9th Parliament · 2nd Session
The Deputy President (Senator Newland) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Application to Commonwealth Territories
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
What acts of the Commonwealth, it any, apply to: (1) the Territory of New Guinea;
Papua; (3) Norfolk Island; (4) Lord Howe Island; (5) Nauru Island.
– The information will be compiled and furnished to the honorable senator next week.
– In moving -
That the bill be now read a third time,
I should like to say that this morning I made inquiries at the Prime Minister’s Department and ascertained that a report had been received from Sir John Monash, the chairman of the committee appointed to inquire into the estimates of the probable cost of the construction of one of the proposed cruisers fin Australia. The Prime Minister, however, has not yet had an opportunity of fully considering that report, and other members of the Cabinet have not even had an opportunity to see it. I remind honorable senators of the statement of policy made by the Prime Minister: That the Government proposed to place an order in Great Britain for the construction of one cruiser, and that the construction of the other in Australia would be considered. Later, he said that an investigation as to the probable cost of building this cruiser in Australia would be made, and the report and the decision of the Cabinet thereon made known to Parliament before it rose. When the report of the committee referred to has been considered it will be presented to Parliament before we rise, and honorable senators will be informed of the action which the Government proposes to take, so that Parliament will have an opportunity of assenting to or dissenting from the proposal.
. -I objected to the third reading of this bill being taken as formal in order to have an opportunity to reply to certain strictures made by honorable senators opposite concerning the honesty and ability of Australian workmen, especially my fellow craftsmen in the iron and shipbuilding trades. Senator Lynch, in characteristic style, described the Australian workers as a “ goslow “ crowd. Senator Kingsmill was more gentlemanly, but be, too, had a shot at the Australian workers from behind the hedge. If I had my way, I should, without asking for local prices, at once issue instructions for the ships to be built in Australia. If our dockyards could not do the work then we should have to put up with the consequences. I worked at Cockatoo Island Dockyard 45 years ago, and I am very proud to-day of the position which that establishment occupies in the shipbuilding world. In 1916, in company with the Eight Honorable W. M. Hughes, I visited a number of British shipbuilding yards, and was astonished at the obsolete methods employed by some of them. If Australian dockyards had the same obsolete equipment , our foremen would soon lose their jobs. Senator Kingsmill knows nothing about shipbuilding, so he is not in a position to express an opinion. Last night he had something to say about construction of ships for our lighthouse services. I commend the Government for giving that work to the Cockatoo dockyard, in spite of the criticisms of the honorable senator. Apparently he overlooked the fact that the type of vessel really determines the cost. It is impossible to compare the costs of ships on a tonnage basis, because one type of vessel might cost £20 per ton and another £50 per ton. A high class ship, complying in every way with Lloyd’s survey, cannot be compared with a tramp steamer, put together anyhow, so long as she can get a cargo, make one voyage, and be insured. That is really what Senator Kingsmill has attempted to do. The Australian price for the construction of vessels necessary to carry on our lighthouse services is, in my opinion, very fair. Senator Kingsmill also had something to say about the length of time occupied in the construction of vessels in Australia. He presented the Senate with a table, from which he quoted the average length of time taken in Australia as compared with the average length of time occupied in Great Britain. He omitted to mention any of the causes of delay in Australia. For instance, he said nothing about the extreme difficulty, during the war, of getting supplies of the necessary materials. He also failed to state that the British light cruiser Missingham, laid down at Portsmouth in May, 1917, seven years and four months ago, is still on the stocks, and that the British naval authorities have had to provide an additional £500,000 on supplementary estimates to complete that vessel. Evidently mistakes can be made even in Great Britain, notwithstanding that the Mother Country has had such a long experience in shipbuilding. Senator Kingsmill said nothing about that. He simply presented a statement of the average length of time occupied in tho building of ships in Australia, and unfairly made a comparison unfavorable to Australian workmen. As a matter of fact, the Cockatoo Island Dockyard holds the world’s record for rapid work on actual ship construction. I defy anybody to dispute it. Some years ago there was a competition between American and English “ rattler “ machines for the rivetting of ships’ plates. The American machine, specially constructed for the purpose, with special girders placed under a special crane to- rivet together, and handled by a, blackfellow of about seventeen .stone weight,, came out ahead in the contest, but for rapidity of “ rattler “ work in actual shipbuilding, Cockatoo Island Dockyard leads the world. Dorman, Long and Company, the well-known British firm, which secured the contract for the erection of the North Shore bridge, in Sydney, did not set about decrying the Australian workmen. They gave a contract to the Walsh Island Dockyard for the construction of two 500-ton vessels for the transport of the necessary material for the North Shore bridge. They did not consider it necessary to invite tenders for that work; they simply gave it to the Walsh Island Dockyard, because they were quite satisfied about the ability of the Australian workmen to turn out a first class job at a reasonable price. The principals of this firm are well versed in the practices of the iron workers of the world and the prices that rule, yet without hesitation they have given this work to Walsh Island dockyard. I would be a coward if I did not defend my fellow craftsmen from the contemptible and ignorant attacks of those who have no knowledge of the matter. These persons are actuated by no higher motive than that of political bias. They pick up their newspapers in the morning, and if they see a paragraph about sliding panels in ballot-boxes they say, “ WaituntilI get to the Senate and I shall cutthetripe out of them.’ “Politicians of that type do not care what harm they causetheir own country by continually crying., “ stinking fish.” One must reply to these strictures when one sees the cunning smile of Senator Kingsmill, and the satisfaction that he derivesfrom this course of conduct. I have workedamongst Australian workmen all my life.SenatorKingsmill dealt with thehistory ofwarshipbuilding in Australia for a period of only twelve years. Isaw 55 years ago a warship launched at Pyrmont, Sydney, where I was born. That man o’ war was built for service in the Maori war, in New Zealand. It was not thought possible to construct such a vessel in this country. She had no armourplate, but was thickly platedand reinforced ontheoutside with hardwood belting to withstand all the attacks thatcould be made uponher inthat war. Icould givethenames of anumber of vesselsthat,in years gone by, were built (for the coastal trade of Australia. That is not the practice now. I was one of those who induced a Labour government -some years ago to tax vessels under 500 tons that were brought into Australia when they should have been built here. ‘That has not proved aneffective check tothe policyof importingthese vessels. It isnecessary to give consideration to thehorse-power of avessel. Some vessels thathave a tonnage of under500 tons,have a horsepower of 3,000, while othersthat rare over 500 tonshave a horse-power of only300. Those vessels could easilybebuilt in Australia. It would not pay to instal the machinery necessary to build engines for the higher-powered tugboats that are brought to Australia. I would follow the example of America and say that no boatshould be allowed to trade on the Australian coast unless she wasbuilt in Australia. Our friends fromTasmania are doing their utmost to render inoperative the provisions of the Navigation Act. They are askingthat theblack-labour boatsshallbe permitted to engagein the coastal trade of Tasmania. I hope ‘that I shall never see the daywhen that great act of the Federal Parliament is interfered with. I would not allow a nail to be driven in this country unless it was the product of the country. That is the only way in which our industries can he fostered, andour country peopledwith a virilerace that will docredit to it. Senator Kingsmill’scowardlyattack-
TheDEPUTY PRESIDENT . (SenatorNewland) . - Order! The honorable senator must not indulge in personal abuse.
– Ibeg your pardon, Mr. Deputy President. I am sorry if I have offended. Senator Kingsmill, before making his attack upon the workmen of Cockatoo Island, did not take the trouble to consultHansard containing the debates of a few years sago. Had he done so he -would not have been ignorant of certain facts. In 1921, Mr.LairdSmith, then Ministerfor the Navy,explained thatthereasonfor the delay in the construction ofthe Adelaidewas the alteration in the plans. Those alterations were made on . 45 different occasions, and an expenditure of £45,000 was incurred to make the vessel comply with the requirements of the British Admiralty. The alterations land additions to the hull, andthe additional costs involved are as follows: -
The .following iterations were made in the case of the machinery.! -
“The Australian workman has .no superior isa any country-. I am .’surprised that any honorable senior ‘should attempt, in a blundering manner, ito place upon ‘the shoulders oT the -workmen the ‘blame for the delay that occurred in the .construction of these vessels, and the higher cost that was thereby involved. T would .go further than the Government proposes to go. I would say to the authorities at Cockatoo Island: “Build that ship.” When .1 worked in Cockatoo Island dockyard 45 years ago, it was a wholly Australian dockyard; it had an Australian manager and Australian f foremen, and the work that to :being turned out then was as up-to-date as that being turned out in many parts of the ‘Old “World to-day. An Australian Engineer who was connected with the dockyard went to England to secure -the best experience that was available. When he -returned to Australia, he carried OUt some of the greatest work that has ever been done here. Se did his utmost to make the dockyard progress. When the Government would not make money -available to purchase certain necessary machines, Tie had ‘the machines made at ‘tire dockyard. Politicians of the class who to-day are decrying the Australian workmen ‘left no stone unturned, in ‘season and .out of season, to push that young Australian -engineer ©mt <of -the position that he occupied. They said, “ We will taring a annan from -the Old ‘Donn try, who wil be :aMe to put things Tight.” The man lahey imported (brought a’bout a state of chaos and when he left Australia the improvements that he had effected to the dockyard were not as great as those which the Australian had effected in half the time. It was ‘even said that this young Australian engineer was endangering the lives of the workmen by carrying steam in rotten -boilers. I -bad to take up that man’s .case. I ‘took a committee to the dock and had the “boilers tested. They were built ,to withstand -a pressure of 100 lb., but they were tested up to 300 lb., and there- was not a. “ weep “ from -them. Some of those boilers are still working in that .yard. The Australian engineer should now be in charge of those works I shall take every opportunity that is afforded me to stand up for my fellow craftsmen. .The .Australian workmen., if entrusted with the building of .the cruisers, will be on their .-mettle, and they k-now what they can . do. It mas shown during the late war that Australians -can foe led, but not driven. The Port Lyttleton case has been referred to .by .Senator Drake-Brockman as illustrating one of the evils of trade unionism, and he would have caused this ‘order to be sent abroad. It was a disgraceful incident. Whether the union was right or wrong in the initial step it took to vindicate its members and to have them released from jail, I cannot say, but the circumstances under which they were prosecuted were most reprehensible. These men were persuaded to meet the representatives of the ship and the representatives of Cockatoo at the dockyard, and because they would not agree to the terms offered, they were charged with conspiracy.. Those men are respectable citizens, with large families in Sydney, but they were treated like rogues and vagabonds. They were put in the dock like criminals, and were not even allowed to stand on the floor of the court. After they had spent two nights in jail, the judge had to admit that there was no case against them, and they were discharged.
– What was the total cost of the alterations to which the honorable senator referred ?
– It was £45,000.
.- I feel that the Senate owes me a debt of gratitude in that I have been perhaps the unwitting cause of a volcanic and picturesque outburst on the part of Senator McDougall. I feel that in replying to him I am at a great disadvantage, since my stock of adjectives is neither as large nor as lurid as his. But I wish to disclaim certain intentions and projected actions of which he has accused me. I do not now propose, nor have I ever proposed, to perform the intricate and unpleasant surgical operation to which he has alluded. It is a feat for which I have neither the taste nor the ability. When we boil down his fervent oration, if such a process can be applied to something that is already superheated, I fear that there is not very much in it. When I started out with my remarks about cruisers and destroyers built in Australia, I think I said that I was going to judge the matter by results. In all my arguments I have stood by results and other facts. The honorable senator said I averaged the times mentioned. As a matter of fact, I did not; I added them together. On a previous occasion I quoted the exact time taken to build these ships. I also quoted the English estimates and the actual Australian cost, and I asked for a reasonable explanation. Although I invited Senator McDougall to explain the great divergence in cost and in the time occupied in con struction, he has not done so. He told us much about the excellence of the Australian worker, in which opinion I am at one with him. He said thai the Australian was more easily led than driven, and I must say, especially since I have come to this side of Australia, that I have arrived at the conclusion that the Australian workman is extremely easily led. The results and the facts - not the expressions of opinion - to which I have drawn attention may be briefly repeated. The first destroyer, the Torrens, cost £158,621, or £78,621 more than the English estimate. She took 42 months to build, which is exactly three times the period estimated for her construction in England. The next destroyer was the Huon, which cost £148,315, or £68,315 more than the English estimate. A somewhat shorter time was occupied in building her, only 37 months, as against the English estimate of fourteen months.
– What proportion of the two amounts was for overhead charges ?
– I do not know.
– That is where the honorable senator’s case fails.’
– It does not fail. If Iwere arguing, as the honorable senator is endeavouring to make out, that the fault lies entirely with the Australian workmen, perhaps my case would fail, but I say that the whole arrangement must be wrong. I do not blame the Australian workmen any more than the management.
– Last night the honorable senator said that the workmen were slow, and did not give of their best.
– Again the honorable senator is emulating the watchdog, but this time the watch-dog has become a roaring, raging lion. The Huon appears to be the best example up to date of Australian naval construction. She cost £68,000 more than the English estimate, and she took 23 months more than the English time to build. The next of these ships and the last which was finished, was the Swan, which cost £160,989, or £80,989 more than the English estimate - a little more than double - and she took 43 months to build. I simply lay the facts before the Senate. I am not endeavouring to influence other honorable senators opinions. I am explaining why I made the speechthat I did, and why, if I have the chance, I intend to vote in the way I have indicated. The Brisbane cost £746,624, or £346,624 more than “ the English estimate, and she took, as against the English estimate of 21 months, no less a time than 47 months to build. The Adelaide, my reference to which drew upon my head a tremendous amount of vituperation on the part of Senator McDougall, cost £821,751 more than the English estimate, and she - took 56 months to build. If we make a deduction of £45,000, which Senator McDougall has accounted for by the alterations to which he has drawn attention, it still leaves well over £700,000 over the English estimate. I claim that this industry is not, as some honorable senators would lead one to believe, an experiment in Australia. It has been established for at least twelve years, and I am told by Senator McDougall that it has been in existence for about 50 years, which makes my case all the stronger. The last boats built cost the most and took the longest to construct, and yet I am asked to modify my opinions about the desirability of building the new cruisers in Australia. I do not mind a fair thing. I voted the other evening for Senator Lynch’s amendment, which provided for 60 per cent. protection to Australian workmen. I think that that is a most generous margin. But. considering the English estimates of cost, a protection of over 100 per cent. would be required in this case. I was willing to agree to the payment of an increased cost of 60 per cent. in order to have the work done in Australia.
– And there the senator stopped.
– The honorable senator is 60 per cent. Australian.
– The honorable senator opposite is ultra-Australian. I do not wish to emulate Senator McDougall in the surgical operation that he endeavoured to perform upon me, but no doubt if such an operation were made the result would be satisfactory. At all events there would be something to take out.
– The honorable senator wants humming birds.
– I have plenty of them. The honorable senator himself is always humming. With his brilliant plumage and pleasant sentiment he flits from bough to bough, with never a reason for his statements and almost as unconvincing as his ornithological prototype. The Leader of the Opposition does not share my view. He says that these vessels should be built in Australia, even if the cost were £10,000,000. I congratulate him upon the fervency of his belief, but our expenditure is limited, and it would not be a fair thing to commit this country to anything like that sum. After all, any honorable senator has the right to express his opinion without being verbally” or physically eviscerated, as is sometimes attempted judging by our recent experience. I do not retract one word of what I have said. The figures that I have quoted are unanswerable, and for that reason I do not propose to budge from the position that I have taken up. At the same time I disclaim those motives which honorable senators opposite, abrogating the Standing Orders, if not the customs, of this Senate, have sought to impute.
– I have listened with a great deal of interest to Senator Kingsmill’s reply to the speech of my honorable colleague, Senator McDougall, whose forcible - and, as Senator Kingsmill stated - picturesque treatment of the subject of defence was to me delightful Senator Kingsmill has hurled, either directly or by insinuation, certain charges against this party. I am quite willing to give him the credit of being honest in his opinions, but by looking beneath the surface of his argument we find quite a different aspect. Senator Kingsmill said that a warship built in Australia had cost £80,000 more than the estimate. He quoted another vessel built in Australia that had cost double the estimate, and from those facts he concluded that it costs more to build vessels in Australia than in Great Britain. I ask honorable senators to look at the facts. When those estimates were made up the cost of material was £9 per ton, but when the vessels were constructed it was £85 per ton. Does that alter the opinion of the honorable senator?
– I think not.
– I have examined all the arguments upon this subject for years, and I know the extent to which the cost of material was increased owing to the war. Another cause for the excessive cost was the delay in the delivery of. material. Senator Kingsmill stated that it took 42 months to build one. boat, and. then, in his inimitable manner, he said that one vessel was built rapidly in 3.7 months.
– I am sorry- that the honorable senator imputes sarcasm, but that remark was really congratulatory.
– I know it was. There was an improvement of five months; in the time of construction. The honorable senator should ascertain for himself the cause for the delay. The parts for the vessels that were then being built in Australia had to be brought from Britain,, and because Britain was building Boats for her own defence we had to wait our turn.
-Could not the parts have been made. here?.
– Not at that time. They can now, and that is a consideration that should make every honorable senator anxious to build the two cruisers in Australia, so that if we are faced with a disaster similar to that of 1914, Australia- will at any rate be selfcontained as far as the ship-building industry is concerned. SenatorKingsmill quoted’ the fact that I was prepared to pay £10,000,000 to construct these two cruisers in Australia rather than build’, them elsewhere. Regardless of cost, these vessels, if they are to be. built, should be built in this country. I can quite understand Senator Kingsmill saying that; such an attitude: is not very consistent; with my pose as a f retrader.
SenatorKingsmill. - I should not say that.
– At any rate) judging by the honorable senator’s remarks, he has that in mind. I strongly object to these cruisers being constructed by private enterprise, as the contractor building them would be enriched at the expense of the rest of the community. By expending this money in Australia we shall establish all the factories and equipment essential to the construction of armaments of war necessary for our defence, and thus, in the long run, will reap the full advantage of that expenditure. I am prepared to pay any price to build cruisers in Australia rather than make a gift of money to contractors on the other side of the world. Senator Pearce, this morning, said that before the end of the session it would be announced whether the two cruisers were to Be built in England, or one in Australia. What the result will be I do not know.
– The result of that announcement will not affect the honorable senator’s actions.
– I do not suppose that it will, except that, if the Government had the pluck to make the announcement this; morning before the bill is passed, I might have the support of half a dozen honorable senators opposite. I invite Senator Pearce to postpone the bill until such time as the announcement can bemade in this chamber.Reading between the lines there is no doubtin my mind that the boats will Bebuilt in Britain. Not one honorable senator opposite is sufficiently independent to put the. Government out of officeby supporting the interests of Australia against those of Britain in this case.
– The lack of independence on our part is due to having, a good view of honorable senators opposite.
SenatorGARDINER. - Good as thehonorable senator’s view is, his vision is obscured: By looking at the opposition with glasses that do not reflect truly. He looks at me much as I look at him, with glasses that magnify one’s imperfections, and probably minimize the virtues that one possesses. I am inclined’ to think that the parliamentary system lends itself to that development.
– We are mostly looking, at each other through the wrong end of the telescope.
– Exactly. When looking at my own side I use the telescope correctly, but I reverse it when looking at the other side, and, of course, I see smaller men, But the longer I look the more I notice that the weight of intelligence is changing from that side to this.. The building of these vessels in Australia will be money in our pockets, and it will help to provide the machinery necessary to train men to be skilled artisans in the ship-building industry- Compared with that benefit, which may mean the future security of this country, what is theexpenditure of a few million pounds extra?
Senator Drake-Brockman, .when discussing this bill, !tok this .Senate, and through it die people of Australia, that the Labour partes method of defence was ,to depend upon the good will and brotherly love of our enemies. There .is as ‘much common sense in .our method of defence as there is in that of .honorable senators opposite. They get a brain wave -and decide to spend £2,000, 000 >or £3,000,000 on defence. We say that ‘the -defence of Australia should ‘be ‘the first consideration, irrespective of party. We must work together. The first thing to decide is how much .money we can expend each year, and how we «can best expend it. That is a sane and sound method of preparing ‘:f or defence.’ The -Government says that it will expend £5,000,000 to build two cruisers .for the protection of our trade .routes. .The Government talks with its tongue in its cheek. Honorable senators know that in war time two cruisers would be no protection for even one .mail boat, let alone the trade of Australia. Senator Wilson said that time was the essence of the contract, and that we could obtain, in Britain, in 27 months a vessel ‘that would take three years to build iu Australia. Surely Great Britain could lend us a cruiser or two in the interval. It would .not .be an unfair proposal to ask that these vessels should replace the Australia until, instead of .having a defence system upon which money is wasted month .after month .and year after year, all parties in Australia can .agree upon a sound. system of defence. That would permit .us to estimate our requirements, .and ascertain how much money we would have to spend, and how best we could carry out our programme. Apparently, the Government are trying to ,gain .a little .popularity by raising ,the .old .cry, “ We stand for the Empire; the Labour party stands for Austrafia.” Well, if they .wish .to voice the English sentiment ,as against -the Australian, .let them .carry on ; .but there is .a rising tide -of Australian sentiment that Australia should not always continue to .take .second place. Senator M.cDougall was too modest when .he said that the Australian .workman was equal to, if ‘.not better than, his fellow in any .other -part of the world. I -say that he is a better man, and that is the feeling which is .gradually overcoming the old sentiment that has hitherto governed our affairs, namely, that Australia should .remain in a subservient position. It is :not a disloyal feeling, lt is but loyalty to Australia, and loyalty “to Australia should be required of every honorable senator. The doctrine of “Australia fh-st “ should guide us in the matter, of building ships. .1 am not afraid to take the stand that cruisers should not be built. 1 .realize that we have very little money to -spend on defence.
– We have no money to waste on defence, as it is being wasted by the present Government.
– Having very little money to spend on defence, we <sannot :afford to waste it. It is waste to spend MOOd money on proposals that have not .been carefully thought out. If cruisers are to be built, the question is whether ,they should be built in Australia or Great Britain. I would go the whole way, and have nothing but Australian labour employed in building Australian vessels required to defend Australia, -with the aid of ‘the strong arms and stout hearts of Australians, should it ever be necessary to do so. I can see no need for building cruisers, ll ido not pose as an expert on defence -matters, but any one who intelligently watched the progress of the last war, .or has studied ‘the opinions of “those who participated in that conflict should be in a position to express ‘an opinion of value <as to the utility of the different forms -of armament ‘employed. 1 am convinced .of one thing - that the greatest -navies in the ‘world cannot successfully land one soldier on a hostile shore. ‘Great Britain was as well -prepared for naval warfare as Germany was prepared for land warfare, -and ‘during the war was tallied to ‘France, which, had a magnificent navy; to Japan, -which also had -a powerful navy-; and ito Italy, which likewise >had a. strong fleet In the concluding years of thb <war., the services of the powerful American Navy were -dso available’; ‘but, with /nil this magnificent ‘naval ;armament, not une soldier -was successfully landed on hostile shores by .the Allies, -despite fine fact that the seas were free so far as their united navies could make them. The point is worth .some thought on (the part of those who ..guide the destinies of ia -young nation holding a country ‘ that,01:her people may look upon with envious eyes. I do not take much stock of that danger. I look back on all the conquests by the greatest conquerors of the world, and ask what has happened to the countries they over-ran ? They are now controlled by their own people. Conquered nations always regain their liberty, as they will do to the end of time. Where are, to-day, the thrones set up by European tyrants? Where is, to-day, the erstwhile great naval power of Spain, that country which once dominated all the peoples of the civilized world, and spread its colonies far across the face of the uncivilized world ? Spain’s rise to power was but a passing event. Some one has said that the cause that rests on force alone is doomed, and I repeat it, because those who aim at meeting force with force, and who will not intelligently meet the intellectual development now proceeding in all nations of the world are not fit to administer the affairs of any country, and, I venture to say, will not govern it for any length of time. I realize that any member of the Labour party has as much right to put forward his views upon this question as I have, and that when I speak upon this subject I am merely uttering my personal opinion as to the right course to be pursued. To my mind, the first principle for the defence of Australia is to establish factories in which we can manufacture the means of defence. Had such a policy been pursued in the past, I would not have been able to quote the authorities I mentioned on the second reading, who have declared that the £20,000,000 we have spent on defence since the war have been practically wasted. Wherever the coal and the raw material could be obtained, factories should have been established for the manufacture of engines” for submarines and flying machines, motor cars and lorries, and other means of transport, machine guns, quick firers rifles and ammunition. Had that policy been pursued, a great general and statesman like Senator Drake-Brockman could not have declared that Australia, owing to a lack of munitions, could not fight for 24 hours. The honorable senator made that statement in March last. Sir John Monash had made it a day or two previously. Two or three other military men with knowledge on the subject, have also made similar statements. What does this Defence Equipment Bill give us? It proposes to spend £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 on the building of two cruisers. What the ultimate cost of these vessels will be I do not know. After listening to Senator McDougall and Senator Kingsmill, I realize that once a start is made to build a steamer one never knows what it is likely to cost. I know what was happening during the war. Invention followed invention very quickly, and every fresh invention required a change in naval construction. Under Lord Fisher, over 600 vessels were built in Great Britain during the war, and the plans were the subject of continual alteration. What was built one day might quite easily be discovered to be useless on the morrow. However, the united fleets of the greatest nations of the world could not successfully land one soldier on a hostile soil.
– What about Hannibal and Darius, those big men of the past, who landed immense armies on hostile soil?
– There is a naval axiom that the admiral who attacks a fort is a fool. We have to be guided by more recent events. The last war was not over in a day or two, before the navies could get into action. Unfortunately, it spread over four years, but during the whole of that period, the most magnificent navies that have ever floated on the waters of the earth, could not land an army on a hostile shore. Certainly an attempt was made at Gallipoli, but it was not the navy that made the landing possible there. That was only rendered possible because of the skill and tenacity of Britain’s soldiers. At one time they reached a point about a mile inland, and they were able to hang on for about eight fatal months, when they had to be taken away to save them from being blown to pieces by the hostile armament that was being gathered together for that purpose. In Australia we have 6,000,000 people, reared under conditions which render them more physically fit for warfare than are the people of any other country. Given the means to defend Australia, an attempt to make a descent on our shores will prove to bc another fatal Gallipoli to the biggest armament sent against lis. We have cause for alarm when we have gentlemen saying that the defence of Australia is not as good as it was in 191 <l, and when we find Sir John Monash de- daring that we have not a Mills bomb in Australia, and that .we could not conduct a battle. for 48 hours. Another military authority says that we could not conduct a battle for 24 hours, and that Labour’s policy is to fall on the necks of the invader and appeal to him in the name of the brotherhood of man not to attack us. I am an earnest advocate of the brotherhood of man, but let a man smack me on the face, and see if I should appeal to him in the name of the brotherhood of man. Nevertheless, I believe that the feeling of universal brotherhood is more alive to-day than ever it was. That little incident at the London conference, when the representatives of Germany and France grasped hands is indicative of the spread of that feeling. Notwithstanding the condemnation it has received in this debate from honorable senators opposite, I believe it is still the most powerful factor in the world to-day. There is among the people of the world a greater regard for one another and a keener appreciation of one another’s difficulties. I know there are people who hold that the last war demonstrated that civilization had not made much progress. Again I may be wrong, but I believe that above the noise of cannon from 1914 to 1918, and notwithstanding the fiendish methods of fighting, including the use of poison gases and high explosive shells and all the infernal machinery of modern war, Christianity has made immense strides. During the war there were many instances of brotherly feeling between the contending- forces. Take, for example, some of the pictures presented to us of incidents in the trenches. Let us not forget what happened on a certain Christmas eve.- Phillip Gibbs, in The Soul of the War, has told us that on that occasionthe German soldiers joined in the singing of “Annie Laurie” to the applause of comrades in their own and hostile trenches. I realize that, being but mortal, we may see as through a glass darkly, but I am, I hope, a practical man. If my advice is worth anything I should say that no nation would attempt to land hostile forces on these shores. Honorable senators opposite in this debate frequently indicated Japan as a possible enemy.’ Senator Drake-Brockman informed us that all nations are our potential enemies. That is the military point of view. Let us examine it and see what it means. If all nations are our potential enemies, then Australia must prepare to light the world. If that is really the position, then all I can say is that far better would it be for Australia to go. out altogether than to impoverish her people, by attempting to safeguard itself against such a contingency. The honorable senator’s defence in March last of the Government’s policy was really the strongest indictment of the Government that I have heard for a long time. On that occasion, as he has reminded us so often, he pointed out that the responsibility for Australia’s defenceless condition was notupon the Government but” upon the Opposition in another place, because at the instance of Dr. Earle Page, now a member of the present Ministry’, but at that time not in office, the defence estimates were reduced by £200,000. In the course of a long career, which I hope still to enjoy, if ever I am a member of a Government, I certainly will not thank any supporter of it for defending it as Senator Drake-Brockman defended the present Administration in March last. A Government worth its salt would not remain in office if its defence policy were substantially interferred with. What happened? Mr. Charlton, the Leader of the Opposition in another place, moved an amendment to reduce the defence estimates by £500,000. That amendment was rejected. Then the Country party, led by Dr. Earle Page, carried an amendment to reduce the estimates by £200,000 Now, according to Senator DrakeBrockman, the Government cannot be blamed for Australia’s defenceless position. Let us see how this statement works out. Since the war this Government has spent approximately £20,000,000 on defence, and, according to Senator Drake-Brockman, has produced nothing. How much more would it have produced if it had been allowed to expend this £200,000 by which amount the estimates were reduced, at the instance of .the Country party? We have spent £20,000,000 on defence during the last five years, and if, as stated by Senator “Drake-Brockman, Australia is not now in a position to defend herself for 24 hours, how much better off should we have been if Dr. Earle Page had refrained from moving his amendment? And yet the best defence of the
Government policy which) a1, legal member ofl this chamber;, who is also tha &o- vernment Whip’,, is able to, offer foa? the* deplorable condition of* que defences is that a combination? of. the Country suadi Labour parties-‘ in. another place reduced! the defence estimates, by £200,000
– In this chamber at. that time the> honorable senator was the: sole representative of the. Labour party and Senator Wilson, was tha only, member, of. the Country party.. Why did not the: Senate send die Estimates, back- to the House of Representatives.?
Senator -GARDINER- Senator Prodley is forcing- greatness upon me. He suggests that, notwithstanding Senator D’rake-Brockman’s complaint about the reduction of the defence estimates I, as the sole representative of LaBour in this’ chamber; with- a doubtful ally in the person of the present honorary Minister (Senator “Wilson)1’, persuaded! the- Senate or the wisdom1 of the* amendment thathad’ been’ made in another- place !’ This astute general’ and’ legislator is » master oi tactics. Whom confronted by superior faeces- he> does nothing-. Surely, if this matter, was: vital, the) Government,, with its- huge: majority in- the Senate, could ha.ve. restored the item… Why did not the Senate.- assert’ the rights: ©fi tube- states>!> The- defence of Australia- surely is> a. state; matter, and. one: of. supreme-, importance tot the- people…
Sena-tor Findley. - 1 find! that if. the Estimates- had not, been reduced by- £200,000 on the occasion) referred. tar. our position would have- been so. improved, that w,e> could to-day hold out against a hostile- force) foc 24 hours 1-.Q minutes, in.stead o£ for only 2.4, hours as, estimated’ by Senator Drake-Brockman
– I ami glad the mathematician, in this, chamber; has. been at wOrk.. The- figures have already been made up. Senator Findley/ informs us that if the .defence estimates had not, been, reduced by £20OrO.O.Q,,, Australia would be able to hold out against an enemy for. 24 hours 1.0. minutes, instead of only 2& hours: as Senator Drake-Brockman: has declared. Arguing from these premises we may assume, that, if we> had. spent £40,000,00.0., instead, of £20,000,000 since the war, we. should be- able to hold- out for 48 hours.. If the- most enthusiastic of the pacifists in the Labour movement had been in office during the past few years they could not have pro duced, a more deplorable result. I. am: opposing the bill’ at every stage. We> hmm spent. £20/,.0,00r0.@0’ on> defence since the> wax, and, accoEdnn.gr to* criticism: - not from the Opposition, but from, sup- porters of. the; present Government - we have: nothing tot show for it That, amount. o£ expenditure we understand, isi to be. added to by another £20,000,000 The Government are; alert. They are changed with the defence^ of this; country. They came, in aa a war party - they will, get out as- a war party… They, ha.v.e, no other policy; but. that of war. They still think that the people of Australia can be appealed to with, those, old stories that in- the exciting days, from 1914 to 1918 enabled, them to make such, headway. They still think that they cart face the next elections with their banners inscribed,, ““Battleships,. Armaments,. Trained Soldiers.”’’ The Government has never done anything that has been suggested by its advisers. Sir. Brudenlt “White advised rft to give 84 days” training; a year to the young men- of Australia-. It appointed him chairman’ of the- Public ServiceBoard’ of Commissioners-. It practically said to- him The- Defence Department is-‘ not your rightful place : you’ would do. better iw a civil office The* chances are1 that, if the Government had not- found some office for Mm> he- would have, resigned, from a> Defence ]Department, that WOUld. not. carry oat his. policy. Until I. am convinced otherwise: I. shall treat him as, a, soldier, and a brave man. The. Government, has- called in someone, from outside to say whether one of. these, ships shall be built in. Australia* oe th.e. twobuilt in England. Sir John Monash is. to. decide what tha policy- shall be. Sir John Monash is a great engineer t but he* is. not a Naval man. He. is. as able as any man to. form conclusions upon, facts and figures that are. placed before him. What do honorable1 senators think of men who- are sworn and paid to govern this country and” call in outsiders to advise, them whenever they are faced with a problem?1 The’ Minister (Senator Pearce) this morning; told’ us that before the Senate- rises we shall be informed, whether it is- intended to build the two vessel’s in Great Britain or to have one- constructed in Australia. Why was Sir John Monash appointed’ arbitrator between the. Naval Office and the shipbuilding- yards ? Let us assume that an honorable senator had been appointed’ arbitrator - Senator Duncan, for example.
SenatorDuncan. - I know where the cruisers would be built if that were done.
– The honorable senator is alluding to the action that her would take if pressure were not brought to bear upon him.
-Oh, no; I am not amenable to that kind of thing.
– The vote upon SenatorLynch’s amendment the other day was so close that Senator Duncan’s vote would have turned the scale in it’s favour. Only one vote was necessary to decide that a cruiser should be built in Australia.
– That is not right. The honorable senator knows why I was not in the chamber.
– I do. If the honorable senator forces me to say what I. know I shall do so.
– The honorable senator may say what he thinks.
– I saw the honorable senator write his own “ pair “ in the ‘’ pair” book. He paired with acolleague, Senator Cox, who was not present.He then ran away,
– The honorable senator knows that I wasill. I supported anamendment that was moved by one of the honorable senator’s’ colleagues. The honorable senator is: most unfair; as he very often is..
– I accept the honorable senator’s statement that he was ill.. If he were, surely an honorable senator who was present would have given him, a “pair” and it would not have been necessary for. him to “ pair” perhaps unfairly, with an honorable senator who was absent. I do not know what axe: Senator Cox’s opinions. On this occasion he. might have voted with us-. Of. course;, I do not think that he would, because he is the most loyal supporter that the. Government hasin this chamber.. I do not say that disparagingly or. disrespectfully.
– The honorable senator. is hitting below the belt.
– I am simply saying that if the honorable senator were ill, and it was necessany for him to have a ” pair. “ it should have been obtained) from an honorable senator who was- in thechamber at the time, and in the ordinary course would have voted, not from some honorable senator who was absent’.
-.. - On one occasion that evening the Opposition Whip declined to: grant me the privilege of a “pair,” although I explained to him the reason for seeking it.
– I rise to a point of order. Senator Duncan has stated that the Opposition-. Whip refused him. a “pair.” I did not.
– The honorable senator did. I crossed the floor and asked him for it, and he said that he would not grant it to- me.
– An honorable senator has no, right to introduce the subject of “ pairs,” and I ask Senator Duncan to withdraw the statement hehas made.
-i shall not withdraw it, because it is perfectly true.
– Then, Mr. Deputy President, I ask you to take action.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (SenatorNewland). - I point out to honorable senators that the question of “ pairs” should not havebeen raised”. It has frequently been ruled that the Senate can take no official cognizance of “ pairs.” I ask honorable senators- to refrain from interjecting.
– I regret that I was led off the track by these unruly interjections. They always lead me astray when I am discussing an interesting subject.
SenatorLynch. - They make the hon orable senator nervous.
- Senator Lynch has discovered a great truth, although ithas taken him 40 years to do it. No honorable senator is more nervous in his make-up than I am, or more’ easily led off the track of his discourse: Of course, I always make the best use of the new threads that are provided for me. This matter is really a serious one. The present is fine last opportunity that we shall have to deal with the Defence Equipment Bill. “ Defence- Extravagance Bill “’ or something of that nature, would be a more suitable title: “‘Pretence of Defence “ aptly describes the whole policy of the Government. Not during a single year since the termination of the war has the Government placed us in a better position to defend ourselves. Each year it has allowed matters to go frombad to worse. It has permitted this country to be left naked to its enemies. I make that assertion on the authority of statements that have Deen made by its own supporters. The latest excuse offered by Senators Foll and Drake-Brockman is that the failure of . the Government to adequately provide for the defence of Australia has been due to action that was taken by the Opposition. I hope that when this Government goes out of office
Ave shall never again have a government’, the supporters of .which will admit that its policy is the policy of the Opposition. It is bad enough to have a policy framed by two parties that have not sufficient confidence in. each other to meet in the one room; but to make it public to the world that we are defenceless, that we are worse off than we were previously, is unworthy of any government. If I were in the position that is occupied by the Minister for Defence, I would set my teeth, square my . shoulders, and even though we were not in a position to put up a scrap, make other nations believe that we could. I advise the Government to follow the suggestions that I made on the motion for the second reading of the bill : to scrap everything that is only a pretence, and prepare Australian factories for the manufacture of everything that Australia needs for its defence. I do not assert that I know everything that is to be known about this matter. I say to the Government, “ Call to your councils, not the highly-paid men who hold positions in the Defence Department, but the best brains you can obtain in Australia.” They should be found amongst members of the government party. After the next elections they will be available.
– Yes, because we shall be returned again.
– If that be so, then I am not able to estimate the trend of public opinion. The last refuge of the Government is to advocate naval preparation and loyalty to the Mother Country. I have always made it clear that there is not in me any disloyalty to the old land. I have made, it clear from every platform, that no matter, how strongly I stand for Australia, I do so because I love not Britain less but Australia more. I welcome the action of the Government in making this measure a plank in its platform for the next elections. We shall be -able to - fight on the clear-cut issue of whether Australia is to be impoverished by the expenditure of money on something that will not enable us to defend ourselves,’ or whether a practical, sane system of defence is to be established in Australia. I realize, of course, that in the next fight I shall be overshadowed in a manner that I have never been before, because I shall have Senator Duncan for an opponent. He was fresh from the war on the last occasion.
– I shall always be fair. I shall never be as dirty as the honorable senator has been this morning.
– I am very glad that the honorable senator is in such a temper that he can accuse me of being unfair and dirty. I was about to pay him the compliment of saying that at the last elections he polled more votes than I did. I realize! that on the next occasion I shall have greater difficulty, because the electors will then have had six years’ experience of Senator Duncan and six more years’ experience of how unfairly I fight ! That will be a great handicap to me. However, I do not want to anticipate the result. As I am never elated by victory, so I shall not be dismayed by defeat if it should come. I believe I have arrived at a time when I can be of more use to my country outside Parliament than in it. I believe there is work in this country that requires doing. One is tied and shackled hand and foot in Parliament. Even though I realize that Senator Duncan will be the predominating figure in the next elections in New South Wales I shall not be disconcerted, because if I am defeated I shall have more time in which to deliver speeches outside that will, perhaps, convince the people that it is necessary for them to send representative men into Parliament.
– It would be a welcome change for those who have to listen to the honorable senator- here.
– If I go out next time both Senator Pearce and I will have a seat on the same side of Parliament - the outside. I can see Senator Lynch ‘s eyes twinkling; they are almost saying, “ I shall be with you.” I do not know whether I have the heart to say, “ I hope you will be,” because I do not see any prospects yet of taking my seatoutside.
– Tha honorable senator ought not to joke on a serious matter.
– Men will joke even on the verge of the grave. I would not ask for a better issue than this. The Minister for Defence had a brain wave that suggested to him that a ship should be built in England. He had a second brilliant thought and decided that two ships should be built in England. In taking that action the Government claims that it is preparing for the defence of Australia. The first vessel will arrive in two years and three months, if we are lucky, and Australia will be left without the shipyards and the necessary implements for building ships. Do honorable senators realize the enormous expenditure that is incurred in providing tools and machinery for doing the work in any factory ? In the case of. shipbuilding the first cost is that of preparing to undertake the work. The second cost is incurred in training the men to do the work. Then the profitable times are reached, and it is possible to wipe out the big margin of difference that is faced in the beginning of the industry. Even if it cost £10,000,000 I would build a cruiser in Australia, because the money would be spent in getting the plant ready to build submarines, flying machines, and quick firing guns for the defence of Australia. When I came here this morning, I had no intention of addressing myself to the third reading of this bill, and should not have done so but for Senator Pearce’s opening statement. I interpret Senator Pearce’s remarks in this way, “Well gentlemen, we have the report and itis opposed to the construction of one of these vessels in Australia, but I cannot tell you that until the third reading of this bill is out of the way.” That may be quite an incorrect forecast of the Minister’s intentions, but that is how his remarks appeal to me.
– In any case it is manifestly unfair to ask us to vote for the third reading of this bill until we have that report placed before us.
– No matter what the umpire’s decision is, if it is in the hands of the Prime Minister it should be made available to us, because the Senate is of more importance to Australia than is the Prime Minister. If the Leader of the Government in this chamber had recognized the constitutional importance of the Senate, he would have pointed out to the Prime Minister that members of this branch of the legislature had under consideration an important bill dealing with the defence problem, and were entitled to the information contained in the report. I can imagine the Prime Minister replying, “ That is all nonsense, I shall let the Herald and the Evening Sun have the information after the Senate has adjourned.” There was a time when Parliament was recognized as an important institution, when Ministers took their responsibilities seriously, and when important announcements were always made to Parliament.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland). - The honorable senator’s time has expired.
.- I wish to disabuse the mind of Senator Duncan in regard to his request for a pair. In endeavouring to defend himself against a statement by Senator Gardiner–
– I was not endeavouring to defend myself; I was stating a fact.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT.- Senator Needham may not at this stage discuss the matter of pairs.
– I do not intend to discuss pairs; but since an interjection was made, I think I am entitled
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT . - Interjections are disorderly, and I ask the honorable senator not to refer to the matter again.-
– If Senator Duncan had indicated to me that he was ill, which he did not–
– I did. I walked across the chamber and asked for a pair.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I again ask the honorable senator not to discuss pairs.
– I shall at all events refer to the question again on the motion for the adjournment, and I shall then ask Senator Duncan to prove his statement.
– I can do it.
– I defy him to do it.
– I shall never ask for another pair.
– That is the honorable senator’s business. He will have an opportunity at the proper time to prove his statement. I have ‘listened to ‘Senator Kingsmill’s (criticism of the supposed cost of constructing naval vessels in Australia. Senator McDougall has .spoken with a full knowledge of the fa* for he has had many years’ experience in the building -of vessels. I, too, have had a few years’ experience in helping to build merchant vessels and ships of war on the Clyde. ‘ There is no doubt in ray mind that ships oan he built just as efficiently an Australia as in any other part of the world. I regret that we are discussing the construction of naval vessels. We should be considering the ‘building of trading . ships rather than warships. I have already referred to the conference arranged by the Prime Minister of . Great Britain Mr Ramsay MaeDonald, for the purpose of bringing about some settlement of the economic problems of Europe. I stated on a previous occasion, and £ now repeat, that Mr.. MacDonald was trying ibo <do a great service ito the -world, and I am glad to know that his efforts have proved successful. The Prime Minister of Australia (Mr.. Bruce) admitted that as ja result of that conference we had entered upon a “new era in the world’s (history, and that peace was at ‘last within our grasp. Mr. Bruce further- stated that all that was now wanting to bring about world peace was the signatures to the documents. I regret that at .such a time it-he Australian Parliament should be discussing the building of two cruisers. I do not -know what .the intention of the Government is.j but if any argument be necessary to convince the Sen-ate of Hie weak position in which Ministers find themselves at is supplied by .the statement by Senator Pearce in moving the .third reading of this hill. He said (that Sir John Monash had been called upon -to report concerning the possibility of building one df the -vessels in Austrafia, and had submitted a report. Me added that no member of the ‘Cabinet had yet had a chance to study .that ‘report, but that the Government would take the first opportunity to do so. There is po justification in a member of the Government asking the Senate to finalize the bill before making known the opinion arrived at by “Sir John Monash, ©n several occasions I heard that gentlein an give evidence before the Public
Accounts ‘Committee concerning the supply of munitions. I listened with keen interest to the statements ‘by Sir John Monash as to how tar Australia could become self-contained in the matter of -munitions. I “recognize that he is not only an eminent engineer, hut also one of the .greatest organizers of men that 1 nave ever met. But I do not know nor has Hie Government told us, what qualifications ‘he possesses as a naval expert. .’Two cruisers .would not be sufficient to .defend the trade routes of Australia. I am opposed to the (building of vessels of destruction j but I .claim .that if we are not to be cut -off from the world’s .supplies more than two cruisers will .be needed. As Par- liament is determined that the two cruisers shall .be built, -I claim .that the money should be .expended in Australia, and that Australian, workmen should he employed. During amy fifteen years ‘experience on the Clyde as *a boilermaker’s assistant I .became acquainted .with shipbuilding machinery, and I nawe ke.pt in touch with the < advance in -engineering plant on the -Clyde ,and’-at other big .shipbuilding .centres. When on .a visit ito the -Cockatoo Island .dockyard some eight or nine months ago I was pleasantly surprised ito -see machinery . there which was .at least equal, if .not superior, to any -similar plant in the world.’ Iter instance, I :saw .a great punching machine. There was a -steel plate from 15 to *M feet long, 5 fit. 6 in. in breadth, and about 1 inch in .thickness.
Sitting suspended from 1 to ,2 p.m. n
– At the luncheon adjournment 1 was referring to the shipbuilding equipment at Cockatoo Island. At the time I visited that dockyard I -was pleasantly surprised to notice the modern -machinery that had there been installed. Steel plates whose dimensions were about 29 feet :x 5 ft. 6 iia. x 1 in. were being manipulated’ by one man working .an hydraulic apparatus,, -and they were handled just .as effectively .as I have seen plates of similar dimensions handled by eight men in the ship-yards of .the Old Country C was also surprised to see the modem riveting machines and .cither ‘equipment in -operation at that ship-yard. In view of these facts I cannot understand a’ny honorable senator saying -that vessels cannot be built an Australia as .cheaply as in other -parts of -the world. I admit that the wages paid .to Australian workmen aase higher (than those paid ito workmen ( elsewhere land that our conditions ©f labour are better although mot .so :good as I ‘should like ‘to see them. I .should like all »our .workmen to have better conditions df labour, shorter hours, . and higher remuneration The , better the conditions the better the work. Senator Kingsmill stated that i it took .37 months and 42 months respectively sta (build two vessels in Australia, but be was effectively answered by Senator McDougall, who -pointed out that Senator Kingsmill bad not taken -into consideration the sudden increase in the pm 08 I of steel during the -war periOd. , At .that .time neither tobe Broken Hill Proprietary Company nor ‘the Newcastle works ‘.had (reached their present * state of .efficiency. It is idle for . honora’ble senators to oppose the manufacture of these vessels in Australia ‘because of” -the excessive cost and the length -of time of construction. The new General Post Office in Forrest-place, Perth, one of ihe finest structures in Australia, was built ‘by Australian workmen, and a great .-portion- of the material used was of Australian ‘production. Tlie erection of that .building was delayed owing to the outbreak of war, and the consequent scarcity of steel girders. On two or three occasions at least .the contractor was .compensated by .£he Commonwealth Government because of delays, and the increased price of .steel and ‘iron girders. .Senator John D. Millen, in his .second -reading speech, referred to the Singapore base, and to the fact that the Imperial Government had abandoned that project. I previously opposed the building of two cruisers, but now that Parliament has practically determined that they shall be built, I want them “built here. When these cruisers are completed, we shall require a naval base at which they can be docked and repaired. Not one .honorable senator ‘baa ,yet .said . anything about .the Henderson naval base in Western Australia. Wre ‘have a coastline of (approximately 12,000 miles, yet we haw mert, established ;a naval base .ait which war -and other -vessels can be repaired The construction of the Han.derson maya! base was stopped, not by the Labour party, but gy the ..National Government of 1916. Admiral Henderson -came tout here ,and reported on the site. The work was .commenced,, but subsequently -stopped. The .Government Alien obtained ta report .from .Si-r Maurice -Fitzmaurice,, <a prominent naval engineer, who .also -reported favorably on that site. Lord Jellicoe,, the hero .of Jutland, -came out here at the .invitation of -the Commonwealth Government and his report was in favour -of establishing a naval base near Fremantle. If these cruisers ace constructed we .must -have a modern naval base at which they, and also .merchant wessel^ can be repaired. During .the discussion .on this measure, we have been repeatedly told that Japan is .the (potential *enemy -of Australia. Senator Drake-Brockman last night said that because -Jibe treaty between the Imperial Government .and Japan had ceased, the latter -must now be looked upon as our potential foa. He retrained from mentioning that during -the war Japan .had .the -opportunity .of .attacking Australia. That -nation helped . to convoy tour troops overseas There was a wry crucial period in 191.7, when Germany .asked .Japan to .assist her. If at (that -time she had accepted the tempting offer of Germany, thousands of Australian soldiers would .’have been at her mercy. Japan honoured her treaty with (Britain, yet we are told, in ;time of -peace, -she lis >our potential enemy. At the close .of the recent reparations conference in London, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald accomplished the fine achievement of (establishing friendly relations between two -hostile nations. The President <of the United States of America has notified his intention of promoting another world’s conference .on disarmaments. In .the face or ‘these happenings the statement by honorable members opposite that Japan must be considered as our potential /enemy indicates their anxiety for wax, rand not ‘for -its prevention. I .opposed the second reading of the measure at -every -stage-; but if the <two .cruisers are %o be built, then by all means let us construct them in Australia and give an opportunity to Australian workmen to demonstrate .£heir .efficiency. We have ;the skilled men and the material (necessary for -this work, .and ‘this Gauntry will greatly .benefit if the money is expended here.
– It is not usual to have a long discussion on the motion for the third reading of a hill, but since the advent of this Government the Labour party has been forced to speak at the third-reading stage of more than one measure, because of the Government’s apparent’ incompetence, and its failure to formulate a definite policy. Senator Pearce, speaking on this bill this morning stated that Cabinet had received a report from Sir John Monash. That report, presumably, concerns the cost of one cruiser if constructed in Australia, by Australian workmen. It is the duty of a Government to furnish to both branches of the legislature the fullest information respecting matters on which we are called upon to express an opinion and to vote. This bill has been under consideration for some time, but the Government has not yet given honorable senators the necessary information respecting the cost of the cruisers. Sir John Monash’s report is all-important to the people of Australia,- and we should know what recommendation is embodied in it. Senator Pearce admitted this morning that, although the report had been received, the Government had not had time to peruse it.
– Give the Government time to do so.
– The Government has had ample time to present the report to both branches of the legislature.
– The bill should not have been introduced until this report had been considered by the Government and they had made up their minds what to do. The report cannot be such a -voluminous document as to render it impossible for Ministers to come to a decision upon it in a very short space of time. Although some honorable members opposite may consider it to be a matter of no importance whether these vessels are built in Australia or not, to honorable senators of the Opposition it is of the first importance.
– If that is so, let the bill go through.
– If the bill goes through without an intimation of the Government’s intentions what chance has the Opposition of doing anything? I am not concerned about the possibility of local construction being more costly than construction in Great Britain. I am more concerned in having the work done here by government enterprise. The Labour party stands for government enterprise in every form of industry. The Government on the other hand are opposed to government enterprise. They have already done everything possible to kill government institutions brought into existence by the Labour party before the war, despite the fact that those institutions served Australia well during a critical period _in its existence. If there is one thing more than another to which we should give every possible encouragement, it is the establishment of government enterprises, and the elimination of all private enterprise in respect of defence matters. Why should we consider the interests of private individuals in defence activities when their idea is to engage in them solely as business propositions ? I cannot be brought to .look upon defence as a purely business matter. If, as we are told, defence is a form of insurance, it should at least be government insurance. Already we have encouraged Australian workmen to engage in shipbuilding, but, because estimates of costs have been exceeded, certain honorable senators oppose the building of cruisers in Australia. Let me put a simple proposition to them. When they employ an architect to draw up plans and specifications for a building, and let a contract for the erection of that building, do they not, in most cases, find that the estimate of the cost is exceeded, because of alterations and additions made during the progress of the contract? The same thing happens in shipbuilding. Alterations made during the progress of the work make it utterly impossible to institute a fair comparison between the estimate and the actual cost of construction. I ask honorable senators to vote against the third reading of the bill, because it is unbusinesslike and manifestly unfair on the part of the Government to ask the Senate to approve of the expenditure of such a large sum of money without making known their intentions. It is also unfair for Senator Pearce to put forward the plea that Ministers have nothad time to peruse the report furnished by Sir John Monash. Cabinet could meet early next week and give full consideration to that report in ample time to acquaint the Senate of its decision on the next day of sitting. If Ministers would only meet our wishes in that respect their proposal might find approval from the Opposition and from at least some honorable senators on the ministerial side, and the bill would possibly get through very quickly on Wednesday next. I appeal to those honorable senators who are interested in preserving Australian industries, and in the betterment of the conditions of those who are already in Australia, to assist us in having the bill postponed, so that the information which has been so long delayed may be furnished to the Senate before it finally leaves our hands.
– I make a final appeal to the Government to have the third reading of the bill postponed. I had intended to move an amendment to have the bill read this day six months, but as that would have aroused intuitive hostility on the part of. some honorable senators opposite who might be inclined to support the action we are now taking, I have not done so. Private enterprise has invested a great deal of capital in the iron and steel industries, but as private individuals in the Commonwealth have not yet indicated their intention to equip an establishment of the capacity of the naval dockyard at Cockatoo Island, if cruisers are to be built in Australia, they must be built at Cockatoo Island, or,” possibly, at Walsh Island. If the naval dockyard at Cockatoo Island had been in the hands of private individuals most strenuous efforts would have been made by them to bring pressure to bear on the Government to see that these cruisers were constructed there. In the absence of such pressure, any proposal to have these vessels built overseas finds strong support from honorable senators opposite. I have no hesitation in saying that honorable senators opposite have frequently spoken with very incomplete knowledge. It would elucidate the subject if the Government, without waiting for the preparation of a complete return, would place before the Senate a statement showing clearly the principle items of expenditure upon the vessels already constructed at Cockatoo Island. Ostensibly the objection of the Government to the construction of the vessels in Australia is their probable cost, but on that point the Senate has no information. It is ex”tremely difficult to extract from the Government figures relating to the probable cost of the vessels in Great
Britain. I doubt very much if the cost of bringing the cruisers to Australia, which, I ‘understand, would be about £100,000, has been added to the estimates for the British-built ships. If one or both of the vessels are built in Australia, every allowance should also be made, in estimates of cost, for probable alterations to the design, because, as every one knows, alterations ir. the design of steel vessels, after the work . has been in progress for some time, add enormously to the ultimate cost. The same remark applies to general building construction. I should say that a large building like the. Commonwealth Bank in Sydney would cost about 2s. per cubic foot, compared with about 2s. 3d. per cubic foot for the construction of the new Commonwealth Bank in Melbourne, the increase in the latter case being due to the character of the site and type of the structure. In shipbuilding, a vessel of large’ tonnage would not cost so much per ton as a smaller vessel. All these circumstances have to be taken into consideration when making comparisons of cost. We have been informed that the Government has received a report from the committee that was appointed to investigate the estimates of cost for Australianbuilt cruisers. I believe the Government has no serious intention of constructing either of these vessels in the Commonwealth, for the reason, ostensibly, that it would cost more to build them here than in Great Britain. Up to the present Australian dockyards have not had a fair chance. Before forcing through the third reading of this bill the Government should, in all fairness, supply honorable senators with, the report from the investigation committee referred to. Are Ministers afraid to furnish this informa-tion? Is the report couched in such ambiguous terms that Ministers are incapable of understanding it ? Is it such a lengthy document that more time must be allowed for its perusal and consideration ? The vessels should be built in Australia. With fully-equipped naval dockyards waiting for work, it is absurd to place orders abroad for the construction of ships required for Australia’s defence. Expense should be a secondary consideration. During a war the supreme command of an army gives no attention to the question of expense at all so long as it achieves its ‘objective.
Question resolved in the affirmative
Bill read a third time.
The following’ paper was presented : -
War Service Homes, A’et - Report’ of the War. Service Homes’ Commission for tlie- year ended- 30tlv June; I’D 24j togetlier -wiHib.’ statements, and balance-sheets.
SUPPLY Bill. (No. 2),1924:-25.
BilL received from, the House o£ Representatives..
i. - In moving -
TDiajfr so. much, of the Standing- and1 Sessional’ Orders> be- susuendedi asi would, prevent tlie bill.’ being passed, through all, its, stages, without delay,.
I desire! to give honorable/ senators am. assurance, that, the.* Government, does: not. expect thenii to: pass-: the bill- today. E do. not ask even, that tihe firstt reading-‘ shall be agreed to to-day.. My- purpose;, in: submitting: this motion’, is to enablethe Gavsernment, in the- event- off congestion ofi business next *week, to take- tine1 necessary action- at a later stage to securethe passage1 of the1 measure: If honorable senators’ are; not? prepared to debate the bill1 this! afternoon*, I shall’ accept, a motion for the: adjournment of tha debate until next weelr.
– ‘Will this bill, be thafirst measure to be. dealt, with. next, week?:
– Probably it willl
Senator.GRANT (5’Ne.w South Wales): [2.42J.. - In, view of’ the MAnistair’s’ aasum- anGe, I shall not oppose the. motion1..
Senator. GARDINER (New South’ Wales) 2a 43>]<.: - I. hastes no: desire1, to hoM up. the easiness: of the* Senate. As honorable senators; a-re* aware,, if I> exercised my rigfefi to speak at- length’ om> this motion,. I need! owly sp’ea’ls for’ an hour, and we1 sko-alct tltem* reacft tfhc1 time frxedf for the- adjjourmmen-t of the Senate. The business’ of the Government would1 then be dtelayecL This- is a matter of procedure; I reiterate my abjection- to this, continuous suspension of fihe Standing and Sessional’ Orders. . It. is quite, contrary to” our usual procedure-. The. time has come for’ tha Senate to consider, a r.avisioui of the. Standing and Sessional O-ndors;. ta> bring them mora into conformity with- ourprocedure.. I recognize;, o£ course;, that, the Minister has business;, whichi to him. is urgent, toi go. on with-. Therefore,. I shall not exhaust the time at my disposal im speaking; tew this motion.. This request for* the* suspension! of. the: Standing; and. Sessional- Orders is- made now about’ twice1 a. weefc. Proba’bly, as the session’, draws to is dbse;. the motion willi be submitted’ more frequently. Having- expressed my disapproval’ of i3re systems, I shall offer no- further objection*.
Question resolved in* the- affirmative.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for. Home and’ Territories)’ [2.4&J-1 move-
That the bilL be. now read a first time..
Aa I. said just now;, if amy honorable senator wishes, to speak to. the; first, r.eadr ing of. the: bill; but is not prepared! to. do< so. now; I shall offer no. objection to the. adjournment of the debates
Debate (on, motion; by Senator.- Gardiners)’ adjcoLDned-.-
SenatorCRAWFORD (Qu^nsTand1Honorary Minister)’ [2.46]’. - -I move1 -
That the bill he. now read- a second time..
This- is* a> machinery brill to; facilitate1 trade with’ New Zaaland’,. by enabling imported’ goods re-easported1 from! New Zealand to- Australian: ports; toi fe» admitted for duty in; Australia, on* the- defimrte. basis) laid! down im the, bill!.. A tariff agreement; already exists; with N.ew Zealand,, amd- the! bill provides-, foe- an’ extension’ of reciprocal) treatment between Aus=- tEailiai and New Zealand.. Overseas goods’f roui’ Australia going to* New Zealand will’ get the samet treatment’ in New Zealand; asisj proposed; to be- given.’ by Australia to. goods camiiiig from New Zealand.. The. brli provides,, bmefliy.’,, that when goods, which have been! imported into New Zealand) suibseq.uen.tly coan&to Australia,, dnxty shaffl be/ charged on the same value’ as* if they caane direct foom, say, Great Britain’, phis1 1-0! per cent. It may be remarked that this 10 per- cent; is additional’ toi the 10- per cent, always- add’edi in such’ cases in’ accordance1 with- the- Customs Act. In’ no- case, however; can they be charged: on more/ fehaas1 their New- Zealand! value plus’- 10’ pes- cent. Pro-vision is madte that’- idr the. valuer has increased1 in the: countfery of export- sineo- the goods, left-, such- increased’ vailnxe slia# be- taken into account-. At present sxteh:- goods pay duty on the New Zealand value, plus the 1.01 pen cent., pjctaivdidbedi. by- Law. New Zealand values are: usually mucin in* excess oft oiveisea. values-,, audi It. ia proposed to. base the duty on. the. original, oversea, value,, plus* the. l’.O per* cent, already, provided fax in. the act,, and plus a further 10. per cent. Tha result will, usually be that the duty, will be less than, at pre> sent, font it will ba slightly more than, it would be if the good’s had! come diuect from oversea. These transactions are. not numerous, but when they are necessary in the course of business the present practice is- felt to be. a. hardship, and tha objiecS of’ the- biTT is to remedy this condr- fism of affia-irs. The bill’ will1 operate f roma dart!e> to be- feed by proclamation*, and only after the (BSovein’or-S’erDeitaJ is satisfied) that: reciprocal; provisions have? beenmsadte’ im> New Zealand).
Debate (‘on nuratiosai by Senator ©aaa-
SenatorPEARCE (Western. Australia - Minister for- Home and Territories:)! [2.49].- I. move-
That tlie bill’ be now. read’ a second’ time.
This is a. bill that is of samel importance, and I’ believe that it is generally regarded as being one. that will- b.e» helpful to commercial and’ financial’ circles. There, are. three- main- principles, in the* bill. They are^ - (T)- To apply in. Australia certain general1 rules* relating’ to- bilTs- of lading; which;, after- some years of consiidferafiioin* and) inquiry, have been passed, into- I’aw* in Gsearfi Britain-,, and! are recommended5 for adoptnionv by the Empire- geaxexally.. (2) To apply Gommonweaiiib. law to- any bill of lading’, issued] im.-. Australia,, aaidt to any bill of lading for goods, coming; ta> Australia. (3) To make provision for the issue of a-. ‘ ‘ reaeiwed-. for shipment bill of lading.”’ There is a very interesting history at the* back’ of thaw bill Ahast I shall’ give ,ts» the1 Senate-; The terms’ of bills of. lading; have been, the- subject o£ much contention, owing to the lack of equity and uniformity. Ship-ownera have inserted* clauses, modifying their liability, and shippers have- demanded legislation to regulate the matter. The Imperial’ Shipping’ Committee, in its’ report of February, 1921’, recommended’ uniform legislation throughout the Empire-. Beforeeffect was given- to these- representations,, a movement developed to secure- worldwide uniformity in bills of lading, and this, reauitedi in. a draft,, known aa- thaHagae Rides. 11921. In. October,. 1802 , atthe; International Gbraference: aru Maja&irae La.w ml Btrussel’a,, a set of rules, based! on. the Hag,ua Rules, was- unanimously recommended as. a basis for international conv.entisn. In. 1923< a British] select, committee: again!, inquired’ Lata- the matter.. The British Government up to* that time had! refused’ to fake action on the ground that it was a matter of contract between the parties interested, but the select cran:mittee’ strongjy/ recommended” governmental1 action. That- committee- mentioned also* that rh the* United1 States1 of America’, in* 189B1, an act was passed! resttrictBig’ shrpvowners, andl simi’flaT leg-isl&tibn’ had! been-, passed m- Australia, Canadas, and! !New Zeal’surdl. The- rraiea* reGOrnnien’d-edf by the IntErmataonali Cbnferenca at, J&nissels in 1903 were embodied! » w bill’ in the House* of Iiarsfa,. amdl the matter waff- of snsh impoEtam-ce- that- it was earefmiHy considered- ‘by a- joint ff<>ramittee of bothi Houses’. Tia- Imferial) Economic Conference of: 1’9&3,. at. which Australia. Wats’ represented, also> passed! the- followingresolution’:’ -
This Imperial’ Economic Conference havingexamined the- rules l-elaTting- tt» Mis’ of lading. recommended* By’ tlie’ Imter.nate’onalJ (Sonference on, Ma-L-itkue- Haw. held at. Brussels- in- October, 1922, and embodied, im the Caxuiage- of. Goods By S’ea BEHL now before the BH’iSsh Parliament, is of’ opinion- tliat-im all> essential principles- they are’ based] iiponj the Canadian: Wateii Canriag© of, Gooda Act 1910, and the- Repaut of the Imperial Shipping Committee, 1921”, and Believing thaf there* iSs a good’ prospect of international agueemenb iiu regard! to** Bills’ o lading* oni this’ basis; which, would* be of Benefit tar every partof. the Empire,, considers, that these rules, can. Be. recommended! for adoption by the government and’ PurKiaments- of’ tlie Empire-.
Tha British Government, in September.,, W2S,. forwarded, the British, bill,, and; in-. March,. 19,2.4,, the. Secretary of State, for. tha Colonies intimated that it was. imr taixded tD proceed, with, it- later cabled advices: show that the bill passed) through. bath.Houses without amendment. 3fn view of all the’ circumstances referred to and’ the fact that the British Government had” passed1 the’ rules into law; and1 tnart* they wefe recommended’ for- adoption after the fullest consideration- by the’ economic- conference and* the* conferences* that preceded iti, it was’ decided’ to- withdraw the Sea Carriage- of Goods* Bill, originally7 in*rov d’ueed in1 the- House1 o£ Eapresen-ta-traes, and substitute a fresh- bill’ which’ would! give effect to these rules and also retain the provisions sought to be enacted in the previous bill. This involves also the repeal of the Sea Carriage of Goods Act 1904, as that act is replaced by the uniform rules and other provisions in the new bill. The Sea Carriage of Goods Act 1904 provided that a bill of lading issued in Australia to a place outside was subject to Australian law, and that any stipulation to the contrary was void. This has been repeated in the present bill. A new clause provides that any stipulation, in a bill of lading from outside Australia, that purports to lessen the jurisdiction of Australian courts, is void. In 1923, the chambers of commerce drew attention to the fact that foreign bills of lading stipulated that any action arising in connexion with such bills of lading must be taken in the courts of the country of issue. The effect of this stipulation was to prevent Australian importers from proceeding against the ship in Australian courts, and put them to the necessity of taking action in a foreign country. The intention of the present measure is to override that stipulation and give the importer the ‘ opportunity of taking action in our own courts to settle the interpretation of the contract entered into under the bill of lading. The advantage’ of this is obvious. At present the ship-owner can only be sued abroad in his own courts. The bill will give the Australian importer redress in our own courts, without the expense of instituting proceedings in a distant, foreign court. The third aspect of the bill is, “ received for shipment “ bills of lading. This provision is of great importance in financing the shipment abroad- of Australian products, particularly in relation to our valuable wool exports. At the present time, bills of lading are issued after the goods are shipped. There is often delay in shipment, and in the absence of a bill of lading no documents are available upon which to finance the transaction. Various re- presentations were from time to time put forward that it was advisable that provision should be made for “received for shipment” bills of lading. These bills of lading would be issued as soon as the goods came into the custody of the shipping company, and not, as at present, only after actual shipment.
– I shall ascertain that for the honorable senator. It was required, also, that such a document should be negotiable. An amendment was, therefore, proposed to the bill introduced in 1923, to give effect to this requirement. The rules provided for the issue of a similar document, and no further provision seemed necessary. It is felt, however, that there might still be a doubt as to the effect of the provision in question in the rules, and to obviate all uncertainty, it is proposed to add to the bill a clause providing in effect that a bill of lading issued under article 3, paragraph 3, of the rules, shall for all purposes be deemed to be a valid bill of lading, with the like effect, and capable of negotiation in all respects and with like consequences, as if it were a shipped bill of lading. I think that that supplies the answer to the question asked by Senator Drake-Brockman.
– That is a difficulty that I have had in my mind all the time. Such a provision may get over my trouble.
– I understand that this bill is regarded as having great value to shipping, financial and commercial circles. The rules have international endorsement, and in that respect it can besaid that Australia is keeping in touch with the other nations of the world. I commend the bill to the consideration of honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator Gardiner) adjourned.
Defence Equipment Bill : Pairs - DIRECTORATE of commonwealth bank.
Motion (by Senator Pearces) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– I desire to refer to an incident that occurred this morning when. Senator Duncan accused me of having,, on “Wednesday morning last, refused hima pair, in connexion with the Defence. Equipment Bill, when I knew that he was. ill.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Newland). - I point out to the honorable senator that pairs are entirely a matter for arrangement between honorable senators themselves, and are not the concern of the Senate. It has been ruled again and again that the Senate cannot take any official cognizance of them.
– I realize that it is not the business of the Senate, but as I have been accused in the Senate of refusing a pair to a sick man I think I shall be within my rights if I state the facts by way of personal explanation.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - The honorable senator is entitled to make a personal explanation.
– I do not want any ill-feeling to exist between another honorable senator and myself. It is quite possible that Senator Duncan did ask me for a pair and that I refused him ; but he did not tell me that he was ill. I have never refused a pair to a sick man. For three years, from 1917 to 1920, I was Opposition whip. During the whole of that time I never refused a pair to an honorable senator who told me that he was sick. Neither have I done so during my present term as a member of this chamber. 1 invite Senator Duncan to ask any of his colleagues if I have ever refused a pair to them when ill. Senator Duncan said, “ I want a pair. I am going to support Senator. Gardiner’s amendment.” I replied - “ I cannot give you a ‘live pair.” How could I pair the honorable senator, since he was in favour of Senator Gardiner’s amendment? The honorableSenator wrote in the pair book, and as he was crossing the chamber he remarked - “I have paired with Senator Cox.” I hope he will be more careful in future in regard to the refusal of pairs.
.- I desire it to be clearly understood that, as all the members of my party intended to vote for my amendment, and as Senator Duncan was going to vote on the same side, it was quite impossible for us to grant him . a pair. I also wish to direct a question to the Leader of the Senate. Have Sir Henry Braddon and Mr. Garvan been appointed to the board of directors of the Commonwealth Bank, and if not, are they to be appointed 1
– By way of personal explanation, I may say that it is true that on Wednesday night I had been feeling unwell for some time. At 20 minutes to 11 o’clock I crossed the floor and asked Senator Needham to grant me a pair.I told him that I was in favour of Senator Gardiner’s amendment, and in that case would get a “ live “ pair, but I wanted a pair for subsequent divisions. Before I could explain my reason for making this request, Senator Needham replied, “ Certainly not.”. In view of the hostility shown to my request I did not arrange for a “ live “ pair on Senator Gardiner’s amendment as I had intended, butI paired with Senator Cox. I was feeling very unwell at the time, and I doubted whether, if I remained, I should be able to reach my hotel. It was the first occasion on which I had asked for a pair, and I regret that it was refused. I hope that it will be a long time before I find myself in the unfortunate position of having to ask for another. ‘
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 3.4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 22 August 1924, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1924/19240822_senate_9_108/>.