the authorities do not order every passenger to be destroyed. A large number of cattle which had not contracted the disease were exterminated for fear that the outbreak would spread to other districts. In the early stages it was thought by some persons in Western Australia that the outbreak was not one of rinderpest, whereas others who had had experience of the disease in other parts of the world stated that it was. If **Senator Pearce,** by his visit to Western Australia, prevented the spread of the disease to the eastern states, he did good work. In everything he did, however, he acted as the agent of the Commonwealth Government, and I contend that that government should bear the whole of the cost. I do not know by whom the valuation was made of the cattle that were ordered to be destroyed. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- They were valued by stock men taken from two of the best stock selling firms in Western Australia - Dalgetys, and Elder, Shenton & Co. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- Jointly ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Not jointly in every case. {: .speaker-KMI} ##### Senator GRAHAM: -- Frequently an owner was not paid the value that was ruling at the time. The Treasurer **(Dr. Earle Page)** has stated that officers of the Commonwealth Government are still dealing with cases in Western Australia, and making payments according to the merits of each. In many instances owners have not been adequately recompensed for the destruction of their holdings and their stock. It will take ten or twelve years for soma persons to restock their, holdings, and in the meantime their business is gone. Any one who has been in business will understand what it means to have a life's savings wiped out. I heartily support **Senator Needham's** contention. {: #subdebate-15-0-s6 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- I should have preferred the adoption of another course than a resort to the drastic action of moving the adjournment of the Senate to discuss this matter. I also should like to believe that the action which has been taken is entirely free from party significance. I heard **Senator Pearce'** s declaration that he welcomed this discussion, and he welcomes it, doubtless, because it enables him to put his side of the case, not only before the Senate, but before the people of Western Australia. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. A. Green)** thought fit to travel outside the confines of his own electorate to take upon himself the care of an electorate which is very carefully watched and well represented by the honorable member for Fremantle **(Mr. Watson).** The gratuitous efforts of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, coupled with the stampede of **Senator Needham's** colleagues to support his present attitude, lend colour to the suspicion that this action is not entirely free from party significance. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- Had the Minister **(Senator Pearce)** required any assistance I could have given it to him. I told **Senator Needham** that I proposed taking action in the matter. I stayed my hand hoping to get a clearer indication of what was the Government's attitude. If **Senator Needham,** by subtle ingenuity, has jumped my claim, he is entitled to whatever credit he can procure. **Senator Pearce** has raised the question of what is the position of the Commonwealth authority compared with that of the state. I am very glad that that matter has been raised, because it is one upon which opinion is not unanimous. We have the opinion of **Senator Pearce** that in the administration of the quarantine power there has been divided control. On the other hand, we have the opinion of **Mr. Collier,** Premier of Western Australia, that quarantine is the exclusive function of the federal authority. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- So it is. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- I believe so, too. I shall quote a further authority who is entitled to the respect of this chamber - **Sir John** Quick - who took a leading part in drafting the Constitution. It has been well said that he was responsible for all the spade work in the drawing up of the Constitution. This is what he says in regard to quarantine legislation, at page 452 of his work, *Legislative Powers of the Commonwealth and 'the States of Australia -* >The legislative power of the Commonwealth' Parliament with respect to the subject-matter of quarantine is not, by the Constitution, limited in its definition as a matter of substance, nor is it restricted in its area of operation. The power is not broken by state boundaries. ' It covers all possible quarantine jurisdiction throughout the length and breadth of Australia from ocean to ocean. The Constitution treats the power as one and indivisible, vested in the Commonwealth as plenary in grant as such power could be exercised by the British Parliament. On the following page, he makes this most significant comment : - >The quarantine laws of the Commonwealth, as contained in the above recited Acts, limits the Federal authority - > >To vessels, persons, and goods imported into Australia from beyond the seas, and to limited proclaimed areas within Australia. > >To animals and plants within, Australia declared by proclamation to be the subject of quarantine. **Senator Pearce** has told us that in Western Australia a Commonwealth proclamation was issued. That action was in perfect keeping with **Sir John** Quick's declaration that in a proclaimed area the one and only authority to exercise quarantine power is the Commonwealth. {: #subdebate-15-0-s7 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- That proclamation was limited to the export of animals, and of certain goods from different ports in Western Australia to other ports in Australia. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- I understand from those who were on the spot that there was a proclamation which, in a particular area, applied with all the force of Commonwealth legislation. As a matter of fact, I know that we could not get secondhand bags from that area, owing to the operation of the proclamation. **Sir John** Quick also says - >Under thi3 limited legislation the Commonwealth Government has no effective authority to proclaim a state a quarantine area, and to exercise sovereign power therein. For the limited purpose of quarantine control over animals and plants the power may be considered to be federalized, and the Commonwealth can occupy the whole field of jurisdiction to the exclusion of the states, but with respect to persons and other goods, not being animals and plants, the Commonwealth sovereign and exclusive authority is restricted to such persons 'and goods coming from across the seas. It is quite clear that, according to **Sir John** Quick, the federal authority has exclusive jurisdiction in regard to the quarantine control of animals and plants within Australia. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I have verified the correctness of my statement that the proclamation, which was issued by the Commonwealth, only prohibited the export of Animals and certain goods. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- Under what power was I prevented from obtaining supplies of second-hand bags? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Under regulations issued by the State Government. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- The fact still remains that, on the authority of **Sir John** Quick, the only authority having legislative power in such a matter is the Commonwealth. If **Sir John** Quick's interpretation is correct, those who suffered loss or other misfortune must look for recompense to that one authority which had exclusive jurisdiction within that area. In regard to the cost, first of all of keeping the disease in check, and ultimately of stamping it out, it is interesting to consider the position of the state. After all, the matter resolves itself into one of money, and the point to be considered is, what would be a fair division of the expense between a state with a small population and a Commonwealth with a population many times greater. We should not have been wasting time to-day discussing this matter if a common understanding had been arrived at on this point. The population of the Commonwealth, according to the latest records, is 5,230,000. In Western Australia at that time the population was 340,000. According to the figures given by the Minister **(Senator Pearce),** the half -share of the expense, borne by the Commonwealth and the state, amounted to £21,000. In the case of the Commonwealth, £1,650 must be added to that figure for administrative expenses, and £4,500 for compensation paid for the destruction of property. The total expenditure incurred by the Commonwealth was, therefore, £27,150. What has been the state's share? It's half-share also was £21,000. I may, or may not, be justified in assuming that extra administrative expenses in its case would reach the same figure as in the case of the Commonwealth. But apart from that, the people of Western Australia are responsible for £1,700, which, on a population basis, is their share of the Commonwealth's expenditure of £27,150. Apart from the £1,650, Western Australia's share in a federal and state capacity runs into £24,350, and the contribution of the rest of the Commonwealth amounts to £25,500. There is no equality in that arrangement, for a state with a population of 340,000 has to pay 16.5d. per head, as against l.ld. per head of the population of the Commonwealth, which is 5,630,000. In other words, each taxpayer in Western Australia is called upon to contribute fifteen times as much as the taxpayer of the Commonwealth, although the disease threatened the whole of Australia. The comparison I have made shows that there is gross inequality in the manner in which the cost of the outbreak has been allocated. No wonder Western Australia's claim is being pressed. The Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce)** would not have visited Western Australia had it not been for the danger that threatened, the whole of the Commonwealth. I find, in the course of my inquiries, that Victoria, for the purpose of stamping out phylloxera, has paid no less than £98,000 by way of compensation to the owners of vineyards, while in New South Wales a similar payment has been made. Thus four times the sum granted as compensation to the owners of stock in Western Australia has been paid to a comparatively small section. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Sena tor Newland). - The honorable senator's time has expired. {: #subdebate-15-0-s8 .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL:
Western Aus tralia -- I am prepared to go a step further than **Senator Lynch's** suggestion. I do not consider that these costs should be allocated on a population basis. Small as the cost would be in the case of Western Australia, I claim that, as the responsibility for the protection of this vast continent from disease of all kinds has been explicitly placed in the hands of the Commonwealth, the work should be done by federal officers, and the direct damage, if any, should be paid for entirely by the Commonwealth. It is a matter for regret that the Government of Western Australia, through, I think, a misapprehension of its position, made an offer to contribute half the cost of stamping out the disease. I do not think that the State Government should be held to that arrangement. **Senator Lynch** has dealt fairly satisfactorily with the constitutional aspect of the subject. Difficulties of this nature would never have arisen if, when the Quarantine Act was passed, proper provision had been made to meet such contingencies. A sum should be voted annually for the purpose of satisfying claims for compensation for direct losses. I am anxious to help any government to carry out such a policy in a reasonable and commonsense manner. Not only should provision be made to meet such claims, but there should be an efficient tribunal for the purpose of assessing direct damages. In my opinion the prevention of the introduction of diseases and pests of all kinds is one of the most important features of the administration of the Commonwealth Government, but every Ministry has dealt with this matter as though it is of no importance. They have availed themselves of the services of state departments, concerning the qualifications of whose officers I venture to say they have made no inquiries. The Quarantine Department has no experts of its own. Is it not a fact that it has no veterinary officer ? Has it any plant pathologist? Certainly, it has medical men who can diagnose diseases of human beings, but there appear to be no officials capable of diagnosing diseases of animals or plants. The appointment of a tribunal for the assessment of damages, and the very fact that damages could be claimed, would have a salutary effect upon the officers of the department. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- If the states have officers with the necessary qualifications, why not utilize their services ? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- Because their duties in administering state laws are different from the duties required of a Commonwealth officer. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Surely a state inspector of stock ought to have a knowledge of cattle diseases ? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- But he is not in the service of the Commonwealth Government, and I do not think it would be right for him to be under dual control. " No man can serve two masters," and when the interests of the Commonwealth clash with those of the states, as they often do, trouble ensues. We may find that we have been adopting a policy of false economy, if through failure to spend a few thousand pounds, we lose millions of pounds. All countries except Australia think it worth while taking a scientific interest in their industries. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The officer placed in charge of the work of eradicating the disease in Western Australia was a state official from Victoria. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- I take it that that was due to the fact that the Commonwealth had not such an officer in its service. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- That is so. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- The expenditure I am advocating is not a very large one. When cases such as' the present one arise, they should be adjudicated upon by Commonwealth officers, and not by men whose allegiance is divided between the Commonwealth and the state*, since state interests generally clash with those of the Commonwealth. The. knowledge that the Commonwealth mighthave to incur a pecuniary obligation in respect to an outbreak of disease would have a steadying effect on the officers administering the act. Some quarantine officials are wholly indifferent as to the feelings of those about to suffer. In Western Australia, some time ago, *st* thousand pounds' worth of commercial material waa condemned to be destroyed. I protested, and, for the expenditure of a mere £50, this material was rendered safe for use and distribution. If such a system, as I advocate had been in vogue, much delay and anxiety would have been, obviated. The material in question had to be sent to Melbourne for examination for traces of a certain insect that it was supposed to contain, and seven weeks elapsed, from the time it left Western Australia before a reply was received, and the owner was in the meantime threatened with a loss of £1,000, through no fault of his own. This incident shows what might happen through the Commonwealth having no efficient staff to- administer the quarantine laws. If the Government is not prepared to accede to my suggestion, I hope that it will turn the matter over in its mind, and I trust that it will find a brighter side to it than I have presented. Many of the difficulties, in the present dispute might be overcome if the Commonwealth paid the whole of the direct loss, which I think it should meet, and left the State of Western Australia to make whatever adjustment it cared to do in regard to the indirect losses. {: #subdebate-15-0-s9 .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL:
QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931 -- While I recognize that this matter affects only Western Australia, it raises a principle that is of vital interest to every part of the Commonwealth. I sympathize -with the State of Western Australia, and I am pleased that , prompt' action was taken to prevent the rinderpest outbreak from extending beyond the bounds of that state. It would have been a most serious matter, for instance-, if the pest .had spread to the large cattle herds of Queensland. It would be too much, however, to expect the Commonwealth to bear the whole of the loss sustained, for that would establish a. precedent for which there was no justification. I agree that it would be. well if, in future, annual payments were made into a trust fund for the purpose of recompensing people suffering such loss. Only a few months ago, in the central district of Queensland, *it* was discovered that a species of the dreaded boil worm had affected some of the cotton crops. An instruction was issued by the Queensland Government that all the cotton growing- in certain areas had to be ploughed out and burned within a prescribed time. Of course, protests were raised just as they have been raised in Western Australia in connexion with the rinderpest outbreak, but- they were- of no avail. The cotton farmers had to- obey the order. So far as I know, no compensation has yet been paid to them for the damage done, although as **Senator Thompson,** who lives in the central district of Queensland and knows the Cotton industry very well, can verify, the decree of the State Government occasioned, them very serious loss. Every state is now experimenting *in* cotton growing. Some day we hope that the industry will spread over the whole of the Commonwealth. If the disease to which I have referred had been allowed to extend, the same disastrous results would have followed as would have been experienced had rinderpest extended beyond the borders of Western Australia. For many years, tremendous losses have been incurred by the owners of herds in Queensland in their attempt to combat tick and redwater in cattle. Queensland cattle, before crossing the border into New South Wales, have been obliged to submit to dipping- and periods of quarantine. This was also a loss which had to be borne by the cattle-owners of Queensland. {: #subdebate-15-0-s10 .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Queensland did not keep its ticks. {: #subdebate-15-0-s11 .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL: -- The honorable senator knows that owners of large herds in Queensland have been put to considerable expense to fight against tick and redwater, and that they have, borne the, whole of this- expense. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- The same remarks apply to the northern districts of New South Wales. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL: -- Exactly. The same fight has been in progress in the northern districts of New South Wales. It is unfortunate that these losses have occurred in Western Australia. A practical way to deal with the matter would be to create a trust fund upon which to draw as occasion demands. It is quite common in the sugar industry for a particular district to be attacked by the cane beetle. InNorth Queensland one can see areas of cane which have been rendered valueless by the attacks of this pest. An honorable senator reminds me that bananagrowers are now suffering heavy losses from the ravages of bunchy top. But these pests are fought by the people engaged in the various industries affected. The position of the dairymen in Western Australia is no worse than that which has been forced upon the people of Queensland and other states at various times, and those people, despite their heavy losses, have not asked the Commonwealth to recompense them. **Senator Needham** has put forward a good case for those who suffered through the steps taken to rid Australia of rinderpest, but the matter must be viewed from the stand-point of the people of Australia as a whole, and not merely from the stand-point of Western Australia. {: #subdebate-15-0-s12 .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA · NAT -- Honorable senators from Western Australia know that I have associated myself with every move that has been made to try to induce the Commonwealth Government to be a little more liberal than they have been in their treatment of the people of Western Australia who have suffered as a result of the outbreak of rinderpest. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- Hear, hear ! {: #subdebate-15-0-s13 .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- I fail to see that **Senator Needham's** action in moving the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of bringing the matter under discussion in this chamber can have any useful effect beyond, possibly, a political effect in Western Australia. . {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- Hear, hear ! It will have that effect to the detriment of the sufferers. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- It certainly has had the effect of placing those honorablesenators who support the Government in a rather awkward position. The honorable senator knows our views perfectly well and that we have often expressed them. He knows that we have used our best endeavours to try to induce the Government to see eye to eye with us in this regard and that we have failed. Not only have honorable senators in opposition failed, but also honorable senators who support the Government. Consequently I can only imagine that **Senator Needham,** when he moved the adjournment of the Senate, was endeavouring to secure some political capital for his particular breed of politics in Western Australia. I doubt very much if he will succeed in his endeavour in this regard, because I feel sure that those who take the trouble to read the record of this debate will discover that honorable senators supporting the Government are equally earnest with other honorable senators in trying to do the very best for the state, and in trying to get from the Commonwealth all that we can in justice secure for the state we represent. Over and over again it has been said that the duty of dealing with the rinderpest outbreak in Western Australia is, from the point of view of law, a purely Western Australian matter. This assertion, which has been made with great positiveness, is both true and untrue. As the law now exists it is undoubtedly the province of the state to deal with the matter, but it has been implied that the Commonwealth's powers of dealing with health and quarantine matters generally are restricted. I can find nothing in the Constitution or in the works of those who have written concerning this particular part of the Constitution to indicate that there are any restrictions upon theFederal Government in dealing with any phase of quarantine. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I can remember an occasion when Western Australia very emphatically asserted the contrary view. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- It does not very much matter whether Western Australia asserted the contrary view or not. As the law existed at the time of the rinderpest outbreak, the Federal Parliament having refrained, possibly, out of consideration for the susceptibilities of the various states, from passing the necessary legislation, there was not in existence, nor is there in existence at the present time, the necessary law to enable the Commonwealth to deal with quarantine as a whole. That was the position in the year 1919, to which. **Senator Pearce** has referred. It is the position to-day, and it was the position when **Senator Pearce** went to Western Australia to assist in controlling the outbreak of rinderpest. This question has generally been approached on the assumption that the Federal Parliament has no power to deal with quarantine and that it is purely a state matter. Under the Constitution the Federal Parliament has the power whenever it decides to exercise it. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- lb depends upon a decision of the High Court which in effect was that the words "with other countries and with other states " must be added to the power given under section 51, paragraph ix. of the Constitution. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- Section 51 of the Constitution sets out that the Commonwealth has the power to legislate upon certain matters, one of those being quarantine; and the only limitation that can be imposed upon the power of the Commonwealth in respect to quarantine is the accepted meaning of the word " quarantine " in Great Britain and Australia at the time of the passing of the Constitution Act. We may not add to that meaning. We may not take away from it. We may legislate to its full extent. We may legislate as to part of it. The trouble is that we have only legislated in respect to part of it. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL:
QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931 -- That we cannot enforce the Commonwealth quarantine laws was shown during the influenza outbreak of 1919. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- If the honorable senator will turn to the consolidated statutes he will see that the only reason why we could not' deal with the position in 1919 was because we had not the necessary authority on our statute-book. The Commonwealth not having taken the necessary power to deal with the position that faced Australia in 1919, it could not exercise it, so that the balance of the quarantine power not taken by the Commonwealth was still retained by the states. However, I regret very much I have not the time at present to become deeply involved in a constitutional question. I return to the particular matter before the Senate - whether or not it is proper for the Commonwealth Government to pay the losses incurred by people in Western Australia in connexion with the rinderpest outbreak. I have demonstrated that the Constitution gives unrestricted power to the Commonwealth to deal with all quarantine matters, and, in fact, it has already taken power to deal with such quarantine matters as the bringing of people, plants, goods, and so forth into Australia, but it has left all intra-state transactions in the hands of the states. My contention is that since the Commonwealth has already taken so much power, it was an obligation upon it to keep from being introduced into Australia any diseases not previously existing in the Commonwealth. 'Prior to the outbreak of the rinderpest scourge in Western Australia, that clearly was an obligation taken under the Constitution and exercised by the Commonwealth Government, and the mere fact that Commonwealth Ministers had handed to state officials the task of carrying out the regulations did not relieve them of the obligation to see that those regulations were carried out. It merely meant that they had employed certain officials of the Western Australian Government instead of appointing Commonwealth officials to do the work. Therefore, the responsibility for allowing any disease that did not previously exist in the Commonwealth to be brought into Western Australia or any other part of the Commonwealth clearly rests upon the Commonwealth Government. It is absurd for those who argue that the responsibility does not rest on the Commonwealth Government to bolster up their argument by asserting that, because certain quarantine regulations were administered by state officials, the Commonwealth Government is absolved from any responsibility whatever. I assert that the Commonwealth is not absolved. I see the difficulty of Commonwealth Ministers when they come to deal with economic losses, because it is difficult to know just exactly where to draw the line or to say just what are economic losses. One can feel sympathetic towards the unfortunate individual who has lost his business because his stock has been destroyed, and not only his stock, but also the crops upon which he mainly relied for his living. . But -we can go a little f further and consider how the destruction of one business may affect the business of somebody else. For- instance, where the destruction of the stock of a wholesale milk .producer was concerned the retailer of milk would also .be affected, and the loss of his business .might involve him in the necessity of borrowing money and paying interest. It anight prevent him paying his debts., and in due course might affect, not only one or two, but five or six individuals. In these circumstances Heaven only knows where it might lead. The Government could assess economic losses, and the extent to which cattleowners should be compensated. I am strongly of the. opinion that the Government should have met in full all the direct losses consequent upon the destruction of property, as the responsibility of administering quarantine laws is wholly .and solely upon the Commonwealth. The responsibility, therefore, for the prevention and spread of disease is on the Commonwealth Government. Prosper action was taken in this case, and the work of the Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce),** and the Government of the day in "Western Australia, cannot be too highly commended. Australia is under a debt of gratitude to the Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce),** the ex-Premier of Western Australia **(Sir James Mitchell)^** and others who assisted in preventing the disease spreading all over Australia. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- How did the disease enter the Commonwealth? {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- Owing particularly to' the negligence of quarantine officers. Those who were directly concerned with the duty of eradicating the pest 'are to be congratulated upon the manner in which they successfully grappled with such a problem. The cost has amounted to thousands of pounds, but the outbreak might have resulted in the loss of practically the whole of our Australian herds, the value of which would .amount to millions of pounds sterling. Cattle-owners in Western Australia were the unfortunate individuals whose stock was infected by this disease, and whose properties and businesses were destroyed, not in their interests only, but in the interests of the whole of the Australian people. This fearful menace to the whole of the cattle industry of Australia was successfully stamped out, owing to the drastic action taken by the Commonwealth Government and the Government of Western Australia, and the property and stock of the individuals concerned was ruthlessly - and properly so - destroyed. I have, however, no hesitation in saying that the obligation is upon the "whole of the people of Australia to meet the cost of what was really an insurance for the whole of the Commonwealth against the spread of the disease. {: #subdebate-15-0-s14 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales , - **Senator Needham** is to be congratulated upon having initiated a discussion on what is, perhaps, one of the most interesting subjects ever debated in this Senate. I think, however, that **Senator Lynch** somewhat missed the mark when he endeavoured to introduce the party aspect, and I am inclined to think that **Senator Drake-Brockman'** also 'was a little querulous. An outbreak of rinderpest is a menace to the whole of- Australia, and it is a 'very serious matter that Western Australia should be charged so much in connexion with the stamping out of the pest, while the rest of Australia gets off free. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- -That is the point. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It is the most important point. Western Australia had placed itself in an unsatisfactory position in having a Nationalist Premier and in having to deal with a Nationalist Federal Minister in 'fixing up the business. If a Labour Premier, with a truly Labour outlook, had been in office, the burden -would have been placed upon the shoulders of those best able to bear it. I am inclined to think that, although it is a severe 'blow to the Western Australian people, it- is fair punishment. I merely put that forward to show how ridiculous is **Senator Lynch's** statement that an attempt has been made to introduce the party aspect into this matter, I had not thought of such a thing until the honorable senator mentioned it. The two Nationalist Ministers who were engaged in the negotiations in connexion with the outbreak *were* **Sir James** Mitchell, .the then Premier of Western Australia, and the Right Honorable George Foster Pearce. They agreed how much their respective governments should pay. The representative of Western Australia kept his eyes open, but, so far as I can see, the people of that state .deserve all they got for placing those men in a position to handle such big questions. If men without a wide vision, and, generally, an extensive knowledge on public questions, are placed in power, mistakes will always be made. This question involves the payment of not only direct losses, but indirect losses. It would be money well spent if the Commonwealth Government paid the whole of the loss sustained. It would ensure that, in the event of the appearance of any such disease, those with a knowledge of the fact would report it. In such circumstances it would be equally profitable to report it as to decline to do so; but, if this cheese-paring policy is continued, stock-owners may suffer merely because they do what is right. I arc sorry that the Commonwealth Government, on **Senator Lynch's** figures, are to contribute their pence while the Western Australian Government are to contribute their pounds. This matter will have to be reconsidered, and the. Government will be well advised if they decide to pay the economic losses incurred. Why should an individual be penalized when he is performing a national work? This country is wealthy enough to provide that no individual shall be compelled to pay more than his share of the cost of preventing the spread of diseases of this character. It " is a load which the whole community should bear. I am still one of the diehards who do not always swallow the opinions expressed in the reports of experts. They, in common with others, endeavour to follow the fashion. If the herds in other portions of Australia had been attacked by this disease, the result would have been too disastrous1 to contemplate. When the outbreak occurred, I gave very serious thought to the awful results which would follow if the disease spread through 'our flocks and herds throughout the Commonwealth. To me it appeared worse than anything with which we bad yet had to contend. There was the possibility of one of Australia's great staple industries disappearing. The Government should, even now, deal net only fairly, but generously, with all just claims. When I say fairly and gene rously^ I do not mean that it should necessarily compensate every one who put in aclaim. In a measure which would have to be submitted to Parliament, a clause could be inserted providing that any one putting in a claim which could not be substantiated should have his property commandeered, and that the individual concerned should be deported from the country. I am not one of those who favour deportation ; I have often spoken about it ; but I certainly think that a man who puts in an improper claim should be punished. Rightful claims are frequently pushed aside to make room for some which, cannot' be substantiated. One of Australia's most important industries was severely menaced by this dread disease, and complaints have now been made that certain people are at a monetary loss owing to the destruction of cattle. To spread the loss over, the whole community would not involve a heavy burden upon the people, and if compensation to cover the economic loss is not paid, possibly in the future an individual who knows that this or some similar disease is present in his herd. will, endeavour to smother it up in the belief that it will not spread. If, on the other hand, stockholders are treated fairly, they will report every suspicious, outbreak, because they will know that the loss will not fall wholly upon them. We are not at the end of these troubles. Troubles of this kind are not exceptional. This outbreak threatened the whole Commonwealth perhaps more seriously than any other could. When black spot appears in Tasmanian apples, or there is a disease in Tasmanian potatoes, it is serious, to Tasmania, but it is not to be compared with a. disease amongst stock. This being an exceptional case, and the disease having been stamped out - I do not mind adding my congratulations to the Minister for the part he played - I think consideration should be given to the payment of economic losses. I can understand **Senator Pearce,** as the Commonwealth representative, being pleased on finding that **Sir James** Mitchell, on behalf of the Western Australian people, was willing to share the expenditure. The Minister for Home and Territories was watching the interests of the Commonwealth, and **Sir- James** Mitchell those of Western Australia, and when the Western- Australian Government made the offer they did, it was of course satisfactory to the Commonwealth, which got out of the transaction very lightly. Apart from that aspect of the question, I appeal to the Government to reconsider the whole business with a view to dealing justly, and, if possible, generously with those who suffered in consequence of the outbreak. {: #subdebate-15-0-s15 .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Two very important considerations arise in connexion with this discussion. One is that in cases of this character the whole financial burden should fall upon the Commonwealth, and should not be shared at all by the states, and the other is that the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth in the matter of quarantine, as stated in the Senate this afternoon. are more extensive and farreaching than we have previously supposed. I should like to address myself to the first question. If an outbreak of rinderpest were the only quarantinable disease with which an individual state was or could be. called upon to deal, there might be something in **Senator Gardiner's** contention; but I have never heard **Senator Gardiner** express similar views on behalf of the people of New South "Wales, who for years have been fighting the losses caused by cattle-tick introduced from Queensland. I have not heard the honorable senator say a word in support of the claim that might very well be put forward by the people on the northern rivers of New South Wales, who have suffered individual losses in this respect far greater than those experienced by Western Australia. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- They are in the same position as the Western Australians were; but the people of the western state awakened to the fact that if they wanted their grievances remedied they would have to put in a Labour Government. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I have not heard the honorable senator speak on behalf of the citizens of his own state in regard to similar matters, so I am wondering why this sudden and very earnest solicitation on his part on behalf of the people of Western Australia. A little while ago, also in New South Wales, a disease menaced, not stock, but the banana plantations. In some districts the plantations were swept out of existence. The authorities have not yet been able to discover a specific for the disease, and I have not heard **Senator Gardiner** suggest that the Commonwealth Government should compensate the banana-growers for the whole of their monetary losses. So we can go on from one thing to another. It would not be very long, if we admitted the principle laid down by **Senator Needham** and other honorable senators in regard to this claim for compensation, before the Common- wealth Government would have to pay out the whole of its revenue every year in order to meet other and similar claims. Of course, it could not be done. In regard to the other consideration, I just want to say a word or two. There again I think that if we admitted the principle laid down by **Senator Drake-Brockman** we should find ourselves in difficulties. Practically what **Senator DrakeBrockman** said was that in every outbreak necessitating the declaration of a quarantinable disease, whether amongst human beings, stock, or plant life, the whole of the obligation to pay the costs rested upon the Commonwealth Government. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- I made no such assertion. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- If I understood **Senator Drake-Brockman** aright, the application of the principle which he was laying down in regard to the rinderpest outbreak in Western Australia meant that or nothing at all. Again I say that once we admit the principle, no one can say where it will lead us. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- It Wi11 mean a unified Australia. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I was coming to that. Take the disease of anthrax. One never knows in what part of Australia it may make its appearance. Under the law as it stands, each state must deal with it as a quarantinable disease, and must take the necessary steps to isolate the holdings or districts in which it appears. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- But rinderpest is like a box of matches which, when ignited, may lead to disastrous conflagration. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- If anthrax were not promptly dealt with, it would be quite as virulent as rinderpest. We have had scores of outbreaks of anthrax and pleuro in Australia, so that if we admitted the principle of Commonwealth liability for economic loss in connexion with the rinderpest and applied it generally, we should have to take over the whole of the Stock and Health Departments of the various states in order to deal with every quarantinable disease. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- Does the honorable senator contend that the Commonwealth should not pay any compensation? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- In the case of the rinderpest outbreak, I think the Commonwealth Government has acted fairly if not generously. In conjunction with the State Government and the Ministers concerned, the Commonwealth Government may be congratulated for having checked what would have been a very serious menace to Australia. But if we admit liability for economic loss in this case honorable senators must understand that it will take us a good deal further than perhaps they anticipate. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- I did not lay down that principle at all. What I said was that it was absurd to argue that merely because the State Government dealt with the rinderpest outbreak, the whole onus for compensation was on the state. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- If I understood the honorable senator aright he went much further than that. He said that the only reason why individual states dealt with quarantine matters was the fact that our legislation did not go far enough. He claimed that, in the circumstances the Commonwealth had the right to carry the power of quarantine into every state and deal with all quarantinable diseases, whether amongst human being3, stock or plant life. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- So there is that power. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I very much doubt it. If there is, all I can say is that it will lead to unification of the whole of our agricultural, stock and health departments. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- There is little doubt that the Commonwealth Government has the power, but whether it should exercise it is another matter. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- And I am trying to point out where it will lead us, once we admit the two principles that have been raised in this discussion and pleaded for so earnestly by several honorable senators. {: #subdebate-15-0-s16 .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON:
Queensland -- As I understand the position, certain honorable senators have contended that the Commonwealth should bear the whole of the expenditure for .economic loss in connexion with the rinderpest outbreak. **Senator Lynch** has argued that the expenditure should be borne on a proportional basis. In my view, the arrangement that the Commonwealth and State Governments should share equally the actual expenditure seems to be the more Satisfactory. Western Australia was the first state to be attacked by the disease. Consequently that state would have suffered in a much greater degree had the disease not been checked. I doubt Very much if, as has been suggested, it would have made its appearance in the other states. At all events, it would have taken a long time to spread to the eastern states, and in the meantime Western Australia would have been a very heavy sufferer. {: .speaker-JXV} ##### Senator NEWLANDS:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ALP; NAT from 1917 -- In that event would it have meant compensation .for every one? {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON: -- No. The cattle tick peat seems to be a parallel case. When it made its appearance in Queensland about 30 years ago, coming in from the Northern Territory to North- Western Queensland, it brought with it an allied disease known as redwater, which some people think is akin to rinderpest. Indeed, some say it is the same disease. In order to check the spread of the cattle tick, what are known as tick lines were drawn across the state. Eventually the state boundary became the tick line. Queensland stock-owners, even to-day, are nob able to send stock to the other states without permits. What would have been the position if Queensland stock-owners had lodged claims for compensation for economic loss? I was then interested in a station property carrying about 12,000 head of cattle. We could only sell our stock to buyers within our particular quarantine area. Large sales of stock were thus prevented until, unfortunately, the drought came along and simplified the position. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- That must have meant heavy losses to the owners. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON: -- It; did, but no one thought of making a claim against the state in those days. If they- had, it would not have been tolerated, fox- a moment. With regard to the rinderpest outbreak, I think the main contention put forward by **Senator Needham** is for compensation, for economic loss suffered by the people whose stock were destroyed. I am quite sure that the sympathy of. every one will go out to those people, but they have been compensated up 'to the actual value of. stock or property destroyed, and that,. I think,, is about as far as our sympathy should go. Whether, as' some speakers have claimed,' the question of politics enters into the discussion of this question,. I cannot pretend to say. But if it does, and if excessive claims, for economic loss have been made, it should only be necessary to advertise the details of those claims pretty extensively, in the press of the western state. During the Boer war I had. a good deal of experience in connexion with claims which included de:mands for compensation, for economic loss, and I must confess that, as I listened to the debate to-day,. I. could not help thinking it was quite possible- that such claims, or the bill of . costs, of an unscrupulous lawyer, would compare favorably with some of those which have been lodged against the Government in this instance. The suggestion made by **Senator .Lynch-,** that the ' cost should be borne.' on. a proportional :basis, is one which,' I think; might receive the consideration of the Government, but I think that the arrangement under which the Commonwealth and state governments each bears one-half the cost is really the fairer. Therefore, I' support the Government in the matter. {: #subdebate-15-0-s17 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia .- - I can assure **Senator Lynch** that, when I moved the adjournment of the Senate to-day to discuss this matter, I had not the slightest intention of " jumping " his' claim. I did not know that he had, as his remarks suggested, a monopoly of the interests in the rinderpest outbreak. As regards our conversation/ the ' honorable senator ,will remember that the understanding was that nothing should b'e done until we had a final reply from the Commonwealth Government. My colleagues from Western Australia were aware of my inten tion to move the; ' adjournment of the" Senate if the' reply, when received, was not favorable, and that a member, representing Western Australia intended to. move the . adjournment in another place. - I regret, .therefore, that **Senator Lynch,** should now suggest that I was actuated by any personal or any. party motive. **Senator Drake-Brockman** followed in much the same strain. I remind him also of the conversation, which we had on the matter. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN: -- I did not refer to any private- conversation.. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- No, but the honorable senator endorsed what **Senator Lynch** said, and inferred that I" was actuated by party motives. I give that statement a flat contradiction. I was actuated . only by. a desire to know whether the Commonwealth Government, intended ' to stand up to its responsibilities. The Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator' Pearce)** has said that there is no legal or moral claim against the Commonwealth Government to pay the whole of the costs. The fact that **Senator Pearce** went to . Western Australia at the outbreak of the disease to represent the Commonwealth Government in any steps that were' taken to check it, was a clear indication, in my opinion, that the Commonwealth Government was morally bound to meet the claims made for economic loss. Let me add 'that when I referred to my interview with the Acting Prime Minister **(Dr., Earle Page),** and to his statement that **Senator Pearce** had been sent to Western Australia "with full authority to act, I did' not mean any reflection on1 that honorable gentleman. I want that clearly understood. I endorse what other honorable senators have said with regard to the work" done by **Senator Pearce** in Western Australia, in connexion with the outbreak;, but the fact remains that the people of Western Australia, have to pay for action taken to prevent the spread of the disease. {: #subdebate-15-0-s18 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- But they were also responsible for the importation of manure from Singapore. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM: -- That statement was made by **Senator Pearce,** and . I cannot combat it, but Queensland or New South Wales might likewise have been responsible. I have raised this matter simply to ascertain whether the Senate would approve of the principle that the Commonwealth Government should bear the whole of the expense of combating a disease which enters a state, when the action -taken prevents the destruction of a national industry. Honorable senators who .have taken part in this debate have stressed the economic losses to a greater extent than the national responsibility. I know that it is a difficult matter for any government, Commonwealth or state, to assess economic losses. My contention is that in this matter -it was the nation's responsibility, and the nation should bear the whole of the cost. The Commonwealth should have said to those who suffered, " What is your -claim, direct or indirect ?" and have settled it. . I ask leave to withdraw the motion. Leave granted; motion withdrawn. {: .page-start } page 2099 {:#debate-16} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-16-0} #### NAURU PHOSPHATE 'ROCK {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. What profit did the Caramon wealth Government derive over and above interest on capital invested and working expenses at Nauru and adjacent islands for the year ended' 30th June, 1923? 1. What is the estimated profit for the year ended 30th June, 19247 2. What quantity of phosphate rock was brought to Australia for the year ended 30th June, 1924? 3. What is the present price charged for .phosphate rock, c.i.f-, in Australia? {: #subdebate-16-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answers are as follow: - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Tine 'printed .-accounts of the commission for the year ended 30th June, 1923, as laid on the table of the Senate, show that an amount of £4,249 fis. 9d. was placed to the credit of the Governments concerned in the hooks of the commission. Australia's share of this amount would *he* £1,784 14s. 5d. 1. Although complete working costs .and other figures aTe not yet available, it is estimated that the profit for the year ended 30th June, 1924, will be from £80,000 to £90,000, of which Australia's share will ;be from £34,000 to £38,000. 2. 320,031 tons, of which 203,556 tons were shipped from Nauru, and 116,475 tons were shipped from Ocean Island. 3. Nauru phosphate, -45s. per ton.; Ocean Island phosphate, 48s. per ton. {: .page-start } page 2099 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### WENT WORTH PARK, SYDNEY {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL: asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did the Government promise to restore Wentworth Park, Sydney, to the condition it was in before it was taken over for the storage of wool during the war? 1. If so when "will the promise be redeemed ? {: #subdebate-17-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The chairman of the Central Wool Committee has advised me as follows : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. No. The Central Wool Committee entered into an agreement with the Wentworth Park trustees to lease the site for the erection of temporary sheds for the storage of wool during the Imperial Wool Purchase Scheme, and a provision of the agreement was " placing or causing1 to be placed the said premises in good and proper order for use as a -public recreation ground as near as possible to its state and condition prior to the commencement of the said term ". . 1. Use provisions of the lease have been fulfilled. The Central Wool Committee have received official letters from the chairman and secretary of the Wentworth 'Park Trust acknowledging payments in full and final settlement. {: .page-start } page 2099 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### POSTAL DEPARTMENT WILLIAM-STREET, Sydney, Post Office. {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP asked the Minister representing " the Postmaster-General, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is lie aware whether the Municipal Council of Sydney has widened the whole of Williamstreet excepting that area occupied by portion of the William-street Post Office? .2. As 'this 'building to a great extent stultifies this important city improvement, will he without further delay" direct that immediate steps, be taken to remove that portion of the building projecting over the proposed footpath and street extension? 1. If not, why not? {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
NAT -- The answers are as follow': - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. This is not possible. 2. The William-street telephone area is to be combined with that of Paddington, and will be served by one large exchange to be established in Liverpool-street. The manufacture of "the equipment for the new exchange is being proceeded with, but completion of the whole scheme 'will not be practicable prior to the beginning of 1926. {: .page-start } page 2100 {:#debate-19} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-19-0} #### GOLD-MINING INDUSTRY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA {: #subdebate-19-0-s0 .speaker-KMI} ##### Senator GRAHAM: asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, *upon notice -* >Is it a fact that the depression in the goldmining industry of Western Australia has been intensified by the action of the Commonwealth Government in obtaining gold from Western Australia. {: #subdebate-19-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answer is - No. {: .page-start } page 2100 {:#debate-20} ### ELECTORAL BILL Bill presented by **Senator Payne,** and read a first time. {: .page-start } page 2100 {:#debate-21} ### COMMONWEALTH BANK BILL Bill received from House of Representatives. Motion (by Senator Pearce) - that the bill be now read a first time - put. The Senate divided. AYES: 16 NOES: 10 Majority . . . . 6 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a first time. {: .page-start } page 2100 {:#debate-22} ### SEAT OF GOVERNMENT (ADMINISTRATION) BILL Bill returned from the House of Representatives with a message intimating that it had agreed to the Senate's amendments. {: .page-start } page 2100 {:#debate-23} ### HOP POOL AGREEMENT BILL {:#subdebate-23-0} #### Second Reading {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South Australia(Honorary Minister · NAT -- I move - >That the bill be now read a second time. The bill is introduced to authorize the Commonwealth Government to render assistance to the hop-growers of Tasmania, to enable them to export to Great Britain their surplus hops. The consumption of hops in Great Britain is under government control, and a preference is given to dominion hops. The Government is led to believe that at the present time there is an excellent market in Great Britain, and if advantage is taken of it the difficulties under which the industry in Australia is labouring because of the surplus production will be relieved. We have had a surplus in Australia since the 1922 and 1923 seasons, and it is this surplus that is being exported. It may be asked why the aid of the Government has been invoked to finance the disposal of the surplus hops. The reason is that these hops were shipped on consignment, and because of that fact an advance could not be obtained from the banks in the ordinary way. The action of the Government has been dictated by a desire to assist the small man in the industry in Tasmania. That state produces the bulk of the hops grown in Australia. As far back as 1922 the then Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Rodgers)** endeavoured to relieve the position in which the growers were placed. The Government has what it regards as ample security for the advance of £24,500 that it is proposed to make. A conservative estimate of the value of the hops exported is £56,000. It is believed that if the surplus can be disposed of the industry will be stabilized and substantial benefit will be conferred upon those who are engaged in it. Every precaution has been taken to fully protect the funds of the taxpayers. The rate of interest proposed - 6½ per cent. - is a reasonable one. The bill is not contentious, and I feel sure that it will pass without delay. {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I do not desire to oppose the passage of the bill, but I feel that I ought to warn the Government of the dangerous nature of the practice it appears to have adopted. It is delightfully convenient for persons in need of money to be so readily accommodated by the Government. I can secure quite a number of customers if the Government will furnish me with particulars of the conditions under which funds are made available. Motion (by **Senator Findley)** negatived - That the debate be now adjourned. Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. *In committee:* Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to. Schedule - Now it is hereby agreed as follows : - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The company hereby charges with the re payment to the Commonwealth of the amount of the advance by the Commonwealth to the company under this agreement together with all interest payable thereon its undertaking and all its property and assets present and future including its uncalled capital. {: #subdebate-23-0-s2 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- I move - That the following words be added at the end of clause 2 : - " but not including any hops grown during the seasons 1924 and 1925 or the proceeds of the sale of any such hops." There is ample security for what the Government proposes to advance. Unless the amendment is made the growers will bo unable to finance themselves during the coming year, and I am sure that nobody wishes them to be impoverished to that extent. {: #subdebate-23-0-s3 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria -- The words of the amendment are plain enough, but I should like to know what protection the community has. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- The security of the hops now held. {: .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator Drake-Brockman: -- There is ample security without them. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- Am I to understand that we know definitely what quantity is stored ? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- Yes, they are mostly in London. {: #subdebate-23-0-s4 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- The committee should not act hastily in this matter. We know from experience of the representatives of Tasmania that assistance may be demanded for marketing the next hop crop, and we should not make it more difficult than it would otherwise be to obtain assistance at a future date. I intend to call for a division on this amend ment, for it is no use applying the relief to a crop that has already been marketed. The Tasmanian members are sure to be " on the doorstep " on another occasion, and the Government will undoubtedly comply with their request. Although I realize the keenness with which the representatives of Tasmania watch the interests of their state, I do not wish them, in a blind-fold manner, to place obstacles in their own path, so that in six or twelve months' time another act will be required. A year hence there may be a Commonwealth Parliament that will not lend a willing ear to the advocates of assistance to the hop-growers. {: #subdebate-23-0-s5 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria -- It is not well to rush business through the committee at express speed. The Minister **(Senator Wilson)** introduced the bill in a free and easy way with a view to convincing honorable senators that there was really nothing in the measure apart from a grant of financial assistance to Tasmania. It may be a matter of great urgency, of course, to some of the people of that State, but when the people's money is at stake, I wish to know the main principles embodied in any measure placed before us. What quantity of hops is grown in Tasmania? what quantity is consumed in Australia, and what is exported? Has the bill been introduced merely because Tasmania is in financial difficulties at the present time, and honorable senators supporting the Government are to be placated by the passage of the measure ? {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- The bill is desired to assist a body of producers, not the State of Tasmania. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- I am finding fault with the method followed in passing bills intended to give monetary assistance to different sections of the community. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- This measure provides for a loan at 6½- per cent. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The Commonwealth Parliament ought to know why the people of Tasmania, more than of any other state, are to receive such a loan. There are people in Victoria who are in difficulties. Is the Government laying down the principle for all time that any body of people that asks for financial assistance from the Commonwealth may have it? What quantity of hops has been exported from Tasmania in the last decade, and if a market has been found in the past, why is assistance now sought? {: #subdebate-23-0-s6 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- Tasmania, has not exported any hops overseas. {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDougall: -- What quantity does it import? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- It imports very little. The brewers of this country are entitled to import hops to the extent of 15 per cent, of their total annual consumption, and that arrangement is working very successfully from the growers' point of view. The whole intention' of the bill is to help the small growers in Tasmania. Every possible- care has been taken to see that the Commonwealth is fully protected financially. The object of the amendment is to- enable th& producers, concerned to help themselves,, as several honorable senators have suggested should be done. The Commonwealth Government has ample security, for it has the documents respecting the hops now held in London. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Is the crop in London now? {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- The hops covered by this bill are either in London or on the way to London. The honorable senator must remember that we are merely dealing with the surplus hops that have accumulated in Tasmania, to such an extent that the market has. depreciated. The provision of an outlet overseas, for these hops will afford the hop-growers an opportunity to clean up their surplus and carry on their industry on a new footing. The Government have> the security documents, and everything k in order. {: #subdebate-23-0-s7 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP ,. - It seems extraordinary that Tasmania should . find it necessary to appeal to the Commonwealth to finance a crop which is, apparently, worth £24,500. {: .speaker-K09} ##### Senator Payne: -- The Minister quoted £52,000 as representing the value of the surplus hop crop. The sum of £24,500 is merely the Commonwealth's advance. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I see no mention of £52,000 in the schedule, but once Tasmania gets on the job it is impossible to say what the amount will ultimately be. I think the Minister **(Senator Wilson)** should give some indication of who the members of the hop pool are>. and how it comes about that they are unable without Commonwealth assistance to finance a small matter of this kind. I join with **Senator Gardiner** in saying that it is impossible to say to what extent proposals of this kind may develop^ If the Tasmanian hop-growers are entitled to an advance from the Commonwealth,, other producers who can get the ear of' the Government will also secure advances. It is the opinion: of many people that it would be far better to have the hops used locally. We are always beingtold that the home market is the best. We are being constantly urged to eat more apples an'd increase the local consumption of primary products. Yet here we have a government doing its best to have hops disposed of in Great Britain instead of assisting to increase the local consumption of them. I. presume that in a few days Tasmania will be appealing to the Senate to pass a bill for a grant of £200,000 to that state. I do not object to the bill before us, insofar as it is a recognition of the fact that private enterprise has failed to- finance the disposal of a small consignment of hops, and haw been forced to ask the Government to furnish a small instalment of Commonwealth socialism. If this proposal, be agreed to, I take it that it will be the privilege, of any section of the community that, succeeds in reaching the ear of the Government to secure financial assistance for similar commercial! ventures. However, if the Minister assures honorable senators that the financial status of the hop-growers is1 such that they are unable from their own resources to put through- a small deal of this kind, I am sure we shall be prepared to receive the request of these people with every consideration. {: #subdebate-23-0-s8 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
New South Wales .- The Government have expressed the opinion that wherever possible the Commonwealth Line of Steamers should be patronized. I want to know whether the hops referred to in this bill have been shipped in one of the Commonwealth steamers? *"Sitting suspended from 6.31 lo S p.m.* {: .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL: -- The Minister stated that the hops in respect of which this advance is being made were either in London or in course of transit. I should like to know whether they have been shipped by vessels of the Common.wealth Line, as the growers of. Tasmania have not in the past availed themselves of that service in connexion with other shipments of their produce. {: #subdebate-23-0-s9 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · South Australia · NAT -- The hops are in Europe. I have no information before me to show whether they were shipped by vessels of the Commonwealth Government Line, but I trust they were. {: #subdebate-23-0-s10 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria .- As the bills which come before the Senate from time to time are numbered, I suggest to the Government that it would be of assistance to honorable senators if the printed amendments circulated were given a corresponding number. If that were done it would then be an easy matter to see to which bill the amendments referred. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- I am informed by the Clerk that effect can easily be given to the honorable senator's suggestion, and I trust that in future it will be done. {: #subdebate-23-0-s11 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- I believe that if the words it is proposed to add were not inserted the Tasmanian Government would be prevented from obtaining another loan. Having now had time to read the agreement I have come to the conclusion that the Government by this amendment are really forgoing a little of their security. It will enable the people handling the hops not to have next year's crop included in the security for this year'sloan. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator Wilson: -- That is so. We have made the advance on hopsoverseas. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Exactly. I understand that the crops for the seasons we are now exempting would be included in the agreement but for this amendment. One naturally wonders where the Commonwealth Parliament and the Commonwealth Government are drifting. This is all very well as a matter of expediency to oblige some individual, or group of individuals, but after all, as a representative of a state, I have no hesitation in saying that this Parliament was not called into existence to consider legislation of this character. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- I was informed that the bill was introduced in another place at the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition **(Mr. Charlton).** {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I am informed by **Senator Elliott** that had it not been for the action taken by the Leader of the Opposition in another place this measure would not have been brought forward. Active and alert asTasmanian representatives are, I can quite understand that it required a man of **Mr. Charlton's** foresight, skill, capacity, and persuasive powers to get the Government to introduce it. Whatever the Leader of the Opposition in another place does will receive my support. He is my leader, but I still maintain that I have the right to direct the attention of the Government and the Leader of the Opposition in another place to a principle which I think is wrong. It is wrong to introduce legislation in this way, and it is regrettable to find that this Parliament is day after day being dragged down below the level of an ordinary progress committee. We are paying attention to the little things whilst the big problems are merely being postponed. I give the Leader of the Opposition in another place credit for what he has done in the interests of the hopgrowers, and for the influence he has exercised over this Government. The expenditure which this bill authorizes has already been incurred, and the passage of the bill is merely to validate the action of the Government. Amendment agreed to. Schedule as amended agreed to. Title- {: #subdebate-23-0-s12 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- The agreement which forms the schedule to the bill is printed in type altogether too small, and as the Government can afford to have the measures with which it has to deal printed in type which is easily readable, I trust you, **Mr. Chairman,** will direct that in the future all bills and the schedules thereto are printed in larger type. {: #subdebate-23-0-s13 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia .- I quite agree with the gravity of the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Senator Gardiner)** concerning the short-coming which he seeks to remedy. I would suggest that the title of the bill which reads " To authorize the execution by the Commonwealth of an agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Tasmanian Hopgrowers' Pool Limited, and for other purposes ,:" should be amended to read - "An agreement to validate a verbal arrangement made between **Mr.. Matthew** Charlton and the Commonwealth Government." In view of the admission made by the Leader of the Opposition **(Senator Gardiner),** that would be a more appropriate title. Title agreed to. Bill reported with an amendment. {: .page-start } page 2104 {:#debate-24} ### COMMONWEALTH PUBLIC SERVICE BILL Report adopted. {: .page-start } page 2104 {:#debate-25} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-25-0} #### Ex-Lieutenant Warren W. Paine. - Munition Worker Dunk. - Aerial Mail Service - Whisky Imports {: #subdebate-25-0-s0 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- In moving - >That the Senate do now adjourn I wish to direct the attention of **Senator Grant** and **Senator Gardiner** to the following communication which has been received from the chairman of the Repatriation Commission: - >Dear **Sir,** > >The extract from *Hansard* of 26th June last forwarded by you to the Secretary, Department of Defence, has been referred to this office for attention. > >In the case of ex-Lieutenant Warren W. Paine, I have to state that **Senator Grant** has since been advised of the position. The following is a copy of the letter forwarded to him : - " Further to your verbal representations on behalf of the above-named ex-soldier, who is claiming that the ischio rectal abscess from which he is suffering is the result of his war service, I have now to inform you that the whole case was placed before **Sir George** Syme of the Medical Advisory Board for an opinion as to whether the abscess referred to could be connected with the condition caused by war wounds. > > **Sir George** Syme in his opinion states, I do not regard this as a war service disability.' " > >In regard to the case of " Dunk " brought under notice by **Senator Gardiner,** I have to say that there is no identifiable record in this office of any ex-soldier of that name. If further particulars could be furnished as to the full name, regimental particulars &c, I shall be glad to have the matter looked into. > >In the last two cases mentioned by **Senator Gardiner,** neither name nor regimental particulars has been supplied. Until these particulars are furnished nothing can be done. If **Senator Gardiner** will supply the details, the Government will be only too pleased to endeavour to obtain the information he desires. {: #subdebate-25-0-s1 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- In regard to the case of First Lieutenant W. W. Paine just referred to by the Minister, I have to say that whilst I thank the Minister for his attention to the matter, I do not intend to allow the matter to rest where it is. **Sir George** Syme, who, I understand, is head of the medical board appointed by the Repatriation Department, is, no doubt, very high in his profession, and he has given it as his opinion that the affliction from which **Mr. Paine** is suffering is not the result of war service. On the other hand, other men, equally high in their profession, after having seen **Mr. Paine** repeatedly, have expressed an entirely different opinion. I refer particularly to an opinion given by **Dr. A.** Jarvie Hood, lieutenant-colonel, A.M.C., retired. **Dr Jarvie** Hood is unquestionably at the head of his profession, and, therefore, his opinion will carry just as much weight as that expressed by any other medical man in the Commonwealth. The facts are that this man, who was formerly in good health, enlisted for the defence of this country, was accepted by the Defence Department, and in the course of war service was wounded in the right arm. Whilst in the employ of the department on home service he has been treated so often that he has lost record of the number of operations. He is not certain whether there have been twenty-nine or thirty. In these circumstances the department ought to take a more lenient view and administer the act more sympathetically. I know there is a desire on the part of honorable senators to fill these positions with returned soldiers, but to my mind it would be a great advantage if men who were not returned soldiers had also some say in questions of this character. I want to place on record the following opinion expressed by **Dr. Jarvie** Hood: - 185 Macquarie-street, Sydney, 15th July, 1924. I have to state that 1st Lieutenant W. W. Paine, 1st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, was in No. 4 A.G.H. from 1915 to 191.8 at intervals, suffering from septic wounds of right arm and left leg. While there I saw him frequently, and while there he developed an ischiorectal abscess, which was, in my opinion, the direct or indirect result of the septic condition he was in. (Signed) A. Jarvie Hood, Lieut.-Col., A.M.C., retired. That opinion, I understand, can be supplemented by opinions from other medical men also high in their profession. {: .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator Duncan: -- There is no doubt about **Dr. Jarvie** Hood's standing, at all events. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- His name has been for many years a household word throughout Australia. He stands at the head of his profession, and in my opinion the department should review **Mr.** Paine's case immediately. I may add that to-day, following the receipt of the opinion just quoted from **Dr. Jarvie** Hood, I saw the Minister in charge of Repatriation **(Dr. Earle Page),** and placed the facts before him. He promised that he would look into the matter. I urge the department not to treat these returned men in this niggardly fashion, but if possible to give them every assistance. **Mr. Paine** only wants an increase in his pension and further operations performed. Surely this is not too much to ask of the department. {: #subdebate-25-0-s2 .speaker-JXP} ##### Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN:
Western Australia -- I want to say a word or two generally as to the manner in which the department deals with these cases. It has been my experience that the tendency always is to give the department the benefit of a doubt. This tendency evidenced itself quite early in the administration of the department, and of late it has increased. I say that returned soldiers should, in all cases, get the ' benefit of the doubt if there is any doubt at all. I hold this opinion very strongly. A great many cases have come under my notice. Almost invariably I find the department inclined to regard a returned soldier applicant as a person endeavouring to, if I may use a colloquialism, " pole " on the Government. I have no doubt that some of them do. I remember, when we were on active service, certain men were classed as " lead-swingers," and I have no doubt some are "leadswinging " to-day. But it seems to me that the policy of turning down genuine applications, in the hope of preventing a few " lead-swingers " from securing what they do . not deserve and have not earned, is quite wrong. I urge the Minister concerned to so " shake up " the department that the policy will be reversed, and that instead of giving the benefit of the doubt to the department, in every case where there is any doubt at all, the soldier should receive it. {: #subdebate-25-0-s3 .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL:
QUEENSLAND · NAT; UAP from 1931 .-. The Minister representing the Minister for Defence has given some informa tion with regard to the aerial mail service between Adelaide and Brisbane, concerning which I asked a number of questions a few days ago. He stated that up to the present the results had not been satisfactory, and that the contracting company had been given up to the 31st August to put the work on a proper basis. I should like to point out that this aerial mail service was not inaugurated on the date fixed under the original contract, for the reason, principally, that in the opinion of the Civil Aviation Department, the machines available in Australia were unsuitable. I do not know what the arrangements are under which the company is now working, but it appears to me that the controller of civil aviation, before insisting on the contract being carried out according to the schedule, should, in the interests of the pilots and mechanics, satisfy himself that the machines are airworthy. I am not aware if he periodically inspects the machines that are being used, but I know that when I first asked a series of questions on this matter, the Minister for Defence pointed out that the machines were not considered suitable. I hope that the controller of civil aviation, before holding a pistol at the head of the contracting company, will definitely ascertain if the machines are in a proper condition to stand the sever" test required of them on the aerial route from Adelaide to Brisbane. {: #subdebate-25-0-s4 .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- I do not wish to detain the Senate, but there is a matter which I think deserves a certain amount of publicity, and I shall he glad if the Minister will bring it under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Pratten)** . I have here the export price list of a whisky distiller in Scotland, F. A. Lindsay. I do not know whether he sells any of his whisky in Australia, but the point I wish to bring under the notice of the Minister is that in this price list he advertises a great number of whiskies which have only a percentage of malt spirit in them. One type of whisky he states quite frankly contains only 30. per cent, of malt spirit, the rest being imported neutral spirit. To the people who Sell his whisky he sends a circular and labels which he is prepared to supply to any of his customers. I have a speci- men label. It merely says, "Fine Old Whisky. Specially Selected. - F. A. Lindsay, Perth, Scotland." The Customs Department has taken special care to ensure the purity of all spirit manufactured, in Australia, and to see that it has been maturing for two years in the wood, and so on. My impression has been far some time that raw spirit imported into Australia is not of this character at all. I know the difficulties experienced by Customs officers in checking it. Nowthat this specific instance has come under my notice, I think that the best course I can take is, in this public way, tomention the matter so that it may be investigated and a certain amount of publicity given to the fact, at allevents,that this maker of whisky is trying tosell in Australia a whisky thatdoes notcontainmorethan a percentage ofmalt spirit,therest, according to hisown statement, being imported neutral spirit. SenatorGARDINER (New South Wales) [8.27] . - Personally, Iregret the manner in which the Minister **(Senator Wilson)** has replied to a question which I put some days ago in regard to **Mr. Dunk's** case. There is nothingmore distasteful tome than to he obliged to bring personalmatters before the Senate. But there comes atime when I must do so, astheSenate is,as it were, the last court of appeal. The reply furnished to the Minister states that the department has no knowledge of Mr.Dunk's case. As a matter of fact, ithasbeenengagingthe attention of Ministers for Defence for the last three years. I have been incommunicationwiththe department for that length of timeoverthematter andwhen **Mr. Bowden** became Minister for Defence I arranged with him to see **Mr, Dunk.** I then wrote to **Mr. Dunk,** informing him of the arrangement, and asking him to placehis papers before the Minister. In verificationof what I am saying, I have here a letter from **Mr. Dunk,** who writes as follows: - 170 Boundary St., {:#subdebate-25-1} #### Paddington. Sydney 21.7.23. {:#subdebate-25-2} #### The Honorable Senator Gardiner {:#subdebate-25-3} #### Dear Sir, A thousand thanks andmorefor your greatkindness I duly receivedyour two wires and letter, and hadthe pleasureof an inter view with the Honorable **Mr. Bowden** this morning. I took all the papers down, including some 10 doctors' certificates and 40 years' unimpeachable references as tocharacter and ability. **Mr. Bowden** gave me a patient hearing, and at theclose seemed favorably disposed; but, as he justly pointed out, he could not, at this juncture, tell me anything final. This man, as I have previously stated, was amunition worker, who was injured in an accident. I think I made it clear when I mentioned his case on a former occasion that, under the Workmen's Compensation Act, the court, before ratifying any agreement as to compensation, must he satisfied that the person concerned has received a fair deal. The agreement which Dunk had with the department was not ratified, because, in the opinion of the court, **Mr. Dunk** was not getting a fair deal. Ifthe matter were taken to court I believe that a decision would be given against the Government. This man has been endeavouring to effect a peaceful settlement. 'The only conclusion to which I can.come is that one department has no knowledge of what another is doing.Unless Iget satisfaction I shall endeavour to have aselectcommittee appointed to consider these grievances, which areinnumerable. Isuggest that **Senator Wilson** interview **Mr. Bowden** and askhimto get in touch withthe Treasurer **(Dr. Earle Page).** Next week I shall bringto Melbourne facts which will versify thestatements that Ihave made in regardto othercases. There is the case of awidow whois receiving only 4s.6d. perweek. That isa disgrace, not only to the 'Government but to the Parliament andtothe people of Australia. Some persons aregiven generous treatment, while others cannot getjustice. SenatorGABDINER. - The Government isstillliable for the weekly sum. It must be realized, however,that this man is about 70 yearsof age and has not the money with which to prosecute his claim. Ifhe had thefunds withwhich to obtain the services of a lawyer, the department couldbe taken to court, and it would be compelled to pay the full amount. The answer given to myquestionwould lead oneto believethat I had mentioned a case of which the department could not find any trace, yet from 20 to 30 letters have passed between it and **Mr. Dunk.** I hope that **Senator Wilson** will have the matter investigated. {: #subdebate-25-3-s0 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- I quite realize the impossibility of making the Senate a court of appeal for the many cases that are referred to honorable senators. At the same time, we are fully aware that this is the only place in which we can ventilate the grievances that are brought to our notice. I have had referred to me a case similar to that mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition, which is but a sample of many that are within my knowledge. This man enlisted early in the war. In order to do so he deliberately misstated his age. He went through a long and arduous campaign on the Somme, and on his return to Australia developed, I think, rheumatoid arthritis. A doctor examined him and pronounced him a fit subject for a pension. That opinion was not accepted ; he was ordered to submit himself for a further examination.. The second doctor said that he was not a fit subject for a pension; that his physical disability, whatever it was, was due to the arduous nature of his calling prior to enlistment. I have known this man for a number of years. For perhaps fifteen years before he enlisted he was engaged at no more arduous occupation than that of railway porter or union secretary. SenatorDrake-Brockman. - He was passed as physically fit, and that should be the end of the matter. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- He sought me out, and I made what intercession I could on his behalf. He was referred to a third medical umpire, who said that he was not then a fit subject for a pension because in the meantime he had developed a physical disability identical withthe first stages of senile decay. Loaded with rheumatism, this man is endeavouring to work a farm. I ask the Minister to have this case and kindred caseslisted for consideration. It must be remembered that the interpretation of the provisions of the Repatriation Act is now more liberal than it was in the early stages of the operation of that act. The Minister ought to state whether or not returned men whohave developed rheumatoid arthritis, or any other physical disability, since theirre turn to Australia, are to have justice meted out to them, however belated such action may be. {: #subdebate-25-3-s1 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
South AustraliaHonorary Minister · NAT -- **Senator Grant** stated that the case he brought up had been referred by him to the Treasurer **(Dr. Earle Page).** I feel quite certain that honorable senators will admit that he could not have referred it to one who is more anxious to do, or more capable of doing, the right thing.I shall follow up that ease and the case alluded to by **Senator Gardiner** in order that they shall not be overlooked. The document read by **Senator Gardiner** does not coincide with that which I read, but I shall see the Minister for Defence (Mt. Bowden) and ascertain in what way the discrepancies have occurred. **Senator Foll** referred to the need for examining the machines employed in the aerial mail service. One would imagine that the interests of the public would be adequately safeguarded, and that a severe scrutiny would be made of the machines in use. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- They belong to a pri vate company. {: .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON: -- But every precaution is, no doubt, taken to see that reasonable security is afforded to the public I shall certainly bring the matter under the notice of the Acting. PostmasterGeneral **(Senator Crawford)** without delay. **Senator Greene** asked me to call the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Pratten)** to a matter of undoubted importance. The Customs Department takes every possible precaution to see that only pure liquor is imported. I am sure that **Senator Greene** will realize, as. an ex-Minister for Trade and Customs, that all possible steps are taken to prevent the importation of whisky of a standard calculated to defeat the ends of the Customs. Department. The matter will be brought under the notice of the Minister. If **Senator Lynch** Hands me particulars of the case mentioned by him, I shall pass them on, together with- details of the cases referred to by Senators Gardiner and Grant, to the Treasurer **(Dr. Earle Page),** so that an exhaustive inquiry may be made. Question resolved in the affirmative. Senate adjourned at 8.46 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 July 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.