21 August 1924

9th Parliament · 2nd Session

The Deputy President (Senator Newland) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 3406



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

– On the 25th July, Senator Gardiner asked me the following questions : -

  1. What are the names of all the boards created by the Commonwealth Government that were in existence during the years 1920-21, 1921-22, and 1922-23?
  2. What has been the cost to the Commonwealth of the maintenance of each board for the years 1920-21, 1921-22, and 1922-23?
I replied that I was taking action to ob- able to furnish, the honorable senator with tain the desired information. I am now the following information : - {: .page-start } page 3408 {:#debate-1} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-1-0} #### DUTY ON SHIPS {: #subdebate-1-0-s0 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
Honorary Minister · SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT -- On the l5th August, **Senator McDougall** asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. How many vessels have been imported into Australia since the proclamation of the act imposing a duty on vessels under 500 tons? 1. How much money has been received as duty on such vessels? 2. Have any vessels under 500 tons been imported without paying duty? 3. Has any exemption been granted? 4. If so, for what reason? 5. Has any promise been made that the duty would be remitted on future contracts? 6. If so, when and why? I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information : - 1.The number of vessels under 500 tons gross register imported was not recorded prior to 1st July, 1922. Since 1st July, 1922, nine vessels under 500 tons gross register have been imported. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. The amount of duty collected on the nine vessels referred to above amounted to £18,102. 1. Yes; two. In one case the full duty is being claimed, but only partial payment has yet been made. In the other, it was ascertained some time after the duty actually accrued that the vessel had been three months in Australian waters, and was therefore dutiable. In the meantime, the owners at time of arrival were in liquidation, and the duty could not be recovered. This vessel, however, was practically rebuilt in Australia, and the duty was not enforced against purchasers, who bought in ignorance of the claim for duty. 4 and5. No; but see question No. 3. 6 and 7. No. {: .page-start } page 3408 {:#debate-2} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-2-0} #### AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORT {: #subdebate-2-0-s0 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA -- Has the Leader of the Senate any information respecting the early presentation of the AuditorGeneral's report, concerning which I asked a question last week? {: #subdebate-2-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- I have here a letter from the Auditor-General which, by leave of the Senate, I shall read. *[Leave granted.]* The letter is as follows: - >Commonwealth of Australia. > >Audit Office, Melbourne. 19th August, 1924. > > **Sir,** > >I have the honour to make reference to the proceedings of the Senate of Thursday last, 14th August, 1924, as recorded on page 3112 of *Hansard.* The following is an extract therefrom: - {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- 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 to honor - able senators before the budget is dealt with in this chamber? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I have had inquiries made, and I am sorry that I am unable to assure honorable senators that the AuditorGeneral's report willbe available before the budget is dealt with by the Senate. I have, however, asked that its completion he expedited, so that, if possible, it may be available, but at present I cannot give a definite assurance." {: type="1" start="2"} 0. It is desired by me to explain that no communication has been made to me with respect to the expediting of the completion of the report upon the past financial year's accounts. I desire to explain that what I meant was that I had asked the Secretary to Ministers to see if the report could be expedited.In my reply to **Senator Lynch** I did not mean to convey the impression that I had addressed an official intimation to the Auditor-General. The letter continues - >Indeed, such reference to me would have been unnecessary, as it is impossible for my report to be made and presented untilafter the Treasury Financial Statement is submitted to me. and it is not probable that the Treasury will be able to do this for some time to come.' > >The circumstances governing the time of the presentation of the Auditor-General's Report to Parliament were clearly set out toy me in the commencing paragraph of my 'Report upon the accounts for the year1921-22, and this was again referred to in my last Report, namely, that on the accounts for the year 1922-23. > >The completed and officially signed Financial Statement for the year 1920-21 was submitted to me by the Treasury on the 4th October, 1921, and my Report was completed and finished on the 7th October of that year. The Treasury Statement for the year 1921-22 was received by me on the 3rd October, 1922, and my Report was completed and signed on the same day. The Statement for the year 1922-23 was received by me on the 10th December, 1923, and this was completed and signed by me on the same day, so there is no delay whatever on the part of the Audit Office. > >It is pointed out that it would be impossible that the Finance Statement accompanied by the Auditor-General's Report, under ordinary circumstances, shouldbe submitted to Parliament and considered before, or while, the Budget is being dealt with as desired by Senators. > >In , addition to reporting upon the Treasurer's accounts, the Auditor-General includes in his report particulars relating to the Commonwealth Bank, the Shipping Board, River Murray. Waters, . Factories, Fruit Pools, Meat Industry, Red Cross Accounts, Canteen Funds, Wool, Wheat and Flax Accounts, Parliamentary Refreshment Room, and a number of other similar accounts. The year's accounts for the Territories of New Guinea and Papua, and also of Nauru, are there reported upon. > >The information in connexion with some of these has to be supplied from London, and most of theaccounts referred to cannot be made up and submitted for some months after the financial year. Even then these accounts are received." and the examination concluded before those of the Treasury, in their completed form, are received by me. > >From these remarks of mine I am sure Senators will be able to understand that it is quite impossible for the Auditor-General's Report to be before them before the Budget is considered. > >The Minister must have been misinformed when it was stated that it had been asked that the completion of my report should be expedited so that, if possible, it might be available for consideration before the Budget was dealt with. > >I have the honour to be, **Sir,** > >Your obedient servant, > >W. Israel, Auditor-General. > >The Right Honorable the Minister for Home and Territories, Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne. {: .page-start } page 3409 {:#debate-3} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-3-0} #### CANBERRA CITY LEASEHOLDS {: #subdebate-3-0-s0 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Has the Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce)** been supplied with the lithographs of the leases of building sites at Canberra that about a fortnight ago he promised would be made available? If so, when will they be distributed? {: #subdebate-3-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- They are now being prepared. {: .page-start } page 3409 {:#debate-4} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-4-0} #### MANDATED TERRITORIES Colonel Ainsworth's Report {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL:
QUEENSLAND -- Can the Minister for Home and Territories **(Senator Pearce)** state when the report of Colonel Ainsworth upon the Mandated Territories is likely to be made available to honorable senators? {: #subdebate-4-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- I cannot name a definite date. Colonel Ainsworth is at present engaged in checking his report before its presentation to Ministers. {: .page-start } page 3409 {:#debate-5} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-5-0} #### NEW GUINEA Taxation of Resident Australians {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Can the Minister for Home and Territories state if the taxation paid by Australians who are at present resident in New Guinea upon income derived from personal exertion and from businesses is paid to the New Guinea Administration or to the Commonwealth of Australia? {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- Those taxes are paid to the New Guinea Administration, {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- They pay nothing to the Commonwealth of Australia? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Not unless they are in receipt of incomes from Australia. {: .page-start } page 3409 {:#debate-6} ### PAPERS The following papers were presented : - >Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determinations by the Arbitrator, &c. - No. 29 of 1924- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association. No. 30 of 1924- Commonwealth Public Service Clerical Association; Commonwealth Postmasters' Association; Federated Public Service Assistants' Association; Australian.. Letter Carriers' Association; Australian Postal Assistants' Union; Commonwealth Public Service Artisans' Association; Commonwealth Telephone Officers' Association; General Division Officers' Union, Trade and Customs Department; and Australian Postal Linemen's Union. No. 31 of 1924- Australian Letter Carriers' Association. Boards appointed by Commonwealth Government. - Particulars *re.* Northern Territory : **Sir Edward** Pellew Group - Report, with special reference to Biology and Physical Features, by W. E. J. Paradice. M.B., Ch.M., Surgeon Lieutenant, E.A.N. {: .page-start } page 3409 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### SURVIVORS OF THE DOUGLAS MAW SON {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL: -- Has the Minister for Home and Territories received any information concerning the progress being made by the steamer *H udders field,* which has been sent in search of possible survivors of the wreck of the *Douglas Mawson?* {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- No. It is impossible to receive news from theHuddersfield, since it has no wireless and there is no telegraph station within hundreds of miles of it. {: #subdebate-7-0-s2 .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator DUNCAN:
NEW SOUTH WALES -- Will the Minister consider the advisability of sending another ship that is properly equipped and would be able to do the work that the Huddersfield was expected to perform? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No; that is quite unnecessary, for theHuddersfield must long ago have reached the point at which it was to land the search party. {: .page-start } page 3410 {:#debate-8} ### PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE {:#subdebate-8-0} #### Automatic Telephone Exchanges : Unley and Norwood **Senator LYNCH** brought up the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, together with minutes of evidence, in relation to the proposal to erect automatic telephone exchanges at Unley and Norwood, South Australia. {: .page-start } page 3410 {:#debate-9} ### ASSENT TO BILLS Assent to the following bills reported : - War Pensions Appropriation Bill. Post and Telegraph Rates Bill. Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill. Cattle Export Bounty Bill. Commonwealth Bank Bill. {: .page-start } page 3410 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### SHIPBUILDING AND DOCK REPAIRS australian workmanship . {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-JXZ} ##### Senator DUNCAN: asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. . Is it a fact that one of the largest shipping companies trading to Australia is so satisfied with the quality of Australian workmanship that it has expressed its intention of having all its docking and repair work in future carried out in Australia? 1. If so, will he consider this fact in. determining the question of the construction of the cruisers in Australia? {: #subdebate-10-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answers are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. One of the Peninsular and Oriental Company's vessels is at present undergoing survey in sydney, and it is understood that it is the intention "of the Peninsular and Oriental Company to take out annual certificates of survey for .their vessels in Sydney in future. 1. All relevant facts will be taken into consideration in determining the question of construction of cruisers for the Commonwealth. {: .page-start } page 3410 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### HEALTH LABORATORY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-KMI} ##### Senator GRAHAM:
WESTERN AUSTRALIA asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health, *upon notice -* >Is it the intention of the Commonwealth Government to assist the Western Australian Government in establishing a laboratory for scientifically dealing with miners' complaint and other occupational diseases contracted by miners in the course of their occupation? {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-KBJ} ##### Senator WILSON:
NAT -- The Commonwealth already has 'in hand the establishment of a health laboratory at Kalgoorlie, with X-ray equipment for the examination and diagnosis of miners' complaint and other occupational diseases. It is hoped that the laboratory will be opened by the end of the year.. {: .page-start } page 3410 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### SUPPLIES FOR BORROLOOLA {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator FOLL: asked the Minister for Home and Territories, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether his attention has been drawn to a further statement in the press lately- to the effect that the residents of Borroloola and district are so short of supplies that they are living on water-lily seeds? 1. Whether, in view of the abnormally slow progress of the *Huddersfield,* which is owned by the Boucaut Bay Company, and upon whose service the residents rely for stores, he is still satisfied that the Boucaut Bay Company are catering for the shipping requirements of the McArthur and adjacent localities? 2. Have .this company up to the present fulfilled all the terms of their contract? {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answers are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes; but the statement in question is merely a repetition of one made some weeks ago, and refers to the same period. I invite the honorable senator's attention to the answer given by me to his question on this subject on the 24th July last. 1. Yes. The company referred to is employing more than one vessel in connexion with its contract. 2. Yes. {: .page-start } page 3410 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### COMMERCIAL TREATY BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND RUSSIA {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-KNF} ##### Senator GREENE:
NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT asked the Ministerrepresenting the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Were the terms of the commercial treaty, as between the Imperial Government and the Russian Soviet, communicated to the Australian Government before the treaty was signed? 1. "If so, did the Government consent to the terms of the treaty or make any representations to the Imperial Government relating thereto? {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answers are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. As the treaty is not binding on Australia, and as each self-governing portion of the Empire reserves to itself the right to negotiate any commercial treaty without interference on the part of other portions of the Empire, the Government felt that it was neither desirable nor necessary to make any representations' to the Imperial Government in connexion with' this treaty. {: .page-start } page 3411 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### EUROPEAN SITUATION Message of Congratulation to British Prime Minister {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator McDOUGALL:
NEW SOUTH WALES asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Hasthe Government noticed it reported inthe cable news that the King has especially congratulated the Prime Minister of Great Britain on his successfulefforts to arrange terms of peace between the European nations? 1. Will the Government consider the advisability of following the King's lead, and send a message of congratulation to the Prime Minister of Great Britain? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answers are - 1.. Yes. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. A message of congratulation has been depatched to the Prime Minister of Great Britain. {: .page-start } page 3411 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### BEEF EXPORT {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is it a fact - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. That during the operations at Wyndham Freezing Works, in 1923, the return to the producer per frozen bullock was, without bounty, £3 3s.? 1. That the freight in that year per frozen bullock from Wyndham to London was £3 2s.1d.? 2. That the present freight,11/8d. per lb., is 100 per cent. more than the pre-war rate? 3. That the present rate of freight is 121/2 per cent. higher than that charged from any port in North Queensland? 1. If so, will the Government, following the example of the scheme adopted for the distribution of sugar in the Commonwealth, whereby a common flat rate is charged at all the state capitals in connexion with the vote about to be provided for the marketing of Australian products, adopt a flat rate for beef exports, in orderto put all producers in the Commonwealth on the same footing? {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
NAT -- The answers are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. No; for the reason that the conditions relating to sugar are entirely different from those governing the export of beef. The sugar arrangement is entirely due to the methods adopted by the industry itself to dispose of its Australian sugar at a uniform price within the Commonwealth. In the case of the suggested special freight bonus for Wyndham meat the Commonwealth Government could not grant a bounty which would be restricted solely to the works referred to. {: .page-start } page 3411 {:#debate-16} ### STATES LOAN BILL Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 3411 {:#debate-17} ### LOAN BILL (No. 2) {: #debate-17-s0 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT .-I move- >That the bill be now read a second time. When the Estimates were distributed in connexion with the budget recently delivered, honorable senators probablynoticed a statement attached showing the estimated expenditure out of the Loan Fund for the current financial year. This bill is to authorize the Treasurer to raise the necessary loan moneys and to appropriate those moneys for the purpose detailed in the schedule to the bill. The chief items of expenditure contained in the bill are as follow: - War service homes and loan to State of Queensland to cover advances made to returned soldiers for the purpose of workers' dwellings, £1,891,645; belated expenditurefor transport services and other expenditure in connexion with expeditionary forces, £53,000; ship construction, £240,000; loan to the territory of New Guinea for works, £67,000; immigration, passage money, £250,000; establishment of Federal territory - this provision is to meet the expenditure in the territory pending the appointment of the commission recently approved by Parliament - £110,000; Defence Department - naval bases, explosive factories, sites, &c, £366,325; Department of Trade and Customs - lighthouses and lighthouse vessels, £198,000; river Murray Waters, £246,250; Commonwealth railways, £402,500; Postmaster-General's Department, £4,398,864. Redemptions - Northern Territory and Port AugustaOodnadatta railway loans, £1,609,055; other items, £114,665. Total, £9,947,304. The total of the estimated expenditure as shown in the Estimates recently submitted with the budget is £8,282,835. The redemptions of Northern Territory loans and Port Augusta-Oodnadatta railway loans, for which no appropriation is available, total £1,609,055. In preparing the estimates for post office buildings, it wasanticipated that an amount of £99,164 would remain unexpended at the close of the year. As loan appropriations do not lapse at the end of the financial year, it is necessary to now ask Parliament to appropriate the full amount required. An additional amount of £50,000 is also included in the bill in respect of capital expenditure on the Port Augusta-Oodnadatta railway, and serum laboratories, £149,164. The figures quoted total £10,041,054. Parliament has already passed an appropriation for the subscription to the capital of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries. It will be necessary, therefore, to deduct the amount, £93,750, included for this purpose in the estimates of expenditure. The total thus remaining, £9,947,304, is the total of the schedule to the bill. Clause 2 of the bill authorizes the Treasurer to borrow £6,450,000. This amount, together with the unexpended moneys in the Loan Fund at the 30th June, the further instalments payable this financial year in respect of the loan raised in London in May last, and the balance of borrowing authority still available under previous loan acts, will enable sufficient moneys to be raised to meet the expenditure of £9,947,304 provided in the bill. Clause 3 directs that the amount borrowed under the authority of the bill shall be applied only for the expenses of borrowing and for the purposes of appropriations made or to be made by law. Clause 4 appropriates the amount of £9,947,304. Considerable detail of the contemplated expenditure is set out in the schedule to the bill, and further details will, if so desired, be furnished when the items are under the consideration of the committee. The loan bill contains authority to raise £6,450,000. This amount is made up as follows : - I ask honorable senators to pass the second reading this .afternoon, because the various items included in the bill have already been dealt with, or may be discused at the committee stage,' when 1 shall be glad to give any further information that may be asked for. It is advisable also to pass the bill without delay, in order to pre- vent any break in the continuity of works, many of which have already been entered upon. The Treasurer has been financing certain of these works out of the Treasurer's Advance, with a view to recouping the advance account after the passage of the bill. All the works are of an urgent character, and very necessary. In the circumstances, I ask honorable senators to give the measure the same consideration as was extended to it in another place, where it was passed expeditiously. {: #debate-17-s1 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales .- Again the Minister **(Senator Pearce)** is asking the Senate to pass an important bill without delay. I am beginning to think that concessions asked for are becoming too frequent, especially in view of the reluctance on the part of the Government to meet any of the wishes of honorable senators on this side of the chamber in the matter of procedure. However, as this is a loan bill, and as this Government exists by borrowing, I am not anxious to interfere with its right to borrow even for ten minutes. It is hard to say what would happen if I did. But this measure gives me an opportunity to enter my protest against the policy of the Government in connexion with the Postmaster-General's Department, which, as I said last night, lives on borrowed money. The Government is not using the revenues of that department for its ordinary every-day needs. I said, last night, that if the department wanted a new lock for a door the expenditure would be charged to loan, instead of to revenue. Perhaps some honorable senators will say that that statement is an exaggeration of the truth. If so, all I can say' is that just as a good cartoon, which exaggerates the strong features of the person caricatured is in many cases a more accurate portrayal of his characteristics than a photograph would be, so my statement, if it was exaggerated, which I very much doubt, was made for the purpose of emphasizing that the Postmaster-General's Department is charging to loan account, expenditures which properly are chargeable to revenue. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Attached to the bill is a schedule of postal works for this financial year, and I cannot find " repairs to locks " among any of the items mentioned therein. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- That is so, but there is, under the vote relating to New South Wales, an item, " Sundry offices - for works costing not more than £300 in each case." There are similar items respecting Victoria, Queenslaud, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. The subject I mentioned last evening would come under that heading. Is it not a fact that the profits of the post office are put into the Consolidated Revenue, and that the cost of administration is a charge against loan money ? {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- It is not a fact. The department is charged with interest on money borrowed for postal works. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I know that, but because of the short time allotted for the discussion of this bill, it is very easy to misunderstand the position. Before I finish speaking I shall, at any rate, have given the Minister some occasion to pause before attempting to contradict the statement that I made last night. I want to quote extracts from a. speech by **Dr. Earle** Page to show that, in criticizing the Government's administration of the post office I am in rather distinguished company. In a speech on the budget on the 18th October, 1921, **Dr. Earle** Page said - >Why is the revenue of the' post office taken from that department and allotted to other governmental activities? ... I desire to enter an emphatic objection to taking from the Postal Department the profits it makes and crediting them to general revenue. . . . The Postal Department should at least be made self-contained, and whatever profits it earns should be utilized for its extension and development. That is a sound argument. Again, on the 12th October, 1922, he stated, " That department has been the Cinderella and milch cow of the Treasurer since the inception of federation." The Postal Department can still be described as a milch cow, but the dairyman is now **Dr. Earle** Page, the Treasurer of the Commonwealth. Although he is now in charge of the dairy, he has made no attempt to place it *on* a sound basis, *or to* change the cow. The Postmaster-General's Depart ment is still the milch cow of the Treasury. Any change in the conditions since 1922 has been for the worse, and this I shall prove by a few figures that I have hurriedly collected. On page 6 of the budget, under the heading, " Additions, new works, and buildings," it is shown that the estimate for 1924-5 is £403,789, as against £620,660 for the previous year. This is a decrease of £216,871. At first glance, it would appear that the Government does not contemplate spending so much money this year on new works as last year; but, after closer investigation, we find that last year £240,026 was spent out of revenue on new works, and that this year all new works, &c, will be provided for out of loan. The tendency each year is to provide additions, new works and buildings more and more out of loan, and in this respect the following table is of interest: - {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The sum of £403,789 would pay for a lot of locks. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I used that illustration in exactly the same way as a cartoon is used to set out the broad features of the subject. {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- It is, intentionally, a gross exaggeration. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- There is no occasion for the Minister to use the word " gross," because I have been quite candid in what I have said. I have used my illustration in the same way as the Minister has used the word " gross," and that is to attract attention to my statement. If it attracts the attention of the taxpayers of this country' to the maladministration of the Postal Department, it will have served its purpose. I have made no attempt to mislead any one, nor have I made a charge that cannot be substantiated. From the figures of expenditure out of revenue that I have quoted it will be seen that, as compared with 1921-2, there is this year a reduction of over £2,000,000 in expenditure out of revenue, and an increase of the same amount out of loan. I arn making no gross exaggeration, but simply pointing out the drift and tendency of this department because of the Government's policy of borrowing money for additions and repairs, and at the same time paying interest on that money while the department is earning revenue out of which expenditure could be made for its repairs and new works. Can the Minister say that one figure I have quoted is a gross exaggeration? In 1921-22 the department spent £2,571,000 out of revenue. This year the estimated expenditure of the department is £403,789. This policy cannot possibly meet with the approval of an honorable gentleman who. as I haveshown, condemned it in 1921 and again in 1922. The time has arrived to place the Postal Department on a business basis. Each year, out of its earnings, it should defray the cost of management and minor works, any surplus available being paid into the Consolidated Revenue. The system of borrowing money to carry out repairs, while the whole of the revenue of the department is paid into the Consolidated Revenue, places the department in a. false position. The money spent upon repairs is not shown on the expenditure side of the balance-sheet. If this method is continued, the department will fall behind each year to the extent of a couple of millions, not because the people who make use of services provided will not be paying sufficient to cover the cost of management and repairs, but because of the anxiety of the Government to show surpluses in their annual budgets. This system was condemned by **Dr. Earle** Page when he was Leader of the Country party, but evidently his position in the National Government has now caused him to change his views. I find that, from loan funds, £250,000 is to be devoted to immigration to cover advances of passage money, landing money, and medical fees of assisted immigrants. The time is ripe for a clear discussion upon the desirability of borrowing money to bring immigrants to Australia. Many people are under the impression that Australia's net indebtedness per head of the population can only be reduced by increasing the population. An admixture of the blood of the best races of Europe would possibly be of **Senator** Gardiner. great advantage to Australia, but I do not think wo should, by fits and starts, borrow money to bring here a lot of people whose presence may not be beneficial to the Australian nation. I do not wish it to be understood that I would restrict immigrants to country workers. Men drawn -from the heart of London or any of the great manufacturing centres of the Old Country - men who have never had a chance to do well for themselves because of the conditions under which they are living - might prove just as good and useful citizens of Australia as those drawn solely from the ranks of country workers. But it is debatable whether a nation as firmly established as Australia is to-day should suddenly encourage a rush of immigrants, whether they are assisted by borrowed money, or whether they come of their own volition. It is well worth while to study the effect of the great flow of immigration to America since the Civil War. I do not believe that a great inrush of people from all the countries of the world is altogether desirable to any country. It might not affect a huge country with an immense population such as America has, but I do not think it would work out too well so far as Australia is concerned. For instance, I do not regard it as desirable that there should be whole sections of cities in which the people speak a language different from that spoken by the great majority of the educated classes of the country. I have been told - or perhaps I- read it. in the report of the' commission that inquired into the steel industry in the United States of America - that the orders given to the operatives id one steel works were printed and posted lip in half a dozen different languages. Already I can see very grave danger of such a thing occurring in Australia. I can quite imagine the Government or its supporters saying that that is the very thing they would fight against, that they are borrowing money merely in order to bring Britishers to this country. I have no doubt that they would consider that a complete answer to the case I am endeavouring to make out. But the purpose I have in mind is to prevent the rapid influx of a large number of people who will form colonies of their own, no matter from what country they come. It is most desirable that the adventurous and independent spirits of Great Britain should strike *out* for themselves and endeavour to establish a home in Australia. . I should offer the right hand of fellowship to a man from any country, provided he could make himself one with the Australian people. If our ports were thrown open we would obtain the best immigrants from every country. If agents in London or elsewhere are paid £1 for every immigrant they rope in, they will not care very much whether they secure the making of good, useful citizens. Although the money that the Government is borrowing for immigration purposes is being applied only to the immigration of people of the British race I still protest against that borrowing. Having reached the stage when a distinctly Australian type has been produced, the development of this country should be permitted to continue without the interference of the Government, or its. agents, in the direction of immigration. Last night I witnessed the screening of a film depicting the conditions of life in Australia. It was a beautiful picture, well executed, well calculated to stir the minds of men in the manufacturing, agricultural, and industrial districts of Great Britain, and to convince them that it would be a delightful change to leave factory life and to engage in the occupation of branding cattle in Queensland or fishing in the beautifulrivers of Tasmania. The first words that I read on the film were, " The Commonwealth Government presents " ; then there was a blank, which my mind filled in with the words " £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 to the big land-owners who have not paid their taxes "; or, alternatively, ' ' thousands of pounds to **Sir Sidney** Kidman." Much as these pictures may stir the imaginations of those whom it is desired to bring to Australia, is it a fair thing to fool them in that way - to make everything appear to be, according to the picture film, so beautiful, and to make everything so harsh for them when they come here? I have a knowledge of England as well as of Australia. I think that the conditions in Australia are aptly summed up in the thought so beautifully expressed in the lines : - The right to rear an independent shed And givethe lips we love unborrowed bread. This country presents illimitable opportunities - opportunities beyond the imagi nation of many in the Old World. I still say, however, that it is a mistake to make the picture so beautifulwhen inevitably those who come here will find that the conditions are not all that the picture led them to expect. The picture of Tasmania which was shown in the Queen's Hall last night stirred my imagination so greatly that in the ensuing summer I intend to make my first visit to that state, and partake of the friendliness, the hospitality, and the generosity for which Tasmanians have a reputation. It would be desirable to inform those in England who witness the screening of Tasmanian scenes that the best of Tasmania's manhood invariably leaves that state for the mainland, with the result that the increase in its population is almost imperceptible. That would do good rather than harm. I believe that Tasmania is a beautiful place in which to live. I am informed that there are parts of Tasmania that are absolutely free from drought. Another distinct advantage is that it grows excellent hops, and a number of people who view the picture will probably be impelled to say, " Where there is smoke there must be fire; where there are hops there must be beer," and that will prove an attraction to them. Side by side with these beautiful films, the Australian Government ought to be sufficiently honest to give some facts relating to the conditions that exist in Australia, such as a thousand men marching in procession to a government office, asking for the right to live and to work. We should inform the people of Great Britain that the conditions in that country, which enable only a few people to enjoy all the comforts of life, are the conditions that obtain in Australia, and that any one coming to this country must realize the necessity to so alter those conditions that the rewards of industry will be more widely distributed than they are at present. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- No other country in the world has a better distribution of wealth than Australia. That is proved by the deposits in the savings banks. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I am not, and never have been, one who defamed his country. What I am endeavouring to point out is that the conditions that have made, and are making, for extreme poverty in Great Britain and in the United States of America obtain, in Australia, to-day. If we have not reached the degree of poverty that is due to' the fierce contest waged in the more thickly-populated countries for the right to live, it is not because we are working under a different system, but is due entirely to the newness of our country. Henry George gave a remarkably clever description of the gold-fields rushes in California and Australia, when he said - >Had the gold-producing lands been in the possession of private individuals the rush for gold would not have resulted in an increase of wages, but in an increase of rent. That is worthy of our consideration. I would not say to the people, in England, that they will find as much poverty in Australia as exists in their own country; but I would say to them, " You will find that the conditions that have produced poverty ' in England are the conditions that exist in Australia, and if you come here, your only hope of improving your prospects,- and those of your children, will be to' find out in the early stages of your stay here the best means for altering the conditions." Truth is always stronger than fiction. The truth appeals to men of the British race, and, I suppose, to men of every other race. Courage is not confined to any one nationality. I suppose the men of every race are never afraid to face hardships if they have the opportunity to get on, and the prize to be gained is commensurate with the efforts they have to put forward, to secure it. Therefore, we should be more honest to ourselves if, side by side with the picture films displaying the beauties of Australia, we afforded a glimpse of the hardships and difficulties that are encountered in Australia. One hundred people, on a cold wet night during this winter, sleeping in the Domain in Sydney, is a fact that could well be stated. It is easy to inform possible immigrants that, " By the force of your own will, by the power of your own intelligence, by your own industry, you ,can easily lift yourself to a position in which you will be one of the exploiters and not one of the exploited." If the facts were stated, I do not think they would have a deterrent effect upon those who desire to come to Australia. In the series of beautiful pictures thrown on the screen last evening we were reminded of the free life in the country, but no views were shown to depict the crowded hovels of Sydney. I suggest that we should be candid, and screen a picture of a' workman's cottage, labelled " Rent. £2 5s. a week." Then the immigrants would know what to . expect in Australia, and they would say that the Government was at least frank. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Such a picture might be true of Sydney, but it would not be applicable to Western Australia. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I take it that what is true of Sydney to-day may some day be true of Western Australia, for there is nothing in our laws to prevent lands in Western Australia from getting into the hands of a few people. When it is proposed to borrow money to bring more immigrants to Australia, why should we not tell them the whole truth ? I have no fear that they would be discouraged from making their homes here. . I realize that, with all its climatic advantages, and the sparseness of its population, this is still the best country in the world for the man who has to work. No thanks are due to the profiteers, to the employers of labour, or to the governing classes, who represent the wealth of the country. The present condition of the working classes of Australia is attributable to the organized efforts of the trade unions, who, despite the attacks constantly made upon them in all the states, have lifted the life of the working man to a higher plane than has been attained in the Old Country. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- It is rather foolish to talk of the governing classes in a country where universal suffrage obtains. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- Who will say that we enjoy an equal franchise, when we know that prior to elections the newspapers publish only one side of the case. If the people overseas were acquainted with the worst aspects of life here they would say, "But, fortunately, Australia is a country where every man has a right to a voice and a vote as to how and by whom the country should be governed." The proposal of the Government is t-> provide for immigration by means of loan money instead of revenue. As was done in the case of the repatriation of our soldiers, the Government intends to ask the immigrants to help pay the interest' on the money borrowed for the purpose of assisting them. It is noi fair that those men and women whose positions are taken by immigrants should be called upon to help pay interest on the money borrowed to fetch to Australia those who displace them. I have no objection to immigrants who have no capital being brought here. Some of the brightest pages in the history of Australia are those relating to the lives of men who left the Old Land without the proverbial shilling, and achieved success in this young country. I am compelled to make a speech of an impromptu nature because of the speed with which the Ministeris endeavouring to pass the bill. I have always considered that hasty legislation is to be deprecated. I still believein the old practice of dealing with bills in stages. I rose, in the first place, in reply to **Senator Crawford,** who seemed indignant at my reference to paying for door-locks out of borrowed money instead of out of revenue. I have estimated the number of people who require letter-boxes, and I should say that the instruction to householders to place them in front of their residences has resulted in the unnecessary expenditure of about £250,000. When I asked how much it was estimated would be saved to the Postal Department, I was informed that it would amount to a mere £1,000 or so. I was also told that the innovation would not result in the dismissal of any letter-carriers. {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- It expedites the delivery of letters. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- It certainly amuses the children in my neighbourhood, for it provides them with receptacles for matches and "bung-bungs." The cost of a letter-box ranges from 3s. 6d. to 5s. {: .speaker-JZD} ##### Senator Foll: -- The people who sell them have no ground for complaint. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- No. The boxes are appreciated, no doubt, by those who distribute advertising matter. But I ask whether any serious inconvenience was caused through letter-carriers having to stoop and place postal matter under the householders' doors: {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- What a conservative! {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I am a conservative in some respects and I know *it,* whereas the Minister is a tory and does not know it. I have always advocated the retention of the privileges enjoyed by the people. I was informed by the Minister that one firm manufactured letterboxes at1s. 6d. each. {: .speaker-KOZ} ##### Senator Hoare: -- That was not correct. {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator Crawford: -- The statement was perfectly true. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I believe that the people should have as much freedom as possible, commensurate with the liberty of all. My conservative nature revolts against any innovation until I am convinced that it is a desirable one. I do not want men to be handicapped in connexion with everything they may have to do from the time when they rise in the morning until they retire to rest at night. Some time ago the present Treasurer, then a critic of the National Government, referred to the Postmaster General's Department as the departmental milch cow. Continuing with the Treasurer's simile, I may now be permitted to say that he is the dairyman industrially employed in milking the departmental cow for surplus production, a process about which he complained very strongly only two years ago. For the production of a surplus the PostmasterGeneral's Department is the best animal in the herd, and if the Treasurer can only borrow 'sufficient money for departmental forage, instead of drawing upon revenue, the whole of the cream will go to swell his balance-sheet at the end of the financial year. I have no doubt that the Treasurer will go down to history as a great statesman, but in view of the fact that circumstances and association have induced him to change his political opinion - he now endorses a policy which formerly he condemned - all I can say is that the Government and the Treasurer must be very easily satisfied. I' hope that the Treasurer and his colleagues will not object if we on this side of the chamber continue the complaints which once he was in the habit of making; if we present the same picture, and endeavour to interest the public in these great departments and show how surpluses are produced by borrowing money for postal works and paying the revenues of the department into the Consolidated Revenue. From what I have said, I think the Minister will admit that I was not far wrong, last night, when I remarked that if the department wanted a lock for a door the expenditure would be charged to loan instead of to revenue. {: #debate-17-s2 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The Government should have brought in this bill at least a month ago, so that honorable senators would have had an opportunity to study the schedule. The Minister **(Senator Pearce)** asks us, almost without notice, to vote £9,947,304 and to permit the Government to- have the handling of this amount of money. The notice, in my opinion, is altogether too short. I hope this is the last time that the Government will attempt to pass such an important measure without due notice. It appears to me that Ministers are merely continuing with a policy which they have been pursuing all along the line. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The honorable senator was made aware of the intention of the Government in the budget speech. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The budget has not yet been discussed in this chamber, except in a tentative way. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The papers were laid on the table, and a statement was made. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The Government proposals were not made clear to me at all events. The Government should have brought this measure in a month ago, and have intimated that the Senate would be expected to deal with it. It is important that we should thoroughly understand how the Government proposes to spend this money. I notice that there is a proposal to place at the disposal of the Prime Minister's Department the sum of £251,500 - £1,500 for the. London office and £250,000 for immigration, including advances of passage money, landing money, and medical fees of assisted immigrants. If I had my way, I would completely cut out that item. There is no justification whatever for the expenditure of even £1 upon immigration. If the Government, by legislative acts and administration, improved industrial conditions in the Commonwealth, a desirable type of immigrant would be attracted to Australia without the expenditure of government money at all. It has been said that honorable senators on this side of the chamber as the representatives of the Labour party are opposed to immigration. Such a statement is quite incorrect. I know of no Labour organization in the Commonwealth that has carried a resolution objecting to the introduction of people to Australia from Great Britain. There have been expressions of opinion in oppo sition to the expenditure of public money for the purpose of bringing people to Australia in order to compete with those already here for any employment that may be offering. Unfortunately, unemployment is rampant. It is a disgrace to the Government that there should be even one man willing to work but unable to obtain it. In all the states there is a considerable number of men, willing and able to work, who cannot find employment. I met in Melbourne the other day two young men who had been attracted from Great Britain to Australia by advertisements issued, no doubt, by the immigration authorities in London. One was a competent engineer and the other a skilled mechanic. They informed me that they had searched Melbourne for employment without success, and finally had secured work with a primary producer somewhere in the mallee at about £1 per week. It is a fact that a large number of men, misled by advertisements issued from the London immigration office,, and paid for out of money voted under such a bill as this, have come to Australia and have been unable to get work. This condition of affairs should not be' tolerated for a moment. If advertisements are issued by Australian immigration agents in Britain, they should be truthful in character and disclose the actual state of affairs in this country. The Government has never done that. Ministers seem to be indifferent so long as they succeed in attracting people to Australia. The *Sydney Morning Herald* of the 14th July contained some very damaging statements in connexion with our land settlement policy. That newspaper mentioned the Government proposal for the closer settlement of 53,400 acres of Crown lands in an area served by the railway from Barmedman to Rankin Spring. The area, formerly known as Euretha and' Narriah stations, was cut up into 36 closer settlement blocks, for which there were no less than 1,900 applications from young men with all the qualifications, experience, and .the necessary capital. The Government in New South Wales, which is typical of National Governments, absolutely refuses to make, sufficient land available for the people. These men' did riot want any assistance from the Commonwealth Bank. If they had, I suppose they would not have got it, under present conditions. The estate was cut up into 18 blocks of from 1,300 acres to 2,200 acres, and 18 blocks of from 1,229 acres to 2,392 acres, with a few larger blocks £pr grazing purposes. The first section was made available to returned men only, but of course there was a great excess of applications for the number of blocks available. Government assistance, 1 repeat, is not necessary to induce people to come to Australia. All that is required is to make the industrial and land settlement conditions satisfactory. We all know what a great influx of population follows the discovery of payable gold. When .the first discoveries were reported at Ophir, Kew South Wales, people flocked to this country in tens of thousands; and, on the average, gold-mining, I suppose, is not more profitable than even dairying. I doubt if it is as remunerative as engineering. I should say that, on the average, a gold-miner is not in a much better position than an ordinary labourer. I dare say that, in many instances, he is even poorer. Certainly, gold-mining is not so good an occupation as dairy farming or the pastoral industry. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- And not so healthy, either. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Yet we find that the moment any new gold find of any magnitude is reported, men of the most virile constitution flock to this country without any aid from the Government or from any organization. Nothing will keep virile determined men from following the avocation of mining even at Alaska, the South Pole, or the North Pole if gold can be obtained there in payable quantities. Men rush to new goldfields because there they believe they will have the opportunity of making' the best possible use of their labour. While the various state governments are permitted by this Government to administer the lands of the Commonwealth, land will not be made available for the tens of thousands of people that we are bringing to our shores. Articles advertising Australia have been published in the *Sydney Morning Herald* and other papers of New South Wales, also to a less extent in the newspapers of Victoria, indicating clearly to the people of Great Britain that land for settlement is available here. The Government should insist on the publication of advertisements showing the true position of affairs in this country, instead of expending thousands of pounds on advertisements such as honorable senators had am opportunity of seeing last evening. {: .speaker-K2L} ##### Senator Reid: -- Were they not good ? {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Some, of the pictures were certainly good, but not nearly so good as they would have been if sufficient pressure had been brought to bear by the Commonwealth Government upon the state governments to make the lands of this country available for settlement. This Government is prepared, however, to do anything and everything rather than take that action. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- Does not the honorable senator think that if the land tax were reduced it would help settlement. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- This seems to me to be a favorable opportunity to speak on the effect of land value taxation, and the advantage that would ensue from the imposition of a straight out land value tax. If that were done, no man or company would be able to hold land unless the fullest possible use was being made of it. The **DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland).** - I ask the honorable senator not to proceed further on that subject. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I shall reserve my remarks respecting the advantage of land values taxation until the discussion on the budget and estimates. Numbers of our capable mechanics and tradesman are unable to secure employment in this, country, and when the Government forwards scenes of Australia for exhibition to Great Britain, it should in fairness send also some showing the distressing conditions caused by thousands of men not being able to find employment. This would place before the people in Great Britain the true position here. Despite the fact that we have adult suffrage and absolute control of the affairs of the Commonwealth, we are reproducing as quickly as possible the conditions that prevail in Great Britain, although we are not building up the army of lords, dukes, duchesses, and countesses, and parasites of that description, that exist in that country. It is a deplorable situation, and I shall make an effort, at a later date, to show this chamber the real remedy that should be applied to bring about better conditions. It is proposed to expend £398,645 on New Guinea, but this huge expenditure is not required. Some time ago, I suggested to the Senate that the time was opportune to extend to the residents of the Mandated Territory, some form of local government, but the Senate refused to agree to that proposal. Since then I have received communications from residents of. New Ireland, the mainland of New Guinea, New Britain, and elsewhere, stating that they desire some form of local government. Some advocate an alteration of the regulations under which they are governed, but all of them, notwithstanding arguments to the contrary, are strongly in favour of trial by jury. New Guinea is a fairly wealthy country, and I am at a loss to understand why we should be asked to vote money for expenditure there. In this respect I should like a further explanation from the Minister. The plantations of New Guinea alone are worth probably £10,000,000, and surely if it> is good enough for the Government to issue notes on securities ' held in London, 12,000 miles away from here, it should be good enough to issue notes on the security of those plantations and the other assets of that country. New Guinea should depend on its own resources. If, at the expense of New South Wales and Victoria, we are to provide for the Mandated Territory, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, Western ' Australia and South Australia, and to grant) a few thousand pounds every year to the sugar-growers of Queensland, it is about time that the matter was reviewed, and each of the' states and territories asked to depend on their own resources. I am disappointed at the delay !that has taken place at Canberra. I have made repeated efforts in this chamber to ascertain from the Minister when he proposes to make available to the general public full particulars of the hundreds of building sites to be leased there at an early date. I understand that the sale of leases has been fixed for the 25th October, but that so far not one single lithograph of the locality has been prepared. It is an extraordinary position. On a previous occasion, when it was proposed to move the site of the proposed arsenal from one portion of the Federal Territory to another, the Senate sat all night discussing that subject. Lithographs showing all particulars were also provided, but this Government, for reasons best known to itself, has steadfastly refused to furnish information to the public re- specting the sale of these leases. It will have a detrimental effect on Canberra. At every possible opportunity I shall do all I can to ensure that' the residents of Canberra get a fair deal. I have long held the opinion that all industries and businesses controlled by the Commonwealth, the states, and municipalities, should depend upon their own resources, and should not be made taxingmachines.. Surely the Commonwealth is already armed with taxation machines sufficient to satisfy all ite requirements ! The profits of the Water and Sewerage Board of Sydney are .put into the Consolidated Revenue of New South Wales, and then money is borrowed either in Australia or elsewhere and placed to the credit of that board, when, as a matter" of fact, it should defray its own expenses. It is an absurd and ridiculous practice. Nothing can be more foolish than to sweep the profits of the post-office into the Consolidated Revenue to use them, . for grants to, say, Tasmania or South Aus-' tralia, or in numerous other avenues of expenditure, and at the same time to borrow huge sums of money to meet the cost of the administration of the postoffice. The system is altogether wrong. That department should be asked to meet its own expenditure, and thus simplify its system of keeping accounts. It takes a person a considerable number of years to obtain a proper grip of the budget and the Estimates. I myself made a vigorous search through those documents, for this year, for an expenditure of £500,000, but was unable to find any trace of it, although I have no doubt that the money reached its destination. The Customs Department is the most mischievous concern that has ever been foisted upon the community. Honorable senators on this side talk of the brotherhood of man and internationalism, but honorable senators opposite remain silent because they are shrewd, and know what they are about. They tell us sometimes that they want to provide work for the working men of this country. The Customs House is a very ancient institution. The Italians and Swiss spent millions of francs in tunnelling through Mount Cenis with the idea of making it easy for the people of France and Switzerland to visit Italy, and of facilitating the interchange of commodities at a minimum of cost. But the moment the tunnel was completed a Customs House was set up at either end, with the idea of preventing the free flow of commerce, and it was almost as cheap to walk over the mountain as to go through the tunnel. I want to direct attention to a peculiar position that has arisen in regard to motor cars. It is set out very clearly in the following statement: - >The motor car is easily the best and moat effective means of transit yet devised for the use of man. Whether it is an aid to production or for pleasure it is unrivalled. Every day it becomes more of a necessity of existence. But this brilliant achievement of the inventive genius of modern man fails to give full service to the people. Why? Because the tax-gatherer - the arch enemy of progress - to a great extent stands between the people and tha cars and trucks they need. Brains and industry show us what we can do, but the sinister figure of the troglodyte taxcollector appears to largely rob us of the advantages of progress. Every Australian should own a motor car. He cannot do so because of the operation of a tariff designed ostensibly to provide work for the working men of Australia, but really doing nothing of the kind. The tariff rates on motor cars and motor cycles work out as follow: - The **DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland).** - No provision is made in this bill for expenditure on motor cars under the control of the Department of Trade and Customs. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I was under the impression that provision was made for certain lighthouses. What could be more absurd than to put up lighthouses to guide ships to our ports when immediately they arrive with their goods those goods are taxed. It would be a distinct advantage if I could point out, without any breach of the Standing Orders, that the average Australian workman, notwithstanding the great advances he has made in education and in other ways, is not in a position, owing to the operation of the tariff, to provide himself with a motor car. A car which can be purchased in the United States of America at from £50 to £75 costs over £200 by the time it reaches Australia. When the ordinary workman pays his landlord his rent each week, and meets his other outgoing expenses, he is quite unable to get together £200, and is, therefore, forced for means of transport to make use of ordinary tram cars, railway trains, or motor buses. The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- I remind the honorable senator that there is no item in the schedule to the bill relating to motor cars. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I am sorry that I am not permitted to discuss this subject, because motor cars are a necessity in the present age, and every working man ought to be in a position to use the very best car on the market. However, I shall deal with the subject at a later date. I protest again against the action of the Government in placing the bill before us at such short notice. In future, I hope that honorable senators will have the opportunity to examine loan bills carefully from end to end, to ascertain exactly how the money borrowed is to be spent. {: #debate-17-s3 .speaker-KTD} ##### Senator MCDOUGALL:
New South Wales -- When yesterday honorable senators opposite, upon another bill, charged the Labour party with opposing every vote for immigration, I could not tell them it was a lie, because I should have- been out of order in doing so, but I take this opportunity of saying that it was a cowardly attack upon a party that has never opposed immigration. In our platform we state that we welcome immigrants in unlimited numbers from the white races, but at the same time we realize that it is absolutely useless to bring men into Australia unless occupations are available for them. In very few words I shall indicate how occupations can be provided for immigrants, but before doing so let me point out one of the greatest objections to this bill. Year after year we are spending less out of revenue and more out of loan. The time is not far distant when revenue expenditure upon works will entirely disappear. Each year will bring us nearer to financial chaos. In 1921-2 Parliament appropriated out of revenue for additions, new works and buildings, £2,571,794. In 1922-3 the appropriation from revenue for the same purpose was £720,977. In 1923-4, the amount was £620,660, but this year the appropriation from revenue is only £403,789. Year by year we are departing from the. firm policy with which the Commonwealth started, that all work should be carried out without borrowing. Of course it. was necessary to borrow money for war purposes, but I do not think it was at all necessary to commence borrowing money for public works. The money could easily have been raised by taxation. It is true, as every visitor to Australia declares, that we need more population, but we want a sturdy race in this country and not people of the type of certain foreigners who are now arriving in shiploads and in many instances filling positions that should be filled by our own. citizens. The history of European nations shows that the progress of any country that has depended absolutely on agricultural development has been sure but very slow, whereas great progress and a rapid increase in population have followed the development of secondary industries. We shall not progress until we develop our secondary industries. Although we have all the raw materials necessary, we import 60 per cent, of the goods we could manufacture out of them. The greatest development has taken place in Germany. From 1880 to 1910, the population of Germany increased by 19,000,000 persons. During that 30 years the rural population dwindled by 600,000, but rural production doubled. While England and Wales were dependent upon rural production from 1600 to 1760, the population in creased from 4,800,000 to 6,500,000, an increase of only 35 per cent, in 160 years. When Britain became a manufacturing country its industrial development increased by 450 per cent., and the population increased from 6,500,000 to 36,000,000. It has fallen off since the war, because other countries have taken the lesson to heart, and are developing their secondary industries. We in Australia do not do that. Many honorable senators opposite are for ever stating that the unions prevent the men from doing their best. That is not the case. Australia's industrial development to-day is greater than it has ever been, but it should be 60 per cent, greater. If we developed our secondary industries and provided work for every one who came to Australia there would be no necessity to screen pictures in England advertising the attractions of this country. **Senator Grant** referred to certain industries that had been developed in Australia. Their development, however, was only a temporary one. Our secondary industries, I believe, are the one thing that will assist our development. A politician in New South Wales recently propounded the scheme of "a million farmers for a million farms." That is not what we want, because we are to-day producing more primary products than we require. Our production at the present time is sufficient to feed a population of from 30,000,000 to 50,000,000. So long as we continue to place people on the land and make them produce a greater quantity we shall only increase our industrial difficulties. Our factories to-day are producing 60 per cent, less than they should produce. We are allowing our secondary industries to languish. In one week a sufficient quantity of iron work is being imported to keep the whole of the iron trades employed for twelve months. We have all the raw material, but this and previous Governments have not done all that they should to foster those industries. In the United States of America a nail cannot be driven into a piece of wOod unless it has been produced in that country. The authorities will not allow a person to put a piece of iron on a roof, or allow a ship to carry passengers or cargo, unless that iron and that ship have been produced in the United States of America. That is the policy which Australia should adopt. I resent very much the insinuation that the Labour party is always Opposed to the granting of money for immigration. That is not the case. We want a white population - British, if possible. We would welcome immigrants as we would welcome our friends and relations; but first of all we say that the Government must look after the industrial development of Australia, and use the material at its hand. We have iron factories that are producing an ample supply of raw material, but we have not the secondary industries to consume the material that is produced. Public works that, are carried on with loan money will be valueless unless we develop our secondary industries. The Labour party will at all times assist to bring to Australia a proper class of immigrants. When it has been in office it has always placed money upon the Estimates for that purpose. It was responsible for the establishment of Australia House in the Strand, London. That proposal was opposed by honorable senators who now sit opposite. They said that it would be useless and a waste of money. There are many 'things for which Australia House deserves commendation, but there are others that merit condemnation. It cannot be congratulated upon its handling of immigration in Great Britain. Probably the officials, have done what they could, but they have had to put up with interference by officials in Australia. If they were given a fair chance they would probably do much. better than they are doing. The immigrants that are being brought to Australia are for the most part unsuitable. **Senator Grant** has stated that skilled mechanics have had to go into the country and accept £1 per week because they have been unable to obtain employment at their ordinary avocations. We must build up a population that will consume our meat, our wheat, and our other primary products. When we have reached that stage we shall be able to place a greater number of men upon the land. So soon as we begin to foster our secondary industries, we shall be taking steps to cure the evil that is caused by lack of population in Australia. {: #debate-17-s4 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- I understand that the Minister **(Senator Pearce)** desires to have the bill passed before the tea adjournment. I do not know who is responsible for the conduct of business 'between the two Houses, but I contend that we are not being given a fair deal when we are asked to dispose of a bill of this description in a few hours. It contains highly controversial subjects, but we have to agree to it, or resort to very drastic action - which I should not care to take. It is proposed to raise £9,947,304 for various purposes, .including £250,000 for immigration. The only objection I have to the latter provision is that it is insufficient. I should like to see a much larger amount provided, and an alteration effected in the methods adopted, in the direction of bringing to Australia men with families - the larger the better. New Zealand works under quite a different system. It pays the passages of heads of families. Children up to a certain age are brought out free, and those of a greater age are brought out for a purely nominal sum. The desire of that dominion is to introduce a generation that is growing into youth and manhood, not those who are well advanced in years, and are likely to become a comparative burden upon the community. I do not accuse the Labour party of being a non-immigration party, but I do say that it harbours in its official ranks some persons who are opposed to immigration. Sometimes a misfit is brought to Australia. When he goes out-back and meets harsher conditions than those to which he has been accustomed, he returns to the cities, and pours a tale of suffering into the ears of members of Parliament and others. There' is one institution that lends a willing ear to his imaginary grievances. That is the Trades Hall. Men have been brought to Western Australia, who should not have been allowed to leave England. They have been totally unfit for the work they were expected to do. On several occasions the Trades Hall in Perth has' cabled to England the false statements that those men have made, with the avowed intention of checking immigration to Western Australia. That those statements are false is proved by the opposite story of success told by others who left the Old Land and made good in this.. I speak with first-hand knowledge. For a number of years I have endeavoured to have the roads in my neighbourhood repaired. In some places they have holes up to 2 feet and 3 feet deep. The stereotyped reply from the Roads Board for years has been that it has asked for men to undertake the repair of the roads, at a cost of from £500 to £1,000, and could not get an offer. Yet members of the governing body of the Trades Hall, some of whom are now in Parliament, use these failures as a typical example of a man who is able to make a pronouncement in regard to conditions that exist in Western Australia. The result is that the tide of immigration is stemmed, and men in England ask themselves, " Why should I go to Australia if that is the kind of treatment that I will receive on landing there *1"* While the Labour party is not opposed to immigration as such, there are in it those who would like to see every man ' have a choice of six jobs. That would be a most unhealthy state of. affairs. I have never wanted that for myself, and any one must realize that it would not be in the best interests of the country. The other day I received a letter from a brother who is holidaying in Milwaukee, United States of America. He said he saw bricklayers and carpenters going to work every morning in motor cars, and that they were said to be receiving a wage of 50s. a day. The flow of humanity to the United States of America is like the gulf stream compared with the trickle of immigrants to Australia, but the increased population has not detrimentally affected the living conditions of the. American people. We should not be so narrow-minded and ignorant as to think that the fewer people we have in Australia the better foi those who are here and remain here. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Did the Government of the United States of America have to take steps to get immigrants? {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH: -- No. People are rushing to that country, and helping to increase its wealth. We cannot develop Australia, with the present insignificant population dotted on the fringe of it. Honorable senators remember seeing the map used to illustrate the proposition in New South Wales for the establishment of a million farms. Where did that map originate? In no other country than Japan, and it showed that Australia was larger than all the countries of Europe, with the exception of Russia. What an impossible task we have before us when we realize that our continent is larger than that occupied by some 380,000,000 people! Australia is suffering for the want of men, and still more men. Every year, every month, every hour that this country is left in its present almost untenanted condition, it is exposed front, flank, and rear, to its potential enemies. I desire to draw attention to a number of items appearing in the schedule to the bill, which do not seem to be proper matters to be financed with loan money. For instance, there is an item under the Prime Minister's Department of £1,500 for " London offices." I contend that we ought to be able to meet our ordinary liabilities from year to year out of revenue. Under the heading, "" Federal Capital Territory," I notice the amount of £120,000 for "Works, services, and acquisition of land." Why cannot these services be paid for out of revenue? Passing, on to the Defence Department, I read, " Expenditure in connexion with the distribution of medals and plaques, and other base records work, incidental to the service and records of members of the Australian Imperial Force, £10,000." We should not resort to a loan fund in meeting expenditure of that nature. There is even an item in the schedule for the employment of temporary staff, &c. The sum of £20,000 is set down for " Serum and Health Laboratories." Such items as these should not appear in a loan bill.. I realize that Australia must depend on borrowed money for financing reproductive works which will benefit probably the next three generations, but ordinary expenditure should certainly be met out of current revenue. Unless some fairly sound reason can be advanced for the policy adopted, I shall be inclined to vote for the deletion of such items as I have enumerated. Otherwise I regard the bill as justified. Many necessary public works are long overdue. For instance, the ballasting of the East-West railway should be proceeded with without delay. The train now runs at a leisurely 30 miles an hour. It is high time the line was put into an up-to-date condition, and the necessary locomotives used to enable a speed from 60 to 70 miles an hour to be attained, as was the intention when the railway was opened. It is admitted by travellers of world-wide experience that model service is given on these trains, but Australia can never claim to have an ideal transcontinental railway service until the speed is considerably accelerated. Some time ago I asked a question regarding the wisdom of the Commonwealth maintaining two railway workshops within 20 odd miles of each other -one at Port Augusta, and the other at Quorn. It seems to me that a saving could be effected if one repair establishment were used in connexion with both the transcontinental line and the QuornOodnadatta railway. {: #debate-17-s5 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia -- The honorable senator, who has just resumed his seat, is fond of accusing members of the Opposition of introducing party, politics into every matter discussed. I point out, however, that he has just concluded a tirade of abuse against those members of the Labour party who were connected with the Trades Hall in Western Australia, and are now in Parliament. If I am one of those to whom he refers, I am prepared to receive all the shafts he cares to direct at me. It is true that I was formerly secretary of- the Trades Hall in Perth, and it is also true that I raised my voice against the immigration system then and now in existence. My experience in Perth during the few years I was absent from the Senate proved to me that our immigration system was wrong. I had the unenviable duty of endeavouring to impress upon the Government led by **Sir James** Mitchell the necessity to provide work for the unemployed. There were between 1,000 and 1,500 men crowding around the Trades Hall for about six weeks. I stated to the press at the time, and I repeat the assertion here,, that many of those men had come from England or Scotland within the previous four or five weeks. They had been induced to come to Australia as the result of promises made to them by immigration agents who were paid £1 for every man sent. I referred to the matter during the budget debate last year, and I was informed that the Government had nothing to do with that payment. I believe it was provided by the shipping companies. The whole trouble with our immigration system is due to bad selection. I have seen carpenters, butchers-, and other tradesmen, who after about three weeks' experience on the land in "Western Australia applied to the Trades Hall for jobs. They had been, sent into the country to work on .farms, but through the good offices of the Australian Labour, party and the Trades Hall authorities, suitable employment was found for them. In every capital city of Australia, there are recurring periods of unemployment, and badly selected immigrants help to swell the numbers of unemployed and unemployable men. Some time ago I noticed in the Western Australian press some remarks by the Minister for Lands in that state **(Mr.. Angwin),** who indicated that there was an idea of altering the present agreement between the British Government and the governments of the Commonwealth and the various states. The comments to which I refer suggested to me that Western Australia, at any rate, would have been better off if it had not taken part in the original scheme under which the British Government, advanced to the Commonwealth money on which a certain rate of interest was to be paid. I should like to know if there is a new agreement, or if one is in course of preparation, differing in any essential feature from the triangular proposal of a few years ago, under which **Sir James** Mitchell, then Premier of Western Australia, launched his group settlement scheme. I also remind **Senator Lynch** that, as a member of the Labour party - and I shall be a member of that party until I die - I have always had a definite policy on this question of immigration. The honorable senator and myself, when we were seeking senatorial honours in 1906, accompanied by the right honorable gentleman now leading the Senate, expounded the policy of the Labour party on immigration. As a member of that party to-day, I hold the same views. {: #debate-17-s6 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- I propose to quote a few figures in rebuttal of statements made by **Senator Gardiner** with reference to postal finance and to show that the Government is pursuing a well-established policy in the allocation of votes from loan and revenue respectively for post office works. The figures to which I direct attention are to be found on page 69 of the budgetpapers. They show that for the 24 years of federation - 1901 to 1924-5 - the Postal Department's total of receipts over expenditure is £6,827,829, and that the expenditure out of revenue on new works, buildings, and sites during that period amounts to £11,993,541. There is thus a. deficit on that .account of £5,165,712. It would appear, there* fore, that instead of the Postal Department being the milch cow, as suggested by **Senator Gardiner,** it has during that period been drawing heavily on the Consolidated Revenue for money required for postal works. Then **Senator Gardiner** also said that hitherto the Government had always paid for repairs and maintenance out of revenue iF stead of out of loan. That is quite incorrect. In statement B, on the same page of the budget-papers, will be found the item, "Rent, maintenance, Aic., of works and buildings." The vote this year is £136,500. Last year the expenditure on this account was £136,665. With that exception, there has not been more on the Estimates for maintenance in any year since 1920-21. It must also be remembered that we are now providing for a proper balance-sheet for the. post office. In statement C there is shown the approximate result of the working of the Post Office Department for 1924-5. The total . receipts are given at £10,047,500, and expenditure out of revenue £9,575,828. Interest on the amount of £5,647,384, which the Treasurer has had to provide out of revenue from March, 1901, to June, 1924, to meet the net loss on the working of the Post Office during that period, is shown at £282,369, and interest and sinking fund on Post Office loans redeemed by the Treasury, £45,604. Adding those amounts and deducting the total from the receipts, we find that the total surplus of the Post Office this year is estimated at £143,699. These figures are a complete rebuttal of **Senator Gardiner's** statement that there has been any change of policy in connexion with postal finance. **Senator Gardiner** also objected to the immigration vote being provided for out of loan. Again, I can assure him that this has been the practice for several years. I am not quite sure when it originated, but last year the vote was for £500,000, of which sum £203,000 was expended. 1 may add for **Senator Gardiner's** benefit, that from the Treasury point of view, every assisted immigrant is a good investment. In the year 1923-4 there arrived in Australia 38,000 assisted immigrants at a cost of £7 5s. each. They returned in that year, as indirect taxpayers, in Customs and excise revenue and in entertainments tax alone, £6 6s. per head, nob taking into account additional revenue which they may have contributed by way of land and income tax or 'war profits tax. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- Is taxation all the Government is seeking ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No. We do not forget that every immigrant is a potential producer of wealth, and, as the *Tear-Booh* shows, the production of wealth per head of population in Australia is greater than in any other part of the world. Therefore, from a Treasury point of view, every assisted immigrant is a good asset, because he is a producer of wealth. Again, the standard of living in Australia is the highest in the world. An immigrant coming to this country lives better than the citizen of any other country, and, as such, he is the best consumer in the world; he insures a more profitable local market for. our primary producers. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- The more beer they drink and the more tobacco they smoke, the more they will be appreciated by the Commonwealth Government. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The honorable senator may put it that way if he chooses. That is not how immigrants are regarded by the Commonwealth Government. We look upon them as valuable national assets and potential producers of wealth. **Senator Lynch** made some references to a proposed vote in connexion with Australia House. This item is a belated clearing-up of contracts for certain alterations that were made to Australia House. As.-honorable senators are aware, the erection of Australia.House was begun under a Labour regime. It was financed out of loan, and it is paying good interest on the outlay. The policy of the Government in debiting this item to loan is quite consistent with the general practice. The capital expenditure will, in due course, be extinguished out of the sinking fund. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- The expenditure is not on office account? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No; it is to meet certain alterations that were made in the building. The expenditure in connexion with the distribution of war medals was another item referred to by the honorable senator. That, I hope, is probably the last we shall have on that account It is a legacy of the policy that determined that war expenditure should be met out of loan and extinguished out of a sinking fund. If the honorable senator will look through the budget-papers he will find many works which could not have been undertaken if the Government had been obliged to provide for them out of revenue, for the simple reason that there would not have been sufficient revenue to meet the demands. The expenditure for serum laboratories is also being met out of loan. As the buildings will last for many years, there is no reason why capital expenditure on their account should not be spread over the life of the buildings, and extinguished by the sinking fund. This is a business-like proposition. I regret that I am unable to make a statement in reply to ' **Senator Needham's** inquiry about the immigration proposals of the Government, but I draw his attention to the fact that the Prime Minister announced recently that he intended to confer shortly with the Premiers of the several states in connexion with the agreement. Honorable senators are aware of the negotiations that were entered into by **Senator Wilson,** when in England, with the Government of the Mother Country. Those negotiations have been the subject of further communications with the British Government. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- Are they based on **Senator Wilson's** communications ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Yes, with certain alterations. As the Prime Minister is in communication with the State Governments, I am not in a position to make a statement on the subject to-day. Question resolved in the affirmative. Rill read a second time. - *In committee :* Clause 1 (Short title). {: #debate-17-s7 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales -- The statement made by the Minister **(Senator Pearce)** gives the committee an opportunity to alter the title of the bill. It was delightfully refreshing to hear the Minister explain that the Government balanced expenditure on immigration by taxing immigrants so heavily that from Customs and excise revenue alone they returned in one year as much per head as was expended in bringing them from the Mother Country to Australia. If each immigrant contributed £6 6s. in indirect taxation, then a married man with a wife and four children would return to the Commonwealth over £37 a year. We can easily understand why the Government should welcome people who provide that amount of revenue by taxation. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- Especially if they smoke and drink ! {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- The honorable senator may think it objectionable for a man to smoke or drink. I do not. Although I am not a smoker, I believe that tobacco is a necessity to the majority of people; and while I. am not a beer drinker, I am not so narrow as to wish to prevent other people from having a glass of ale if they think they are entitled to one. But I have no desire to discuss the relative merits of smoking and drinking. I want to direct attention to the humorous side of the Minister's explanation, that assisted immigrants are taxed so heavily that they soon pay for themselves. And **Senator Lynch** supports a Government that imposes these high Customs duties. I have not the slightest doubt that the honorable senator would be able to carry his constituency with him if he could show that every assisted immigrant contributes in Customs and excise revenue almost sufficient each year to cover the per capita expenditure on immigration. But the honorable senator, I should imagine, would be careful not to ' make any mention of the excessive taxation imposed upon them. The wholesale introduction of immigrants does not relieve the people of the taxation imposed through the Customs. If the ' duty oh tobacco were 10s. per lb., and I used, say, *$lh.* a week, I would. still have to pay a duty of half a crown a week for the pleasure of smoking, no matter how many immigrants were brought to this country. The Government taxes luxuries, ostensibly to enable the worker to be relieved of a certain amount of taxation, but the position is just the reverse. How long are we to bear with those taxes that interfere with the comforts of the community? We are placing too great a hardship upon our people by submitting moderate smokers to a tax of 2s. 6d. per week for tobacco. If all immigrants arriving here were nonsmokers, I wonder how **Senator Pearce** would justify his contention that additional excise duty would be derived. **Senator Pearce** has a greater capacity for misrepresentation than has any man whom I know, but, notwithstanding, he has the reputation of being straightforward. I hope that he may long have that reputation, but I, who have been with him in this Senate for many years, know that he frequently uses a . flimsy argument behind which he hides the real issue. We have an example of that in his statement that the immigrants that are brought here will soon pay for themselves, because of the enormous taxation that they have to bear. Surely our taxation is heavy enough, without making it still heavier by the passing of this bill ! Why not obtain from revenue the money required for immigration, and refrain as much as possible, from borrowing in Australia and from abroad? Since the Minister desires this measure to be put through before the tea adjournment, I shall not offer any further objection to it, because I have no wish to see a , repetition of the disturbance that took place last Thursday in this chamber. But as far as the argument of **Senator Pearce** is concerned, I promise him that I shall place the facts before the electors of this country at a time when standing orders and parliamentary rules cannot be used to tyrannize over me. Clause agreed to. Clauses 2 to 4 agreed to. Schedule. {: #debate-17-s8 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria . -Concerning the proposed vote of £251,500 for immigration, I should like some information from the Minister respecting matters that are of great moment to the party to which I belong, and to the people of Australia generally. We have been informed that arrangements have been entered into between the Commonwealth Government, the various State Governments, and the British Government to carry out a scheme of immigration, and that provision is being made by the respective governments for the advance of passage moneys. It would be interesting to know how much money has been advanced by the Commonwealth for this purpose, what portion of it has been repaid, and the total sum paid to immigrants after landing here. I understand that, if desired, an amount of £3 is paid to every immigrant after landing in Australia. We should like further information in regard to the Government's immigration policy. We were told on one occasion that the Government's policy was to assist in the development of the different states by obtaining immigrants with the experience necessary to enable them to settle on the land. Apparently the immigration scheme goes further than that, because advertisements have been and are still being published in the British newspapers to attract artisans to Australia. **Mr. B.** A. Crouch, who at one time was a member of another place, and who to-day is a member of the Labour party, has written a very interesting article on immigration, appearing in the *Labour Call* of Thursday, the 21st August, 1924. In that article he quoted the following advertisement published in England : - >Assisted passages. Particular demands.18 carpenters, 2s. 4d. per hour, 44 hours per week, required for housing construction works. Em ployment guaranteed by State Government. The services of 10 plasterers and 10 plumbers were also required. That advertisement applied to Victoria. Money is apparently being expended to attract skilled artisans to Australia. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The State Governments supply the Commonwealth Government with a list of the classes of immigrants they require. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- The Commonwealth Government carries out whatever request is made by the State Governments respecting the class of immigrant required ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- That is so. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY: -- It is well to have that information, because the Minister recently stated that only immigrants who intended to settle on the land were being induced to come here.. He contradicted my statement that artisans were also being brought here. Most of the states are now controlled by Labour Governments who, unlike their predecessors, are not anxious to bring skilled artisans here. At the time such requests were made by anti-labour governments, there may have been a temporary shortage of artisans, but to-day building activities are not what they were a few months ago. Only the other clay I was asked by a couple of men whether I knew where they could obtain employment. I asked them what was their occupation, and they told me that they were in the building trade and that there was great difficulty in getting employment. According to **Mr. Crouch,** the following advertisement was taken from a Government publication under the heading of "Victorian Scheme for Land Settlers " : - >Agricultural experience is not essential. A short training on a Government farm or employment on a private farm may be arranged for. Advances may be made to settlers on easy terms to assist in building a house and procuring farm implements and stocks. Government experts and inspectors are available to give advice both as to purchase of stock and working of farms. The sentence to which I draw special attention is " agricultural experience is not essential." How can we hope to achieve successful settlement in Australia if we bring here immigrants without farming experience to settle on the land? An immigration scheme of this kind cannot be a success, and the men who are induced underthese conditions to come out to Australia will be placed at a disadvantage. {: #debate-17-s9 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- In the last financial year the total passage money advanced was £687,667, of which amount the British Government contributed £295,249, and the Commonwealth Government £392,418. During the same period, the Commonwealth's share of repayments by immigrants was £188,674. On the 30th June, 1924, the amount outstanding of all money advanced to date was £271,000. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- Am I to understand that all requests from the governments of the different states, in regard to immigration, are acceded to by the Commonwealth Government without serious consideration being given to them ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Yes. The state is responsible for the immigrant, and the Commonwealth is responsible for bringing him out. The state is master of its own household. {: .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator Findley: -- We are masters of our own expenditure, and when we are asked to commit ourselves to certain payments we ought to know what we are doing. The position is not satisfactory. {: #debate-17-s10 .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL:
Western Australia .- I notice that £240,000 is to be paid into a trust fund called the Commonwealth Government Ships Account. I should like some details of this vote, so that I may be able to estimate how much of it is likely to be wasted. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The honorable senator is quite right in trying to assist the Government. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- I want to assist the Government, but I also want to assist the country to avoid a repetition of what has happened in the past, when we frequently paid for ships two or three times the amount they were worth. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- A great deal of work, not connected with the building of these steamers, has been charged up to their construction cost. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- I want to ascertain the details of this expenditure so that I may, if necessary, call attention to what has happened inthe past, in order to avoid a repetition of it. {: #debate-17-s11 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- The vote covers the cost of building the steamers *Fordsdale* and *Ferndale* at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, and includes also £11,462 in final settlement of contracts with private firms in connexion with the building of other vessels. {: #debate-17-s12 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Can **Senator Pearce** say how much of the capital cost charged up to the *Ferndale* and *Fordsdale* was really expended on other work ? In other words, can the Minister give a detailed statement showing how the alleged cost of these two vessels was incurred, and whether it includes money paid for other works on which the men were engaged while the vessels were under construction *1* {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The money appropriated is for work actually carried out on these vessels, but, of course, it includes a proportion of the overhead expenses of the dockyard during the time the steamers we're under construction. {: #debate-17-s13 .speaker-JYX} ##### Senator FINDLEY:
Victoria -- An item of £9,000 is provided for the purchase of properties and sites for the Royal Australian Air Force, and £10,000 for the purchase of properties and sites for civil aviation. Will the Minister give details of these purchases, and also explain the item of £57,360 for the purchase of land for post and telegraph purposes. {: #debate-17-s14 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT .- The £10,000 provided for civil aviation is for the purchase of landing grounds on aerial routes. Of this amount, £5,000 will be spent on purchasing a. site for an aerodrome at Perth, and the balance of the money will be required for purchasing landing grounds for the extension of the Western Australian and Queensland aerial mail routes. The £9,000 for the Royal Australian Air Force isfor the purchase of various sites and landing grounds. The £57,360 referred to by the honorable senator is for the purchase of postoffice sites all over the Commonwealth. The largest amount is £12,000 for the purchase of a site on Montpelier-road, Brisbane, but the great hulk of the amounts included in this total are in the neighbourhood of about £200, very few purchases ranging above £2,000. {: #debate-17-s15 .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON:
Queensland .- The sum of £10,000 is provided for expenditure in connexion with the distribution of medals and plaques and other base records work incidental to the service and records of members of the Australian Imperial Force. I should like to know whether this item will cover an issue of the British war medal to the fortress company, of the Australian engineers who served at home during the war, and who, I am informed, are not to receive it ? I know that the medal has been issued to the Royal Naval Reserve, whose services did not take them *away from* Australia during the war, and were not in any way superior to those rendered by the fortress company of Australian engineers. {: #debate-17-s16 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- I am informed by the representative of the Department of Defence in attendance that the matter referred to by the honorable senator is covered by this vote. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator Thompson: -- But are the engineers *to* get the medal? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- It is really not fair to spring such a question offhand on a Minister on this bill. This item is to provide for the issue of whatever medals it is decided should be distributed, but this is hardly the right time to discuss the respective claims of the different units to receive medals. The proper time to raise such questions of administration is when the general Estimates are under consideration. The £30,000 provided in the schedule for transport services in connexion with the Expeditionary Forces is to clear up the residue of the liabilities incurred in. bringing our soldiers back to Australia. {: #debate-17-s17 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Are the increments given to certain gentlemen in the accounts and pay offices of the Department of Defence covered by this vote, and will officers in Sydney who have been refused these increases be placed in the advantageous position of officers occupying similar posts in Victoria? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Such matters are covered by the general Estimates. {: #debate-17-s18 .speaker-KMI} ##### Senator GRAHAM:
Western Australia .- Will the item of £62,500 for the Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta railway provide for continuation of the ballasting operations at the Kalgoorlie end of the line? I should like to know when that portion of the line is to be ballasted, not only in order to make the line safe, but also in order to provide employment for men in Western Australia who are now unemployed? {: #debate-17-s19 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- This sum is provided for a programme of works estimated tocost £132,000, the details of which areas follow: - **Mr. Bell,** the Commissioner of Railways, tried to get some ballasting done a little while ago in order to afford employment for a number of men, hut as soon as they got to work they went on strike, andthe ballasting had to be suspended. I understand that it is still suspended, although the Commissioner is anxious to get on with it as soon as possible. It is to be hoped that the trouble will be speedily settled so that this necessary work may be proceeded with. {: #debate-17-s20 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP .- There is in the schedule a proposed vote of £43,000 towards the coat of buildings at Footscray, for fuse and cartridge case manufacture. I should like to know why those buildings should not be erected at Canberra. For " Expenditure under River Murray Waters Act 1915-20 " an amount of £246,250 is set down. Has an arrangement been come to between the states concerned and the Commonwealth to increase the capacity of the Hume reservoir to 2,000,000-acre feet; and has it been definitely decided to utilize the waters that escape from the dam for the generation of electricity for the use of the surrounding area? {: #debate-17-s21 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- Speaking from memory, the River Murray Waters agreement provides that the dam, when completed, shall have a capacity of 1,500,000-acre feet. At present it is intended to carry the wall only sufficiently high to imprison 1,100,000-acre feet. The agreement also provides for the necessary adjustment, to be made in the weirs to enable the states of New South. Wales and Victoria to utilize the surplus water for the generation of electric current. They will not be able to use any water for this purpose to the detriment of irrigation. That alteration is to be carried out at the expense of those two states, the Commonwealth Government bearing no share of the cost, and not participating in the current that is generated. The honorable senator referred to the buildings at Footscray. In a previous Parliament the question was raised whether those buildings should be erected in the Federal Capital area. The matter was fully debated, and it was decided by that Parliament that they should be at Footscray. We are merely continuing the work that was then begun. {: #debate-17-s22 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The Minister has missed my point with regard to the River Murray Waters agreement. What I wish to ascertain is whether the embankment is being constructed in such a manner as to enable the governments concerned to increase its height at a later date. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I have already told the honorable senator that the total capacity of the dam will be 1,500,000- acre feet. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- That is an absolute outrage, and a waste of money. {: #debate-17-s23 .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL:
Western Australia -- I wish to draw attention bo an old friend of mine that appears at the bottom of the list - " Construction of two vessels for lighthouse purposes." I again want to make an appeal - I shall not promise that it will be the last - to the Government. I have no need to ask for information concerning this matter, because, after a great deal of difficulty,and much pertinacity, I have succeeded in ascertaining that each of these vessels is going to cost £116,562. I know the type of vessel that is required, and I estimate that at that cost we shall be throwing away £163,000. Honorable senators will, no doubt, remember that there was no end of a fuss some time ago because, on a contract for certain locomotives, we were losing £58,000. This is a much more serious matter. I know a good deal about the lighthouse service, at all events in the state of Western Australia. The Government of Western Australia intends to replace the steamer which trades from Fremantle to Eucla, along a very rough portion of the coast, at a cost of £35,000. That vessel is quite efficient for lighthouse services. I, therefore, believe that we should be able to obtain these two boats for £70,000. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 3431 {:#debate-18} ### NEW ZEALAND RE-EXPORTS BILL Bill received from House of Representatives and (on motion by **Senator Pe** arce) read a first time. {: .page-start } page 3431 {:#debate-19} ### SEA CARRIAGE OF GOODS BILL, Bill received from House of Representatives and (on motion by **Senator Pearce)** read a first time. *Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8p.m.* {: .page-start } page 3431 {:#debate-20} ### CASE OF MUNITION WORKER J. P. DUNK {:#subdebate-20-0} #### Proposed Select Committee {: #subdebate-20-0-s0 .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER:
New South Wales .- I move- >That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the case of **Mr. William** Dunk, with full power to send for persons, papers, and records, and to move from place to place, such committee to consist of Senators Graham, J. B. Hayes, H. Hays, Payne, Thompson, McDougall, and the mover. I now bring under the notice of the Senate the extraordinary case of a munition worker who rendered good service to his country, but fell foul of this Government, and has been unable to obtain fair treatment. He is a fine type of the old pioneer, and I feel sure that, when the Senate has heard the case, it will agree that the injustice done to this man ought to be remedied. Many months ago I asked the Minister for Defence **(Mr. Bowden)** to receive **Mr. Dunk,** and hear his case. He did so, and I am not breaking any confidence when I say that the Minister told me openly that he had decided to advance to him sufficient to bring his old-age pension up to 30s. a week. Thinking that the matter was settled, I communicated with **Mr. Dunk** to that effect, but, to my astonishment, I subsequently found that the Treasurer **(Dr. Earle Page)** had repudiated the arrangement. I brought the matter under the notice of the Senate in my remarks on the Supply Bill. Subsequently the Minister representing the Minister for Defence in this chamber **(Senator Wilson)** announced that a communication had been received from the chairman of the Repatriation Commission in which it was stated - >In regard to the case of Dank, brought under notice by **Senator Gardiner,** I have to say that there is no identifiable record in this office of any ex-soldier of that name. If further particulars can be furnished as to the full name, the regimental particulars, &c, I shall be glad to have the matter looked into, I had made no remark to lead anybody to suppose that **Mr. Dunk** was an ex-soldier. Thereupon, I asked a number of questions on the matter, and finally, on the 31st July last, I obtained from **Senator Wilson** the following answer: - >On the 16th July, **Senator Gardiner** drew attention to the case of J. P. Dunk, exmunition worker, and I undertook to have inquiries made into it. I have been furnished by the Treasurer with the following precis on the matter : - > >Dunk sailed for England in June, 1917, per s.s. Beltana. He alleged that during the voyage he met with an accident. The Commonwealth legal advisers in London admitted liability, and as a result he was paid 30s. weekly under the provisions of the Seamen's Compensation Act, less an amount of 15s. weekly which he drew in respect of an old-age pension. This continued from the date of the accident until September, 1920, when he accepted a lump sum of £120 in full payment of the Commonwealth's liabilities in respect of his injuries. > >His old-age pension has been .paid from 30th April, 1914, when he must have been at least 65 years of age, i.e., the age of eligibility for pension. He would .thus be at 'least 68 when applying for employment as a munition worker. In spite of this, he gave his age as 54. > >He has always been paid the maximum pension, excepting when payment was stopped to adjust overpayments made owing to misrepresentation - i.e., payment as munition worker exceeding the statutory limit of income under the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, and again for six months after conviction on a charge of stealing by finding. > >At first Dunk refused to accept the £120, as he understood the old-age pension would be reduced to approximately 5s. weekly. On the case being explained to him, he begged to be allowed to accept the amount. In spite of this, he has twice applied to the courts on the grounds that the compensation was inadequate. In both cases judgment was given against him. > >Although the history of the case points throughout to deliberate misrepresentation, Dunk has received generous treatment, both in regard to compensation and his old-age pension, and there seems to be no reason to warrant any further consideration being extended to him. If it were true that Dunk had been generously treated, I should not have the effrontery to ask the Senate to appoint a select committee to investigate the case. In a letter from the Treasurer to the then Minister for Trade and Customs **(Sir Austin Chapman),** dated the 28th August, 1923, the following passage occurs - >His pension was cancelled in September, 1920, as it was ascertained that he was convicted, on the 21st July, 1920, on a charge of stealing by finding. This offence is punishable by penal servitude for five years, and the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act provides that where any pensioner is convicted of any offence punishable by imprisonment for twelve months or upwards, his pension shall be cancelled. As a matter of fact he was technically guilty, because, he had .found something, but the Governor-General in Council refunded the amount of the fine and .said that Dunk should have appealed against the conviction. His pension was taken from him because he was convicted of an offence .for which, although he could have received five years' imprisonment, he was only made to pay a small fine. I am rather upset over the Government trying not only to injure the man, but also to damage his reputation bv the way in which his letters have been answered. I admit that he was beaten twice in the courts, but it was on the ground that, since he was travelling on a' war vessel, he could not be awarded compensation under the provisions of the Seamen's Compensation Act. **Mr. Dunk's** own statement of the case, as put by his counsel, was as follows : - > **His** old-age pension has only been given to him at rare intervals, and has always been taken from his compensation moneys in spite of the repeated statements of Hia Majesty the King and His Ministers that no pensions were to be used in reduction of compensation moneys. While Dunk was in England he was only allowed £13 as compensation, and since then the Commonwealth Government gave him a lump sum of £120 in satisfaction, of all claims against them. Dunk refused to accept this, seeing that for four years alone (to say nothing of the years to come) he was entitled to £312 under his agreement. > >The case came on for hearing on the 2nd June, before his Honour Judge Scholes, in the County Court. The Commonwealth Government took up the very arbitrary attitude of testing the jurisdiction of the court to deal with the matter on highly technical grounds, but under the provisions of the Seamen's Act, and under the terms of their own agreement, **Mr. B.** F. F. Telfer, counsel for the applicant, told his Honour the history of the case, and pointed out with unmistakable cleverness that the grounds on which the Commonwealth Government intended to rely wore ultra-technical and could not be -sustained at law. Referring his Honour to the terms of the agreement, **Mr. Telfer** went on to show to the court that the Commonwealth's answer to Dunk's claim was beyond all doubt contrary to the clear spirit and reasonable interpretation, if not the letter, of the agreement, and charged the Commonwealth Government's defence as mean, shabby, and grossly dishonorable. His Honour agreed with learned counsel, and spoke from the Bench in very strong and forcible terms. I also have before me the comments of Judge Scholes, as reported in the *Sydney Morning Herald* of the 3rd June, 1921. They are as follow. - >Under the Seamen's Compensation Act, an application was made on behalf of James Thomas Dunk, of 160 Oxford-street, Paddington, for an award for .£500 against the Commonwealth of Australia in respect of injuries alleged to have been occasioned to him on the 21st June, li)17, on board the steamship *Beltana.* The applicant claimed that on the date mentioned he was employed as a seaman on the *Beltana* by the respondent. He had occasion to go to the stern of the vessel when she was steaming in the Australian Bight. It was at night time and, the vessel being in total darkness, he was washed by a big wave against the donkey-engine, sustaining serious injuries as a result of which he was totally incapacitated for any work. Altogether he received £120 compensation from the respondent, for the defence, the respondent pleaded that the applicant was not a seaman to whom the act applied, and that the injuries were not caused by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. From the date of the accident weekly" payments of 15s., under the Old-age Pensions Act, totalling £00 7s. 5d., had been made to the applicant; and in September last, in consideration of a sum of £120, he executed a deed releasing the respondent from all claims and demands in respect of the injuries. > >It was contended on behalf of the respondent that the court had no jurisdiction on the ground that, under the terms of the agreement, the applicant was not entitled to come to the court, and that the *Beltana* was exempt from section 4 of the act, she being a ship engaged in military service. I also have a few newspaper reports of the case. One of them is as follows: - >I am unable, said His Honour, to understand the Government's defence in this matter. I am not a legislator and cannot go beyond my powers, but I will search all lawful authorities, and, if necessary, stand this case over with a view to meeting the objection set up. The Government should be prosecuted for this action. > >The Government had mixed Dunk's compensation and old-age pension moneys in a shameful fashion. He condemned the action of the Government and told Dunk to issue a writ against the Government. Dunk would always get the help and sympathy of the court. > >In the second case the defence raised the objection that the court had no jurisdiction, which was overruled on Dunk producing his agreement with the 'Government. During the last fortnight, I have been endeavouring to collect the information that Dunk placed before me some time ago. When, being struck by the report of the judge's comments in this case, 1 read them in the Senate, Dunk communicated 'with me, but since then I have failed to get into touch with him, and, therefore, the case in not so complete as it would otherwise be. Nevertheless, I have shown that Judge- Scholes used the strongest possible terms in condemnation of the Government's action. The committee for which I ask would not be expensive. It would hear the evidence on both sides, and I think it would do justice. It could by no means be regarded as a committee of a partisan nature. Having gone into the details of the case, I feel satisfied that an impartial inquiry by fair-minded men will bear out what I am saying, and that the committee will bring in a finding favorable to **Mr. Dunk.** I ask the Minister to accept the motion. It is quite true that, in order to enlist as a munition worker, **Mr. Dunk** gave his age as 54 years, alt-hough he was much older. That, however, was a pardonable offence at the time when a wave of enthusiasm was sweeping over the country, and men everywhere were so anxious to do their share in the war. **Mr. Dunk** is not to be condemned for that. He is now oyer 70 years of age. When I last saw him he was marvellously well-preserved, notwithstanding injuries which he had received on shipboard. He is entitled to better treatment than has been meted out to him by this Government. I believe that a full investigation into all . the circumstances will justify all that I have said. If the Government has information other than that which has been vouchsafed to me in answer to questions, I shall be glad to have it. When the present Minister for Defence **(Mr. Bowden)** took office, I brought this case under his notice, and he expressed a wish to see **Mr. Dunk.** I wrote to the latter informing him, and arranged for the interview. Subsequently, the Minister told me that he had agreed to make up **Mr. Dunk's** old-age pension to 30s. a week. The matter was practically settled, but the Treasurer intervened and the proposal was turned down. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- I remind the honorable senator that if the motion is carried, **Senator Payne** will not be able to act on the committee, because he is not in the Commonwealth . {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator GARDINER: -- I shall be glad if another senator will volunteer to sit on the proposed committee in place of **Senator Payne.** I know it is difficult to gel honorable senators to act, because, even when Parliament is not sitting, their time is very fully occupied on various commissions and committees, but as the committee will probably not require to sit on more than two or three occasions, I have no doubt that if the motion is carried, permission will be given later to substitute the name of another honorable senator for that of **Senator Payne.** {: #subdebate-20-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- Before replying to the statements made by **Senator Gardiner,** I should like to congratulate the honorable senator on being able to put a case in a quarter of an hour. I had the impression, based on long experience of the honorable senator's treatment of Government business, that he could not debate any subject for less than an hour, but, apparently, when necessity compels him, he is able to apply a desirable self-denying ordinance and conclude his remarks in a much shorter time. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- It was in the interests of Government business that I curtailed my remarks {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- There is another side to the case stated by **Senator Gardiner,** and it is my duty to put it. I feel certain that when they have heard what I have to say, honorable senators will agree that there is no case for the appointment of a select committee. As **Senator Gardiner** has himself pointed out, **Mr. Dunk** commenced legal proceedings against the Commonwealth, after he had received compensation, and after, at his own request,his compensation rights had been commuted to a lump sum. In order that the whole story may be told I may be permitted to read a reportwritten by **Mr. Ross,** the President of the Superannuation.Fund Management Board. **Mr. Ross** states - >John ThomasDunk, a munition worker, sailed for England by the s.s. *Beltana* on the 16th June, 1917. He alleged that during the voyagehe met with an accident on the night of the 2 1st June, 1917, which resulted in his being badly ruptured, and in having three ribs fractured, besides injuries to shoulder, arm, and right hand. **Senator Gardiner** was not correct in saying that **Mr. Dunk** rendered service as a munition worker. He did no work whatsoever. **Mr. Rosscontinues** - >Under the terms of the agreement, the Commonwealth legal advisers in London admitted liability topay to Dunk compensation based on the provisions of the Seamen's Compensation Act, such compensation not to exceed 80s. per week. That act further provides that if at any time a seaman is entitled to an oldage pension from the Commonwealth, the compensation shall not exceed an amount which, together with the weekly rale of pension, will make up 30s. Compensation was paid to Dunk accordingly (less payments of 15s. per week in respect of an old-age pension granted to him) until July, 1920, when ho accepted an offer of . £120 in redemption and in full satisfaction of the weekly compensation payments Dunk is now in receipt of an old-age pension of 17s. 6d. per week, but desires that the weekly payments in respect of compensation be restored as from September, 1920, when ho received payment of the £120. The Minister for Defence has approved of a grant of 12s.6d. per week to take effect as from 1st July,1923. The question tobe considered is whether, notwithstanding Dunk's acceptance of £120 in full payment of the Commonwealth's liability in respect of his injuries, it is reasonable to set aside the agreement and restore the payments so as to permit Dunk to draw 30s. a week in pension and compensation. So far as the papers disclose, the only reasons that can be advanced for setting aside the agreement are - (a) Dunk's old age, and (b) the fact that owing to his prolonged life the commutation of his compensation has worked out unfavorably to him. Judging the case as set out in the treasury papers, it is very difficult to discover grounds for a recommendation in favour of Dunk. I, therefore, borrowed the Defence file, and after perusal have arrived at the following conclusions: - > >That Dunk, in view of his ago, should not have been accepted as a munition worker; Dunk was granted an oldage pension from 30th April, 1914, when his age must havebeen at least 65 years. He was at least 68 when he applied in 1917 for employment as a munition worker. > >That he falsely gave his age to the munition authorities as 54 years, and by misrepresentation secured payment of old-age pension to which he was not entitled. On his return from England, Dunk represented to the pension authorities that ho went to England to claim a supposed interest under a will. His pension was thereupon restored from a date 81 days prior to his application. It was subsequently discovered that his income exceeded the limit allowed under the act, and pension was suspended to adjust the overpayment, > >That there is room for much doubt as to the extent of the injuries alleged to have been sustainedby him on the voyage to England and which was the basis of his claim for compensation under the Seamen's Compensation Act. > >The following is a copy of a letter dated 4th October, 1918, addressed by the officerincharge, Australianmunitions workers, London, to the Secretary, Department of Defence: - "This munition worker has been returned to Australia on account of illness. He has stated from time to time that he met with an accident on board the *Belt ana* en voyage from Australia to Great Britain. The accident, Dunk declared, caused broken ribs, hernia and injury to the arm. The doctor's certificates disclosed that the injury to the ribs is of long standing and probably the hernia is also. There is nothing in the ship's' papers disclosing an accident of the kind aboard. As Dunk will probably make a claim for compensation under the Seamen's Compensation Act 1911, I am forwarding for your perusal copies of all letters, medical certificates, &c, connected with the case." The ship's doctor - **Dr. J.** Baines - reported on the 24th August, 1917: - "Dunk twice admitted to hospital suffering from exacerbation of chronic bronchitis; also large right inguinal hernia and has lost weight considerably on the voyage." It would have been extraordinary if the ship's doctor had been unaware of injuries which, it is alleged, **Mr. Dunk** had sustained on board the *Beltana. No* one who has ever had a broken rib- I speak from experience - would fail to let his doctor know all about it. It would be a very serious matter, indeed, for a man of **Mr. Dunk's** age to break his ribs, and it would be extraordinary for a ship's doctor not to make some report upon the incident, since he attended **Mr. Dunk** during the voyage. **Mr. Ross** goes on to state - >Drs. CharlesRyan and H. C. Maudsley reported on the 8th May, 1918: - "Says he is 55 years of age but looks much older. Has emphysema, rigid chest, and curved back. Heart slightly enlarged. Has thickened vessels, the result of wear and tear and age. Enlargement of the right metacarpa phalangeal joint of the thumb, but good movement. Complains of inability to abduct his arm. No wasting of muscles of the shoulder and no evidence of disease of the shoulder joint. Has a right inguinal hernia. Inability to use the shoulder perfectly and to use the arm perfectly is mainly functional and partly rheumatism. Says he was thrown against donkey engine in the dark and bruised his arm. We asked for medical reports but received none about the accident." Owing to the absence of reports from the ship's doctors regarding the accident, the A.I.F. consultants were unable to record their opinion as to **Mr. Dunk's** disability. {: type="a" start="d"} 0. That he gave much trouble to the munition authorities in England, and invented excuses in order to delay as much as possible his repatriation to Australia. This statement is borne out by the following extracts from a communication addressed; by **Colonel S.** H. E. Barraclough to the Minister of Labour, on the 26th June, 1918 : - " With reference to your request for me to report on the above-named unsatisfactory case, I am sending you his history sines landing in England. After a lot of correspondence, he has been paid the sum of £13 18s. 7d. under the Seamen's Compensation Act. Whether he likes it or not, he will be returned by the first available boat, which I am given to understand is sailing at the latter half of next month, or he will have his agreement terminated. He seems to me to have used any excuse so as not to be repatriated, for each time that he has been notified to report he has always had some excuse for not doing so." The following entry appears on Dunk's London record : - " This man has done about two weeks' work during his eleven months in England. He has been a continual nuisance." {: type="a" start="e"} 0. That his history is a record of continuous' misrepresentation from the datehe applied for employment as a munition worker in 1917 to the present date. In addition to the instances referred to above, Dunk has, since bis return to Australia, several times falsely represented that the Commonwealth was indebted to him, and that payments due to him had not been made. He also stated that the compensation of £120 paid in redemption of weekly payments was accepted by him " after much wheedling and coaxing at the Solicitor-General's Office." As . a matter of fact, Dunk begged to be allowed to accept the amount. In case Colonel Barraclough may be said to be a " brass hat," I want to state that he was not a " pukka " military man at all. He is a university professor of engineering, who, during the war, was placed in charge of the munition workers. He did good service in England. **Mr. Ross** continues - >Finally, in a letter addressed to **Senator Gardiner** on 28th March, 1923, Dunk states - > >Before joining (as a munition worker) I was a first class tradesman (builder), and for 12 years on my own account. Now I am a discharged munition worker, quite incurable and totally incapacitated (see references and doctors' certificates enclosed), eking out an existence on 15s. per week from old-age pension. ... I have not received one penny from the Commonwealth Government since 1st September, 1920 - 21/2 years ago. I am quite' unable to work, and now ask that 15s. per week be restored to me from that date. All I ask is simple justice according to the Act, and as they have - all thetime they did not pay me 30s. per week - taken away my old-age " pension. . . . The fact is that when Dunk joined as a munition worker in April, 1917, he was an old-age pensioner aged 69 or 70 years. He has drawn the full old-age pension from the date it was first granted in 1914 up to the present time (now 17s. 6d. per week) excepting when' payment was stopped *(inter alia)* to adjust overpayments made owing to misrepresentation-- and again for aix months after conviction on a charge of stealing by finding. General conclusion : - The proposal of the Defence Department to set aside an agreement entered into and completed by the Commonwealth with a view to restoration of weekly payments is, so far as is known, without precedent; and if approved will create much difficulty in dealing with cases of compensation, especially where the claimants are far more deserving of consideration than this man. Moreover, Dunk did not scruple to twice involve the Commonwealth in useless litigation, after the settlement of the payment of compensation, on the ground that the amount was inadequate. In the last case costs given against Dunk were waived by approval of the Minister. The history of this case points throughout to deliberate misrepresentation. Dunk has received generous treatment, both in regard to compensation and his old-age pension. Although he is an old man - now 76 years - he is drawing a full old-age pension, and there seems to be no reason to warrant any further consideration being extended to him. The following is a letter sent to the Government by the Assistant Secretary to the. Treasury, who practically puts in condensed- form what I have already said : - , . *Select* Committee. *Motion* by **Senator Gardiner** *re William Dunk.* The position in regard to Dunk is that in 1917, at the age of about 69, ho sailed for England as a munition worker. He gave his age at that time as 54. He was entitled, under the Seamen's Compensation Act, to compensation in the event of accident. Dunk met with an accident, and accepted payment of £120 in full settlement. Notwithstanding this, he has brought two actions against the Commonwealth for further compensation, and has failed on each occasion. Dunk first became an old-age pensioner on the 30th April, 1914, when he was at least 65 years of age. He has already involved the Commonwealth in expense of useless litigation, and on the last occasion when the costs were given against him they were waived. Dunk has drawn the. full old-age pension from the date it was first granted in 1914 up to the present time (now 17s. 6d. per week), excepting when payment was stopped to adjust overpayments made owing to misrepresentation, and again for six months after conviction on a charge of stealing by finding. A full precis of Dunk's ease is 'attached. Notwithstanding his misrepresentation, he has received generous treatment, both in regard to compensation and oldage pension, and all that the law allows. The Treasurer considers that no useful purpose would bc served by the appointment of the proposed select committee. If cases like this, the facts 'of which seem to be perfectly clear, are to be inquired into by a select committee of the Senate, we shall be kept very busy. This man; certainly seems to have been most industrious in making misrepresentations of his case, and I am convinced that he has misled. **Senator Gardiner.** First of all there was a doubt whether he was entitled to compensation. There was no medical record of an accident happening to him on the ship, although that vessel carried a medical officer. The report of that officer shows that he was in attendance on Dunk, but he does not mention anything about broken ribs, or an accident happening on the ship. Surely the report of the medical officer would be more reliable than the statement made by Dunk to **Senator Gardiner.** What motive could there be for the medical officer to hide the fact that Dunk had met with an accident? His report was written on the completion of the voyage. Dunk did not work as a munition worker. He was sent, for examination, to two medical officers, who. recommended that he be returned to Australia. There isno mention in their report of broken ribs, the result of an accident. Any one can see from that report that Dunk waa really suffering from old age. The time of a select committee of the Senate should not be taken Up in investigating this case when there is absolutely no need for an inquiry. The reports that I have quoted completely destroy the case that **Senator Gardiner** has attempted to makeout on behalf of this man, whose representations are not backed up by a single shred of evidence. Neither **Dr. Maudsley,** nor the medical officer, of the ship, mentioned in his report that Dunk had suffered from an accident. I ask the Senate to reject the motion {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- Has the Minister anything, to say about Judge Scholes's strictures on the Commonwealth Government for having taken advantage of this man ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Judge Scholes waacommenting on the case1 as presented by the solicitor who appeared for the- Commonwealth, but I venture to say that Judge Scholes had not heard the evidence. In the statement of the casebefore the court, as read by **Senator Gardiner,** it will be noticed that the solicitor for the Commonwealth took a technical objection, and that being so, I imagine that no evidence was called. Perhapsit would have been a. good thing for the Commonwealth if its lawyer had not taken the technical objection. I doubt very much whether the Government knew- the nature of the proceedings in court. The lawyer representing the Commonwealth* - like all lawyers - would be out io win his case, and he raised a technical objection, which was upheld. I am quite satisfied that if Judge Scholes had heard the evidence he would not have made the remarks he did, and that Dunk would have been immediately non-suited. {: #subdebate-20-0-s2 .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON:
Queensland -- I have no objection to acting on the select committee if appointed, especially as the request comes from the other side, but I should like to voice the opinion that I expressed when an honorable senator on this side asked me to act as a member of a select committee: that only in cases of very great importance should the high tribunal of the Senate be asked to make an inquiry. The Minister, in reply to **Senator Gardiner,** has shown that this is not a matter to be dealt with by the high tribunal of Parliament, and, therefore, although I am willing to act on the select committee if it is appointed, I shall vote against the motion. {: #subdebate-20-0-s3 .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator BENNY:
South Australia -- I ask **Senator Gardiner** to postpone the consideration of this matter until honorable senators have had an opportunity to weigh the evidence. I waa very much impressed with **Senator Gardiner's** statement respecting this case. I realize that there are objections to a great tribunal like the Senate sitting as a committee to consider petty and trivial matters in dispute; but if a. person cannot get satisfaction in a court of law he is at perfect liberty to approach the high court of Parliament. When such an influential and prominent member of the Senate as **Senator Gardiner** asks that this case should be inquired into, it is the duty of. the Senate to appoint a select committee to administer justice, no matter how menial or impoverished the person concerned may be. When I heard **Senator Gardiner's** statement, I felt that a select committee should be appointed. I am perfectly satisfied with the names of the honorable senators that have been submitted to investigate this case. It is unfortunate that the name of **Senator Payne** has been submitted, as he is absent from the state, and, therefore, cannot sit on the committee, but no doubt another can be substituted. The statement of the Minister has placed a- different complexion on the case put by **Senator, Gardiner.** But I am not at all satisfied with the Minister's reply respecting Judge Scholes's remarks. It is damning evidence against the Government for a judge to make such remarks as those quoted by **-Senator Gardiner,** and in view of that the select committee should be appointed, so that no injustice may be done to Dunk. If, after inquiry, the committee And that there is no justification for action by the Senate, no harm will, be done. I ask **Senator Gardiner** to postpone the consideration of his motion until next week. {: .speaker-KKZ} ##### Senator Gardiner: -- If any one will move in that direction I am prepared to accept that suggestion. Debate (on motion by **Senator Greene)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 3437 {:#debate-21} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-21-0} #### THE SENATE AND THE PRESS " Age " and " Argus " Reports of Proceedings. {: #subdebate-21-0-s0 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- I move - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. That the representatives of the Melbourne *Age* and the Melbourne *Argus* be excluded from the Senate chamber until the proprietors of those journals give express guarantees to the President that the space in their respective newspapers devoted to the reports of the deliberations of the Senate shall be at least as liberal as that given to the report of an average football match or. to police or divorce court proceedings. 1. That the question of the due observance of the guarantees be determined from time to time by the House committee of the Senate. 2. That whenever such committee shall report to the Senate that the terms of any guarantee have not been faithfully observed, the representatives of the newspaper concerned may be excluded by the President from the Senate chamber until such time as tlie President is satisfied that the proprietors of the newspaper will duly honour and observe the terms of the guarantee. The task I- have imposed upon myself is rather- unwelcome and uncongenial, but tasks of this nature have sometimes to be undertaken for a, worthy purpose, and the worthy purpose I have in view is the conservation of the good name of the Senate, its importance and its dignity. When I demand that representatives of the two organs of public opinion mentioned in the motion shall not be allowed, unless certain conditions are complied with, to attend here to report our proceedings^ I do not for one moment wish, it .to be understood that my complaint relates to the reporters who ordinarily attend here. My complaint applies only to those "who are responsible for the conduct of the journals, because of the way in which they treat the proceedings of this chamber in their columns. My motion is plainly, worded, but not more plainly than the circumstances demand. I am simply asking that these two journals, and possibly others later on, who claim the right to occupy the accommodation provided by the Senate for the reporting of its proceedings, should, at least, give to the happenings here as much attention and space as they devote to the other activities mentioned in the motion. Just as an individual, as he plods his way through life, has occasionally to be the defender of his good name and his reputation against whatever onslaughts may be attempted against him, so this Senate must take a prominent part . in defending its own welfare, and particularly must it be the principal custodian of its own dignity. When we examine the treatment of this chamber in the columns of the journals I have mentioned, we find that there is ample need for the adoption of my motion, and for the demand it makes for publicity to the proceedings here. Like the Senate, the press of Australia occupies a place peculiar to itself. It is a means by which public happenings are recorded, and a vehicle through which the sayings of public men are made known to the people, and in which the commercial, political, and industrial life of the community should be reflected. But it is in private hands over which no control can be exercised except that of the law of libel, and that of the higher tribunal of .public opinion, and when we find such irresponsible institutions apparently making up their minds,deliberately, to practically ignore the Senate, it is time we took a hand in defending . our own reputation, and in assuming the role of custodians of our own dignity. The Senate is composed of 36 men gathered from the broad area of this continent, who have found their way here by a road which is by no means an easy one. It is one of the hardest, most difficult, and thorniest pathways that any man has to take to find a leading place' of merited distinction. By the time any person attains to the dignity of senator and enters the portals of this chamber he must possess all-round qualifications somewhat above those of the average type of citizen. We are all here as the spontaneous choice of the electors of this country, and, that being so, we are entitled to some respect and just recognition. We all come from varying walks of life with a message to deliver. Being the choice of the democracy of. the age, we must have a story to tell of such import and such worth as to entitle the pressmen for whom we provide accommodation in this chamber to record at least a liberal portion of it. But the result has been otherwise,, and that is why I am forced to take this action. I have to couple, with the insufficiency of the space devoted to the reporting of the proceedings of the Senate, the language employed by these journals in reference to this chamber. I have read, for instance, in one of them, references to the Senate as a " gathering of dunderheads " and as a " lethal chamber." It has been said that, owing to our waste of 'time and our systematic efforts to dodge our responsibility, the Senate is, so to speak, almost a political " dead-house." I remember the comment; of John Morley, that eminent British journalist and statesman, upon an applicant for a minor position on the press. That applicant was asked in what particular quality he excelled, and he replied, " Vituperation." " I am afraid," said Lord Morley, " that gentleman found his way to some of the inferior grades of the British press." When we find that this Senate, which represents a high grade of public opinion, is described as a " lethal chamber," or as an aggregation of " dunderheads," I am. afraid the capacity for vituperation is not wanting in the case of at least one Melbourne journal. My only desire in repeating these things is to work some change in the minds of those who are responsible for. what is nothing but. an endeavour to lower in tho public estimation .institutions of which the Senate is one of the highest. If we do not rise to the occasion and say, " Enough of this; we shall not tolerate it in future," the Senate will stand condemned, and its very existence as a body may be jeopardized. It is because I wish to postpone that time, which is sought to be hastened by the action of the journals to which I am referring, that I am taking this action. When the studied weapon of silence, or, what is equal to, the stingy record of happenings, or, what is even worse, the use of mean expressions such as have been applied to the Senate, is employed by the press against any individual or institution, it is a most effective means of bringing about the downfall of that individual or that institution in the high court of public opinion. In my attempt to ward this off, I am inspired by something more than a desire to preserve the interests of the Senate, the finest creation of the people, and the body which best represents the spontaneous feeling of the people. I am also anxious to recall the press to a sense of their duty by asking them not to be guilty of unbecoming behaviour, but to live up to a higher moral standard in their capacity as sponsors for the education of the public, and never again to stoop to the lower levels to which they have given ample evidence of stooping, in their comments upon this chamber. At this juncture I. may be asked if the press has treated the Senate worse than it has treated other institutions of a like character. Let us compare its treatment of the Senate with its treatment of the state institutions. .In order to discover if there is any justification for the statement that we have been idling away our time, or failing to reflect the feeling of the people, or that we are an institution upon which public money is wasted, I have gone to the trouble of ascertaining how long the Victorian Legislative Assembly, the Victorian Legislative Council, and" the Senate s?.t from 1919 to 1923, inclusive. In the five years the official records show that the Victorian Legislative Assembly sat for 317 days, an average of 63.2 days a year. In the same period the Senate sat for 273 days, an average of 54.7 days a year. It has to be remembered that there were two Imperial Conferences during that period, involving, so far as the Federal Parliament was concerned, a necessary loss of eight months on each occasion. According to these figures, the Senate compares most favorably with the Lower House in Victoria. I use the Legislative Assembly of Victoria for the sake of comparison in a friendly way, and not with the least idea of implying anything against the good work it has done. In the same period the Legislative Council of Victoria sat for 157 days, an average of 31.4 days a year. Yet, despite the marked difference I have shown, I have not seen a murmur in the Melbourne journals against that legislative body. Again, needless to say, I am not even breathing any adverse comment on that chamber. We have arrived at a time when we should pause and ask. ourselves whether, so far as lies in our power, we should not see that the present attitude of these journals is no longer continued. I refer to the scanty space given to the reports of proceedings of the Senate. It does not matter to me how much space I get, but I have some natural intuitive regard for the body of which I am a. member. Every one takes an interest in that which concerns himself. The members of even the humblest form of social organism like to have something good thought and said about them. It is because I have some respect for the dignity and importance of this chamber (hat I have singled - out the two houses of the state legislature, and shown that the Senate compares most favorably with either of them. If these journals, find no fault with those two chambers, why should they find fault with the Senate? Why should they not give the Senate the same adequate publicity ? Is it contended that the speeches delivered in the Senate are of a lower intellectual quality than those which are delivered in the State Parliament? I do not think that that claim can be sustained. On the contrary, I insist that the speeches delivered in this chamber are not one whit lower in intellectual calibre or sound judgment than those which are reported by the press in the other chamber and in the state legislature, and they are entitled to as much publicity. I am, therefore, forced to the conclusion that there must be something underlying this stand on the part of the newspapers. I do not propose to allow myself to conduct an enquiry into that phase of the matter. We must, however, ask Ourselves whether we are entitled to this treatment. A remarkable illustration was afforded on the Commonwealth Bank Bill. As we all know, that measure was introduced in another place, and came to the Senate in a very imperfect form, requiring close attention. A number of important amendments were proposed and discussed lengthily and carefully in this chamber : their merits, and the grounds sustaining them, were set out fully; but the two Melbourne papers referred to in that case gave as bare and as bald a record as appears in the *Journals of the Senate.* They might just as well have gone to that source and have copied the official records. But when the bill was returned to the other House and discussion ensued upon those .amendments that were originated in the Senate,, the newspapers devoted -ample space to that discussion, although :it was merely repetition of matter that ought to have been reported when it was delivered in this chamber. I am, therefore, forced to take this step, unwilling though I am to do so, because I believe that the people require and demand it. It is necessary to bring these newspapers back to the high standard which they desire the public to believe they set, and to ensure that the space which they make available in their columns shall be proportionate to the merits of the utterances reported. I do not think that this policy will succeed in bringing about the downfall of the Senate; but it will not be their fault if it does not. As I have said previously, the day after the Senate is doomed to destruction federation will fall. This Senate will live'. It is broad-based. Its like does not exist in the Commonwealth, or in any' democracy with which I am acquainted throughout the world. It lives with the consent of the majority of the people, directly and firmly expressed at the ballot-box. That fact, perhaps, may be at the bottom of much of the coldshouldering that has been done by these journals. They are at the fountain head of information, and the example which they set as copied elsewhere. If one reads the newspapers that are published at a distance from Melbourne one gets the impression that the Senate is a moribund institution, wherein very inferior opinions are expressed, and the ability of the members is so doubtful that it is hardly worth while recording what they have to -say. I am prepared to leave the motion in the hands of honorablesenators, in .the belief that 'they will approach its consideration with a due sense of the responsibility that rests upon them as the exclusive keepers and. defenders of the dignity and the welfare of the Senate. I could say a great deal more, but I feel that there is no necessity for me to do so. I have entered my protest, such as it is. Whilst- 1 withdraw the expression of any sentiment that may be of an unkind or of an uncalled for nature, :still I feel that I have a duty to perform, a duty that I cannot shirk - a duty that rests upon every honorable senator, and that is, not to tolerate conditions that will lead to a lowering of the Senate in the estimation of the public. That will certainly happen if the present behaviour of the newspapers is persisted in. I have moved the motion in the belief that honorable senators will realize the grave position, and say that rather than provide accommodation for these newspapers under present conditions, they prefer not to have the proceedings of the Senate reported by them. Those are my feelings. I hope that every honorable senator will state whether., in his opinion, the newspapers that I have mentioned have done the fair thing - not to say their public duty- by us. {: #subdebate-21-0-s1 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- I daresay there are many honorable senators who share **Senator Lynch'** s somewhat .gloomy and pessimistic view of the virtues, or the want of virtues, of the daily press, but I think that the majority of people long ago recognized that the press had ceased to .be a leader of public opinion. There is an explanation for that. There was a time when the great bulk of the people were not educated. Naturally, in those days, the man who had some education and was able, through the medium of the press, to place his views before the people, exercised a great effect upon public opinion. To-day, however, the great bulk of the people are as well educated as those who write for the newspapers, and are -as well able to form an opinion. So, to-day, the people do not take their opinions from the daily press; and it is just as well that they do not. That being so, ought we to concern ourselves as to whether the daily press does or does not report 'the proceedings of the Senate? We have an official publication * - Hansard* - and I suppose that the greatest journal in the Commonwealth does not reach -some of the remote places to which *Hansard* is sent. During my election campaigns, I have often visited back-block centres to which a newspaper seldom penetrates; but I have generally found some enterprising elector, in the back of the hall, with a well-thumbed *Hansard* in his hand ready to ask, " Did you on such and such a date make such and such a statement?" He has that statement marked in *Mansard.* That is a proof that the thinking people who want to learn the truth regarding their legislatures go to *Hansard* for it. I do not think that **Senator Lynch's** motion is very complimentary to the Senate. If we proposed to take the drastic action suggested, we ought to make it a little more complimentary than to ask that the re. ports of the proceedings in the Senate should be at least equal in length to those of an average football match. To state that the reports of the Senate have approximately the same value as those of a divorce case is, to say the least, not very complimentary to the morals of the Senate. I regret as much as **Senator Lynch** does, the fact that the press cannot see its way to give greater publicity to the proceedings of the Senate. I presume that .it is actuated by commercial considerations. The proprietors probably know their own business best. They publish their newspapers .not for educational purposes, not even in the interests of the country, but in their own interest. They publish, not what they think will elevate the tone of, or educate the community, but news which they think it will pay them to publish. If the reports of divorce cases and football matches are more popular with the people, the daily newspapers will see that the people get those reports. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- It is purely a money matter so far as the newspapers are concerned. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Of course. They are commercial enterprises, and nothing that we can do will change their attitude. I do not think their downward walk would be slackened in the slightest degree if we withdrew from them the privilege of reporting the proceedings of this chamber. If in their leisure moments the newspaper men read the speech of **Senator Lynch** it may cause them some perturbation, and perhaps lead them to repentance and reformation. After an experience of political life extending over twenty years, I am not hopeful that even the honorable senator's speech will have any effect. To-day parliamentary institutions throughout the world are being challenged. There are people who say that the day df parliamentary institutions has passed, and that some other form for carrying on the business of the country is necessary. There are those who say that the Soviet of Russia is the form of .government which is going to take the place of our parliamentary and governmental institutions. I share with **Senator Lynch** the opinion that the press, in the attitude that it takes up towards Parliament and parliamentary institutions, is doing more to cultivate that opinion than any other factor in our daily life. In holding Parliament up to contempt, in speaking of politicians in disparaging terms, as the press does whenever it gets the opportunity, it is fanning the fire that is being sedulously lit throughout every civilized country as a movement against parliamentary institutions. I do not say that the press is doing that deliberately; I do not suppose that it is, because, in its editorial columns, it advances arguments against the very movement which, by its attitude towards parliamentary institutions, it is encouraging. Whilst I believe that, and regret it, I cannot nevertheless see that any good purpose will be served by passing the motion, and if it is taken to a division I shall have to vote against it. {: #subdebate-21-0-s2 .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON:
Queensland -- In fairness to the newspapers, I should like to mention one phase, and that is that they pay considerable attention to the proceedings in another place. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Especially if there is a row there. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator THOMPSON: -- I am not referring to that aspect just .now. As most of our legislation is introduced in another place, they devote considerable space to the proceedings of that House. If they were to report the speeches delivered in this chamber upon those .measures there would be a good deal of tedious repetition, which it is not the newspapers' duty to encourage. I think, however, that in adopting that attitude they overlook the fact that occasionally bills are initiated in the Senate, and that in such cases they should give as , much space to the proceedings of the "Senate as they do to those of another ''place. If this debate opens their eyes to that aspect of the matter I think .that we shall have no cause for complaint. Personally, I do not regard the motion seriously, and I am sure that the newspapers will not do so. I do not think that we ought to pass such a motion. {: #subdebate-21-0-s3 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Those who have given the matter the slightest consideration must realize that the press of this country arrogates to itself the sole right to mould and broadcast public opinion. Such a condition of affairs should be resented by all Parliaments. Apparently, one of the objects of the press is to discredit Parliaments to such an extent as to eventually wipe them out of existence. Members of Parliament are entitled to be referred to as statesmen, but the press perpetually speak of them, comtemptuously, as politicians. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- They are described as "statesmen" very often,, after their death, but as " politicians " -while they live. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Many of the persons who write the leading articles in the press are no more intelligent than the average citizen. Speaking for myself, I have always declined to be influenced by the leading articles in the daily press, although for many years I have read the Sydney newspapers. They- are always hostile to Parliament, and I know full well that they are always in the wrong; therefore I am always opposed to them. It is customary for certain persons to fall on their knees and worship the press. In some places it is quite a nightly performance to worship at the shrine of the press, but I hope that no member of this chamber will ever descend to that practice. I do not care what the press of this country . says about members of the Senate, but it ought at least to give a fair amount of space to the doings of this chamber. The Senate is elected on a wider franchise than possibly any other legislative chamber in the world. Even the Senate of the United States of America is not comparable with that of the Commonwealth in that respect. {: .speaker-K1W} ##### Senator Benny: -- But it has greater powers. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- No Upper House in the states, and not even the House of Representatives, is elected on the same broad franchise. I congratulate **Senator Lynch** upon his courage in submitting a motion of this nature. I could have spoken more trenchantly than I have, had he included a paragraph objecting to the way in which the press totally ignores such an important subject as land value taxation. I hope that the tabling of the motion will at any rate teach a lesson to the morning newspapers of Melbourne, for, taken collectively, they are not as influential as any one member of this chamber: {: #subdebate-21-0-s4 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- It has been stated by the Minister that the conduct of the press is not calculated to help representative institutions. **Senator Thompson** complained that the space given to the proceedings of this chamber was not commensurate with its importance, and not comparable with the space devoted to the proceedings in another place. We have also heard from **Senator Grant-** that the influence of the press, after all, is not great. In view of those expressions of opinion, I feel that some good purpose has been served by the tabling of the- motion. It has given an opportunity to those who chose to speak to make known their views on the subject. I know that quite a number of honorable senators would like to participate in the debate, but do not care to do so. In the circumstances I ask leave to withdraw the motion, believing that the - newspapers will take notice of it, and will, in the future, at least do justice to themselves, to the public, and to the proceedings of this chamber. Motion, by leave, withdrawn. {: .page-start } page 3442 {:#debate-22} ### CASE OF LIEUTENANT W. W. PAINE {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Proposed Select Committee Debate resumed from 7th August *(vide* page 2921), on motion by **Senator Grant** - >That a Select Committee he appointed to inquire into and report upon the case of First Lieutenant W. W. Paine, such committee to consist of Senators Gardiner, McDougall, Poll, Greene, Cox, Elliott, and the mover, and to have power to send for persons, papers, and records, and to move from place to place. {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator CRAWFORD:
QueenslandHonorary Minister · NAT -- I oppose the motion, not because of any want of sympathy with ex-Lieutenant Paine, but because I believe that the circumstances do not. justify the appointment of a select committee. A great deal of attention has been given to this case by the repatriation authorities, and I would point out that Parliament has provided that all claims for pensions shall be conT sidered, in the first instance, by the State Repatriation Board, and, on appeal, by the Repatriation Commission. Upon each of these bodies the returned soldiers are directly represented. I may add' that on the New South Wales board are three returned soldiers. The case presented by **Senator Grant** was chiefly based on *ax parte* statements by ex-Lieutenant Paine. It is true that **Senator Grant** ' read letters from the matron of the Randwick Military Hospital, and also from **Dr. Jarvie** Hood; but I would point out that **Dr. Jarvie** Hood's letter was evidently based merely on his memory of the case. He referred to conditions existing from 1915 to 1918, which was from six to nine years prior to the date of his letter of the 15th July, 1924, While the opinions of other doctors are taken from official records made at the time. This case has on several occasions been considered by the repatriation authorities, and I have gone into it very fully. I wrote to **Senator Grant** a- comprehensive letter on the subject quite recently, and ex-Lieutenant Paine, who quoted extensively from it in writing to **Senator Grant,** stated - >In' the letter from the Minister for Repatriation to yourself, (copy numbered 14605) it is stated *inter aiia* that - " The ischio rectal abscess did not appear until 11th September, 1917, long after his discharge. This complaint was considered by the surgeon who performed the operation on 2nd November, 1917, not to be the result of service, and by another examining doctor to be due to ' infection of recent origin '. The departmental medical officer reported it had been established that there was no sequence of abscesses from the date of his discharge to October, 1917." > >The above statements are, to say the very least of it, very misleading - in fact, they are untrue. In giving his own account, ex-Lieutenant Paine states - >After another series of vaccine treatments, an ischio rectal abscess occurred, and early in 1017 (during the month of February, I believe), I reported this trouble to the medical officer at Liverpool camp (where I was then engaged on home service), and was sent to Randwick Military Hospital, where I was operated on by **Dr. Curtis** Elliott (about February, 1917). Sec **Dr. Curtis** Elliott's letter in Repatriation Department's files. > >Therefore, you will see that the Minister for Repatriation's statement that "the ischio rectal abscess did not appear until 11th September, 1917," is untrue, and also that there is, to my mind, ample proof that there was a " sequence of abscesses " from the date of my discharge to October, 1917. Twice in his letter he states that my statement that he was not operated on until September, 1917, was untrue and that he was operated on for an ischio rectal abscess in February of that year. I have here a very complete report of the history of his case. I do not propose to read the whole of it, but I shall make brief extracts, in order to present the case fairly to the Senate. The first mention of this case is in a report by **Dr.** *N.* H. Franki, dated 19th October, 1915, in the following terms - >Medically boarded at No. 4 A.G.H., Randwick. Disability, gunshot wound face, right cheek, back of neck, right arm, left leg. Has a discharging sinus in right forearm, great stiffness of elbow joint. On the 21st December of the same year Lieutenant Paine was operated on, and no mention was made then of any discharge, but there was reference to a stiff arm and stiff leg. The report added that there was reasonable hope that he would be fit for service in two months' time. The board recommended treatment for a period of two months. Lieutenant Paine was again medically boarded on the 3rd August of the following year, when it was found that he was ' medically unfit for active service and he was discharged. He was then employed on home service. On the 6th September, 1916, a report on his pension claim was made by **Dr. S.** H. McCulloch, Commonwealth medical referee, who stated that he was suffering from - >Loss of power in the right arm, with restriction qf movement of the forearm. Los3 of power in left leg. A lump on the upper third of left tibia; general weakness. In his letter of the 6th August, 1924, exLieutenant Paine stated that he was operated on for ischio rectal abscess, he thought in February of 1917, but the records show that whilst on home service he was admitted to hospital on 3rd March, 1917, suffering from gunshot wound in the left leg, and on 29th March was operated upon, a bullet being removed from the left tibia. There is no mention in that report of a rectal abscess. The operation was performed by **Colonel Sir Herbert** Maitland. On 5th May Lieutenant Paine was discharged from hospital, and on 13th July a report was made by **Dr. J.** Pirie, Commonwealth medical referee, who stated that he was suffering from - >Partial loss of use of right arm; is unable to flex joint at elbow or close fingers. There is also wasting of right forearm. Still lameness of left leg. That was the leg upon which the operation was performed in March of the same year. On the 12th September, Lieutenant Paine was admitted to Number1 4 Australian General Hospital at Randwick, suffering from ischio rectal abscess. In the history of his case, that is the first mention of that disability. An operation was performed on 16th September, by **Dr.** O'Gorman Hughes, who, on 30th October, and at the request of the Deputy Commissioner of Pensions, made the following report upon a claim for increased pension made by Lieutenant Paine - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Ischio rectal abscess, due to haemorrhoids. 1. Furunculosis. Incapacity is due to (1) and was not caused by active service. On 13th December, Lieutenant Paine was discharged from hospital. On 30th January, 191S, a report, made by **Dr. H.** R. C. Poate, on Lieutenant Paine's claim for increased pension, stated - >Is suffering from (1) pains in perineal region was operated on in SeptemberOctober, 1917, and on 11th inst. for small abscesses. . . . He has now considerable perineal inflammation and two small sinuses. This should be well in a few weeks. The above condition is the result of (1) infection of recent origin, four months- That would take it back to September. On the 9th September, 1918, there is a report by Lieut. -Colonel W. H. Read on. review of pension. This doctor mentions the ischio rectal abscess as the incapacity, and states - >The perineal condition is not the result of active service. On the 5th May, 1919, there is a further report by **Major G.** Lawson Kerr on review of pension. **Major Kerr** states - >The above condition is the result of (1) Not due to military service (September, 1917). . . He has external haemorrhoids and some slight rectal discharge. This medical officer adds that the disability originated in about September, 1917. On the 21st October, 1920, Colonel Reiach reported - >Ischio rectal abscess not quite healed. Came on since return. A score of doctors have reported in the same way upon this man. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- **Dr. Jarvie** Hood did not confirm that opinion. {: .speaker-JRW} ##### Senator CRAWFORD: -- It is obvious that, since **Dr. Jarvie** Hood had not seen. Lieutenant Paine for about six years, hewas writing entirely from, memory. On the 14th July, 1922, Drs. G. Lawson. Kerr and A. V. Appleyard reported on. review of pension - >Recently healed sinus scar of ischio rectal abscess, right side, internal haemorrhoids. On the 23rd March, **Dr. Lawson** Kerr reported, on appeal - >From history of the case I am of opinion that the ischio rectal condition may be attributed to his service. That is the only opinion out of a score or more which states that Lieutenant Paine's disability may be attributed tomilitary service. On the 10th April, **Dr..** *K.* Smith reported., on appeal - >The records show that the abscess first developed twelve months after discharge from. Australian Imperial Force while on home service, and was not due to home service, although it arose on such service. On the 9th May there is the following report from the Prince of Wales Hospital : - >Has abscess in perineal region, probably not due to war service. On the 18th May, **Dr. H.** E. Featherstone, Acting Principal Departmental Medical Officer, reported - >No medical evidence on which to connect his ischio rectal abscess with his service. A recapitulation of the history of the case, based on the records on the file, states - >The ischio rectal abscess first appeared on 11/9/17 and was considered by **Major 0'Gorman** Hughes (Randwick File report of 30/10/17) not to be result of service, and by **Dr. H.** R. C. Poate (C. File 30/1/18) to be due to infection of recent origin. The report concludes - >It is therefore established that there was no sequence of abscesses from date of discharge to 17th October. This was the strong point which exLieutenant Paine had endeavoured to make, but the reports show clearly that a period of very nearly two years elapsed from the time when the wound in his arm healed until the ischio rectal abscess made its appearance. There is no mention of an ischio rectal abscess by the man himself in his evidence of July, 1917, when he applied for reconsideration of his pension claim - >My right arm is just as weak as it was upon my discharge. There is still restriction of movement and loss of power. My left leg is better, but it is not strong yet. Since my discharge I have been employed as officer commanding machine gun reinforcements at about 13s.10d. per day. This occupation is mainly light, administrative work, as I am not fit to take on any active or hard work. I find that my disability inconveniences me considerably, and I cannot lift weights at all. In cold weather my right hand stiffens and is useless. I have been away altogether about nine weeks on account of my injury. I have been advised to have a year's course of massage, but I cannot afford to give this occupation up, as I cannot take on any other work. When he applied, in July, 1917, for reconsideration of his pension, he made no mention at all of the ischio rectal abscess from which he alleged, in the letter read by **Senator Grant** to the Senate, he had been suffering all the time. This case was submitted to **Sir George** Syme, who said, "I do not regard this as a war service disability." The papers in connexion with the case were also considered by Drs. Featherstone, Courtney, and Gordon. **Dr. Featherstone,** after examining the summary of the file, stated that he could see no reason to vary the prior decision. **Dr. Courtney** said, "I concur with the above opinion." **Dr. Gordon** said, "I concur with the opinion expressed by **Dr. Courtney** on the 8th May, 1924. I can see no connexion between the ischio rectal abscess followed by fistula and any sepsis following gunshot wounds." I have quoted the opinions of over a dozen doctors to the effect that the disability was not due to war service. I shall now quote from the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act to show the conditions under which pensions may be granted. They cannot be granted merely at the discretion of the commission, but they can be granted only in accordance with the provisions of the act. Section 23 provides that a pension may be granted upon the death or incapacity - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Of any person to whom paragraph (a) or *(b)* of the definition of "member of the forces" applies, whose death or incapacity (i) results, or has resulted, from any occurrence happening during the period he was a member of the forces. . . . 1. Of any person to whom paragraph (a) of the definition of "member of the forces" applies, whose death or incapacity results, or has resulted, from his employment in connexion with naval or military preparations or operations. This case has received a great deal of attention from the . medical officers of the Repatriation Department, from the state boards, and from the commission itself, and practically the whole of the evidence from those who have been consulted is to the effect that this particular disability, ischio rectal abscess, did not result from war service. Therefore, under the act, this ex-soldier is not entitled to a pension for that disability. If **Senator Grant** presses his motion I shall ask the Senate to vote against it. The whole of the case submitted by **Senator Grant** was based on the statement made by the ex-soldier and the letter by **Dr. Jarvie** Hood, which was written six years after he had last seen the case. Debate (on motion by **Senator Hoare)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 3445 {:#debate-23} ### LOAN BILL (No. 2.) *In committee* (Consideration resumed, *vide* page 3431) : Schedule. {: #debate-23-s0 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Included in the schedule is the item "Expenditure under River Murray Waters Act 1915-20, £246,250." I understand from the Minister that after consultation between the officers of the Works Department of Victoria, New South Wales, and the Commonwealth, it has finally been decided to make the embankment of the weir sufficiently wide at the base to enable it to be extended at a later date to a height sufficient to impound 1,500,000 acre feet, but that in the meantime it is intended only to impound up to 1,100,000 acre feet. If that is so, I do not wish to further discuss this proposed expenditure. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- The position is as the honorable senator states. {: #debate-23-s1 .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL:
Western Australia -- Immediately before the tea adjournment, I was discussing the item of £150,000 towards the cost of the construction of two vessels for lighthouse services on the Australian coast. I discussed this matter some time ago, and pointed out that each vessel was to cost £116,562. I honestly think that they should be constructed in Australia at a cost of about £35,000 each. They could probably be bought in England for half of that sum. Either we are obtaining vessels of a type too expensive for the lighthouse service, or else the cost of construction is ridiculously high. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- On what grounds does the honorable senator say that these vessels should be constructed in Australia, for £35,000? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- Perhaps I should not say that, but when speaking earlier this evening I mentioned that the "Western Australian Government were replacing the s.s. *Eucla,* which for many years has been in service on the coast between Fremantle and Eucla. She meets very rough weather on that coast, and suffers the hardships experienced by any other lighthouse vessel. She can carry comfortably 30 or 40 passengers and a large quantity of cargo. Her speed is fair, but she has too much passenger accommodation. That vessel is being replaced for £35,000. Respecting the cost of these vessels in England, I wish to quote from a leading shipping magazine - *Fair Play,* which is readily accessible to the public. It is published in England, and is second only to *Lloyd's Shipping Register* in the volume of shipping intelligence it contains. According to that journal of the 3rd July of this year, shipbuilding in England for vessels of 8,000 tons costs from £9 17s. 6d. to £10 5s. per ton. I am willing to concede that smaller vessels would cost proportionately more per ton, but the vessels which are now being constructed at Cockatoo Island could be built in England for under £20 a ton. According to the contract which has been let, they are costing no less than £155 a ton. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- What shipping yard in England can build vessels at under £20 a ton? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- I invite the honorable senator to study the advertisements in this journal. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- Has not the honorable senator a certain shipyard in mind? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- No. I am speaking generally of current prices in England. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- The place of construction is a big consideration. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- That may be so, but there is a big margin between £155 a ton and the cost of shipbuilding in England. {: .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator Needham: -- There is the freight out here to be considered {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- Vessels built in England would come out here under their own steam. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It would cost something to bring them out here. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- We are paying at least three times as much for these vessels as they are worth in the world's market. This country cannot afford to cut itself off from the rest of the world, not even for the encouragement of the shipbuilding industry here. If that industry is to exist in a purely artificial state, to which end we are apparently striving, it will be of no benefit to this country, not for long at all events. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- It cannot last. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- We are building up a wall of high costs and slow work around this country that will cut it off from the rest of the world unless we are very careful. Every time we let a contract under the conditions applying to those let for the lighthouse vessels, we are adding another course to that wall, until at last we shall have isolated ourselves from the rest of the world. We cannot do this and live as a nation. It is giving way to the pernicious practice of paying two or three times the world's value for these things. That is a practice which should be checked. It may be that the luxurious nature of these vessels is responsible for the increased cost. That raises another issue. I am not one who would desire that the officials of the lighthouse service should travel in discomfort, but I do not think that even our very ample means justifies us in building for this service such ivory-handled, silver-mounted steamships as, judging by the price to be paid for them, these vessels are designed to be. I do not know just what method to adopt to have this matter reviewed. Certainly the Government does not seem to wish that it should be reviewed, because in the case of the *Ferndale* and *Fordsdale* Ministers stated point-blank that they would not ask the Commonwealth Shipping Line to make any further inquiries or any more disclosures of information which I sought to obtain, and which I think I have a right to obtain. I do not knowwhether the Public Works Committee or the Public Accounts Committee will inquire into this matter, but I hope they will. I do not speak in this way with any desire to embarrass the Government, but with a desire to save to Australia expenditure which I think should be saved. I think I am entitled to ask for the co-operation of the Government in seeing whether means cannot be devised to put our house in order, and run these services more economically whilst just as efficiently as they are being run at present. **Senator Crawford,** in giving information on the subject from some outside source, told me that these vessels were intended for a special service. They are required for the transferrence of lighthouse crews. I know the duties which they will be expected to perform, and I know the type of steamer required for the purpose. . To tell me that such a steamer will cost £116,000 is to tell me something which can only be described as absurd in the extreme. **Senator Crawford** will realize, as I do, that every day the need for the transferrence of lighthouse crews is becoming less, because every day around the Australian coast the number of unattended lights is being increased, and the number of attended lights is being diminished. Those who supplied information to **Senator Crawford** accused me of saying that these vessels could be built in England for £10 per ton. I did not say anything of the sort, but I did say that £155 per ton is a ridiculously exorbitant price for building them. Speaking in what I believe to be the interests of Australia, and also in the interests of the Government, and without any desire to embarrass it, I ask that it should make some effort to examine this matter, and see whether the ridiculously high cost which is being charged for these vessels cannot be cut down. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- What is the tonnage of these vessels? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- The deadweight tonnage of each vessel is 750 tons, and the cost of each vessel £116,562. {: .speaker-K8P} ##### Senator Thompson: -- The cost of construction of a small ship will be proportionately higher than the cost of a larger vessel. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- I have, admitted that, but these vessels should not cost anything like what they are estimated to cost. If I fixed a reasonable cost at £30 per ton that would be approxi mately only one-fifth of what they are to cost. Such a high cost of construction cannot be defended for a moment. Every time that we let one of these contracts at an exorbitant price we raise a wall that is cutting us off fast from the rest of the world - we are creating an industry which is a purely artificial one, and cannot last, and which when it collapses will do so all the more quickly and with the greater crash because of being in existence for some time. I ask the Government to see whether they cannot find some remedy, as I think they should, for the state of affairs to which I have directed attention. {: #debate-23-s2 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- **Senator Kingsmill** raised the question before. I remember that certain inquiries were made by the Minister concerned, and I recollect the subject of these lighthouse steamers being brought before the Cabinet. Tenders were called for their construction, so that there is no question of undue favoritism to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard in this matter. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- I did not say that there was. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- The contract was let to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard because it sent in the lowest Australian tender. It is ridiculous to say that we are not able in Australia to build steamers of this size, because steamers of much larger tonnage have been built here. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- I did not say that steamers of this size could not be built in Australia. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I suggest that the honorable senator's comparison of these vessels with a coasting steamer such as would be needed to replace the steamship *Eucla,* is not a fair one. These lighthouse service steamers are required for special work, and must have special equipment for that work. I notice **Senator. Kingsmill** smiling in his superior way, but he is not the only person who has made inquiries on this subject, and so he might keep his smile for some other occasion. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- Does the honorable senator presume to control even my smiles? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No; but the honorable senator's air of superiority in dealing with this question would imply that he is the only person who has made any inquiries concerning it. When he brought this matter forward on a previous occasion, I told him that I would make inquiries, and I did make them. As a result, the information supplied to me is that these vessels will not be ordinary coasting steamers, such as would be used to replace a vessel like the *Eucla,* which I know very well. The steamers required for the service in which these vessels will be engaged must be of a type superior to the *Eucla.* These steamers must be fitted and equipped in such a way as to enable them to approach lighthouses in all parts of Australia, and under all conditions of weather. They must be steamers of very great power, and equipped with apparatus designed for their special work. It is therefore unfair to institute a comparison between them and an ordinary coasting steamer. {: .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator Lynch: -- £155 per ton is a very outside figure for construction. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- I am not prepared to admit that these steamers will cost £155 per ton to build; {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- That is' the price given in answer to, a question I asked. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- There is a number of shipyards in Australia capable of building much larger steamers than these will be, and if the price at which the contract for their construction has been let is an excessive price, it seems rather extraordinary that no other shipyards tendered a lower price. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- Not in the least. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Why not? Does the honorable senator suggest that other yards have, too much work to do ? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- Tenders should have been called elsewhere. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Tenders were called in Australia. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- And outside or Australia ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- No, but I say that ships larger than these have been built in Australia. There is a number of shipyards that could, build larger steamers, and if the price contracted' for was an excessive price, how is it that other yards did not tender? {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- The *Ferndale* and *Fordsdale* were built here. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- That does not help the honorable member, because tenders were not called for the- *Fordsdale.* The order for the *Fordsdale* was given to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. In this case, tenders were called. {: .speaker-JYG} ##### Senator Elliott: -- Have not steamers been employed in this lighthouse service before ? {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE: -- Yes, but not steamers of the type of these vessels or anything approaching their class. It is because of the unsatisfactory nature of the service of the steamers hitherto employed in this work - that the navigation department made strong representations to the Minister for Trade and Customs to provide vessels of a different type. The Government felt that in a service such as that in which these vessels will be engaged, the steamers used should be capable of carrying out their work under all conditions. These steamers will have to serve in some very dangerous waters on the north-west coast of Western Australia and off the Queensland coast. It may be that they will be required for service off these coasts in the cyclone season, and if they are to weather cyclonic storms, they must be vessels of considerable power, well found, and well equipped. It is for these reasons that these vessels have been designed of la specially powerful type, capable of carrying out their work under all conditions. The management did not want the work thrown open to public tender, and urged the Government to give the contract to Cockatoo Island, but the Governmentinsisted that the dockyard must tender in competition with other firms. As the tender of the dockyard was the lowest,, we were justified in giving it the contract. **Senator Kingsmill** has quoted *Fair Play* to show what other vessels have cost, but his quotation was of. little value unless it referred to vessels of the same type as these. The honorable senator has forgotten that, if these steamers- had been built in the United Kingdom, their cost would have been increased by the cost of bringing them out to Australia. It would have been necessary either to send crews to England to bring them out, or to pay the passages back to England of the crews that brought them out. The cost of the coal consumed' in bringing out the vessels would also have to be added-. Talcing all these things into consideration, the Government felt that the cost of having the vessels built at Cockatoo Island was not unduly high. Having regard to the special nature of the steamers required, and the Government's desire to encourage as far as possible the establishment of the shipbuilding industry in Australia, thisaction,I feel sure, was justified. However, the honorable senator's representations will be brought under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Pratten).** It was his predecessor who brought the recommendation to Cabinet. We must ensure that the vessels used in our lighthouse service are of the type recommended by the Director of Navigation as being capable of performing the work required of them. {: #debate-23-s3 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- **Senator Kingsmill's** persistency is highly commendable, but I think it could be more profitably directed to other things than inquiries about the cost of building steamers in Australia. There is a great difference between building vessels of small tonnage and building vessels of large tonnage. A compositor can set up a column containing three or four words in big type more easily than he can set up a column recording sales of wool, or commodities of that kind. Does **Senator Kingsmill** claim that, for ever, Australia is to be satisfied to import from Great Britain all the vessels it requires. At great expense the Broken Hill Proprietary Company and individual iron masters have installed extensive plants at Newcastle and elsewhere, affording every facility for building vessels in Australia, and if the cost of building in Australa is at least three times as high as the cost of getting similar vessels from Great Britain, surely there must be some items of expenditure carefully covered up. If the cost of having vessels built in Great Britain and brought out to Australia is comparable with the cost of building them in Australia, honorable senators should know exactly where the difference occurs, but, so far, it has been impossible for us to ascertain the details ofthe expenditure involved in building a vessel such as the *Fordsdale.* Some little time ago a statement- was made here that £20,000 represented overhead charges in Melbourne in connexion with the building ofthat steamer at Cockatoo Island. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator Kingsmill: -- The amount was £37,500. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Where could £37,500 be spent upon the *Fordsdale* in Melbourne? {: .speaker-KUP} ##### Senator JOHN D MILLEN:
TASMANIA · NAT; UAP from 1931 -- Where were the drawings made? {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- At Cockatoo Island, I presume. I do not know that there are in Melbourne better facilities for making drawings than are afforded at Cockatoo Island. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Some of the money wasspent in Western Australia. The crockery for the *Ferndale* and the *Fordsdale* was made in Western Australia. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I should not be surprised to hear that money was spent anywhere in connexion with the builidng of the *Fordsdale.* Possibly we shall find that large sums of money have been spent in Melbourne and elsewhere in connexion with the lighthouse vessels. It may all be necessary expenditure, but I know that there is ample room at Cockatoo Island to lay out the working details of vessels very much larger than these two steamers. In fact, there is ample room to lay out the detail drawings necessary for the building of 10, 000- ton cruisers. The Government ought to furnish a statement showing in detail where the money involved in the construction of the *Fordsdale* was spent. {: .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator Pearce: -- Any honorable senator can move for a return. {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -Apparently it has been determined not to proceed with the construction of cruisers at Cockatoo Island, but, in the meantime, the Government . should furnish a statement showing clearly how the moneyis being spent in connexion with the building of these two vessels, thus relieving **Senator Kingsmill** of the impression that they are costing £155 per ton. {: #debate-23-s4 .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL:
Western Australia **.- Senator Grant** and I are foronce in complete agreement. Indeed, he has anticipated my remarks. The Leader of the Senate, with signs of considerable acerbity, has charged me with being vague. May I not charge him similarly? I, at least, have some excuse for being vague, for I have not at my command the sources of information which he has. If he can submit to the Senate a return showing that the cost of these vessels has not been excessive - and I doubt whether he can do so - {: .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The honorable senator is quite wrong there. {: .speaker-KPQ} ##### Senator KINGSMILL: -- Well, if I am wrong I shall admit it, but I. think it is due to the Senate that a tabulated statement should he obtained from the Commonwealth Shipping Board giving the information that I desire. I do not know whether the board will consent to give this information, for it has already refused to give information which honorable members of this Parliament have a right to expect, but if it does so, and it is proved that I am wrong, I shall be willing to admit it, and some service will have been done for the country by this inquiry. {: #debate-23-s5 .speaker-JXJ} ##### Senator NEEDHAM:
Western Australia .- An item of £3,529,700 is shown in the schedule for expenditure in the Postmaster-General's. Department. Will any of that amount be devoted to the equipment of a Postal Institute in the Perth General Post Office? {: #debate-23-s6 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- I regret that nothing is provided in these Estimates for that purpose. I understand that the Acting PostmasterGeneral is endeavouring to make an adjustment in the ordinary estimates so that an amount from that source will be made available for the purpose mentioned by the honorable senator. {: #debate-23-s7 .speaker-KRZ} ##### Senator LYNCH:
Western Australia -- We have in this schedule the item, "Subscription to capital of Amalgamated Wireless Limited, £287,500." In view of the introduction of the beam system of wireless and the statement that has been made that, whereas the station to be erected in Australia under the old system would cost £250,000, but will only cost £50,000 under the beam system, is it necessary to vote such a large amount as this to the capital of the company ? Or is this vote to supplement the capital which has already been voted to the company by the Government? {: #debate-23-s8 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- This amount is to supplement the money already voted towards the capital of the company, but whether or not it will be paid over has not yet been determined. The fact that a beam system station can be erected for a great deal less than a high-power system station may make it unnecessary to pay over the whole of this amount. The matter is being investigated bythe Government, and the money will not be paid over unless it is required. {: #debate-23-s9 .speaker-KMP} ##### Senator GRANT:
NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I should like some information on the proposed vote of £3,230,000 for the " construction and extension of tele graphs and telephones, also construction of conduits and laying wires underground." Where is that money to be expended ? {: #debate-23-s10 .speaker-K0F} ##### Senator PEARCE:
Minister for Home and Territories · Western Australia · NAT -- It will be remembered that a previous government announced a policy for the expenditure of £9,000,000 to be spread over a period of three years with a view to overtaking the arrears in these constructional works in the PostmasterGeneral's Department. This is the third vote in fulfilment of that policy, and the money will be spent in various parts of the Commonwealth. Schedule agreed to. Title agreed to. Bill reported without amendment. Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted. Bill read a third time. Senate adjourned at 10.30 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 August 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.