9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The DeputyPresident (Senator.Newland) took the chair at3 p.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether, in the event of the vesselwhich was recently dispatched from Port Darwin, conveying a search party to the. supposed whereabouts of certain survivors of the Douglas Mawson, not proceeding more expeditiously, the Government will consider the advisability of directing the Geranium, or some other warship in the north-eastern seas, to convey a search party to the locality ?
– The slow progress made by this vessel is very unsatisfactory. Inquiries have shown that it is not due to any defect in the vessel itself, which, when carrying mails and merchandise on previous occasions, has proceeded at a much more rapid rate. There is nothing in the weather conditions to militate against a better rate of speed. Unfortunately, we have no means of recalling her, as she is not equipped with wireless. I am not aware of any warship being in the vicinity which could render assistance.
– The Geranium was recently engaged in survey work in the locality.
– Even at the slow rate of progress being made it is safe to assume that before a warship could be dispatched the steamer would have reached her destination!. The suggestion made in another place to send a party overland is quite impracticable.
THE DEPUTY PRESIDEN’T (Sentor Newland). -I desire to inform the Senate that I have received the following letter, dated the 8th August, from Senator Benny: -
Following my telegram to you resigning my position on the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, I now desire to confirm my telegraphic resigna tion, and to express my regret that my duties on the Royal Commission on National Insurance, combined with my other parlia mentary and professional duties, have prevented me from taking a more active part in the very interesting matters that have come before the committee, and from continuing the pleasant associations which I formed with other members of the committee.
The following paper was presented: - Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules1924, No. 109.
SenatorLYNCH.- I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate if he is now in a position to reply to a question I. asked yesterday as to whether the Auditor-General’s report will be available tohonorable senators before the budget isdealt within this chamber?
-I havehad inquiries, made, and I am sorry that Iam unable to assure honorable senators that the Auditor-General’s report, will be available beforethe budget is dealt with by the Senate. I have, however, asked that its completion be expedited, so that, if possible, it may be available, but at present I cannot, give a definite assurance.
– On the 7th August, Senator J. B. Hayes asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs the. following question, upon notice -
What is the approximate average amount of duty paid on reapers and binders, imparted into Australia?
I informed the honorable senator that the information was being obtained. I am now able to state that the yearly average amount of duty collected on reapers and binders duringthe years 1922-23 and 1923-24 was £22,166.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
SenatorCRAWFORD.- The answers are: -
asked the Minister represent ingthe Prime Minister; upon notice -
– In regard to this question, and that on the same subject, in the name of Senator. Foll, I may say that as a question of Imperial and foreign policy is involved, the Govern ment deem it. desirable that a statement should be made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), a copy of which willbe read by me in the Senate at, I trust, an earlydate.
– In view of the statement just made by the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce), I shall not ask for an answer to the following question addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, appearing in my name on the notice-paper: -
asked the Minister rev presenting the Prime Minister, upon notice -
Will,he inform the Senate what progress is being made by the Royal Commission on National Insurance, and whenthe report of the Commission is likely to be received by Parliament?
– Evidence in connexion with the questions of sickness;, invalidity, maternity,, and superannuation has already been taken, in all states. Arrangements are being made for the taking of evidence atan, early date relative to the questions- of unemployment and destitution. When the taking, of evidence is completed, the commission, will prepare its report for presentations to the Governor-General.
SenatorLYNCH asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister; upon notice -
What is the net outlay by the Treasury on the Mandated Territory since the mandate was issued to the Commonwealth?
What is. the net outlay on Papua since the Commonwealth assumed control?
What is. the value of the total trade of the Mandated’ Territory and Papua?
– Whatproportion of that trade goes to countries other than the Commonwealth?
What is the percentage, increase of the total trade of both places during the relative periods of control?
– The information will be obtained and furnished” to the honorable senator as soon as practicable.
– I move-
That during, the remainder of. the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the- Senate; or of a Committee of the whole Senate,on Fridays; he suspended fromI o’clock p.m. until2p.m.
As honorable senators are aware, this motion if carried; will be followed by a consequential amendment of our sessional orders. The object of the motion is to meet the convenience of honorable senators: From’ its- inception, the Senate has adjourned at 4 o’.clock on Fridays to enable those honorable senators who desire to leave for South Australia or New South Wales by the trains leaving at 4.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively to do so. At one time the steamer for Tasmania left at about 4.30 p.m., but it now leaves between 3.30 and 4 o’clock.
– It leaves at 4 o’clock, at the latest.
– In this matter we should endeavour to meet the convenience of all honorable senators, and should have as much regard for those who desire to travel to Tasmania as for those who wish to leave for Adelaide or Sydney. It is, however, not thought advisable that we should reduce the short time which we have available for the transaction of public business, and for that reason it is considered that on Fridays one hour should be. sufficient for the luncheon adjournment. This motion and the second one of which I have given notice, are for the purpose of meeting the convenience of honorable senators, and will, at the same time, retain the same amount of time as hitherto for the transaction of public business. .
– I do not see the necessity for this change. We have continued under the present arrangement for a long time, and have managed to get through all right. When the Government wants to get through with its business, it is prepared to sit on until 4.30 a.m. or 5 a.m. An adjournment from 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock would enable most honorable senators to get a meal, but I do not know whether it would meet the convenience of Ministers. In a much less responsible position than Ministers occupy, I have found that the luncheon adjournment is sometimes not sufficiently long to enable me to prepare the information I desire. If we curtail the time of the adjournment for luncheon by half an hour, I can see that it will encroach on the only time which honorable senators have for discussing many matters connected with the business of the Senate. I suggest to .the Minister that the Senate should meet at 10.30 a.m. on Fridays. The Minister’s only desire seems to be to save the half hour, and to meet at 10.30 instead of at 11 a.m. would give us the same time for the transaction of business as we now have.
– That is the only chance which Ministers have to transact departmental business.
– I realize that; but I fear that when we are working at high pressure in preparation for a recess the suggested arrangement might cause inconvenience. If the Minister will give an assurance that on no occasion will he persist in sitting beyond 4 p.m. on Fridays, I shall agree to the motion. I am not in favour of one-sided agreements. If the Government desires to sit beyond a certain time the proposal to do so is made a President’s proposition, and the sitting is continued.
– The honorable senator sees the cloven hoof in everything.
– Not only the hoof, but the tail and the fork as well. I have remained in Melbourne on several occasions - not recently, I admit - instead of going to my home in New South Wales at the week end, because the Government majority is sufficiently strong to cause an extended sitting. Let us have a hard and fast rule that the Senate shall adjourn at 4 o’clock on Fridays, and I shall fall in with it. I see no reason why the Government should not adopt that rule. I realize the necessity of transacting the business of the Senate in a way that will meet the convenience of every honorable senator. I realize also that those senators who desire to catch the 4.30 train for Adelaide have not, at present, sufficient time in which to do so. Those who wish to travel by the 5 p.m. train to New South Wales are in a much better position, as it is seldom that they experience difficulty in catching their trains. The only time when difficulty arises is when the Government desire to transact some particular business about 4 o’clock on a Friday. I hold different views from most honorable senators as to the business and duty of Parliament. If we have in office the best set of men for the transaction of a country’s business, the time taken in debates on bills and motions generally does not matter a great deal. The real business is to keep in office the best set of men to conduct the affairs of the country. Some honorable senators may say that at present we are in that happy position: in that case I admire their modesty. But if the men at .present in charge of the affairs of the country are the best that can be provided by the other side, then debate in Parliament is’ necessary.
– The honorable senator has a wonderful capacity for manufacturing hooks on which to hang arguments.
– That is one of those sound and self-evident truths that any ordinary student of parliamentary procedure and constitutional government at once realizes. The modesty of honorable senators opposite amazes me.
– We have a good corner.
– That honorable senators in the corner think that at present we have in office the best set of men for the conduct of the country’s affairs is proved by the way in which they cast their votes.
– The electors,’ according to the honorable senator, must be a stupid lot of people.
– When I go into the country, I hold up the Ministers to the electors as shocking examples, and then ask, “What can the rest of the party be like?” This motion, is indicative of the outlook, the vision and the foresight of the Government. It has suddenly discovered that it is necessary to alter the existing arrangement, after we have worked under ifc for 23 years, and are within measureable distance of meeting in Canberra - -where, I suppose, we shall sit every day in the week, for there will be nothing else for us to do. No institution at Canberra will be more interesting than the Parliament itself. I admit that this proposed alteration would be a convenience to me, and I thank Senator Pearce for the consideration that he continues to show me. I recognize that I must be to him quite a thorn in the flesh. I think it would be wise, however, to meet half an hour earlier on Friday mornings, and to continue to have an adjournment of an hour and a half for luncheon. Honorable senators, even under the existing arrangement’s, have very little time in which to consult authorities in order to equip themselves to intelligently debate any matter that is before the Senate.
– The greater part of a parliamentarian’s time is spent in the Library, yet he gets no credit for the time he so spends.
– I can assure Senator Lynch that he is quoted as a parliamentary authority from one end of the continent to the other; his historical and other references are treasured by those who follow the debates in the Australian Parliament. A friend of mine said to me the other day that t,he longer he knew Senator Lynch the more difficult he found it to follow him. I suggest that the Minister (Senator Pearce) should allow Friday afternoons to be devoted to private members’ .business.
– There is something to be said for that suggestion.
– There is a great deal to be said for it. I can foresee great advantages that would accrue if the Government completed its business at 1 o’clock, and private members were under the necessity of keeping a quorum within the precincts of the House on Friday afternoons. I believe that such a proposal . would meet with the approval of honorable senators generally. I recognize that behind the proposal to change the hours of sitting, there is the desire of the Minister to meet the convenience of honorable senators. I hope I shall never be found in opposition to him when he is in that frame of mind. I notice that a number of contingent notices of motion appear on the business-paper to enable the Standing Orders to be suspended when the Government desires to treat a bill as an urgent measure. Supposing that that action was taken on a Friday. When the hour of half-past 3 arrived an unsophisticated honorable senator might rise and inquire of the Deputy President whether it was not time to put the question. He would be courteously and blandly informed that the Standing Orders had been suspended, and the business in hand would proceed uninterruptedly. Will the Minister agree to withdraw those contingent notices of motion and promise that he will not exhibit a desire to hasten the passage of any measure? After 23 years’ experience of the present system I am not sure that the Government is acting wisely in proposing to alter it. When one gets into a groove it is very hard to get out of it. There is not much advantageto : be derivedfromagain of half-an-hour to-morrow whenthat length of time is Host to-day.
– TheGovernment is endeavouring to meet the convenience of honorable senators from Tasmania, but the honorable senator does not evince a desire to support them in that action.
– I realize that it is the desire of the Minister to meet the convenience of not only honorable senators from Tasmania, but allthose who find it necessary to travel on Fridays. There are some who could depart for Africa with the assurance that we would provide a “ pair “ for them during their absence. It is not my desire to unduly occupy the time of the Senate.I do not know whether honorable senators wantto discuss this motion, or whethertheyare prepared, without discussion, to make -this concession to thosewhoare compelledto travel onFridays.Ifindthat increasing years andgrowing infirmity donot enablethe human systemto recoverquicklyfroma tedious trainjourney. Ihaveto make two trainjourneys a week,andwhen an all-night sitting is sandwiched between them, Ifindthat the wear and tearis too great. Ihave calculatedthatunder our Standing ‘Orders ten honorable senatorson this side can, without an effort, legitimately hold up thebusinessof the Senate for ten hours. I intimateto the Government that if an all-night sitting is again forced upon us, no government or , any otherbusiness will he transacted after midnight.
– The honorable senator should live on the job, as we from Queensland have to do.
– I realize that honorable senators from Queensland “have to live on the job. Quite a number , of people Chink that members of Parliament are so well paid that their homes should be their last consideration. My home is my first consideration.
SenatorDrake-Brockman. -i desireto get back to my home in Western Australia.
– I realize that thehonorable senator does. Ishall not prolongthe sittings in Melbourne at this time ofthe year. The Government ought to proceed “ full steam ahead “ with its business. We shall probably before long have to takea holiday until business ar rives from the other House. Businesshas not been delayed an this chamber except when the Minister has endeavoured to force a measure through toohurriedly. We on this side intend to see thatno -Government business is transacted after midnight, and in attaining that result nothingmore serious will happen than the removal from the chamber, perhaps, of an honorable senator. The motion proposes an alteration of the business hours, and that, tomy mind, opens up the whole question of the businessbefore us. By altering the hours we shall alter the sequenceof business and the time available for its consideration.
– The honorable senator does not alter the hours;he annihilates them.
– If that be so there may be corresponding advantages, sincehonorable senators opposite may thus be prevented from doing theharm that they possibly will do if unlimited time as available to them:
Howoftthe sight of means to do ill deeds, Makes ill deedsdone !
SenatorMcDOUGALL (New South Wales)[3.33]. - TheGovernment should consider the rightsof the whole of the members of the Senate. I have always opposed the alteration of Standing Orders that havebeen inexistence and have acted satisfactorily for many years. In this enlightened age all menwho work for their living are strivingfor greater freedom, and to that end they are curtailing the number of working days and lengthening each working day I shall, therefore, oppose the first motion, but I shall support the second. It is hardly fair to expect the Deputy President to dispense with the short respite from his arduous duties that it hasbeenhis custom to enjoy during the luncheonhour, but by all means let the sitting of the Senate be concluded : at3.30 . p.m. on Fridays.
Question ‘resolved in the affirmative.
Motion(bySenator Pearce)proposed -
That during the remainder ofthe present Session, unless otherwise ordered, at half-past 3 o’clock p.m. on ‘Fridays the President shall put the question - That theSenate ‘do ‘now adjourn, which question shallnot beopen to debate.; if the Senate be an committee at that hour, the Chairman shall in like manner put the question - Thathe do leave the chair and report to the Senate,and uponsuch report being made the President shall forthwith put the question - That the Senate do now adjourn, which question .shall not be open to debate : provided that if the Senate, or the committee, be in division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put the question referred to until the result of such division has been declared; and if the business under discussion shall .not have been disposed of at such adjournment it shall appear on the businesspaper for the next sitting day.
.- On Friday last the Senate waa in committee at 4 o’clock. The chairman reported to the Senate that progress had been made. Then the Government .submitted certain other business, .alter which the Minister (Senator Pearce) moved the adjournment of the Senate. It was then near the time ‘for you, Mr. Deputy President, to catch your train to Adelaide. I was not aware of that .fact when I .rose to speak on the motion for the adjournment, but I happened to remark that it seemed irregular for the Senate to be sitting after 4 p.m., and thereupon the question, “ That the Senate do now adjourn “ was immediately put and carried. I contend that, if it was not right for me to s.peak on the -motion for the adjournment, Ministers should not haveconducted any business after .4 p.m. I mentioned that the matter was irregular merely because I always object to any procedure that is contrary to the Standing Orders.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 13th August (vide page 3067), on motion by Senator Wilson -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I do not intend to speak at length on the bill, for I realize that it will become law as it stands. Much has been said by our friends opposite concerning the change -that has taken place in trie attitude of the great Labour party on the ‘defence question. We ‘have been told that we once stood -for an Australian Navy and for an adequate defence system, and that we have now altered the views we held in -1912. So far as I am concerned, I -stand to-day where -I stood then. At that time I favoured the best possible defence of this country. With our small population, and limited resources, we have to consider -the best means for the defence of Australia. As the result of experience, ideas formerly held on this question have changed so materially that before committing the country ‘to heavy expenditure we should get expert evidence concerning the most efficient system for coastal defence, because our defence must necessarily he coastal. I have the greatest faith in the ability of the Australian youth .to defend this country. No .nation has a sufficiently strong mercantile marine to enable At to land an adequate force .for the invasion of Australia. Believing this, I think we should direct our attention to coastal defence measures. On this subject we have to remember that within recent years there has been an almost revolutionary change in naval defence views. Ten or fifteen years ago cruisers were considered necessary for the protection of our coast-line. To-day, there is a general belief amongst experts that an ample defence may be afforded by airships and submarines for one-half the cost of a naval defence force composed of modem cruisers. So great is my faith in the Australian workmen, and those leading them, that I do not think it necessary to go outside Australia for the manufacture of war equipment. We are in a much better position than many other countries of the world. We have all the necessary raw material, and if we concentrate upon ‘She development of the great essential industries we shall have nothing to fear. There is no man m Australia who would not be prepared, if the need arose, to .defend his hearth and home from aggression. We all abhor wax. I hope I shall never live long enough to forget or forgive the .nations that caused .so much bloodshed in the recent great upheaval. It is my intention to quote the opinions of one or two recognized authorities upon naval defence, and, having done that, >to direct attention to what I consider is a vital necessity in any defence scheme, namely, ‘the manufacture in Australia of all the essential war -equipment. I .have consulted our greatest naval and -military authorities and others, who -ventilate their opinions in the columns of our newspapers. In the Age of 6th December, 19.21, there appeared this statement -
The Washington ‘Conference continues ‘to confound all cynics and pessimists. The -air has been cleared, suspicions have been .dispelled, ground has been given for reasonable faith in the honest desire of the nations (Britain, America, and Japan) to live together in peace and amity.
That was the opinion of one authority. The writer of that article believed then that the Washington Conference had given us ground for reasonable faith in the honest desire of I he nations interested to- live together in peace and amity. We all believe that if there is a real desire for peace amongst the nations of the world, there will be peace. Why should not the men who have to bear the brunt of war be consulted? They spring from the class to which we all belong. If, among the nations, there is -agreement that peace is desirable, then there must be peace. I admit, of course, that we shall require a certain military and naval establishment for the policing of our territories and coast-line, and, if necessary, to suppress disorder from within or without. The Age, on the 27th December, 1921, stated -
The people of all nations will be relieved of the terrible burden of maintaining the vast machinery of warfare, and no nation will become the driven victim of its own machine.
On the 28th November, 1921, that journal stated -
An efficient modern army may be created in a few months’ time. A nation’s military strength is more than anything else a question of the fitness, the spirit, and the efficiency of the industrial organizations.
That has always been the attitude of the Labour party. It is gratifying to know that it is endorsed by one of the greatest newspapers in this state, and, perhaps, in Australia. We can best defend Australia by the adoption of the most modern methods. On this question, Admiral Sir Percy Scott, one of the greatest naval authorities, states -
Another bogy put before Australians is that because of their enormous coast-line they must have battleships. That is just what they do not want. If the waters of all countries are protected by submarines, all waters will be wrong waters for battleships.
As submarines are superior to battleships, we should concentrate upon a policy of defending Australia by means of submarines and aircraft. The usefulness of cruisers in certain quarters cannot be denied, but to incur . heavy expenditure on their construction for the protection of our trade routes is to waste money. Submarines have become such a powerful factor in naval warfare that it is the duty of the Government to consider whether their proposal to construct two cruisers is in the best interests of Australia. Admiral Sir Percy Scott also states -
There will never again be naval expeditions carried across the sea to any enemy port, the establishment of an advance base on his coast, and the pouring in of soldiers and supplies. This has been rendered impossible against any country that has adequate air and submarine forces. If our coast is protected by airplanes and submarines, no ship can reach our shores or land troops.
The success of transporting 2,000,000 men to France furnishes no precedent. It was not a landing on enemy territory. The German submarines were not operating in home waters. They had no air forces to act as eyes, to convey information or to co-operate in attacking our convoys. It would have been an entirely different proposition if we had attempted to land on enemy territory occupied by enemy forces through hostile waters held by enemy submarines operating in conjunction with an aerial fleet.
According to that opinion, it would have been impossible to land troops in France during the great war if it had not been for the protection afforded by submarines. In formulating its defence policy, the Labour party has been guided by the valuable opinions expressed by numerous expert naval authorities, one of whom has stated that -
When Australia and New Zealand are properly defended with aeroplanes, submarines, and destroyers (as regards invasion), they will have nothing to fear.
For. the protection of or the destruction of sea-going commerce, fast light cruisers are required. This fact is apparently recognized by the Japanese, as they are building them as fast as they can. They will soon dominate the world in this class of vessel, which means they will command the commerce of the Eastern seas.
Although the members of the Labour party are opposed to the construction of cruisers, we believe that the most modern vessels of a smaller type should be made available for policing our extensive coastline. As the safety of Australia is not in any way menaced, it is unnecessary for honorable senators opposite to strongly advocate the employment of so many “ brass hats.” This year’s budget provides for an increase of £60,000- in their salaries, but unless their work is to be of a more strenuous and useful nature than it has been in the past, such an increase is unwarranted. Australian citizens do not require much training, because the conditions under which they live enable them to enter the field and prove equal, if not superior, to those of other nations.
– Is not the ?60,000 mentioned to be paid to members of the rank and file, and not to the so-called “ brass hats “?
– I have no objection to increases being made so long as those who are to benefit earn their money.
– I should be opposed to the additional expenditure if the members of the rank and file were not to benefit.
– On the outbreak of the great war, I, as an old volunteer, offered my services, but I was told that I was too old. and had better go home. However, I travelled to Great Britain on one of the transports with reinforcements for the 19th, 22nd, and 31st Battalions, and know that those men did not have more than two weeks’ training. They disembarked at Alexandria, were transhipped to France, and proceeded right into the firing line, where they rendered gallant service. I was one of those who a few years ago strongly advocated compulsory military training because I then thought it necessary; but in view of experience gained during the- war I have come to the conclusion that, apart from the men in charge of guns at our forts, and other military experts, extensive training is unnecessary. Greater attention should be devoted to the manufacture and storage of war equipment. It is alarming to be told that, according to one authority, notwithstanding the expenditure incurred in connexion with defence, we would not have sufficient to keep our men going for 24 hours should we be attacked. If the leaders of this great military movement have been so lax as to allow our defence system to get in such a state of disorder, it is time a change was made. I have such faith in our Australian men that I believe that even if they were without arms they would be capable of doing what the Russians did in the early part of the war - fighting with sticks.. Admiral Kerr, of the British Navy, spoke of - . . the Australian line of defence obviously comprised of aeroplanes, submarines, and torpedo boats against which no hostile fleet dare approach within 200 miles.
It is upon the advice of such men that the Labour party has framed its defence policy. * Rear-Admiral Hall said -
We had a grand fleet with a preponderance of nearly two to one over Germany alone. We had the assistance of the American, French, Italian, and Japanese navies, and yet our main naval purpose - the protection of our trade - could not be carried out.
Following are the opinions of other authorities : -
Rear-Admiral Fullam, of the Navy of the United States of America -
Submarines, air forces, mines, and torpedoes are sufficient to defend a coast.
Lord Sydenham -
Submarines, mine-fields, and the air have conferred new powers of home defence.
Admiral von Scheer, of the German Navy -
The airplane and submarine furnish greater advantages to the defender than to the attacker. They make attack so difficult that the surface war vessel must now be denied official offensive power.
Lord Wester Wemyss, First Lord of the British Admiralty -
Had any enemy submarines been present at Gallipoli in April, 1915, the landing of the troops in the Peninsula would have been impossible.
Mr. Pembroke Billing, a former squadron commander
A battleship is as much use to Australia as a sick headache. T cannot emphasize too strongly that if Australia was prepared to devote the money she intends spending on cruiser’s to the development of a powerful naval air force, nobody in this country need ever fear an invasion.
Commodore Hyde, Acting First Naval Member of the Naval Board -
We have no stocks of munitions,, no means of manufacturing munitions, no bil or petrol for submarines or aircraft.
That is a most unsatisfactory position in which to be placed. What is the use of constructing cruisers and speaking of equipping large armies when we are not in a position to provide even petrol for aircraft or submarines? If the present Government are incapable of making available sufficient supplies of these necessary commodities, it is time a government was placed in power which would realize its responsibility in the matter of defence. Lieutenant-Commander Rawson states that -
It needs little technical knowledge to see that Australia must concentrate on submarines, minelayers, fast torpedo boats, and aircraft.
Sixteen submarines oan’ be built for the price of ono battleship. No. expensive dry docks are required. Flotilla- warfare is a form of defence particularly suitable to our needs’ and our resources:
From the opinions I have quoted, it will be seen that it is more economical” amimore effective to defend Australia, by sub.marines and aircraft than by capital ships. Vessels of 5,000 tons, or even 7,500 tons, could render more effective service in protecting our trade routes than ships of 10,000 tons. Z am opposed to the construction of two cruisers, but if Parliament decides that they are to be built, I shall advocate their construction in Australia. They can and should be Built in Australia. I say that emphatically. Despite what Senator Kingsmill has said, the difference between the cost here- and in the Old Country; so far as’ I’ am concerned, is absolutely nothing,, when we consider that by building- these vessels-here we shall train our artisans. What is the use of having- a dock,, or- machinery, if. we have not the brain and the muscle power, to- work therm? Some- critics: sa)’ that if we had trained men in Australia-, they would’ not be permitted to carry out repairs to the vessels, because ‘Britain would require1’ them to- be made in her own country. If th’at . were done, it would’ be * case of history repeating itself, because we all know that, in the last great war.,. Australia sent her trained mechanics,, by ship-loads, to; work in the factories of England. Probably they were of more use there than elsewhere, but I am not now discussing that question. If we are tso provide for the docking’, and the repairing, of these vessels we must take care- that we: have the necessary brain power behind’ the machines. When,, years ago, a section of the British Fleet., was located in Australian waters, repairs to’ the vessel’s were carried out at Gard’en Island1. As secretary of the shipbuilders’ union, T was frequently in consultation with the authorities’. A list of- available, and’ possible-, mechanics in- Australia was drawn up in order- to ascertain what men would be available to effect repairs’ should occasion arise in the future. That policy has been departed’ from. Our opponents, before attempting to criticize the Labour party, should first ascertain what are the ideals and intentions, of that party regarding’ defence?. I move: the following- amendment :’ -
That after the word “that”’ the” following words be inserted : - “ any sum spent in- naval construction should be expended in Australia, thus relieving the’ distress’ caused by unemployment, and. helping to- develop! Australian! industries.”
I submit this amendment with; the object of. giving to every honorable senator the opportunity to assist’ in establishing, and strengthening Australian industries. In view of the* present position in Europe, . where we hope to see” a course of action followed which will ensure the peace of Europe for many years, are we justified in spending so much money?’ The money proposed to be spent in the construction of these cruisers- should be used’ to build up our primary industries, and to> provide munitions of war, and rifles:, to be’ stored in the training districts-,, while factories for thee manufacture of. flying machines and the necessary equipment connected therewith, as- well as for making, and equipping motor lorries and other necessary transport facilities should be established. Australia’s position is different from that of any other nation. She- has within her borders the means of making, the country self-contained. Australia could accommodate up to 50,000,000 more people, and could supply them with food and’ clothing for any length of time’. No other nation in the world’ could do that. If Australian industries’ were fostered, and the country became self-sustaining, we would not suffer so- greatly if a successful attack were made on our trade routes. Instead of doing that, we are allowing foreign countries’ to manufacture goods* for us. We even allow our late enemy - Germany - to take a1, hold of the industries of Australia.. She is- pouring into Australiairon and steel goods which,, if manufactured here, would provide employment for thousands-. Yet no> protest is made by honorable senators, on the other side; In 1921 we imported, wheels for railway vehicles valued at’ £200,000; galvanized, corrugated and other sheet iron, costing £5,000,000.; £4,000,000 worth, of steel girders ; nails and. screws to the value, of £400,000,. and engines costing £900,000. We are not manufacturing in Australia to-day the requirements of our great internal works. Even the North Shore Bridge,, for which I . am taxed, but which I shall, never see, is. being made in. some other country. Instead of the money being’ expended’ in Australia. it is being distributed among the people of other, countries. Canada does not act in that way. In the construction of. her bridges, no. steel but that obtained in Canada is allowed to* be’ used. The same applies to the United States of America. The authorities, there will not allow a nail to be driven in her territory that is not manufactured in it. Penalties aT© imposed ow any foreigner who dares to enter her territory and attempt to- interfere with her industrial life by bringing in anything, which is manufactured in what they term “ foreign “ countries. How can we hope to make guns while out iron and steel, industry is neglected, and. while the foreigner is encouraged to ply his trade still further among us? Obviously, we cannot build battleships at £7,000,000 a time, nor can we compete with, the aggressive establishments of older countries’. But when it comes tei single-seater land planes at £2,500, and 4-seater flying boats at £12,000, we can compete, and at the same time create an. industry. Bases for the submarines must be constructed at the same time as the submarines, so that when, in the event of hostilities occurring, the submarines are ready to attack a battleship, there shall be bases- far them where repairs can be effected and ships refitted. If we do that we shall then be in a much better position to defend our coast than that in which the proposals of this bill will place us. At one time a harness and leather accoutrement factory was established at Clifton Hill, Victoria,, by the Commonwealth Government, and also a cordite factory at Maribrynong. In addition, an acetate- of lime factory was established at Bulimba, in Queensland, and a small arms factory at Lithgow, in New South Wales. Most of them are now gone-. The harness factory is closed. The cordite factory has only a small staff, and I believe the acetate of lime factory has also been closed down,, while the small arms factory at Lithgow has: had its operations curtailed to such an extent that it would take a long, time to make the rifles necessary to equip our land forces.. Some people tell us that the guns made at the Lithgow factory cost too, much., I do not care how much they cost, so long- as they can do good service. The rifles now being used by the team competing in the Old World were- manufactured wholly at Lithgow from. Hoskins steel, and from timber obtained from Queensland. Those rifles have held their- own against the rifles of the world. In that case, what does it matter if they cost a little more? The Austraiian workmen live on a higher plane than do those of other countries. Are we willing to pay for that higher standard of Irving, or do we want to see that standard reduced, merely to obtain cheaper guns ? I think all honorable senators desire to’ see that standard retained. The Australian artisan has no one but himself to thank for his present conditions. During my long experience I have seen great changes in the industrial life of this country. I have lived to see the day when the working man is able to obtain . sufficient leisure in which to enjoy a. little more, of the life God has given him. I have seen our educational institutions greatly improved. I remember the time when a man had to rise at early morn, tramp down to a newspaper office, and strike a match to read the list of situations vacant in the sheet posted outside - in order to ascertain whether a carpenter at 6s. a day, or a bricklayer at 7s. a day, was wanted. In those days a. dozen men would tramp for miles looking for a job. As only one was wanted, the remainder were disappointed, and had to return carrying a load of tools heavy enough for a donkey.. Those conditions have changed. To-day, when an employer wants labour, he applies to the proper place for it - the labour bureaus which have been provided throughout Australia as the result of thoughtful legislation. The conditions of the working classes have improved, and every improvement has been gained by their own efforts, and not as the result of legislation., or of the actions of those who have held positions- of power and prominence in this country for so long. No honorable1 senator desires that those old conditions should continue.
– Hear, hear !
– We must be content to pay a little more than- is paid in other countries to maintain those conditions, and to obtain the Australianmade article. It does not matter what these vessels: or munitions- cost, so long as the money is spent in this country to provide better conditions for those who produce “them. If we foster our steel industry and our other secondary industries, we shall be able to provide all the war equipment we require. Any money that is spent in naval construction should be spent in Australia. There are persons who decry everything that is manufactured in Australia. The other day I heard a great authority say that he was surprised that the Australian newspapers Should be so apt to decry the condition!! under which shipbuilding is carried on in Australia. Those newspapers do not want to find anything good in what the Australian workman has done and can do, but, on the contrary, they are always anxious to secure evidence to bolster up the contention that the cost of shipbuilding in Australia is much greater than it is in other countries. We should follow the example Set by other nations, and establish the shipbuilding industry. The United States of America especially is solicitous for the welfare of its shipbuilding industry. The Government of the United States of America, does not pay bounties to different industries as this Government does. The secretary of the Shipwrights Union recently wrote to the Collector of Customs in the United States of America, and he has been furnished with particulars of the conditions governing the bonus system in America. That officer says -
Section 406 of the Tariff Act of 1922 provides that the equipments, or any part thereof, including boats purchased for, or the repair parts or materials to be used, or the expenses of repairs made in a foreign country upon a vessel documented under the laws of the United States, or a vessel intended to be employed in such trade shall, on the first arrival of such vessel in. any port of the United States, be liable to the payment of ad valorem duty of 50 per centum on the cost thereof in such foreign country; and then, if the owner or master of such vessel shall wilfully and knowingly neglect, or fail to report, make entry, anapay duties as herein provided, such vessel, with her tackle, apparel, and furniture, shall be seized and forfeited. . . .
There is a great deal more, but I shall not weary the Senate by reading it at this stage. I think I have read sufficient to show that the shipbuilding industry is fostered in the United States of America. We’ should follow that precedent. It is not necessary to go as far as America has gone, but we- do need to take action which will demonstrate that we are in earnest in our desire to establish the industry in Australia. I claim that the work can be done in Australia. Many years ago I mounted the soap-box in different parts of New South Wales, and contended that we could build locomotive engines in Australia as well and as cheaply as they could be built in any other country. At that time the engines were being imported at a price of about £10,240 each. The Peacock Company - which, I think, is now defunct; if it i3 not, it ought to be - and other great builders immediately lowered their price to £7,000, in order to prevent state competition. They failed in that endeavour. I read the other day that the Newport workshops are now building for £5,500 engines that are bigger, heavier, stronger, better, and faster than they have ever been. Although wages have advanced and conditions of employment have improved, we can still build those engines more cheaply than they can be built in any other part of the world. We can prove ourselves just as capable of building a steam-ship. I am a practical shipbuilder, and I have a knowledge of this subject. The vessels that have been built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard are a credit to the men who built them and to the men who supervised their construction. When the Fordsdale’ s tanks were filled, the works manager donned an oilskin to make an inspection as usual. When he could not see a drop of water escaping, he said, “Are the tanks filled?” He was told that they were, and he replied, “ I have never seen the like of it before.” And he had not. Not a drop of water came from that boat’s bottom, although the pressure was up to 90 tons. The time occupied in its construction was not greater than would have been occupied in similar circumstances in other countries. Honorable senators must realize that there are opportunities for saving time when a number of vessels of the same type are being constructed in the big shipbuilding yards. The Fordsdale has made one trip to England, and her seaworthy condition and magnificent machinery were the subject of admiring comments by those who inspected her. If honorable senators read the British trade journals relating to such matters, they will find that it has been admitted that no vessel like the Fordsdale has ever previously been seen in England. That is a compliment to Australian workmen. Those workmen are prepared to construct not only steamships but also cruisers. 1 do not believe that the cost of constructing these two cruisers in Australia would be one penny greater than it would be in England. Our workmen are walking about looking for work. Hundreds of members of my union do not get sufficient to eat; they have to wait for casual work, and their average earnings are not more than 30s. a week. The management of
Cockatoo Island Dockyard is prepared to prove that cruisers can be built there the workmanship of which will be equally as good as that of the Fordsdale. The workmen are anxious to be engaged on the construction of these vessels. Why not give them the opportunity to show their skill, and at the same time build up a great Australian industry? Everything possible is being done to decry Australian industries by those who wish to derive profit from the importation of articles necessary for the manufacture of military and civil equipment. The, ironwork that is landed in Australia from other countries in one week would keep members of my union constantly employed for twelve months, yet the only employment this importation gives is that of removing the iron-work from the wharf. We should manufacture everything that is required in the way of equipment for military and civil life. When we do that we shall be providing adequately for the defence of Australia. Japan, in recent years, has become a. great ship-building nation, because she sent students to Great Britain to be trained by the British Ad,miralty. Those students were afforded every facility to gain technical knowledge. Germany and America also, in past years, sent students to Great Britain to obtain technical knowledge. On one occasion, in the early days, the late John Storey and I waited upon Senator Pearce and pointed out that this work could be done in Australia. We then advocated - and the advice was acted upon by the Government’ - that certain bright youths be sent to Great Britain to learn to build submarine craft. These young Australians acquired the necessary knowledge, but to-day they are in the employ of private firms. The experience they gained is not being used for the benefit of the country in the way that was intended by the Government that sent them overseas. The population of the United States of America, when it began its shipbuilding industry, was very little greater than the present population of Australia. By its policy of exclusion that country kept out the foreigner and built up a great industry within its own borders. I do not intend to vote against the building of the cruisers in Australia, for I believe that Australia should have vessels to police its trade routes. W should have a few above- water craft for that purpose, tout I contend that the greatest measure of protection would ‘be obtained by adopting the commonsense proposals of some of the greatest -military (and .naval experts >o’f to-day. These -men, benefiting by what was ‘learned in the last war, realize that large ships are slowly but surely losing their prestige. Although Great Britain’s food supplies must pass through the narrow’ lanes of the English Channel and other water-ways, and must be adequately protected, Australia is not so dependent as the Qld Country is .on outside sources for its foodstuffs and raw materials, and therefore is not in the same* need of defence of its trade’ routes by means of large warships. The proposal of the Labour party is practical and reasonable. It is quite within the realms of possibil* for Australia to establish munition factories sand foster the iron and steel industry, but this Government has not attempted to do so. If battle -cruisers axe required, we have the men in Australia who are ‘capable of building them. (Extension of time granted.) It would be unnecessary to import any naval vessels if Australia had the requisite machinery for ‘the development of the iron and steel industry. There would be no need to establish rolling mills for the manufacture of the heavy plates required in the construction of large cruisers, since Australia could be- well defended by a small but fast type of cruiser, the plates for which could be manufactured in this country. I asked the Commodore of the Fleet at a dinner held in Sydney recently what constituted a capital ship. Nobody seems to be able to .give a precise definition. One naval man told me it was a champion ship that could blow any other vessel out of the water. Another assured me that the capital ships were those that cost the most money. .From what I have read, J take the term to mean the most uptodate war vessel that can be procured under the terms of the Washington Treaty. - Australia, however, does not need capital ships. Vessels half that size .and suitable for our defence could be constructed here in a comparatively short time. If we also provide a large fleet of aircraft, with the necessary fuel bases at suitable centres, we need have no fear of invasion. I have faith in the Australian people - not only those horn in this country, but those who have come from abroad to make their home with us. I point out, however, .that there is now entering Australia a brand of foreigner with whom we should promptly deal. According to press reports, at the Wonthaggi mine a ‘ number of foreigners are employed, and they cannot -receive the command to go in or out of “the mine except through an interpreter. Such a condition of affairs should .not be tolerated. Our laws, which provide that these people shall pass an education test, should be rigidly enforced. A ship-load of foreigners recently landed in Australia.
– Why do honorable senators opposite admit these men to their unions, if they are such a bad lot?
– Because they are allowed to enter this country and become Australian ^citizens. A number of Maltese have become members of my own union- -
– They are good men.
– Yes, they have been trained in a trade union atmosphere, but, unfortunately, they cannot speak .English. I do not think the Italians or Greeks belong to unions. Ship-loads of them are coming here, and for the safety of Australia, steps should be taken to enforce the provisions .of the law regarding aliens. I confidently .submit my amendment.
.- I have paid close attention to the remarks by Senator McDougall, and for many reasons I cannot support the amendment. In the first place, it would result in the ‘bill ‘becoming a dead letter. But apart from that aspect, I am not going to vote for this or any similar . amend]ment until I am satisfied that it is advisable to adopt such a course. I wish - to say., first of .all, that I give Senator McDougall every credit ‘far has independent attitude om the defence question. Although he stated that he -was not in sympathy with the -proposal -to construct a cruiser abroad., he showed that . he thought it necessary for Australia ito have an adequate defence system. Those honorable senators opposite, who preceded’ him, led us to understand, however, that because of their ideas of pacifism they did not consider it necessary for Australia to have .any defence scheme. It is refreshing to know that Senator McDougall is not in accord withhis party in that respect.
– Try to tell the truth.
– Nohonorable senatoron this side has said we do not believe in any defence.
– I desire to make my speech in myown way, and I think it will be agreed that I am not far wrong in what I have said.
– I do not agree with the honorablesenator.
– That is the greatest compliment the honorable senator could pay me.IfIfound myself in accord with him I should think that I was in the wrong.
– Thehonorable senator is telling a. lie.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (SenatorNewland). - Icall on the honorable senator to withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it.
– I congratulate Senator Hannan upon his maiden speech in this chamber, but I was somewhat amused at his attempts to persuade the Senate that the Australian Labour party was a peaceloving organization. He would have us believe that it was the onlyparty in Australia that desired! the Commonwealth to remain at peace with the world, or that the world itself should be at peace. It was a piece of audacity on his part to claim this’ virtue exclusively for his party. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber are equally desirous that Australia shall be at peace, and, generally speaking, I believeour political opponents give us credit for this sentiment. Every one who knows anything of the horrors of war, and there are very few who have not had its effects brought home to them in recent years in one way or another, is anxious that peace shall be maintained throughout the world. Listening to Senator Hannan last night, one would almost have imagined that honorable senators on this side of the chamber belonged to a blood-thirsty military party, and that the dove of peace found a. resting place only in the ranks of his party. Let us examine the position, and see- where this peaceloving Labour party stands. Let us see what happens in theranks of this party that believes in the brotherhood of man, and that no ill will should be borne by one person towards another. We have had some evidence on this subject recently in the state which I have the honour to assist in representing. A- few weeks ago the Premier (Mr. Theodore) and the members of his Ministry found the atmosphere, of peace in the caucus so overpowering that they had to leave the room temporarily to get a little fresh air.
– Perhaps it was for the same reason that Mr. Stewart ressigned from the present Ministry.
– I am not aware, that the party to which. I. belong has- ever claimed, as the honorable senator claimed for the Labour party yesterday, that it was the only party that desired peace.
– The members of the present Ministry love one another so much that they meet in differentparty rooms.
– I thought the honorable senator would not. miss the opportunity to make that remark. If he will be patient he will find that I have a special message to deliver to him on this question of peace and brotherly love. As I was saying, when I was interrupted, we have had many examples of the. way in which these comrades of the Labour party, these advocates of peace, love one another. I remember reading, not very long ago, about a pre-selection ballot for the division of Cook. When Mr. Riley, junior, got into the winning position, these lovers of peace in the Labour movement were so much concerned that they upset the first pre-selection ballot and held another. When Mr. Riley again came out ahead of all competitors, these “comrads “ who preach peace and brotherly love were so pleased and so animated with a desire to maintain peace that as Mr. Riley was leaving the room in which the pre-selection ballot had been held., some person in the room heaved an. empty beer bottle at him.
– Andon one occasion, when the ex-Prime Minister, Mr. Hughes, was elected to Parliament,some of his. friends came to him and said, “You are in; go for your life!”
– My friend, Senator
Duncan, hasjust furnished another remarkable illustration of the manner in which the dove of peace is handled by these peace-loving, brotherly “comrades “ of the Labour party.. It is, of course, sheer humbug and hypocrisy on the part of honorable senators opposite to suggest that their party stand’s alone as a paragon of virtue, and that they are the only people who believe in harmony, good-will, and the welfare of mankind. We know what is happening within their own ranks. Senator Gardiner himself, always a peaceloving man, must, I am sure, admit that there is not so much brotherly love and peace amongst the members of his party as he would like to see. I read, recently, in one of the Sydney newspapers, of a conference attended by representatives of 130,000 unionists, under the leadership of Mr. Garden, a particular friend, I believe, of the honorable senator: On that occasion Mr. Garden made some mostunkind statements about certain members of the Labour executive, and also about the Labour representatives in this Parliament. Mr. Garden’s remarks did not give me the impression that there was quite so much peace in the Labour movement as one would expect to find in it, judging by Senator Hannan’s remarks yesterday. Practically the whole of the honorable senator’s speech was directed to emphasizing the merits of the Labour party. It is as well, therefore, that I should in this way expose the party, and show the hollow mockery of these protestations of peace. All right-minded people are desirous of maintaining peace throughout the world. Senator Hannan also referred to the attitude of France in connexion with the proposed evacuation of the Ruhr, and suggested that credit for this change in French, policy must be given to Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, the rime Minister of Great Britain. I believe that this modification of French policy will make for improved relationships in Europe. I believe also that the advent of a Labour Government in Great Britain will do a great deal of good. This “opinion I expressed some time ago, when we were dealing with the Singapore base proposal. I may point out, however, that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald had an’ advantage over his predecessors, . Mr. Lloyd George, ‘and Mr. Stanley Baldwin. He conducted negotiations with a new Prime Minister of France, and’ we are all glad to know that French policy is now coming more into line with British views. I’ desire’ now to direct attention to certain inconsistencies in the attitude taken up by Senator Gardiner concerning the proposed construction of the cruisers and his views as expressed on another occasion recently. He stated, the other day, that even if the cruisers would cost £10,000,000 to build in Australia, he would advocate their construction in this country. On a former occasion the honorable senator, referring to me, suggested that I reminded him of a certain personage who faced two ways. Reading Senator Gardiner’s speech on the motion submitted by Senator Duncan, on the 3rd July, for the abolition of preferential trade with Great Britain, and his utterances on this bill, one would be tempted to place him in the category of persons who could face about ten ways at once. I have never seen any one loop the political loop more effectively, inside of four weeks, than the honorable senator has done. His advocacy of the construction of cruisers in Australia is the firstoccasion upon which, within my knowledge, he has favoured the building up of secondary industries in Australia.
– I have always been opposed to the stupid method of allowing private enterprise to develop those industries.
– Let me refresh the honorable senator’s memory. .On the 3rd July, he said -
We must sell our goods to Great Britain, and take in return her manufactured goods, or else cease to trade with her altogether. Senator Duncan should realize that notwithstanding the existing methods of currency, bills of exchange, &c, everything whittles down to the one question of who shall trade with Australia. If we are not prepared to take Britain’s products we cannot expect to sell our own. If we say that we do not want to trade with the rest of the world, we shall find that Australia with 6,000,000 of people will be producing enough to supply 6,000,000 people, and we shall become probably the most poverty-stricken and miserable nation on the face of the earth.
– I stand by every word of that now.
– Later, in the same speech, the honorable senator said -
I believe it is the policy of the majority of the people of Australia that this country does not want to trade with Great Britain “in regard to anything that we can make ourselves. 1 do not agree with that policy. I believe that it is absolutely wrong; that” it leads to unemployment and the impoverishment of our people. . . . Thank God the constituencies of Great Britain were not duped by this proposal to make prices higher in order to make work more plentiful. The action of the British constituencies, in my opinion,- meant the saving of civilization.
From this it would appear that he is desirous of doing, in Australia, what he did not want to see done in Great Britain.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator, continuing,- said -
The British markets are open to Australia. In this respect Britain has given Australia a free gift. Australia, on the other hand, as soon as it became strong enough, and just as Britain was recovering from the effects of the war, with millions of unemployed to provide for, struck her a most cruel blow by hampering her trade by means of high duties, thus rendering idle many more factory hands in the Mother Country.
Here is another important statement made by the honorable senator in direct contradiction of the views which he has expressed in connexion with this bill -
Although I am an Australian, I am big enough to welcome any proposal that will increase employment in Britain as well as in Australia.
If the honorable senator stands for that statement, one would almost expect him to vote against the amendment moved by Senator McDougall.
– The honorable senator and his party now want to give all the employment to Britain.
– The honorable senator also said-
This narrow policy of declaring that we shall work only amongst ourselves, _ and will take nothing from foreign countries, must necessarily fail. If we understand trade at all, we must realize that, if we are to sell, we must also purchase. We must get this principle firmly embedded in our minds. If we hope to sell abroad £100,000,000 worth of our primary products, we shall have to buy from somewhere, or the trade cannot continue.
The honorable senator dealt with other points which I have not time to debate at this juncture. I have, as I always do, read the whole of his speech, because I find his utterances not only interesting, but very useful, particularly during an election campaign. The honorable senator went on to say -
It is useless for Senator Duncan to say that we wish to trade with Great Britain when we impose such heavy duties’ on the commodities which she manufactures. It is hypocrisy to make such an assertion.
Australia should trade with Britain, as she should trade with America, France, and other civilized nations, in order to make Australia wealthy, and a place where every one can be employed. If we could conduct a trade of £200,000,000 with all the nations of the world, instead of allowing a certain section of the community to make enormous profits, we should not have an army of 159,000 unemployed.
I commended Senator Gardiner when he said that he was a big enough Imperialist not to want to keep all the good things for. Australia, because I thought he meant it. I have found, however, that he is not only facing two ways, but ten ways, and within a few weeks has turned a complete political somersault. I wish now to deal with the statements made by honorable senators in this chamber and elsewhere as. to why the Australian citizen forces are disorganized, and without adequate equipment. About two years ago a National Government submitted to the House of Representatives a comprehensive scheme for the equipment of our defence forces, and placed a certain sum on the Estimates to meet the - expenditure involved. On the 17th November, 19121, the Leader of “ the Opposition (Mr. Charlton) moved to reduce the vote by £500,000, but the motion was defeated. Immediately the honorable member for Cowper (Dr. Earle Page), who is now Treasurer, moved that the vote be reduced by £400,000, which was agreed to, and, as a. result of the combination of the Labour party and certain members of the Country party, our defence system was thus seriously impaired. The inefficient state of our present system is, therefore, largely due to the action of the members of those two parties.
– The Labour party vas to blame, because it supported the amendment.
– Yes; and when Senator Drake-Brockman was pointing out the pitiful state into which our defence system was drifting, Senator Gardiner said, by interjection, that nothing worse could be said about any government. The action of those two- parties on that occasion is an example of the mischief which can be done by members who fail to realize the responsibility of government. In consequence of the action then taken, the Government of the day were able to show a surplus, and a reduction iu taxation was suggested, but remission of taxation would be of little use to taxpayers, who were left practically undefended. The present Treasurer and other members of his party have since found that they acted very unwisely on that occasion. It was the unholy combination of the two parties on the 17th
No vember, 19.2-1, in cutting down the defence Estimates that resulted in Australia’s defence being placed in the position described by Senator DrakeBrockman, which (opinion was confirmed by General Sir Brudenell White, when giving evidence before the Public Works Committee.
– They cannot have it both ways.
– What sort of a government is it that would allow its defence .system to become inefficient because the Opposition- out-voted it, and continued to remain in office?
– The honorable senator realizes that the work of Parliament is carried on by a majority, and the action taken by the two parties is sufficient to show the disaster with which we should have been confronted if the ‘Government had allowed these individuals who acted so damnably to obtain possession of the treasury benches.
– The honorable senator and his party are now working in conjunction with the members of the Country party.
– As a- result of the. influence of the National party, the members of the Country party have realized the necessity of mending their ways, and, having to share in .the responsibility of governing the country, now find that they cannot play ducks and drakes with defence expenditure. I .candidly admit that more money should be spent on compulsory military training, in order to ensure a higher state of efficiency. I have witnessed drills conducted by sergeant-majors, many of whom are poorly paid for the work they perform in undertaking the military training and physical development of our young manhood. ‘Senator McDougall seems to think that a -man can become a good soldier with a few days’ training, but lie would not suggest that the members of technical units., such as the engineers, artillery, and signalling corps, could be brained -in such a short period. In order to show the advantage of training, I may say that, at the outbreak of war, practically a whole brigade of Queensland citizen forces went overseas.
– I believe that such men should be trained.
– It is quite true that men who had had comparatively little military training rendered valuable service in the South .African war;, but, under modern .conditions :of warf are, they -would have little chance of successfully operating against trained .-men. W>e cannot .-have a satisfactory state, of affairs if, as suggested -by ‘the party to which the honorable senator belongs, compulsory military training is abolished.. .If it can .be shown that these cruisers can be built in Australia :at a price which compares at all favorably with their cost “if obtained in Great Britain, I .shall ‘be. . prepared to vote in favour of .constructing them .-here. But when we consider Australia’s financial position, and realize that our expenditure on defence must necessarily bo limited, it is our duty -to -obtain “the greatest value possible -for our ex pm dlture. If, ‘by going overseas for the cruisers, we shall save £1,500,000 or £2,000,000, in -addition to what would be saved in connexion with the minor parts, I shall vote in favour of the vessels being obtained from overseas.
– It will mot make a .shilling .difference, as it only -cuts out the credit.
– The .honorable senator is wrong in that statement. The money will foe .actually -expended, and, seeing that the amount which we have available is limited, it should be ;Spent to the best advantage. With one statement made by Senator Gardiner every honorable senator must .agree. fie said that we should not blindly buy something now, and then spend nothing more for a great number of years; ;but that, on .the contrary, after securing the -advice of the best brains, not only in this ‘country, but also in the Old Land, we should lay down a defence ‘scheme for a number of years ‘commensurate with what we -could alford..
– That is the policy
Of -the Government.
– The Government realizes the necessity for providing .adequate defence against any .aggressive action on the part of another nation.. Its desire is that Australia shaill.be kept free, as a part of the great British Empire, and be placed in a position to protect, if -necessary, the White Australia policy. That policy is a noble ideal, but we -cannot adopt noble ideals and proclaim them to the world unless we are prepared to defend them. By laying down a .comprehensive defence scheme, such as the Government proposes, Ibelieve that we shall be proceedingon sound lines.
SenatorWILSON (South AustraliaHonorary Minister)[5.25].- I ask the Senate toreject the amendment ‘by Senator McDougall.
– If we do not, we reject thebill.
– In mysecondreading speech, I informed the Senate of the action theGovernment was taking. I said that we hadappointed threeexperts to thoroughly and exhaustively go into the matter, and to advise theGovernment. We realize that there are a number of wonderfulpeople who think that they could take the placeof the Prime Minister and run the country better than he is doing.
SenatorGardiner. - No one could run itmuch worse.
-That maybe the opinion of the honorable senator asthe Leader of his party inthe Senate,but I am certain that itis not hispersonal opinion.
SenatorGardiner. - I can assure the honorable senator that it is. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer are the “ dizzy limit.’’
– That will suit some to whom the honorable senator looks forvotes. The Government is having a thorough and exhaustive inquiry made to ascertain what canbe done in the way of building the cruisers in Australia Senator McDougall spoke highly of the workmen of this country. With his remarks, I agree; but I am in the position to receive advice from men competent to judge, and they inform me that we cannot build two cruisers in Australia. They say that we can buildone, and that the work will take about three and a “half years to accomplish. As time is of such great importance in this matter, we cannot build the two cruisers here. Sofar as Iam concerned, this is not a party issue, and I think that honorable senators generally will give me credit for not having made it such. I am exceedingly anxious that all work that can ‘be done in Australia shall be done here. The question has been raised whether Australia’s defence should consist of cruisers, aircraft, or something else. In this connexion, Senator McDougall quoted the opinions of various authorities. I -assure the Senate that the views of allthose authorities were considered seriously by the best authorities in England. I am certain that the honorable senator had no desire to mislead the Senate when he ref erred to the increase in the defence vote, but he did not appear to understand me when I said that thatmoney was largely for the rank and file. Of the £69,000, the men who may be described as being on’ the bread-line will receive £61,000. The balance will be paid to the officers. If we are to have a defence force, we should pay the men a reasonable living wage. I am certain that the honorable senator agrees with that. His statement that £60,000 was for the “ brass hats “ is, therefore, quite misleading.
– What does the increase in the individual salaries amount to?
– I cannot givethe honorable senator that information offhand, but I shall be delighted to supply it later. Ihave given the total. Honorable senators are acquainted with the personnel of the committee which has been appointed to investigate this matter, and must realize that they are capable men who will do their duty. The committee’s report will be available shortly, and, when received, it . will.be submitted to Parliament. I suggest, therefore, that Senator McDougall should withdraw his amendment, at least for the present. It is my ambition that everything possible shall be done tohave the work carried out in . Australia. If we are to have the plant and equipment, we musthave capable men ready and willing to do thework should the necessity arise. That consideration will weigh with the ‘Government whendeciding on the additional amount which it is prepared ‘to pay to have ‘the workcarriedout in Australia. I think that thereport of the committee will be that one cruiser can be constructed at Cockatoo -Island at a price which will compare reasonably with that forwhich the vessel can be obtained from England On that understanding, I askSenator McDougall to withdraw his amendment. We are all anxious to do what we can, but we cannot build two cruisers in Australia. We are hopeful, however, that one can be built here.
.- When 1 addressed myself to the second reading of the bill, I said that if any suggestion was put forward in the shape of an amendment, which would ensure that these cruisers would be built in Australia, it would have my support.
– That is a guarantee that you will vote against it.
– The motion before the Senate is that the bill be now read a second time. Senator McDougall has moved to amend that, and if his amendment is carried there will be no second reading of the bill. In that case there would be no endorsement by this Senate of the proposal that two cruisers should be constructed, either here or in Britain. The whole proposal of the Government would be hung up. That would be the effect of carrying the amendment.
– A first class piece of nonsense.
– It is nothing of the kind. The motion is that the bill be now read a second time. Senator McDougall’s amendment proposes to strike out the words “ a second time.” If they are struck out, the second reading of the bill will be defeated, in which case that will be the end of it, and the end of the Government proposal to construct the cruisers. I give Senator McDougall credit for the best intentions, but Senator Gardiner must know that that would be the effect of the amendment. I can, therefore, only assume that he is desirous of seeing the measure thrown out altogether.
– I cannot allow such an absurd piece of reasoning to pass without question. This amendment could not be moved in the committee stage until the items proposed to be amended were amended. If a majority of the Senate decided that the vessels should be constructed in Australia, the Government would need only to amend the bill, and it would go through this Senate very quickly. So far as my party in this Senate is concerned, nothing would be done to prevent it in that event from going through before the dinner adjournment.
– A new bill would be necessary.
- Senator Duncan, in his second-reading speech, was evidently passing through one of those phases peculiar to his temperament, and was feeling somewhat independent. He so far forgot that he was a servile supporter of the Government that he spoke as an independent member of this Chamber. He said that if it could be shown that the cruisers could be built in Australia, he would support an amendment to that effect. An amendment to that effect has been moved.- Senator Duncan’ has now to decide between loyalty to his party and providing employment for the workmen of Australia. His loyalty to his party is greater than his desire to see Australians employed.
– The honorable senator is not honest, otherwise he would have had this amendment submitted in committee in the form of a new clause. He wants to knock out the bill.
– According to a decision given by Mr. Speaker in the other House, such an amendment may not be accepted in committee. I have not consulted Senator McDougall, but as I know that he is a reasonable man, I feel sure that he would agree to withdraw his amendment if the Government would indicate its intention to build these two cruisers in .Australia.
– I should certainly do so.
– Honorable senators on this side did not think of pointing a pistol at the head of the Government. Senator Duncan knows that the Government proposes to build these cruisers in England.
– I do not.
– I am quite sure that one contract has already been given, and that another has been promised.
– - I have already denied that statement on behalf of the Government.
– Let me now deal with Senator Foll. An attack upon me by Senator Foll gives me pleasure, because I am glad that I can attract the notice of one who comes from Queensland with the reputation and the record that Senator Foll enjoys. I am sorry that that honorable senator did not read my statement in all its awfulness. I said that if these vessels could be built in Great Britain for £2,000,000, and they would cost £10,000,000 to construct in Australia, I should favour building them in Australia. Senator Foll appeared to think that that statement was inconsistent with my free trade views. It was nothing of the kind. Ever since I have had the time to take an interest in the defence of Australia, I have advocated as our first line of defence the establishment of factories for the manufacture 6f defensive material. Senators Foll and Duncan advocate the imposition of high tariff duties to prevent foreigners from trading in Australia, trusting to private persons to establishsecondary industries. lt matters not where these cruisers are built, so long as they are built in Australia. A growing country like Australia must have factories for the manufacture of Avar equipment should she be called upon to defend herself. Quite a number of persons innocently believe that high tariffs mean plentiful employment. I believe that they cause non-employment. The Labour party has progressed beyond that stage of thought. Its objective now is the socialization of industry. I do not believe in having industries built up under a high tariff, and then buying them out.” I believe in saying, “No longer will we subsidize the master class to establish industries; they must be established by the Government.” I know that my ideas are contrary to those held by Senator Foll. I wonder whether I could find evidence of inconsistency on the part of honorable senators opposite if I cared to look for it? When’ one talks of war or preparations for war they always parade their loyalty to Great Britain, but when one talks of trade they treat Great Britain as though she were a foreigner. In effect, they say to the British manufacturer, “ You must pay a fine of £40 on every £100 worth of woollen goods that you send to Australia.” They would shed the blood of all their wives’ relations in fighting for Great Britain, but they would not trade with her. The attitude that I adopt is that if Great Britain can do the work as well as it can be done in Australia I should ‘ give her a share of that which we had to offer. . The all-important point, to my mind, is that if these cruisers are to be built they should be built in Australia. The adoption of that policy will mean that the machinery and equipment and skilled workmen will be available if it is found necessary later on to build a greater number of -vessels of a suitable type. The protectionist believes that the imposition of high tariff duties will bring about the establishment of factories and result in the employment’ of the people. Our statistics prove that such is not the case. High tariffs do not even relieve the Australian manufacturer of competition from outside. Last year £35,780,000 was paid in Customs duties, proving that the tariff did not shut out the foreignproduced article. We now have a greater number of men unemployed than we have had since the tariff was first introduced, which is a proof that it does not provide employment in Australia. Here is a proposal that will give employment to Australian workmen, who will reap the benefit of an expenditure of £4,000,000, perhaps £6,000,000-1 do not care what the amount is - on these cruisers. No profiteering manufacturer, no board of directors, no limited liability company, no proprietary company, will make any profit out of the Australian people, because the whole of the money will be placed in the hands of the workmen who do the work. That proposal is different from one which would result in the taxing of our people to enable a private individual to make profits. For the last four years the Australian people have been, paying £6,000,000 a year more for their sugar than they should have paid.
– That is not so.
– In case the honorable senator, who last night quoted Admiral Sturdee, should misunderstand me, I shall endeavour to make the matter clear. The production of sugar in Australia amounts to over 300,000 tons a year. A duty of Id. per lb. on that quantity would bring in £3,000,000 a year. Under the agreement entered into by the Government1 with the sugar interests the latter have been receiving 3d. per lb. more than they would have obtained in ordinary competition.
– Oh, no!
– The duty is Id. per lb., and that is responsible for the £3,000,000 to which T referred. The agreement has created a monopoly that has resulted in the shares of the- Colonial Sugar Refining Company, which have a face value of £20, beingsold on theAustralianmarket to-day for £43.
Senator- Thompson. - What has that to do with defence ?
– That is the point to which I am coming. I have been smarting . under attacks that have been made upon me by Senators Foll and Duncan. They have said that, in advocating the expenditure of this money in Australia, in the construction of these cruisers, I am supporting the policy of protection.If Iam inconsistent, what is the position of honorable senators opposite, who are agreeable to the orders being placed in England?
– The sugar industry plays a very important part in the defence of Australia.
– It is profiting to-day at the rate of over £6,000,000 a year at the expense of the Australian people. Honorable senators opposite believe in encouraging, people to put their money into sugar shares, and in order to increase the value of those shares they compel the Australian consumers to pay for their sugar more than they should pay; but when the only people who can obtain an advantage are the workers in government establishments what becomes of the professions of those who are always parading their protectionist ideas? Private enterprise would not benefit by the construction of these cruisers in Australia; therefore, Senators Foll and Duncan will vote to have them built in Great Britain. .
– I say quite frankly that I shall vote to have them built where we can get the most value for our money.
– I did not expect that the honorable senator would do other than that. I think it is quite a logical position forhim to take up I am keenly interested in the real defence of Australia, and I am opposed to any system of sham defence. Senator McDougall has shown that these cruisers will not provide anything like as effective a defence as submarines, aeroplanes, torpedoes, and mines.
– Every other country is opposed to that idea.
Senator GARDINER. Senator
McDougall quoted the opinions of men who are well qualified to speak on this matter.. Senator Wilson knows a lot about many things, but if he was not made aware of the effectiveness of the submarine from the beginning of1917 to theend of the war he should have been.
– I quite realize that, but I say that the position to-day is that the world has decided to build l0,000-ton cruisers.
– Australia, settled up for the visit of the honorable senator’s colleague (Senator Pearce) to Washington, but that honorable gentleman has hardly settled down yet. He returned from Washington, and told us that we could look forward to a glorious era of peace and an absence of naval warfare. This Government, of which Senator Wilson is a member, was responsible for the. sinking of the only vessel we had for the effective defence of Australia. The honorable senator now tells us that time is the essence of the contract; that it would take three years to build a cruiser in Australia, and that we must have one ready in twoyears and three months. If our position is so precarious, if the Government has left Aus-. tralia open to attack by its enemies, it committed a criminal. act when, it orderedthe sinking of the Australia..
– The Australia was quite obsolete.
-I am quite aware that she was not as up to date as the Hood or the Repulse. But if she were still afloat the two new cruisers that it is proposed to have constructed would not be able to get within range of her on. the open sea. The Australia, although ten years old, would have been an efficient vessel had it been equipped with the newguns that were lying, at Garden Island; but this Government and its supporters, prepared to leave the country at the mercy of its enemies, allowed that fine ship to be sunk with both the old guns and the new.
– The Australia was sunk as a result of the Washington treaty.
– Then, why is it now proposed to build more battleships.? The spirit that pervaded the Washington conference was in the direction of a reduction of- naval armament to such an extent that there would be no fear of one great nation threatening another. The Government now desires to replace the Australia with two 10,000-ton cruisers.
– It is desired to replace two worn-out ships.
– No matter how much subterfuge is, used, the fact remains that the nations representedat the Washington conference showed a desire that the mad rush for armaments shouldcease. It was decided that there should first be a. reduction in. capital ships,and then a, limitation of the number of smaller vessels. If Australia derivedany benefit from the Washington treaty, it was in the step supposed to have been taken towards disarmament. The special naval advisers of Great Britain declared that 25 capital ships were requiredto defend. Great Britain, but Australia was quite safe without battle cruisers.
– At the same time, thecruisers were allowed.
Senate GARDINER. - The question is: not what Australia wants, but what it can;afford to build. What is needed for an adequate defence of these shores- is quite beyond our means, and we should not attempt to provide it ; but if Parliament decides that two cruisersare needed, the Labour party contends that they should be built inour own country. Every ship, we construct here will make it easier for us. to build the next. Great Britain is the home of the ship-building industry, and. it is not to be wondered at that, at the present time, ships can be constructed more cheaply there than in Australia. I believe that during the war over 700 naval craft of variouskinds were produced in British yards. It surprises me that anybody should fail to realize the importance ofimmediately establishing in Australia the shipbuilding yards and factories required to provide the vessels and materials necessary for our defence. It is not a matter of interfering with private enterprise, but of doing something for ourselves in a common-sense manner. We should have yards to enable us to build all kinds of naval vessels, and we should alsohave the machinery for making spare parts.Some people- will tell us thatour shipbuildingyards are fully equipped at the present time. On thatpoint I am not competent to express an opinion. If they are up to date, all the more reason for building these vessels in Australia. But if they axe not as well equipped as they should be, the sooner they are improved the better for the safety of Australia. To my mind, the weight of evidence is all in favour of having the vessels built in our own country. Unfortunately this cannot be done during the life of the present Parliament, for honorable senators oppositeare unable to enforce their will against the Government. Senator Duncan told us that if the Senate voted for the amendment the bill would be thrown under the table.
– I said that the effect of the amendment would be to defeat the second reading of the bill. When a bill is not read a second time it disappears.
– If honorable senators opposite had the courage of their convictions the Government would be forced to establish works in Australia for the buildingof our own vessels.
– If the bill is carried, the Government can still buildone cruiser in Australia, but the honorable senator does not want cruisers built here or abroad.
– That may be the honorable senator’s opinion. My idea is that we should have- means of providing for our own defence. If some honorable senator says that, failing the Government building the vessels outside Australia, they will not be constructed at all, so much the worse for the country thatis burdened by such a government.
– Nobody said that
– I do not desire to misrepresent the honorable senator, bub, if honorable senators opposite believed in giving employment to Australian workmen, the Government would at ounce say that both vessels would be built here. I have no desire to embarrass the Government,particularly on a matter of such vital importance as defence. I claim that steps should at once be taken to organize Australian industries so- that we may be prepared to defend ourselves. If thewhole of the amount of £2,500,000 were devoted to building vessels in Australia, the country would not be much worse off, from the point of view of defence, than it is at the present time. If Senator Duncan is in earnest in this “matter,. I am prepared to propose the insertion of a proviso to the amendment to the. effect that at least one of the cruisers should be built in Australia. I intend to vote for the amendment, because I want the vessels built in Australia. If the amendment is rejected, and if Senator Duncan or Senator Foll, being sincere in their desire to have the ships built in Australia, will submit an amendment to have even one vessel built here, I shall support it. But I cannot see them doing that; Senator Pearce would frown upon them.. If I, as a freetrader, am inconsistent in advocaing the construction of cruisers in Australia, what may be said of those staunch protectionists supporting the Government who wish to have the vessels built in Great Britain? Instead of saying that I am ridiculously inconsistent because I approve of the expenditure of a large sum of money in Australia, rather than in Great Britain, for the building of cruisers, these so-called protectionists should examine their own position, and see what excuse they can offer for their inconsistency. Although I have not attended a meeting of the National caucus, I should say, that, judging by the speeches that have been delivered. on this measure by individual members of the party supporting the Government, a general election is not very far distant, because instead of discussing the bill, they have endeavoured to show up the Opposition in the worst possible light. Evidently they know something which we on this side cf the chamber do not yet know. I want the best that I can get for the defence of Australia. If we cannot have a defence system based on large numbers of aeroplanes and submarines, the next best thing is to build in Australia the vessels required for our defence. I stand for Australia first; not because I love England less, but because I love Australia more. And because I stand for Australia first, I want Australian workmen to build the vessels that will defend Australia. We have many thousands of unemployed in our midst. Surely it is not too much to ask that the money available for naval construction shall be expended in providing employment here.
– My inclination is to approve of the amendment submitted by Senator McDougall, but if its adoption means the shelving of the bill, I shall have to reconsider my position. I believe, however, that if the amendment resulted in the defeat of the bill, the Government could, within 24 hours, bring down another measure to take its place, . so it would appear that the contingency, if it arose at all, would not be quite so serious as otherwise might be the case. I do not know whether the amendment, which seeks to control the destination of the money to be placed to the credit of the trust fund, is. quite in order. I do not propose to enter into a discussion of the respective merits of freetrade and protection, or the relative merits of honorable senators opposite and those on this side of the chamber. These matters may be all right in their place. I have no intention of debating them now. I cannot quite understand Senator Gardiner’s attitude. He has told us that he is prepared to spend up to £10,000,000 on the construction of these two cruisers in Australia, as compared with the estimated cost of £2,000,000 each if the vessels were built in Great Britain. In other words, he is prepared to forgo the chance of getting five ships for two, provided the two are constructed in Australia. I am afraid the honorable senator’s patriotism and his desire to relieve a congested labour market has carried him a bit too far. His declaration means, if it means anything at all, that so long as the cruisers required for the protection of Australia’s trade routes were constructed by the Government in Australia, he would fix no limit to their cost. Has the honorable senator considered where that policy may lead us? Is he prepared to protect the governmental industrial concerns to the extent of 150 per cent. ? The principle laid down by this Parliament for private enterprise should be good enough for Government enterprise. What is good enough for the one should be good enough for the other. If tariff protection of 40 per cent, is enough for our secondary industries, surely it is good enough for any Government concern. Certainly, I cannot go to the length that Senator Gardiner is prepared to go, and endorse the principle that we should pay 150 per cent, more for vessels, merely to have them built in Australia. It is an extraordinary proposition. It is just as necessary to take extraordinary precautions against extravagance in connexion with Government works as it is with private enterprise. I am taken by Senator McDougall’s amendment. If it is introduced in the right way, and with proper safeguards, I shall support it. . The price to be paid is an important consideration. If the honorable senator will agree to fix a maximum of 60 per cent, and an arrangement is made with the British Government for the use of the second ship, I shall support his amendment. If, however, he does not see his way clear to do that, then, in the interests of the taxpayer, I shall support a proposal to have one vessel built in the Old Country, and the other in Australia, even if we have to fix a very liberal margin of cost.
Let us examine the amendment and see what it means. Yesterday the Opposition, if we may judge by the speeches of its. members, was against the building of these cruisers, either in Great Britain or Australia. On high moral grounds, the Labour party yesterday urged that the ships should not be built in any circumstances, because, so we were told, the adoption of this policy would weaken the efforts being made by the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain to bring about further disarmament among the nations of the world. Yesterday the Labour party declared for no ships. To-day that policy is reversed. Now, they say, we must have the ships but that they should be built in Australia. What is the explanation of this change ?
– We adopt the lesser of two evils.
– The honorable senator’s reply is sheer nonsense. Principles that are sacred are not as a rule abandoned within 24 hours, as has been done in this case. Yesterday, we were told that the building of these ships, for the protection of Australian trade routes, would be in the nature of a gesture to the warlike nations of the world; that it would paralyze the efforts being made. by the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Lo and behold ! Within 24 hours the views of the Labour party have been changed. Now they say, “ Build the ships, but build them in Australia.” We cannot play fast and loose with the logic of principles in this way. There are other people listening and looking on. A great churchman once said the principles of some people are like mountains towering as high as the heavens, but that when they stand in the road they drive tunnels through them. That is what the Labour party has done in this instance, because within 24 hours it has adopted an entirely different attitude on this vital issue. The elements of time and location should not change principles in this fashion. If these ships were unnecessary yesterday their construction is not justifiable to-day.
– Hear, hear !
– According to tha honorable senator, to-day they are necessary provided that they are to be built in this country.
– If they are to be constructed, the work should be done in this country.
– The construction is justified if the work is done in Australia ! I can see one reason why honorable senators opposite have changed their attitude. They believe that if these ships are built in Australia they will be able to say to the electors, “ Look what we have done in providing work for the Australian people.” That may be very good election propaganda, but we. have not yet reached that low level where we can allow our principles to be trampled in the dust in order to gain some party advantage through the ballot-box. I repeat the offer I made to Senator McDougall in the first instance, that if he is prepared to accept the margin, and have the suggested arrangement made with the British Government, I shall support him. I ask leave to continue my remarks later.
Leave granted; debate adjourned.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland) reported the receipt of a message from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to certain amendments made by the Senate in this bill; that it had agreed to one with an amendment, and had -disagreed to another.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the message being at once considered, and all consequent action taken.
– I cannot agree to the suspension of the Standing and Sessional Orders until I know the procedure the Minister (Senator Pearce) intends to adopt.
– I have submitted the motion to enable the Senate to consider the message.
– The Minister may submit the amendments ten bloc. We donot know what they are Honorable senators cannot, of course, keep the amendmentsin their minds,and, although the Minister may know what has been done in another place, I can assure him that I do not. I can understand a Government which has been so badly beaten by the Opposition wishing to hurry business through, but surely it is unnecessary to suspend the Standing and Sessional Orders to consider several amendments. We should know in what way our amendments have beendealt with.
– We all want to know that.
– Yes, and the necessary information can be obtained only ; by adopting theordinary procedure of printing and circulating them to tenable us to compare them with the bill.
– They are in print, and will be circulated.
– Yes, but if this motion is agreed to, they may he pushed through to-night. The Minister is mistaken if he thinks that businesswill be expedited by passing this motion.
– If this motionis agreed towe can discuss the amendments to-night.
SenatorGARDINER - I do not object to that, but why should we suspend the StandingOrders.
– We cannot discuss them unlesswe ‘do.
– The Minister could move that they be considered at a later hour of the day, which is the usual procedure in dealing with messages received from another place. If the motion is carried, will there be time to fully consider them to-night?
– I believe so.
– The Minister is an optimist. There is a -first-class programme of private members’ business on the notice-paper:, and one which is more thansufficient for anevening’s work. I take it that the Government will agree to what hasbeen done in another place because experience has convinced methat very little effort is madeby Ministers in this chamber to protect the rights of the Senate. When amendments are made in another place, it is the invariable prac tice of Governmentsupporters inthis chamber to agree to them without the slightest opposition, but the timeis approaching when the Government will not be sohasty in moving the suspension of the Standing and Sessional Orders merely to comply with the wishes of honorable members in another place. Possibly . I voted against the amendment which has been disagreed with, but as yet I do not know where I stand. In the ordinary course private members’ business would be considered to-night, “but if this proposition is carried I shall not have an opportunity of submitting an important motion which I have on the noticepaper.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to8 p.m.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (SenatorNewland) . -The question is -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the messagebeing at once considered andall consequent action taken.
– On a point of order, I ask if the time has not arrived when,under the Sessional Orders, we must proceed with private members’ business?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I point out to the ‘honorable -senator ‘that when the dinner adjournment took place the Minister had moved the contingent notice of motion which I have just stated. Icall attention to Standing Order65, which reads -
Any motion connectedwith the conduct of thebusiness ofthe Senatemay be movedby a Ministerof theCrown at any time without notice.
I have gone into the matter, and have taken advice, and amof the opinion that a motion to suspend the Standing and Sessional Orders with a view to dealing with certainbusiness in acertainway is a motion “connected with theconduct of the business of the Senate,” and as such comes within the provisions of Standing Order . 65. That being so, the Senate mustnow proceed to a decision on the motion for thesuspension of the Standing and Sessional Orders which has been moved bythe Minister forHome and Territories (Senator Pearce).
– I aim of the opinion that the time has arrived for private members’ business to be dealt with. Had the Minister’s motionbeen carried before the adjournment, the case would have been different. As the Sessional Orders provide that on Thursdays, after8 p.m., private business shall take precedence, we cannot now alter that procedure. If that could be done, an unscrupulous Minister - I am not suggesting that that is the position in this case -could prevent private members’ business from being dealt with at all. The Sessional Order, which provides that private members business shall he dealt with after the dinner adjournmenton Thursdays, has not been suspended, and the time having arrived for the discussion of that business, I take it that Government business cannot trespass upon the ‘business of private members. Senator Pearce’s motion is Government business, and, therefore, it is trespassing on the time which should bo devoted to thebusiness of private members.
– A motion for the suspension of theStanding andSessional Orders is notGovernmentbusiness; it is thebusiness of the Senate.
SenatorGardiner. - If we look at the businesspaper we shall find that it is classified as Government business. Senator Pearce’s motion had not been disposed of when the time for private members’business arrived. Thatbeing so, private membersbusiness,of whichnoticehas been given, should be dealt with at this stage.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The sessional order, which wasagreed to, I think, late in June last, providesthat, “unless otherwise ordered, private members’ business shall take precedence after 8 p.m. on Thursdays.’’’’ The Minister has moved that so much : of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as is necessary to enable this message to he at once considered.
– TheSenate has not yet agreed to that.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I hold that the motion by the Minister, if carried; would govern the order of the business of the Senate, and override the provisions’of any sessional order to the extent to which it conflicted therewith. It is provided in Standing Order No. 65 that a Minister may move such a motion as this at any time. I have already ruled that the motion is in order, and that the Senate must now proceed to a decision upon it.
– I shall take exception to your ruling, but I do not know what steps I must take to that end. I consider that the sessional order in question governs the procedure, and that it is not in the power of Senator Pearce to do by indirect means what he cannot do by direct means.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I have already ruled that Senator Pearce is in order, and that the Senate must now proceed to come to adecision upon his motion.
– Standing Order No. 66 reads -
The Senate shall, unless otherwise ordered, proceed each day with its ordinary business in the following ‘ routine: - 1. Presentation of petitions; 2. giving notices, ; and questions without notice; 3.questions on notice:; 4. formal motions; 5. postponement of business; 6. motions andOrders of the Day, or’ vice versa, as set down on the notice-paper.
Admitting that the “Minister may, under Standing Order 65, move at any time, without notice, any motion connected with the conduct of the business of the Senate, I take it that that refers only to the businessof the Senate, and not to the Sessional or Standing Orders.
– Is not the receipt of a message from another place the business of the Senate?
SenatorGardiner. - Yes.Our sessional orders provide distinctly for the time which shall be allotted toGovernment business, and also to private members’ business.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I point outto thehonorable senator that Standing Order 42.9 sets out the procedure tobe followed when taking exception to the ruling of the President. I ask the honorable senator to follow that procedure.
– I hope, MrDeputy President, that you will not rule that I may not clear the ground for -my action. I thought that possibly a discussion would induce the Minister to postpone his motion. I submit my dissent from your ruling in the following terms : -
Mr. Acting President having ruled that the Minister could, under Standing Order 65, move ‘any motion dealing with the business of the Senate at any time, I dissent from that ruling on the grounds that the effect of Senator Pearce’s motion is in direct contradiction to the sessional orders.
– I second the motion.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the question of dissent requires immediate determination.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The motion must be put without debate.
– I rise to a. point of order. I moved the motion of dissent, and I think that it and my reasons for moving it should go together. I do not think that the Senate will be in a position to discuss my motion until I have given my reasons for moving it. Senator Pearce. has intervened between my motion of dissent and my statement of reasons for it. Do you, Mr. Deputy President, rule that that is permissible? If you do, that will be another matter for a motion of dissent from your ruling.
– If Senator Gardiner consults Standing Order No. 429, he will see that it is in the following terms -
If any objection is taken to the ruling or decision of the President, such objection must be taken at once and in writing, and motion moved -
That is what Senator Gardiner has done - which, if seconded, shall be proposed to the Senate, and debate thereon forthwith adjourned to the next sitting day, unless the Senate decides on motion, without debate, that the question requires immediate determination.
But for the motion which I have moved, Senator Gardiner would not be able to state his reasons to-night, If that motion is carried, it will be open to Senator Gardiner to give his reasons.
– I maintain that I am within my rights in speaking at this stage.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I point out to the honorable senator that, according to the Standing Orders, the motion moved by the Minister cannot be debated. It will not hinder the honorable senator from later on discussing my ruling. It will merely enable the Senate to decide whether the motion to dissent from my ruling shall be discussed to-night instead of to-morrow.
– I rise to a point of order. I hope that you, Mr. Deputy President, and honorable senators, will not become impatient. I wish to take exception to the ruling you have now given, which, so far as I am concerned, is more serious than your previous ruling. You have ruled that I, having taken exception to your ruling, can be intercepted, so to speak, by the Minister, who before I have stated my reasons for my motion of dissent can move that that motion requires immediate consideration. I claim that the person who moves a motion of dissent is the one that the Standing Orders contemplate as the mover of the subsequent motion “ that the question requires im-. mediate determination.” I know that you will hold the balance fairly between the parties, but I want to release you and myself from the position in which we are placed by Senator Pearce’s motion. I have the right to decide whether the Senate shall be asked to say that the matter requires immediate determination.
– Standing Order 429 does not say that.
– Having moved a motion of dissent, I claim that it is my right to moye “ that the question requires immediate determination.” Senator Pearce displayed more impetuosity than is usual with him. As soon as I handed in my motion in writing, and while I .was waiting for the question to be stated by the Deputy President, Senator Pearce stepped in as Leader of the Senate, and moved, “ That the question requires immediate determination.” The honorable senator who moves the motion of dissent is in the best position to say whether the matter should be discussed forthwith or should be allowed to stand over until the next sitting. If I declined to avail myself of the right to move that motion, Senator Pearce could then come into the picture. Although it may suit Senator Pearce to act as the superman of this Senate, I want him to realize that, as a matter of ordinary courtesy, he should have waited to see whether I desired to have the matter considered forthwith.
– The practice has always been for the Leader of -the Senate to move that motion.
– That has been so when it has . suited the Government. I have moved it on many occasions. It is quite contrary to the practice of this Senate for any honorable senator to be called upon before the honorable senator who has submitted a motion of dissent has had an opportunity to state his reasons for submitting it. I ask you, Mr. Deputy President, whether you can- recall any incident of an honorable senator other than the mover of such a motion receiving the call of the President after the question has been stated. I have had a, very long experience, and I cannot remember any such instance.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I must ask the honorable senator to state his point of order. I have the Standing Orders to guide me, and I want to give effect to them as nearly as I can.
– I have given you written notice of my dissent from your ruling. I handed that motion of dissent to you in order that it might be stated to the Senate. No sooner had you read the motion of dissent than Senator Pearce rose and moved another motion. For you to call upon Senator Pearce to intervene at that stage-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I assure the honorable senator that I did not call upon Senator Pearce or any other honorable senator to move the motion “ That the question requires immediate determination.” I inform him further that my experience in this Senate is that the Leader of the Senate on every occasion has moved this motion. I ask the honorable senator to allow the matter to go to the vote. He will then have the right, to discuss his motion of dissent.
– I take exception to your ruling that you can call upon Senator Pearce-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I remind the honorable senator again that I did not call upon Senator Pearce to move the motion. It is not part of my duty to call upon any honorable senator to move such a motion, and I am never likely to do so. I cannot allow any further discussion on this point of order, and I shall put the matter to the Senate.
– You ‘have now given a further ruling that Senator Pearce had the right to intervene and move his motion. I take exception to that ruling.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I point out to the honorable senator that he cannot have two points of order before the Senate at the ‘ same time. I point out, further, that Senator Pearce was quite within his rights under the Standing “Orders in moving the motion that he did. I shall now put the question to the Senate without any further discussion.
– I rise to a point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Already one point of order has been raised, and the honorable senator cannot at the same time raise another.
– I simply wish to take exception to your ruling.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I ask the honorable senator to resume his seat. The question is-
– I rise to a point of order-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I ask the honorable senator to obey ray ruling.
– I will obey it; but my rights are above your ruling. You are now doing something that is a gross insult to me. You called upon Senator Pearce to intervene to move this motion, and now you are endeavouring to take from me my constitutional right to object to a ruling which you have given.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I cannot hear the honorable senator any’ further.
– I do not care whether you do or not. You are at liberty to take any extreme step you care to take, and I am prepared to endure any further insult that you care to put upon me.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I am not putting any insult upon the honorable senator, and I do not intend to do so. But I do intend to see that the Standing Orders and procedure of the Senate are duly observed. I now put the question “That the question requires” immediate determination.”
– I rise to a point of order, and I ask you to receive it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.Order ! The honorable senator may not order me to be seated. I order him to be seated.
– I did not order you to be seated.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - If the honorable senator does- not obey the ruling of the- Chair I shall be obliged, to take other steps-.
– By ordering me to be seated you will not prevent me from dissenting from your ruling. I am prepared to act in a constitutional way, and if you consider that I asked you to be seated you are under a misapprehension.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I now put the question.
– I rise to a point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I name the honorable senator for continued disobedience of the Chair, and I ask the Minister to take the necessary steps to. uphold’ the Chair.
– I am loth to take action. I appeal to the honorable senator to- realize that the Deputy President is. placed in hrs present position to interpret the Standing Orders. The honorable senator may disagree with rulings of the- Chair, but the time may come when he will be Leader of the Senate, and I am sure he would then be the first to uphold the interpretation placed upon the Standing. Orders by the Deputy President and see that any dissent was taken “in accordance with the Standing Orders. “We must bow to the decision of the Deputy President in this matter. I do urge the honorable senator not to place upon the Senate the unpleasant duty that his disregard of this appeal will entail.For the good reputation of the Senate, I ask the honorable senator not to press his objection. The Government must ask the Senate to uphold the- ruling of the Chair, and I appeal to the honorable senator, with his long parliamentary experience, to stand by the Deputy President, even if he thinks he is in the wrong.
– L - Let the Minister submit his motion, and get on with the business. It is all cut and’ dried.
– J! understand that the honorable senator- does not persist in hia attitude, and I ask that no action be taken.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I have no’ desire* to interfere, with the honorable senator in any way, but I am placed: in. the chair to safeguard the interests of the Senate, and to see that the Standing Orders are* obeyed. The respect to which the Chair is entitled must be paid to it. I asked the . honorable senator repeatedly- to resume his seat to- permit me to put the motion submitted by a member of the Government. I d’o not desire to make matters any more unpleasant than they are, and I, therefore, ask the honorable senator not to insist on disobeying the ruling of the Chair.
– I take it that the Leader of the Senate has moved my suspension.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- No.
– Then I think he ought to do. so. It is his business to do it. He should not act in a half-hearted way.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - If the honorable senator will allow me to put the question to the Senate-
– No; you will not pat it over me in that way. I will not give away my rights.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Then I ask the Leader of the Senate to take the necessary action.
– I am sorry that the honorable senator forces me to take action. As a democrat, Senator Gardiner should know that no democracy can proceed without order. Before taking the fina! step, I appeal to him to bow to the ruling of the Deputy President in this matter. We must obey the Chair, otherwise we shall descend from the position of being an orderly assembly to being an unruly mob. That, should not .be. Honorable senators, both on this side of the chamber and on the other,, whatever their differences of. opinion politically may be, ought to be prepared to stand by the Deputy President, and see that the Standing Orders- are “observed. I again appeal to the honorable senator to bow to his: decision. Since he» is- evidently determined not to comply with the readiest, I very reluctantly move -
That Senator. Gardiner be suspended! from the sitting of the Senate.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The question is - that- the- motion be agreed to- senator Gardiner. - Mr. Deputy President
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - For the question say, “Aye,” against the question say, “No.” I think the ayes have it.
– The Standing Orders permit me to make an explanation at this stage. Whoever removes me will do so at his own peril.
– I rise to a point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Senator Gardiner should have made his explanation before the question was put, but he did not do so.
– He was on his feet when the question was put.
– You did not give him a chance to make an explanation..
– I am prepared to obey the Standing Orders to the letter.
– He was on his feet, and you -refused to see him.
– I rise to a pointof order. When you were in the act of putting the motion that Senator Gardiner be suspended for the present sitting of the Senate, he was on his feet, and prepared to address the Chair. You, Mr. Deputy President, despite that fact, put the motion. I submit that you ought to have heard the honorable senator before the Senate recorded its decision. I want your ruling on that point.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Under Standing Order 430, the honorable senator couldhave made his appeal after the question had been stated. The Minister appealed to him to reconsider his action, and gave him every opportunity to explain or to withdraw from the attitude he had taken up, but he did not take advantage of it.
– That is not correct.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Therefore I had no option in the matter, and could only put the question, to which the Senate has agreed.
Honorable Senators. - We have not agreed to it.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - No division was called for.
– I think there was a call fora division.
– We need notmake matters worse than they are. When the Minister submitted his motion, I should not have been in order in speaking to it ; but while you were shout to put the question I rose to speak. Under the Standing Orders I could not make my explanation until the motionsubmitted by the Leader of the Governmenthad been stated.
– Anexplanation must be made before the question is stated.
– I amnot reported until the Minister has moved the motion. Standing Order 440 reads -
When amy senator has beenreported as having committed an offence he shall be called upon to stand up in hisplace andmake any explanation or apology he may think fit,-
It does not mean that he shall becalled upon by Senator Pearce– and afterwards a motion may be moved - “That such senatorbe suspended from the sitting of the Senate.” No amendment, adjournment, or debateshall be allowed on such motion, which shall be immediately put by thePresident.
If you think you have complied with that standing order, well and good I do not. . .
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - 1” have complied with the Standing Orders. There is no need for me to call upon the honorable senator to stand up in his place. His case was under consideration, and he had every opportunity to make his explanation, but he neglected to do so.
– I endeavoured to do so at the right time.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I did not hear a division called for, but-
– I intend to move that your ruling be disagreed with.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - There is already a motion for disagreement with my ruling, which must first bedisposed of.
– By that time it will be too late. Standing Order 440–
SenatorFoll. - I rise to a point of order.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - There cannot be two points of order raised at the same time.
– Please allow me to state my point.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - A division has been called for.
– Not yet.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - Will the honorable senator kindly resumehis seat?
– Where are we drifting to? Standing Order 440 states-
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Will the honorable senator resume his seat?
– I will.
– May I ask a question? How do you interpret the standing order which states, “When any senator has been reported as having committed an offence he shall be called upon to stand up in his place”? By whom shall he be called? You did not call him. He was not called, although it is provided in the Standing Orders that he shall be called.
– The Chair ought to be fair.
Question - That Senator Gardiner be suspended from the sitting of the Senate - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I now ask Senator Gardiner to obey the decision of the Senate, suspending him from the sitting.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I call upon the officer whose duty it is to remove the honorable senator.
Senator Gardiner, escorted by the
Question - That the question of dissent requires immediate determination - put.
The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- The question now is -
That the Senate dissent from the ruling of the Deputy President.
Earlier in the evening I gave the reasons for my ruling. I presume that honorable senators do not wish me to recapitulate them. Under the Standing Orders there was no other course open to me than that which I followed, otherwise I should not have ruled as I did.
Question: - That the Senate dissent from the ruling of the Deputy President - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . . . 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question - That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders he suspended as would prevent the message being at once considered and all consequent action taken - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . . 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
That the message be considered in committee of the whole forthwith.
In committee (Consideration of House of Representatives’ message) :
Clause 8 -
After section 16a of the principal act the following section is inserted:- “ (3.) The board shall consider and determine any appeal made to it under this section, and shall notify the appellant of its determination, which shall be final and conclusive.”
Senate’s Amendment. - Leave out sub-section (3), and insert the following new subsections : - (3.) The board shall refer the appeal to an Appeal Board consisting of three members, one of whom shall be appointed by the board, and one of whom shall be elected by the officers of the bank in the manner prescribed, with an independent chairman appointed by the board. (4.) The Appeal Board shall consider any appeal referred to it under this section, and shall submit its report thereon to the board, which shall determine the appeal and notify the appellant of its determination, which shall be final and conclusive.
Souse of Representatives’ Message. - Amendment amended by the insertion of the proposed words “chosen by mutual agreement between the other two members, or if those members fail to agree,” after the word “chairman” in the proposed sub-section (3).
– I move -
That the House of Representatives’ amendment of the amendment be agreed to.
When dealing with clause 8 of the bill, we considered the question of appeals by officers of the bank, and set up an Appeal Board under proposed sub-section 3, which read as follows: -
The board shall refer the appeal to an Appeal Board consisting of three members, one of whom shall be appointed by the board, and one of whom shall be elected by the officers of the bank, in the manner prescribed, with an independent chairman appointed by the board.
The House of Representatives has amended that provision by inserting after the word “ chairman “ the words “ chosen by mutual agreement between the other two members, or if those members fail to agree.” The provision now reads-
The board shall refer the appeal to an Appeal Board consisting of three members, one of whom shall be appointed by the board, and one of whom shall be elected by the officers of the bank, in the manner prescribed, with an independent chairman, chosen by mutual agreement between the other two members, or if those members fail to agree, appointed by the board.
The House of Representatives has not altered the constitution of the board, but has provided that the chairman shall be mutually agreed upon by the representative of the bank and the representative of the officers, and that if they fail to agree, he shall be appointed by the board.
– In that case, the chairman may be a person who is not in the employ of the bank.
– This does not deal with that aspect of the question.
– If a person outside the bank may be appointed, it opens up a very serious question.
– Under the bill as it left the Senate, the chairman of the Appeal Board was to be appointed by the board of directors, but an amendment has been made whereby an independent chairmen, mutually agreed upon by the representatives of the employees and the board, may be appointed. If the representatives of the officers and the board of directors fail to agree, the chairman will be appointed by the board.
– Is it clear that the chairman is to be an employee of the bank?
– That is left to the representatives who appoint the. chairman. That question was fully discussed when we were dealing with the bill in this chamber, and it was pointed out that the board would have to decide whether a, chairman should be appointed from the officers of the bank.
SenatorLynch. -The selection should be made from officers in the bank.
– The representatives can be trusted to select a- suitable chairman. A Treasury official might be selected as an independent chairman.
– A member of the Bank Officers Association in the employ of private Bank might be selected..
-If the representative of the board objected and there was any disagreement the board would have the right to appoint a chairman.
– The Minister (Senator Pearce) has not followed the usual practice by giving reasons for accepting this amendment. Personally, I cannot see that there is much difference between the two proposals, unless it is that the board will have the right to appoint two representatives instead of one. The subclause as it left the Senate provided that one member of the Appeal Board should be appointed by the board of directors and one by the officers of the bank,, with an independent chairman appointed by the board, but the amendment of the House of Representatives provides that in the event of a disagreement the board shall have the right to appoint two members.
.- Senator McDougall does not appear to have grasped the meaning of this amendment, which is really in favour of the employees of the bank. As the clause left this chamber the board of directors had the right to select two representatives, but the amendment provides: that in ordinary cases where no secrecy is involved it will be open for the representatives of the board and. of the employees to select an independent chairman, who may be outside the bank altogether.
– The principle is one for which we were fighting.
– Yes, it is a further step in the direction desired by us, and the amendment should be accepted.
The Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page), has gone a little further, in meeting, our wishes than the Minister (Senator Pearce) anticipated, and. I. think we should willingly accept this slight concession.
– When the bill was first placed before the Senate no proper Appeal Board was provided for, but as a result of representations made in this chamber a clause was inserted to provide for the appointment of a board, one member of which was to be appointed by the board and one by the officers of the bank, with an independent chairman appointed by the board. The House of Representatives has agreed to our amendment with a further amendment providing that the representative of the board and the representative of the employees shall have the right to select an independent chairman. That is an improvement. If therepresentatives fail to agree upon a chairman, the board of directors will fill the vacancy. So far as I can see, the chairman need not be selected from any particular section so long as the representatives are in agreement as to his qualifications.
. - I agree with Senator Grant that, from the point of view of the bank employees the proposal is a good one. The bill as it left the Senate gave the board the right to appoint two members of the Appeal Board, but under the amendment it will have the right to appoint only one member except in the event of a disagreement between the representatives, when the chairman will be appointed by the board of directors.
Senator HANNAN (Victoria) [9.14). -I do not feel inclined to congratulate honorable members in another place on their action in amending the Senate’s amendment in this way. The idea was the creation of an Appeal Board. This is the. first time that I have heard of men having to appeal to a board. which is controlled by those against whom they are appealing. If the boardof management has the’ right to appoint a representative on the Appeal Board, and the officers of the bank the right to appoint another the chairman being appointed by the board, it only requires that the member of the Appeal Board who is appointed by the board of directors shall disagree with the appointment of the chairman suggested,and the board of. management’ appoints the chairman. The chairman of the Appeal Board should be appointed by an authority outside the. control and influence of the board itself. I should prefer to see the right to appoint the chairman vested in the Treasurer of the Commonwealth. Some person free from the influence of the board should be the chairman. Supposing it was a wages board, and that the employees had the power to appoint one representative, and the employers’ the power to appoint another; and that the latter had the right also to object to a particular chairman, this committee would not consider that an Appeal Board constituted on these lines would be a proper Appeal Board. Similarly, a board constituted as suggested in the amendment made by the House of Representatives cannot be looked upon as a proper Appeal Board. Senator Duncan says that it is a great improvement.
– It is some improvement.
– Some improvement of a bad proposal.
– Not a bad one.
– The honorable senator cannot look upon this as a properly constituted Appeal Board.
– It is a long way better than nothing.
– The men are looking for a substantial board.
– They are quite prepared to accept this.
– In that case they are prepared to accept anything.
– They are not prepared to accept the bill’ in its present state.
– The Government would be doing greater justice, both to itself and to the officers, if it gave to the Treasurer of the Commonwealth the right to- appoint an impartial chairman.
– The original proposition’ of Senator Duncan was that the chairman should be appointed by the Public Service Board, but the bank raised objections.
– The bank might have objected to the Public Service Board making: the appointment, but that objection might not be raisedif the right were vested in the Treasurer of the Commonwealth. The very fact of Senator Duncan speaking authoritatively on be half of the officers of the bank, and submitting a proposal to- the Senate that the power to appoint the chairman should be left in the hands of the Public Service Board, indicates that the officers of the bank wanted’ the power to appoint the chairman to be vested in some one free altogether from the institution.
– That certainly would have pleased them better.
– This proposal still gives to the board of directors the right to say who shall be chairman. Their representative on the Appeal Board has only to disagree with the other representative regarding the chairman, and the appointment of chairman will then be made automatically by the board of management.
– That is so.
– T - That is what it was before.
– There is a slight difference, but no material alteration.
– Under this, they get an outside chairman, whereas before they bad another bank officer as chairman.
– They get. an independent chairman, provided that the representative of the management agrees with the representative of the officers as to the appointment to be made.
– All the arguments used by the honorable senator were used in this chamber for the best part of two days, when the whole matter was threshed out thoroughly, and we put something in the bill which was not there before. Another place has thought fit to still further alter, it.
– The outcome of the previous discussion in this chamber, and of the discussion in another place; is that a “shandy-gaff” form of board, of appeal has been framed, and we are now asked to agree to it.
– The honorable senator appears to be under the impression that the Appeal Board will deal with wages) but I remind him that that is a matter for the Arbitration Court.
– I am aware of that, but the Appeal Board may deal with matters of more importance to the officers of the bank than their salaries. The question of their dismissal or suspension might arise. A man’s honour might be at stake. Because of that, the chairman of the Appeal Board should be some person free from the influence of the board of directors. While, on the one hand, this proposal is a slight improvement, on the other hand it gives to the board of directors the right to appoint its representative as the chairman of the board of appeal. It is not a reasonable proposal, and should be altered. I should much prefer to see the Treasurer of the Commonwealth given the power to appoint the chairman.
– I hoped that Senator Hannan would conclude by moving an amendment in the direction indicated by his speech. We must be very careful in accepting this amendment of another place. Despite the fact that the matter was debated here for two days, as mentioned by Senator Pearce, it is worth another two days’ debate if we can improve it. I admit that our amendment of the measure which came here from another place was not ideal. It read -
The board shall refer the appeal to an Appeal Board consisting of three members, one of whom shall be appointed by the board, and one of whom shall be elected by the officers of the bank in the manner prescribed, with an independent chairman appointed by the board.
I can not see how the board of management of the bank can appoint . an independent chairman. To that extent the measure, as it left us, was faulty.
– That was the best we could secure.
– I doubt that. The amendment made by another place would be an improvement if it stopped at the word “ members,” where that. word first occurs. It would then read -
The board shall refer the appeal to an Appeal Board consisting of three members, one of whom shall be appointed by the board, and one of whom shall be elected by the officers of the bank in the manner prescribed, with an independent chairman, chosen by mutual agreement between the other two members.
Senator Hannan has placed his finger on the weak spot. If either representative objects to the chairman suggested, the board of management automatically appoints the chairman. That gets us back to where we were when the amendment left us. Senator Hannan pointed to the way out when he suggested that, in the event of a disagree ment between the two representatives on the Appeal Board, the Commonwealth Treasurer should appoint the chairman. I am content to allow the Commonwealth Treasurer or the Prime Minister to be the deciding party in the appointment of a chairman, as either of those gentlemen would be removed from the atmosphere of the board of directors.
– That would make it a political appointment.
– I do not think so, as I believe any gentleman occupying the position of Commonwealth Treasurer or Prime Minister would be so far free from party politics as to name a man who would be suitable.
– It would be better to have the Public Service Board.
– In that case there is the same atmosphere of officialdom, which would really make the appeal one from Caesar to Caesar. I should prefer to see the suggestion of Senator Hannan adopted.
– If the Minister can make the position clear by explaining the powers that will be exercised by the board, some doubt will be removed from my mind. It is perfectly true, as Senator Pearce has said, that the clause we are now considering was discussed at great length in this chamber a few days ago, and that at the close of the discussion the Government agreed to a certain clause, ‘ which was embodied in the bill, and sent on to another place. I believe that it was late on a Friday afternoon when this matter -was finally dealt with. The Leader of the Opposition in this chamber (Senator Gardiner), in tacitly agreeing to the Minister’s suggestion in regard to the Appeal Board, had in his mind that “ an independent chairman “ meant what it said, and that the chairman would, in reality, be independent. According to the statement made by the Minister, the chairman ie to be appointed by the board from the board.
– I did not say that. As the bill left the Senate, it provided that the board should appoint an independent chairman. It did not state whether he was or was not to be an officer of the bank.
– Is there any provision which will ensure that an independent chairman will be appointed?
When a representative of the Bank Officers Association and a representative of the governor are appointed, they willbe called upon to decide who shall be the independent chairman. The representative of the governor will probably desire to have as chairman an officer of the bank, but the representative of the Bank Officers Association will probably desire the choice to be made from those outside the service of the bank. If a deadlock ensues the appointment will have to be made by the board of directors, and I am disposed to think that it will take the view that one of its own members should be appointed.
– The appeal will not be against a decision of the board, but against a decision of an officer of the bank. It will not, therefore, be an appeal from Caesar to Caesar.
-I acknowledge that. If a chairman were chosen from outside the bank’s service the board of appeal would be more likely to be an impartial tribunal.
– I gave a very substantial reason why that could not be done.
– The Minister’s reason was not substantial enough to convince me.
– Surely the honorable senator does not desire to lay the Commonwealth Bank open to the suspicion that its business lacks secrecy.
– I believe that any person appointed to the position of chairman of the Appeal Board would observe the canons of etiquette in regard to confidential matters. I have a better opinion of the man who would be chosen to fill such an important position than to believe that he would disclose information of a confidential nature. Because I am not satisfied that the powers of the representative of the Bank Officers Association will be as great as those of the representative of the bank, I am not disposed to regard this as a great concession by the Government. As the Government has a majority in both Houses, there is very little hope of any further amendment being successful. If the Appeal Board does not realize anticipations, I hope that we shall have the opportunity later to improve it.
– I approved of the amendment by the other House solely because I did not consider that we were strong enough to defeat the Ministry. Our endeavour has been to establish an Appeal Board to which we could confidently look to give the employees of the bank a fair deal. I do not think that they will get a fair deal under this proposal. Senator Pearce’s argument does not convince me that the bank would suffer by the appointment of a chairman from outside its service. I am sure that it is apparent to the Minister that the measure has not been improved by the further amendment made in another place. If the representative of the governor were opposed to the employees he would not agree to the appointment, desired by their representative. We should take whatever steps we can to have the appointment made from outside the service of the bank. The bank’s interests will be best served by keeping the employees contented. The Appeal Board should be one in which they will have absolute confidence. Senator Hannan has made the excellent suggestion that an independent chairman should be appointed by the Treasurer. That idea could be carried a little further by providing that the man appointed as chairman should be entirely dissociated from the bank. There are many men who could act in such a position with absolute impartiality.
– D - Does the honorable senator consider that it would be wise to appoint a judge as chairman of the board?
– I do not think it would be reasonable to call upon a judge of the Supreme Court or the district court to act on such a board. There are many men who have a judicial mind sufficiently developed to enable them to discharge the duties that will devolve upon the chairman of this board. I move -
That the following words be added to the motion : - “with the following amendment, viz., after ‘ agree ‘ add ‘ by the Treasurer of the Commonwealth from outside the Service.’ “
– I appeal to the committee not to accept Senator Grant’s amendment. It could only result in further delaying the bill, and it would not have the faintest chance of acceptance in another place, for the reason that I have already given: No private bank in Australia is forced to permit its affairs to be scrutinized by officers of rival banks. The board of appeal might be dealing with the case of an officer who had to be disciplined for having made some mistake in operating my private account, and under Senator Giant’s amendment an officer from another bank might be able to examine my banking account. If honorable senators opposite, who profess to be the champions of the Commonwealth Bank, wish to destroy the institution, let them accept the amendment of my motion, for it would have the effect of destroying the secrecy of the bank’s affairs, and would do much to prevent the Commonwealth Bank from transacting any general banking business. The amendment by the House of Repesentatives is a fair compromise, but Senator Grant has made a dangerous suggestion which the Government cannot accept.
– Apart from the dangers mentioned by the Minister in charge of the Bill, Senator Grant’s amendment would introduce a political element into the control of the bank. The moment that is done we shall be taking the first and most direct step towards its destruction. If the chairman of the board is to be appointed by the ‘Treasurer there will necessarily be the risk of the appointmentbeing a political one. Honorable senators opposite, who supported the Government that introduced the original bill for the establishment of the Commonwealth Bank, saw no necessity for such an amendment as Senator Grant now proposes. I am entirely opposed to exposing to the public the business of the bank’s customers, and I hope that the power to be given under the amendment from another place will be very cautiously exercised.
– I think the Minister (Senator Pearce) has indulged in some of his customary bluff on this occasion. Does he say that if the amendment by Senator Grant is not ‘Carried, the representatives of the board of directors and of the officers will be compelled to appoint a chairman from among the officers of the bank?
– No, but if any inquiry involved the examination of a private banking account the representative of the board of directors would readily object to an outsider acting as chairman.
– I - I understand that, under the amendment made in another place, it is proposed that the representative of the board of directors, and the representative of the officers, shall be entirely free to select whomsoever they please as chairman of the Appeal Board, and in most cases they will probably select somebody other than an officer of the bank. The logical conclusion to be arrived at from the statement by the Minister is that the chairman of the Appeal Board must be an officer of the bank, otherwise there will be the danger of the business of the bank being made known to an outsider. I regard the proposal now before us as an improvement on the bill as it left this chamber. In most cases the appointment of an independent chairman will, I think,be agreed to, and I hope that in all cases it will be some one apart from the officers of the bank. In my opinion, the chairman should be a magistrate or judge. At any rate,the Treasurer in making a selection should see that he was a person accustomed to dealing with evidence. I object to the inference to be drawn from the Minister’s statement that it would be dangerous to have as chairman a person other than an officer of the bank.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added (SenatorGrant’s amendment) - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion agreed to.
Clause 16 -
Section 60 o of the Principal Act is amended. . . .
Senate’s Amendment. - At end of clause add “ ; and (b) by adding at the end thereof the following proviso : -
Provided that Australian notes shall not be issued to the bank without the approval of the Treasurer.’
House of Representatives? Message. - Amendment disagreed to for the following reason : - “ The public interest is sufficiently safeguarded without the requirement contained in the amendment, which, if agreed to, would hamper the bank in carrying out its functions.”
.- I move-
That the Senate does not insist on its amendment disagreed to by the House of Representatives .
In another section of the act it is provided that the board shall have authority to issue notes to the banks under certain conditions. As the bill left this chamber it provided that the board should not issue notes to the Commonwealth Bank without the approval of the Treasurer. In the debate in another place it was pointed out that it was not desirable to place upon the Commonwealth Bank limitations’ that were not imposed on other banks. The Government felt that there were sound reasons for the representations, and that it would not be wise to subject the Commonwealth Bank to a disability by requiring the consent of the Treasurer to the issue of any notes to the bank.
– I am unable to follow the Minister’s argument. When the bill was under discussion in this chamber we were given to understand that the additional note issue was required for the purpose of dealing with the coming wool clip.
– That is dealt with in another clause. It has nothing to do with this amendment.
– We know that the banks in London have made certain proposals to the Government in view of the fact that Australia is short of money.
– I remind the honorable senator that the amendment deals only with the approval of the Treasurer to the issue of Australian notes to the Commonwealth Bank.
– If you sayI am out of order, Mr. Chairman, I shall have to obey your ruling. I submit that I am entitled to give my reasons for objecting to the motion. We were given to understand that the notes were to be issued to the Commonwealth Bank for certain purposes. The Minister told us that the notes were not issued to private banks on the same conditions. They do not want them on the same conditions. In my opinion they will be able to get them under different conditions. This safeguard, requiring the consent of the Treasurer to the issue of notes to the Commonwealth Bank, was inserted by the Senate in. committee. I believe all honorable senators thoroughly understood the position, and desired to prevent the issue of Australian notes against foreign securities. I object to the elimination of this very wise and sane proposal.
– I find it extremely difficult to understand the amendment. Clause 16 of the bill amends section 60 of the principal act by omitting the word “ board,” and inserting in its stead the words “ note issue department.” The amendment of the Senate provided that Australian notes should not be issued to the bank without the approval of the Treasurer. I do not agree that the provision inserted by the Senate would in any way handicap the Commonwealth Bank. It appears to me that there is very considerable danger of the note issue being increased to an extraordinary extent. What is wrong with the provision inserted by the Senate? .
– If the honorable senator reads Mr. Anstey’s speech in another place he will find strong arguments against it.
– No doubt Mr. Anstey is very well informed on a number of matters, but I do not always agree with him. The provision which we are now asked to eliminate was inserted by the committee of this chamber after careful consideration. I am opposed to its deletion without sufficient reasons being supplied by the Minister.
– I candidly confess that I find great difficulty in coming to an intelligent conception of the purport of the message from the House of Representatives. To thoroughly understand the position we require not only to refer to the bill, but also to the principal act, and I protest against this method of doing business.
– On the honorable senator’s file he will find a memorandum showing the effect which the amendments made by this bill will have on the principal act-
– The The message from the House of Representatives was placed before honorable senators immediately prior to the dinner hour adjournment. We are now expected to deal with it without having had a reasonable opportunity of comparing the amendments with the bill and the act in order to arrive at an intelligent decision. In the circumstances I think the Minister might very well report progress.
Question - That the Senate does not insist on its amendment, disagreed to by the House of Representatives - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion agreed to.
Order of the day for the resumption of the debate (vide page 2917), on motion by Senator Gardiner, called on, and debate (on motion by Senator Wilson) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Sena tor Newland). - Before the Senate adjourns I desire to refer briefly to an unfortunate incident which occurred earlier in the evening, when Senator Gardiner was suspended for the remainder of the sitting. Out of consideration for the honorable senator I permitted him to make certain statements after his suspension had been agreed to by the Senate; but as the honorable senator had then been suspended I direct that the remarks which he then made be deleted from Hansard.
– Shall I be in order, Mr. Deputy President, in asking a question on the statement you have just made?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Yes.
– I desire to know what authority you have for directing that the remarks referred to be deleted from Hansard?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- My authority for their deletion is sufficient.
– But have you the authority ?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Yes.
– I protest against the Senate now adjourning, because I have a motion on the notice-paper dealing with the case of Lieutenant W. W. Paine, who, in my opinion, has been most unfairly treated by the Government. When I last brought this matter before the Senate, I stated the position in which this man had been placed, but no reply has yet been furnished. It is particularly unfair of the Minister (Senator Pearce) to take advantage of his majority to prevent discussion, and I can only enter my protest against the Senate adjourning when such an important matter is awaiting decision.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.25 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 August 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1924/19240814_senate_9_108/>.