9th Parliament · 3rd Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Retrenchment of Temporary Officers
– On the 16th July Senator Gibbs asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs the following questions: -
The Minister has now furnished the following replies: -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice-
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The right honorable the Prime Minister has supplied the following answers: - 1 and 2. No such secret investigations are being made on behalf of the Government by Senator Drake-Brockman while he is abroad.
Status of. British Officers
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Railway Communication with Yass.
asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -
What is being done, so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, to complete railway communication between Canberra and Yass Junction ?
– Expert opinion is opposed to the construction of a railway from Yass to Canberra at present. The Federal Capital Commission is now negotiating with the New South Wales Railway Commissioners with a view to improving the existing train service to Canberra to more adequately meet the convenience of passengers from Sydney and Melbourne.
Motion (by Senator Hoare) agreed to-
That leave of absence for two months be granted to Senator O’Loghlin, on account of ill-health.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to ratify an agreement entered into between the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth and the Premier of the state of New South Wales respecting the surrender to the state of certain land and for other purposes.
Bill presented, and read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Wilson) read a first time.
.- I move-
That the bill be now read a second time.
The measure provides for granting and applying the sum of £323,286 out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the service of the year ending the 30th June, 1926, for the purposes of additions, new works, buildings, &c, and for appropriating the said sum. The services provided for in the bill are divided into two parts, as follow: - 1. Departments and services - other than business undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth. 2. Territories of the Commonwealth. The principal items included are -
– I realize that this is not a bill that lends itself to elaborate debate at the second reading stage. Measures of this nature are brought forward as matters of urgency. The bill provides for the appropriation of £323,300 and should the works contemplated be delayed unnecessarily, unemployment might possibly be intensified. I shall, therefore, reserve any comments I may have to make until the bill is in committee.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Department of Defence.
Proposed vote, £244,736.
– I notice under the Department of Defence, and under the sub-heading “ Civil Aviation Branch,” an item reading as follows : -
Like other honorable senators I take a keen interest in aviation, and I am pleased to note the progress that has been made in regard to it. But at the same time I think that it would be well for the department to take a commercial view of aviation. We have a school at Point Cook with a number of highly capable officers, and for some time men have been trained there for aviation work. The service of these men will be available if ever Australia requires it. Apparently the Government has gone to some trouble and expense to provide aerodromes, emergency landing ground, aircraft equipment and plant, and spare parts in the interests of the private companies that are operating. Why could it not go further and conduct the aerial mail services itself ? It believes in government ownership of railways, and the Labour party, at least, also believes in government ownership of steamers. Mails are carried by both rail and water to-day by the Government, and in my opinion there would be no difficulty whatever in arranging for them to be carried by aeroplane. Such work would be most beneficial to the skilled pilots at Point Cook. I understand that three private aviation companies are being subsidized by the Government for services which they are providing in different parts of Australia. I can quite understand that the people who now get their mails every 24 hours or so, instead of every two or three weeks as formerly, are reaping a considerable advantage from these services ; but the Government could do what private enterprise is doing. It has been said that one of the companies is making a big financial success of its venture in Western Australia, and that the Government is granting it a large subsidy.
SenatorFoll. - On the mileage basis.
– It is paying 4s. a mile.
– I am not finding fault with the amount of the subsidy, but with the principle. The Government could encourage aviation more effectively by undertaking these services itself. Aviation is making rapid progress in almost every part of the world. Things that we could hardly believe to be possible yesterday are being done today. We have been informed by those who are better qualified to express an opinion than I am - and I think there is a good deal to be said for their views - that aircraft will play a big part in deciding any future wars. If that be so, we have all the more reason, in this country, for encouraging aviation in every possible way. I suppose there are planes in Victoria and in other parts of Australia which are not being utilizedto nearly their full capacity. On occasions like the visit of the American Fleet we are given displays by them, but I can see no reason why they should not be in constant service. Their use to provide mail services for various parts of Australia which are at present poorly served would be much more profitableto the country than is the present practice. Has the Government considered this matter carefully?
– The honorable senator may rest assured that it has very seriously considered it.
– And has it come to the conclusion that it is better to run these services by private rather than government enterprise?
– Does not the position speak for itself ?
– It does not to me. I am opposed to the principle of carrying aerial mails by private enterprise. I always favour government enterprise in preference to private enterprise. I ask the Government to reconsider its policy, and to carry out these aerial mail services itself.
– I endorse the statements made by Senator Findley. He has addressed himself to a most important matter. In my opinion the Government should assume complete control of aviation in Australia. It certainly ought to carry its own aerial mails rather than subsidize private companies to do so. I wish it to be understood, however, that I am not casting any reflections on the private companies which are doing the work. One of the pioneers of civil aviation in the Commonwealth - I refer to Major Norman Brearley, of Western Australia - has rendered splendid service to Australia in general and to Western Australia in particular.
– Then why rub him out?
– I do not suggest that. My proposal is that he, and others who are similiarly situated, should enter the service of the Government and continue to do the work. Men of the type of Major Brearley should be in the employ of the Commonwealth Government. As mentioned by Senator Findley, we have many capable flying officers who have proved themselves in time of war, but there are others who, I am sure, would desire the opportunity to traverse all the surveyed airways of Australia. The money paid in the form of subsidies to these companies could be very well employed in other directions. As we own and. control the Post and Telegraph Department and the State Governments own and control the railways used for the transport of passengers and mails, we should also own and control the air services established for the conveyance of passengers and mails. The Commonwealth Government is supposed to have a controlling interest in Amalgamated “Wireless (Australia) Limited, but the whole of that undertaking should be vested in the Government. As there is no joint control in connexion with our railways or postal and telegraphic services, there should not be divided control in connexion with wireless services.
[3.351.- In regard to the item, “ Provision of aircraft equipment and plant, including spare parts, etc., and the preparation of aerodromes,” mentioned by Senator Findley, I may point out that these aerodromes will be useful for the requirements of civil aviation, as well as for defence purposes. When legislation providing the conditions under which civil aviation should be conducted was before this Chamber, no objection was taken to it. The honorable senator who spoke in favour of aviation mail services being owned and conducted by the Postal Department should remember that that department, does not own the motor cars, camels or pack-horses with which certain mail services are maintained. It is the desire of the Government to encourage civil aviation in every way, and to assist in providing improved services. If the suggestion of Senator Findley, which was supported by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Senator Needham), were adopted, Point Cook would be the only training school in Australia for aviators, whereas the services now being conducted in Western Australia, Queensland and elsewhere, provide opportunities for young men in other parts of the Commonwealth to become experienced aviators.
– Could not that training work be done at Point Cook ?
– Why should not the young men in the more remote parts of the Commonwealth have an opportunity to become aviators, instead of only those who live within a few miles of Point Cook?
– Will there be an air service from Yass to Canberra ?
– In due course air services will be arranged, wherever the traffic is sufficient to justify their establishment. It is the policy of the Government to encourage civil aviation in every way, and .that which is at present being done in this direction has, I think, general approval.
– I am sure that honorable senators on this side who have spoken on this proposed vote have no desire to restrict the opportunities of young men in other parts of the Commonwealth to become experienced aviators. It is incorrect to say that, because the flying school is for the time being in Victoria, we are restricting the opportunities of young aviators in the direction the Minister indicates. I thought that such ideas, had vanished, like the mists before the noon-day sun, when federation was - accomplished. I am not speaking from the Victorian point of view.
– I have stated what would be the result of giving effect to the honorable senator’s suggestion.
– Mails are at present carried by railways owned and controlled by the state, and aerial mail services should also be under the control of the federal authorities. Private companies, according to the Minister, are affording opportunities to those who are not associated with Point Cook to become efficient aviators. Would not the same opportunities exist if i:he Government carried on this service? Would it close the doors against ambitious young men in any part of Australia, and say, “You cannot enter this sphere”? I think that under Government control, the opportunities would be greater than they are now. This service would not have been on its present rooting had it not been for the initial exploratory work that was done by the Government, and the public money that has been expended in assisting private companies. Without that work and assistance, civil aviation companies would not have been so anxious to undertake the business, .md would not have been able to carry it to its present successful state. The Government should, therefore, seriously consider the advisability of taking over the service. From time to time civil aviation should be extended, not by subsidizing private companies, but by the Government itself engaging in this sphere of activity. The Minister (Senator Crawford) ought lo have told honorable senators how much by way of subsidy has been given to ;.he respective companies for the carriage of mails.
– That information is not, at the- moment, available.
– We should have it. We should, further, be informed whether a contract has been entered into between the Government and the different companies, and what period it covers.
– The amount of the subsidy appears in the general Estimates. I have already said that it is at the rate of 4s. a mile flown.
– Can the Minister say what is the total amount that the companies have received, and what period the contracts cover? Senator Crawford. - I cannot.
– There is an item, “ Machinery and plant for manufacture of munitions not now produced in Australia - towards cost, £51,523.” It appears to me that last year’s vote was not expended. Although we are a distinctly protectionist community the Government, appears to be determined to send abroad for machinery and plant for the manufacture of munitions, that it says is not now ‘ manufactured in Australia. Iron and steel works have been established here for a considerable number of years, and have been well subsidized. In addition, heavy duties are imposed upon goods that are imported from low-wage countries, in which sweated labour is employed. I should like to be furnished with details of the: machines that the Government claims cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth. I sometimes take a walk through the Small Arms Factory at Lithgow. Quite recently I went through a number of other factories, in which I saw a considerable quantity of machinery, some of which had been manufactured in Great Britain, some in America, and some elsewhere. I can find no reason for not manufacturing that machinery in Australia. We are assured that that can be done. We have sui£’cient intelligence and grit, together with the other qualities that are necessary, to produce such articles, yet no step in that direction is being taken. Unless this is a Defence secret, I should like the Minister to disclose the nature of the machinery and plant that the Government says cannot be manufactured in Australia.
Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland- Honorary Minister) T3.49]. - Out of a total of £71,000 voted last year, over £70,000 was spent. The honorable senator is quite mistaken in his belief that it is intended to spend abroad the whole of this amount. A great deal of it will be spent in the manufacture of tools in the Commonwealth factories at Lithgow and Maribyrnong, and a considerable sum will be expended in installing machinery. There are some machines that are protected by patents, and cannot, therefore, be made in either government or privatelyowned factories in Australia. Those machines must be imported.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Proposed votes (Department of Trade and Customs, £6,160; and Department of Health, £14,180) agreed to.
Department of Markets and Migration.
Proposed vote, £410.
– Can the Minister (Senator Wilson) tell the committee what position has been reached in regard to the triple migration agreement between the Imperial Government, the Commonwealth Government and the various State Governments ? We have heard lately that certain states have not indicated their willingness to sign it. I believe that Western Australia is about to do so, but can the Minister say whether any of the states have signified their intention of signing the agreement ?
– It is quite natural to expect that before the State Governments would become signatories to an agreement of such far-reaching importance they would ask for a great deal of information. It has been the endeavour of my department to supply that information. Mr. Angwin of the Western Australian Government, was in Melbourne this week seeking information m regard to certain points. They were matters of detail, but nevertheless, it was far better to have them settled before the agreementwas signed than that difficulties should arise afterwards. I understand that Mr. Angwin has returned to his state perfectly satisfied, and I hope that at an early date we shall have the final decision of the Western Australian Government. The position in regard to the other states is very much the same. I think we have almost reached finality and I shall be very disappointed if all the states do not sign the agreement at a very early date. All the small difficulties have been satisfactorily explained away and the states are now ready to get to work.
– It will be no good at any rate.
– I do not think the honorable senator is in a position to make that statement.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Territories of the Commonwealth.
Proposed vote, £57,800.
– Is it proposed to expend this money under the present arrangement or keep it in hand until the commission proposed to be appointed under the provisions of the Northern Australia Bill is in working order ?
– It will be expended under the present arrangements.
Proposed vote agreed to.
Schedule agreed to. .
Preamble and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
In committee (Consideration resumed from 19th August, vide page 1508) :
Section eleven of the principal act is repealed.
Section proposed to be repealed -
No Crown lands in the Territory shall be sold or disposed of for any estate of freehold, except in pursuance of some contract entered into before the commencement of this act.
– Speaking last night in reply to remarks of honorable senators on the second reading, Senator Pearce said that the object of the bill was to enable only agricultural lands to be converted into freeholds. We, however, on this side of the chamber, contend that’ the clause proposes to abandon the leasehold system in favour of the freehold system, so far as the Northern Territory is concerned. I pointed out, on the second reading, that Senator Pearce wa3 a member of the Labour. Ministry which introduced and put. into operation the principle of leasehold tenure in the Territory, *..nd the right honorable gentleman, in his reply, said that we evidently did not realize that as a man grew older he grew wiser. With his eyes on honorable senators on this side he spoke of changing opinions. A change of opinion is entirely different from a change of principle. One does not change principles as one would change one’s linen. Senator Pearce has every right to a change of opinion, and he may grow wiser as he grows older, but it is an entirely different matter when it is something of vital importance such as a change from leasehold to freehold. We, on this side of the chamber, have grown old with Senator Pearce, at one time marching with him, but now marching without him; but we have not changed our attitude upon that vital principle of leasehold tenure which the right honorable gentleman advocated on every platform on which he spoke as a member of the Labour Ministry, and as a member of the Australian Labour party. The principle which he then advocated is still adhered to by the people of Australia. He may have changed his opinion, but they have not. This vital principle still remains on the platform of the Labour party. During the last few months elections have been held in Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia and the people of each of those states have returned the Labour party with comfortable majorities. Senator Pearce may change his opinion, but he is out of step with the people. That he is no longer marching in line with the opinion of the majority of the people of Australia is evidenced by the fact that four states have recently returned the Labour party to power, and that in Queensland Labour has held office over three elections.
– On a minority vote, every time.
– The honorable senator’s interjection reminds me of the old saying, that a drowning man will grasp at a straw.It is the only excuse that can be offered by our opponents for Labour’s victory ; the statement is not correct. The Minister for Home and Territories stated yesterday that this amending bill is intended to apply only to land devoted to agricultural purposes, and he tried to justify his chauge of opinion by that suggestion. Section 11 of the act of 1910, which is to be repealed, states: -
No Crown lands in the Territory shall be sold or disposed of for any estate of freehold, except in pursuance of some contract entered into before the commencement of this act.
That provision was passed fifteen years ago, and in it no mention is made of any particular class of land, whether agricultural, pastoral, urban, suburban, residential, or otherwise. The section says, “No Crown land inthe Territory shall be sold or disposed of”; but this bill provides for its repeal. It means that the Government will hand over to the highest bidder the glorious heritage that Australia possesses in that part of the Commonwealth. The Minister may smile, but it is a fact. In fancy I can hear the cheers of hundreds of people when the right honorable gentleman used to make similar statements to that I am now putting forward. Nothing has happened in the meantime to justify an alteration of this vital principle. When Parliament is shortly dissolved, and the people are called upon to elect their representatives anew, I have no doubt that they will endorse the principle that this Government is now renouncing and denouncing. If the Minister has changed his opinion, it does not necessarily follow that he has grown wiser of late years; but he has done more than change his opinion. He has departed from a principle which he once held dear, and which honorable senators on this side, his old comrades, still espouse.
– When the bill was before the Senate yesterday, and Opposition senators voiced their objections to the clause under consideration, we were hopeful that on the motion for the second reading we should be able to prevent the Government from parting with the lands of the Northern Territory. Although the numbers were against us then, we now have another opportunity of testing the question at this stage. I therefore move as an amendment -
That after the word “ repealed “ the words “ as from 30th June, 1935,” be added.
When the leasehold principle was embodied in the Northern Territory Administration Act some years ago, only one or two members of this Chamber expressed opposition to it, and the principle was agreed to on the voices. Fourteen or fifteen years have passed, and no Administration from that time up to the present has attempted to do what the present Government now proposes to do. No justification can be advanced for the course that the Government intends to pursue. The non-alienation of Crown lands is a cardinal plank of the Labour party’s platform.
– But every Labour Government is selling Crown lands every day.
– No Labour man in Australia loses an opportunity to point out the advantages of the leasehold as against the freehold principle from a community view-point. What are the arguments advanced in favour of this alteration 1 The Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), who has charge of this bill, said in effect that the leasehold principle was good as applied to the Federal Capital Territory. He also said, in effect, that the leasehold principle was good as applied to large areas in the Northern Territory, but bad when applied to small areas. Where does his consistency come in ? In regard to this principle, the Minister is neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring. He does not know wherehe stands on the matter.
He is in favour of leasehold in one part of Australia, and against it in another. One of the reasons he advanced against it was that those in possession of lease-‘ hold lands found it difficult to obtain accommodation from financial institutions. If that is an argument against the leasehold principle, it could with equal force be applied to the freehold system. The Leader of the Senate knows, and all honorable senators opposite also know, that many men occupying freeholds to-day find it difficult to obtain financial assistance from banking institutions. In confirmation of that statement I need hardly remind honorable senators of what we have often done in this chamber, and what has been done in the other branch of the Legislature, to assist people’ on the land. We know that many men engaged in the dried fruits industry, atRed Cliffs and Mildura, have been “up against it” on occasions, and are not, well placed today. They have sought and obtained from the Government financial assistance, probably because they were not able to get from private banking institutions the help they needed. A man, desirous of settling on land in the Northern Territory, would be more likely to obtain financial aid if he occupied a leasehold property than if he were in possession of freehold land, since the rental he would have to pay for leasehold would be small, as compared with the charges he would have to meet on a freehold estate.
– He would have the credit of the nation behind him, too.
– We know that those who occupy Crown leases are, and have been, in a better position to get assistance from the Government than those in possession of freeholds. Time and again they have sought and obtained assistance, in different directions, from the various Governments in Australia. Apart from the strong views that I and other members of the Labour party hold in regard to the leasehold principle, another reason I have for moving my amendment is that the Government has not received a mandate from the people to depart from that principle. The clause, therefore, should not come into operation until the date I have mentioned.
– What does the honorable senator call a mandate from the people ?
– The people showed approval of the leasehold system when it returned a Government pledged to that principle. This Government has received no mandate to depart from a system of land tenure which is fundamentally and ethically right.
– How could the people have been appealed to on that one issue, except by referendum ?
– I know that other issues would be before the people.
– Greater issues than this.
– If this great issue could not be decided by the people, no other important question could.
– Is not the Labour party in the minority in the Commonwealth Parliament?
– It was in the majority when this principle was approved of, and, therefore, it must have had the people behind it. As soon as the commission is appointed, big works will be commenced, and considerable sums of money will be expended in the Northern Territory. Its population will then increase. It is well known that during the progress of public works in such comparatively unknown areas important mineral discoveries are frequently made. The other day the Minister read, with pleasure, in which we all joined, a telegram which gave the result of an assay of some malachite ore obtained from a portion of the Territory. We all hope that during the construction of railway lines in various parts of the Territory valuable mineral deposits will be found. But, in any case, the building of railways will increase the value of the land. If the Government parts with any of these leaseholds it may happen in the not distant future that it will have to repurchase them in consequence of discoveries that are made. I object to the lands of the Northern Territory being parted with, but seeing that the Government is determined to adopt this policy, I trust that it will, at least, consent to hold its hand until after the people have had an opportunity to express themselves on the matter. As things are now it is quite possible that it will proceed immediately to give freehold titles to land there. This proposal, we are told, is to apply to town, agricultural, garden, aud tropical lands. The residents in towns in the Territory may find themselves worse off under the freehold system than they are now. They cannot be paying very high rentals for the leases they hold around Darwin; but if the land is told and they are not the purchasers they may find that they will be called upon to pay considerably higher rents. The leasehold system of land tenure affords people an opportunity to build their own homes and to develop agricultural and garden blocks. It is mere hyperbole to say that the substitution of the freehold for the leasehold system will spell progress for the Territory. I do not think that honorable senators opposite who have made such statements really believe them.
-(Senator Newland). - The honorable senator has exhausted hia time.
– If the amendment is agreed to the bill will practically be defeated. This is a somewhat circuitous method of achieving that object, but I hope that it will succeed. The Labour party will be in possession of the treasury bench long before 1935 and the present National party will have become a mere memory. It will be seen, therefore, that if the amendment is carried our object will Le attained. Since I last addressed honorable senators on this subject I have had ‘ an opportunity to secure some later figures than those I then quoted. A tabulated statement on page 216 of the Tear-Book of 1924 (No. 17), shows that 476,556 acres of land in the Northern Territory have already been alienated from the Crown; that the area held under lease or licence is 134,488,526 acres; and that that occupied by the Crown or unoccupied is 200,151,718 acres. It will be seen, therefore, that practically half a million acres are already held under freehold title. In spite of that fact the Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Pearce) calmly protends to us that if we alienate further Crown areas the Territory will become as populous and as prosperous as any other part of Australia. He has no justification whatever- for such an assumption. Why will we not recognize that the plain unvarnished truth is that people will not ostracise themselves by going to the Northern Territory? They prefer to live comparatively close to large cities where they can enjoy the comforts of modern civilization. The construction of a railway from Oodnadatta or from a point in Queensland, to the terminus of the present Darwin line, will not materially increase the attractiveness of the Northern Territory. It will still be too far from the centres of population. Fares and freight will be much too heavy to encourage people to use the railway to any great extent. The western portion of Queensland, which is already within measurable distance of existing railway lines, is very thinly populated. The same may be said of the outback portions of New South Wales, which contain land at least equal to that of the Northern Territory, the north-west portions of Western Australia, and the northern areas of South Australia. The only parts of Australia that are at all closely settled are Victoria, the coastal districts of New South Wales and Queensland, and, to a less extent, those of Western Australia and South Australia. Long stretches of the coastline from Albany to Port Lincoln are very sparsely populated. The few towns that are on that section of our coast are mere names on the map. I say that, not from personal knowledge, but from my reading about them. The Government has no mandate from the people to interfere with the system of land tenure in the Northern Territory. It might just as reasonably propose to substitute, the freehold for the leasehold principle in the Federal Capital territory. I have no doubt that that has been discussed in Cabinet. As a matter of fact, the Government has endeavoured in every way possible ta retard the progress of Canberra, and to bring the leasehold’ principle into disrepute.
– It is generally admitted, even by honorable senators opposite, that no government has done nearly as much as this one to develop Canberra.
– I may be excused if I remind the honorable senator that during the war period it was quite unreasonable to expect any government to do other than to mark time in respect to the development of Canberra. The whole of our efforts, and those of the Empire during those years, were directed to something more important even than Canberra. That is why the Labour Government of 1914 and the National governments that succeeded it did next to nothing there. It is only during the last four or five years that Canberra has even in a small degree come into its own.
– And this Government has been responsible for it. The honorable senator himself has said that this Government hasdone magnificent work there.
– Ihave never said anything of the kind. The Government deliberately fixed the upset price of the Canberra blocks so high that the public would not purchase them.
SenatorPearce. - That is absolutely incorrect. Every block that has been offered has been sold.
TheTEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Kingsmill). - The honorable senator has strayed somewhat from the subject before the Chair.
– I suppose, sir, that I have been led away by interjections.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The subject before the committee is an amendment to defer the operation of (the clause until 1935.
– I have no desire to challenge the accuracy of the Minister’s statement.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order !
– Cannot I refer to that matter ?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Only by way of illustration.
– I can usually express my views in very clear language, and I regret if you, sir, cannot see that my remarks in regard to Canberra, and the attitude of the Government, have some bearing on the subject under discussion. Prior to the last general election, it was not stated that it was proposed to destroy even to the smallest extent the system of leasehold now in operation in the Northern Territory, and I challenge honorable senators opposite to produce anything to the contrary. The Government has no more authority to abolish the leasehold system in the Northern Territory than it has to do so in regard to Canberra.
– It is not being done in the Federal Capital Territory.
– Apparently, it is not being done in a straightforward manner, but steps which are equally effective are being taken to achieve that end. If the Government was doing the right thing, thousands of building sites at Canberra would be made available. It is now proposed to revert to the freehold system in the Northern Territory-. The reason, so far as I can gather from the Minister, is that he is of the opinion - I do not say that he does not hold that opinion honestly, possibly, he does - that if Parliament agrees to the adoption of this retrograde move an increased number of people will direct their attention to the Northern Territory, and additional farmers will apply for land with the intention of becoming active agriculturists in that country. I understand that that is the objective of the- Minister, and, in that respect, it is remotely possible that he is correct. We have not found, however, that the freehold system in New South Wales has been productive of such a degree of settlement that one would expect rapid settlement to follow its adoption in the Northern Territory. Whereever we look we find considerable industrial unrest.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order ! The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
Question - That the words proposed to be added (Senator Findley’s amendment), be so added - put. The committee divided.
Majority . . . . 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
– It should be the aim of the Government to pass such legislation that it will be possible for the community to live under the most congenial conditions. It is remotely possible that the members of the present Government really believe that in order to bring about a satisfactory condition of affairs in the Northern Territory, a partial destruction of the leasehold system is necessary. I believe they are occasionally honest in their intentions, but after a long study of the question I am unable to agree with them on this point. One of the reasons why I cannot view the question in the same light as they do is that wherever we look to-day we find that the problem of most pressing importance is that of land tenure. There is no industry so revered, respectable, or half so productive, as that of land ownership. If we carefully examine the records of the United States of America, of Great Britain, or even of Australia, we find that the governments of those countries have the strongest possible reluctance to impose, except in the lightest form, any taxation upon the owners of the land. In fact, strong efforts were made when federation was under consideration in Australia to so frame the constitution that it would be impossible for this Parliament to impose taxation upon incomes or upon land; but .fortunately the members of the federal convention concluded that the Commonwealth should have full powers in regard to taxation. Notwithstanding the right conferred upon the Commonwealth, it was not until war broke out that those in authority had sufficient courage to impose taxation for revenue purposes upon owners of land in the Commonwealth. Governments have been relieved of their responsibility, because other means are employed- to replenish the coffers of the Treasury. We tax incomes most relentlessly. We refuse to permit persons to leave . the Commonwealth until they have proved to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Taxation that they have paid their taxes. We tax goods made in low wage, foreign protectionist countries to such an extent that when motor cars, for instance, arrive here they are taxed on an average of about .£60 on each vehicle. When a woman has the misfortune to lose her husband, the money left her is heavily taxed, and in many other directions heavy taxation is imposed. Senator Duncan stated by interjection, to which I did not reply at the time, that the freehold fanners in the Northern Territory will be potential taxpayers; but the honorable senator must surely know that we on this side of the chamber advocate exemption from taxation of land of an unimproved value of £5,000. This proposal, which we have most rigidly advocated, has had the support of such men as Mr. Holman, Senator Lynch, the late Mr. T. J. Ryan, Mr. James Catts, and a number of others, nearly all of whom are now outside the Labour movement. The Nationalist party, on the other hand, stand for total exemption. Since it has been in office it has reduced very considerably the land values tax, and I have no doubt that it would like to reduce it still further.
– That is not correct, and the honorable senator knows it.
– On one occasion the land tax was reduced by 20 per cent.
– That was a surcharge, imposed for war purposes.
– The Government does not show a desire to collect the tax that is now imposed.
– I point out to the honorable senator that there is nothing in this clause relating to the taxation of land.
– Honorable senators do not seem to realize that if the leasehold system were properly applied at Canberra, the principles enunciated by Henry George, with the exception of those relating to freetrade, would be in full operation. If the Commonwealth Government received the full rental value of the home sites at Canberra-
– Order ! I am beginning to believe that the honorable senator is deliberately straying from the subject under discussion. The section of the principal act that this clause seeks to repeal reads as follows : -
No Crown lands in the territory shall be sold or disposed of. for any estate of freehold, except in pursuance of some contract entered into before the commencement of this act.
The honorable senator must confine himself to’ a discussion of the repeal of that section.
– All governments should legislate for the benefit of the whole of the community. That is not being done by this Government. Its present proposal in relation to the Northern Territory is already in operation in practically every other part of the Commonwealth, and has had most disastrous re- suits. Despite the boasted advantages of the freehold system, there are in Melbourne to-day soup kitchens and destitute people.
– Does the honorable senator prefer freehold to leasehold ?
– I do not care whether I have freehold or leasehold.
– Has the honorable senator any freehold ?
– I have.
– Has he any leasehold?
– No; and I cannot not get a leasehold. I have no desire to ask the honorable senator any personal questions, and I strongly advise him not to continue to ask them of me; otherwise 1 may forget myself. I have referred to the deplorable conditions that exist in Melbourne, Sydney, and other large cities. The following figures have been taken from the Commonwealth Tear- Booh for 1922, page 216:-
Honorable senators will see that, although the population of Australia does not exceed 6,000,000 persons, over 169,000,000 acres of land have been alienated. We know very well that the owners of that land are not using it, but, on the contrary, are holding it in order to fleece those whom they may entice to Australia under our immigration laws. The main object of the Government’s immigration policy is to increase the value of those areas. The alienation of that 169,000,000 awes has not led to the state of prosperity that the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) has assured us will result in the Northern Territory if we consent to the alienation there of land that is at present held by the Crown. We are justified in opposing this retrograde step. Some persons who oppose the glorious principle laid down by Henry George, of the taxation of un improved land values for state and federal revenue purposes, say that that principle could be applied if the land had not been already sold. It is not too late to apply the principle to the Northern Territory, where the land is still the property of the Crown, with the exception of 500,000 acres that South Australia alienated before the Commonwealth took over the Northern Territory. Australia will probably borrow millions of pounds to- construct harbours, railways and roadways in that great territory, solely iii order to increase the value of the freehold areas, and the rentals of those that remain the property of the Crown.
– Many millions will need to be spent before any one will want a freehold there.
– I. have made a very close study of this matter. Whilst the leasehold system may have a few faults, a- million and one faults can be found in the freehold system. To-day there is to be witnessed the humiliating spectacle of industrious, intelligent, determined men being so harassed and annoyed by their landlords that they are compelled to give fabulous prices to save themselves from continuous increases in kil 611* 1*6 IT. 1” ells
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Senator GREENE (New South Wales) [4.591. - I should like, through you, sir, to say a word or two to my honorable friend, Senator J. Grant. We all thoroughly understand and appreciate the earnestness with which he approached this matter. We know that for a long time he has been an intense student of this vexed question. But whilst giving him the credit that is his due, I differ from him in several important respects. First of all, I should like to correct a statement that he made regarding the Labour party’s policy in relation to freehold as opposed to leasehold tenure. He stated that one of the reasons for the objection of the Labour party to freehold tenure is that it throws out of the field of taxation a vast area of country, because the Labour party stands solidly for an exemption from taxation up to a’ value of £5,000. That is not correct. If Senator J. Grant had said that, in relation to the Federal land tax, the Labour party stands for au exemption from taxation of all land up to an unimproved value of £5,000, I think that he would have been correct.
– If I did not say that, I meant to do so.
– That is not the impression that the honorable senator’s speech conveyed. As with every other party, the Labour party considers all land to be a fit subject for taxation. It has held office in the various states, but has not yet seen fit to repeal the existing land taxes in those states.
– The honorable senator is, of course, aware that there are Legislative Councils in certain of the states ?
– Of course, I am aware of that. But the Labour party has not made the abolition of the land tax a plank of its platform. I rose, however, more particularly to suggest to Senator J. Grant that he is losing sight of the fact that we cannot afford to regard these practical questions from a purely abstract stand-point. I can see virtues in both the leasehold and the freehold system. The circumstances surely should weigh with us when considering the wisdom of adopting a particular class of tenure. The real test of the value of any form of tenure is, what can a man who uses the land get out of that tenure. Looking at the matter from a broad aspect, I have not the slightest doubt that in relation to rural lands the leasehold tenure suits the rich man and the freehold tenure the poor man. I ask honorable senators to bring to bear upon the consideration of this matter the test of their own experience, and to tell me how many poor nien who are land-holders have gone in for leaseholds, and how many rich men have gone in for freeholds. I think they will find that the holders of leaseholds are infinitely greater among the rich than among the poor. The reason is a very simple one. I remember very well some land along a creek being thrown open al one time in the district from which 1 come. It was dense tropical forest from one end to the other, but it was magnificent country that had no superior in Australia. Along one side it was thrown open under what we in New South Wales call “ Conditional Purchase Conditions.” On the other side it was thrown open as homestead selections. The first was a freehold, the latter a leasehold, tenure. On the one side of the creek, under conditional . purchase conditions, a man had to spend five years before he could get a certificate which would entitle him to transfer the land. On the other side, the holders did not get a certificate under which they could transfer the land. It was held under leasehold with residential conditions. Both areas were thrown open and taken up at the same time. One block was taken up by a gentleman whom, no doubt. Senator J. Grant knows very well, because he used *to stand alongside the honorable senator in support of Henry George’s theories. True to his principles - unlike some honorable senators I could mention - this gentleman did not take up a conditional purchase selection, but chose a homestead block. The men who took up these holdings were all workers, and to the extant of their ability they set to work on that virgin country. Any one who has had any experience knows that a poor nian cannot make very much progress in developing n scrub farm until he gets some money. All these workers put in their five years, and then in the following two years a most wonderful change came over the scene. On one side of the creek one would find not a stick of scrub on any holding, decent homes on each block, decent bails, and decent herds. On the other side of the creek the g renter part of the scrub was still standing, and the holders were still living in the bark humpies they put up when they first went there. They were, still struggling. Not one of them –va? making a decent living. It was not very long -before the men on the homestead blocks began to agitate for the same tenare as was on joyed by the men on the other side of the creek. They had had their object lesson. They had seen their neighbours on the other side, their residential conditions having been completed, go to the banks with their certificates of title, and ask for advances, and get them without any trouble. The assistance thus afforded to them enabled them to develop their holdings immediately, and in a very short space of time placed them in an independent position. And it was not until the New South Wales Parliament saw fitto give the other men the same conditions that they also made any progress whatever. Senator Grant’s friend was one of those who agitated most vigorously for the change. If any one wanted an objectlesson on the immense value of the freehold title to the poor man, it was available in that particular instance.
– There was an exactly similar case in regard to the workmen’s blocks in South Australia under a scheme of the Kingston Government.
– That is not so.
– It happened before the honorable senator was born.
– I have no doubt that if one had a knowledge spreading over the whole of Australia of the result of the various efforts to apply leasehold tenure, particularly to country land, one would find instance after instance of the kind I have illustrated as having come particularly under my notice. I remember very well meeting Senator Grant’s friend in Lismore. He was laying down the law at a street corner, as he was wont to do in the Domain. I said to him, “ That is not what you used to tell us in the Domain.” He said. “ Ah ! I did not . own any land then.” We must bring to bear on these matters cur own practical knowledge of affairs. It is useless to stand for some abstract principle. We have to ask ourselves what best suits the man who is going on the land. What the Minister is proposing to do in the Northern Territory will apply to a very limited area of country, and will be only in the nature of an experiment to ascertain whether it is possible to bring about that class of settlement he hopes to establish in the Territory. I am perfectly satisfied that the only practical way of making it a reasonable success, if there is anything in the scheme at all, is to give to the poor man who proposes to settle on the land of the Northern Territory a chance to get a title to his holding. Under leasehold tenure he would not have a dog’s chance of making a success unless he had some one with capital behind him to back up his efforts. My practical knowledge leads me to believe that we shall be perfectly safe in granting freeholds to these people. To con- jure up visions of vast areas in the Northern Territory passing out of the hands of the people is useless. I am perfectly certain that the great pastoralists, who must be the means by which the Territory will be developed for many yearsto come, will never attempt to secure the freehold of their big areas. It would not pay them to tie up so much capital in acquiring freeholds, particularly when they are given a reasonably long tenure which is quite sufficient to give them security for the improvements they effect. There is in what the Minister proposes, not only safety, but also common sense.
– I regret very much that I failed to make myself clear to Senator Greene in regard to the attitude of the Labour party towards land tax exemptions. I endeavoured to point out that the Federal Labour party’s platform provided for an exemption of £5,000 in every estate. I might also say that thanks to men like J. L. Trefle and W. A. Holman, as well as a number of others who are not in the ranksof the Labour party to-day, that party in New South Wales stands rigidly for an exemption from state taxation of £5,000 in value in every estate. The result is that, notwithstanding the enormous value of land in New South Wales, the land-owners of that state, with the exception of those in the Western division - whose total payments amount to only about £3,000 - do not contribute a penny towards the revenue of the state.
– Does the honorable senator know that the exemption provided by the Labour Government in Queensland is only £300?
– It is too high.
– Now that, the honorable senator has made his personal explanation, I ask him to realize that the clauseunder consideration does not deal with the taxation of land.
– Honorable senators listened attentively, as they always do when Senator Greene is speaking, to his very instructive address, during which he dealt almost entirely with land taxation, and the leasehold system of land tenure as opposed to the freehold system. I propose to follow him.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN The honorable senator will not do so while I am in the chair.
– No matter who is in the chair I shall follow Senator Greene. On one occasion I took the trouble to enlarge very extensively on the attitude of the Labour party towards land taxation. The very latest effort is the proposal of Mr. Collier, the Premier of Western Australia, to impose a land values tax with a very small exemption. However, I shall come back to the main question before the committee. Some time ago I took the trouble to visit the southeast corner of Queensland. I was anxious to obtain personal knowledge of how the leasehold system in operation on a stretch of country between Coolangatta and Tugun, on the Queenslaud coast, was working so far as building sites were concerned. The beach there is one of the finest in Australia. Along it people can bathe all the year round. At first the Queensland Government made available a considerable number of freehold building sites at Tugun, and a large number of these sites were taken up by prospective builders, some of whom built homes on them. The Government next made available a mile of country on the leasehold principle. An upset price was fixed, but as no building conditions were laid down, the result in that case is that there is upon that mile of country only a solitary notel and a few other buildings. Realizing that it had made a mistake the Government, when it made the next mile of country available, laid down the condition that £25 worth of improvements must be effected on each block, otherwise the block would be liable to forfeiture. Some people built houses on their sites, but many others merely fenced them. They were nursing them for a prospective rise, just as hundreds of thousands of people are doing in all the states. The Government then leased another mile, but decided that the £25 must be spent upon the erection of a building, with the result that almost every block was built on, and the area was put to the use for which it was intended. Under the leasehold system the persons who acquired the blocks were not obliged to part with the whole of their money to the Government ; they merely paid each year not more than the full annual rental value of the blocks. The leasehold system at Coolangatta has proved a huge success, because conditions were laid down which provided for the land being put to the use for which it was intended. In the same way the Federal Government has laid down building conditions in regard to the building sites at Canberra. I agree with Senator Greene that the north coast of New South Wales is probably the finest country in the world. Yet we find the land-owners there moving heaven and earth in protest at having to pay anything in accordance with the value of the land they hold. Under the leadership of the so-called Progressive Country party in New South Wales, they even went so far as to threaten to withdraw their support from the Nationalist party unless the Land Valuation Act was amended, giving them the right to appoint their own valuators, thus enabling them to continue under the old valuations, under which they escaped paying fairly towards the construction of their own roads and bridges. They preferred to rely entirely for expenditure in this direction upon the taxation imposed by the Federal Government. When the Valuator-General went to the north coast he doubled and trebled the valuation of the land, and, on appeal, the courts in almost every case upheld his decisions. Senator Greene knows as well as I that a very large area of the north coast country is held onthe leasehold system.
– Only in big areas.
– The north coast of New South Wales, of which I have some knowledge, is held very largely under that system.
– Dairy farms?
– The honorable senator knows that they are, and the real owners live in comfort at such places as Mosman, Manly and Cremorne.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Again I must call the honorable senator to order. He is straying from the subject of land tenure in the Northern Territory, with which this bill deals. I regret having to call him to order so frequently, but it is absolutely necessary.
– We have been assured by Senator Greene, one of the strongest and most enthusiastic supporters of the Government, that leasehold is a failure in certain areas in New South Wales. I challenge that statement, knowing that a large area there is held under the leasehold system. The lessor, however, is not the Crown. The owners, who lease the farms, live at ease in and around Sydney. On the Tweed, the Clarence, the Nambucca and other rivers, more than 50 per cent. of the country is held under this class of lease.
– Are those farms not let on the share system?
– That may be; but surely the honorable senator would not, say that is an ideal system of land tenure.
– It is a very good way to enable a poor man to make a start.
– Honorable senators opposite are willing to do anything to avoid the payment of rent to the Crown. They favour the land shark and the speculator, for whom they are always “ barracking.” Why should it be necessary for a farmer to pay half the value of his produce to the land-owner ? That is called the share system, but it is regrettable that in a country as big as Australia a producer must give a land-owner half his proceeds for the right to live.
– The men working the land consider the present system worth while.
– When Senator Reid was in his prime he was worth listening to. He was prepared to “stonewall “ in the Queensland Parliament from daylight to dark, but now he is as tame as a sucking dove.
– He was a “red ragger “ then.
– He was worse than that.
– He was honest then.
– I have no doubt of that, and he may be honest to-day, but he is taking a wrong view. Share farming should not be countenanced for a moment.
– I point out that this bill has nothing to do with share farming.
– But it is the thin end of the wedge for the termination of the leasehold system in North Australia. Under the bill the Government will be enabled to sell every foot of Crown land in the Territory. I challenge the Minister to deny the statement. Yet he has the temerity to suggest that this proposed departure from the leasehold system is so slight as to be hardly worth talking about. When this Government gets the wedge and the sledge hammer to work conditions in the Northern Territory may be as bad as they are in other parts of the Commonwealth. How many people in London to-day own the buildings in which they do their business? Probably not 1 per cent. of them. The same conditions exist in all big cities. The freehold system always has, and always will lend itself to the aggregation of large estates and to the payment of extortionate rents, whether for farming, pastoral, or building purposes. Honorable senators on this side would be recreant to the trust reposed in them by tens of thousands of the electors if they voted for this clause. At the last election I suppose that I received more votes than any candidate returned to this Parliament. I have always stood rigidly in favour of land value taxation, and my views on the leasehold as opposed to the freehold principle are thoroughly under-
Stood. Therefore, it is incumbent on me to do my utmost to convert the stiffnecked and cantankerous honorable senators opposite.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable senator’s time has expired.
– I am sorry that Senator J. Grant had not a further opportunity to voice his opposition to the clause. I hope that the Government’s proposal will be defeated, but if that be impossible we may later on have an opportunity to delay the operation of the clause. Senator Greene, in a serious way, drew a picture of a happy section of settlers in certain portions of New South Wales. He made it appear that those with freehold tenure had, after a very short time, cleared their land, obtained financial assistance, and become prosperous and contented, while the other section, in occupation of leasehold land, although it was of a similar nature, had made no progress at all.
– I should like to have seen it.
– I should like to know how men on the same class of land had failed to make progress merely by reason of a different form of land tenure. No matter what may be said in regard to the late Henry George, he was, in my opinion, one of the world’s greatest citizens, and one of the few men who aroused interest throughout the world on the question now under discussion. Those who are familiar with his writings are aware of the difficulties that confronted him when he attempted to publish his book, Progress and Poverty, dealing with the hardships incidental to private ownership of land, under which system the economic rent is not obtained by governments. It was difficult for him to obtain a. publisher for his book, because it was at that time considered too revolutionary. A few of his friends, however, cams to his aid, and a small number of copies of bis book were published. Afterwards it became a classic, and was translated into every known language. In this Chamber to-day we have in Senator J. Grant an ardent follower of Henry George. Although I do not go all the way with the single taxers, I agree entirely with them on the subject of land value taxation. Returning to the picture presented by Senator Greene, I should like to know the names of the men who became so prosperous on freehold farms. I should like to know the conditions under which they- purchased them, and the period of time that elapsed after they took up the land in a virgin state until they became more or less prosperous. What handicap was suffered by the other farmers on leasehold properties ? If the former had to pay for the freehold there must have been an initial outlay of their capital, whereas the farmers who took up the land on the conditional purchase system had no immediate financial outlay to make.
– The2 honorable senator has put the case upside down. A conditional purchase system relates to freehold. It enables the farmer to obtain the freehold.
– It was to the leasehold system that I. intended to refer. Senator Greene said that the leasehold system was good for large areas, and the freehold system for small areas.
– Because one is held by the wealthy man and the other by the poor man.
– A man who has to purchase the freehold of his property is much worse off than one who has a leasehold. If land can he had at a nominal rental as a leasehold money that otherwise would be spent on a freehold is available for developmental purposes. It has been said that a leaseholder cannot obtain financial assistance on the security of his land when he desires it. We know, as a matter of fact, that in recent times both freeholders and leaseholders have been to the Government for financial assistance, because they have not been able to get it elsewhere. The owners of freehold land at Red Cliffs, Mildura, and parts of South Australia, who have been financially embarrassed, have had to come to the Government for assistance. What, then, becomes of the argument that a freeholder is more able than a leaseholder to get financial assistance from the banks?
– The honorable senator would know all about it if he approached a bank for a loan on a leasehold.
– Apparently freeholders, also, have been unable to get assistance from the banks.
– You have an equity in a freehold if you want an overdraft from a bank, but you have none in a leasehold.
– No argument can be advanced to convince me that the freehold is better than the leasehold system from the point of view of the public.
– Red Cliffs has been wholly in the hands of the Government. The soldier settlers there were charged, I think, 30s. an acre for their land.
– I think some of them were charged up to £3 an acre. The Northern Territory is in. quite a different position from other parts of Australia. Only small areas of land have been parted with there, whereas in other parts of Australia huge areas have been disposed of by the various Governments. Seeing that in 1910 Parliament decided unanimously in favour of the leasehold system for the Northern Territory, this Government has no justification whatever for inserting a clause of this kind in this bill. This matter is altogether too important- to deal with hurriedly. AVe know very well that the Ministry is opposed to all Government enterprises. I am so suspicious of some of their administrative methods that I feel that if we agree to this clause we may, later on, be faced with a proposal for the construction of railways in the Territory om the laud grant system. Such a proposition was on foot a few years ago. It is well known that in the past private railway companies throughout the world have made enormous profits by constructing railways on the land grant system, and we should hesitate before we make possible even a suggestion of that kind in the Northern Territory.
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
– I wish to offer a few additional remarks in reply to Senator Greene’s speech. The very touching picture he drew in support of his contention that the leasehold system was for the wealthy man, and the freehold system for the poor man, really ought to be cinematographed. It might be used to induce more migrants to come from Great Britain to Australia. He omitted, however, too many important details. His bald statement was totally unsatisfactory to me. I think we ought to prevent land speculation in the Territory. If leasehold is not more favorable to the poor man than is the freehold system, why on earth should I be advocating it, for the great bulk of my supporters are on the bottom rung of the social ladder. Those who are higher up can well look after themselves. I consider it to be my duty to watch the interests of the tens of thousands of men and women in the lower walks of life, who support me. If the leasehold system suits the wealthy man, why is it that land is not made available under it for building purposes ? Many years ago, a former South Australian Government made land available on the leasehold system for building purposes, but, comparatively soon afterwards, the leaseholders agitated for the conversion of their leaseholds to freeholds.
– And every Labour man who opposed their conversion lost his seat.
– That is quite likely, for the way of reformers is always hard.
– Mr, Denny is not building his 1,000 homes on leasehold land.
– I do not think the people who live in those houses will ever become the owners of them.
– That is the proposal. The houses are being built on freehold land.
– I am not prepared to controvert the honorable senator, for he ought to know the facts. When I was in South Australia, a few years ago. I made it my business to inquire into the circumstances connected with the granting of leasehold land there for building purposes, and I know that the leaseholds were very soon afterwards converted into freeholds. Something of the same kind occurred at La Perouse, near Sydney. The building conditions there, however, were so onerous that no poor man was able to comply with them. The result was that the leases were abandoned. Subsequently, the Fuller Government, which has just been defeated in that state, made the land available to the highest bidder. Senator Newland must know very well that the ordinary working man on the basic wage finds it almost impossible to pay £5, £6, or £7 a foot for freehold land on which to build a home.
– I know that the ordinary working man always prefers a freehold to a leasehold. Make no mistake about that.
– I am afraid the honorable senator is a long way behind the times. A large number of people in New South Wales favour leaseholds as against freeholds.
– They must be very backward.
– On the contrary, they consider themselves to be in the van. They consider it to be much more advisable to rent than to buy a home. The price of freehold land compels them to take that view.o If a working man attempts to purchase a home by the payment of a substantial deposit, it takes him very many years to complete the purchase. I heard the other day of a case of a very worthy citizen who was most anxious to buy a home of his own. He was told that if he paid so much down, and so much per week, he would complete the purchase in seven years. I questioned the accuracy of the statement. As the seller was not prepared to definitely assert that the position was as stated, I submitted the question to three schoolmasters, each of whom gave a different answer. It was ascertained, however, that instead of the principal being paid off within seven years the period would be much longer. We have had many years of experience of the freehold system which is in operation in Great Britain to-day. How many people living in such cities as Glasgow own their own homes? It is only in very rare instances that working men in Glasgow own the dwelling in which they live.
– I do not think that is so.
– It is true.
– In Glasgow, portions of houses are sold, and many workmen there own a flat or portion of a house.
– Even if it is so, which I do not admit, that is an unusual condition of affairs. A building in Sydney contains about 64 flats, the occupiers of which have a freehold title of some description, but that is the only instance of the kind I know of in Australia. There are, however, tens of thousands of people in Glasgow who pay rent for the flats in which’ they live. The renting system has been in operation in that city from time immemorial, and the same can be said in regard to London and other cities in Great Britain. I quoted yesterday a case of a lord, whose name I cannot at the moment recall, who as owner of all the land in the township of Bootle, in Lancashire, collects rents from all the townspeople. Holding, as he does, the freehold of the land, he is able to control the destinies of the unfortunate workers, as all landlords are able to do.
– He offered to sell to the tenants, but they declined to purchase.
– They would be foolish to buy at his price. The freehold system suits the wealthy people, and no one knows that better than Senator Greene. Under that system our present housing conditions, which no one will dare to assert are not a disgrace to the Commonwealth, have grown up. In many parts of the Melbourne suburbs where workers congregate the houses and allotments are so small that they are a disgrace to the people who make the laws of the country, and also to their occupants. They are largely responsible for returning men to Parliament, who favour the freehold system. .1 do not blame certain honorable senators supporting the Government on this question, because they are obeying instructions, but I am satisfied that they are not acting in the best interests of the people of the Commonwealth. Judging by what I have read - and I read a good deal upon this subject - the effect of the Government’s action in this connexion will be quite the reverse of that anticipated. We are informed that the banks and other financial institutions will not advance money upon leasehold land. Of course they will not. One needs only to make some investigations concerning the ownership of land in New South Wales to ascertain that the banking and other financial institutions are in possession of the bulk of the country. In these circumstances they are not, of course, in favour of the leasehold system. They believe in the freehold system, because it is a weapon in their hands which enables them to extract practically everything from the people. If any one can show the banking institutions that by advancing money a huge profit can be made by cornering foodstuffs, assistance is readily forthcoming. It is their business to make money regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes the banks will not advance money even on freehold property, and only a few months ago banking corporations in Sydney would not advance money on any security. When a bank is approached for financial assistance the first question asked is whether the applicant has an account with it.
– Order! The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
– We have had a fairly long- -
– And monotonous debate.
– I was about to say we have had a fairly long debate on this clause, and, according to the interjection of the Minister (Senator Pearce) the discussion has been, to him and his colleagues, more or less monotonous.
– It has not been instructive.
– The interjection is uncalled for. There has been a long discussion on a question of great importance to the Commonwealth and to the people of the Commonwealth. It may be considered a trifling matter by the Government and its supporters, but embodying as the clause does a principle of first magnitude, the somewhat lengthy discussion on it is justified. The Minister ia anxious to secure the passage of the bill, but the members of the Opposition would be lacking in their duty if they did not avail themselves of the opportunity to show that its main provisions are inimical to the best interests of the people of Australia. I am a strong opponent of the private ownership of land and a warm advocate of the leasehold system. What is the picture presented to any observant man in this or any other capital city in Australia ? We have in this comparatively young country slums which, according to overseas visitors, are a disgrace to socalled civilized society; In some instances two or three families are living in one house - and this linder the glorious freehold system. Thousands of families are living in tenements some of which are more or less insanitary and for which * exorbitant rents are being charged. Private ownership of land leads to congestion and in many instances congestion means that the people do not enjoy the best of health. At present a royal commission is inquiring into the causes of unemployment and the prevalence of sickness and invalidity, and I have no doubt that the evidence tendered to that commission will prove that the private ownership of land is indirectly responsible for much of the sickness prevalent in Australia to-day. We are anxious to provide the means whereby every man in Australia can obtain a home for himself and his family, and we on this side of the chamber are endeavouring to assist in that direction by informing honorable senators opposite that it is their duty, as well as ours, to protect the lives and to safeguard the health of the Australian people by making it possible for them to secure healthy homes of their own. According to documents presented to this Chamber almost every known mineral has been found in the Northern Territory. There is no magnetism so great as that which is exercised by the yellow metal. There may be very big gold discoveries in the Territory. If there are, the present population will be largely increased and greater prosperity will ensue. Naturally a demand for land will set in, resulting in increased values. The work that is undertaken by the commission, and the money that is expended, will add millions of pounds to the values of the lands in different portions of the Northern Territory. Those added values should belong to the community. When we hear honorable senators opposite saying that they believe in the leasehold system in certain cases, and advancing the view that that tenure favours the rich man, whilst the freehold tenure is more advantageous to the poor man, . we ask ourselves what is the reason for this eleventh hour zeal and anxiety for the poor man. Honorable senators opposite represent in this chamber not the great mass of the workers, but that section which politically is opposed to the class to which we on this side belong. Who should be more interested than members of the Labour party in the welfare of the man who is in a small way ? Is it reasonable to suppose that we would advocate a system that we thought was inimical to the best interests ofl our own class? We know that the leasehold system confers an advantage upon the poor man. Numbers of persons in the workaday world would be able to secure a home for themselves and families if they could lease a block of land. Take a piece of land worth, for the sake of argument, £400. Even though a working man had the money to buy the freehold of that land, would it not be better for him to pay at the rate of 6 per cent, per annum for the leasehold and utilize his capital in the erection of a home? Would the workman in Darwin to-day be better placed financially if the leasehold system were abolished in favour of the freehold? In Darwin and other parts of the Territory land is leased at a purely nominal rental, and probably some of the residents have erected homes on leased land. What will happen to those men if the lands are sold ? Under this clause the town lands at Darwin will be sold. Some of those persons may be dispossessed; they may not be able to buy the land. We know that the lands of Australia are getting into fewer hands. Big estates are increasing yearly. In some parts of Victoria there are upon the land fewer men than were there years ago. That would not have happened under the leasehold system. Yesterday and to-day we have protested against the proposal of the Government, and we shall continue to do so. I realize to the full what this will mean to the future government of the Northern Territory. I give place to no man in my desire to see progress made there. I fully sympathize with those men and women who live in that fardistant part of the Commonwealth. Figuratively speaking, they have pioneered the bush, blazed the track, isolated themselves’ from the big centres of population, and denied themselves those creature comforts that make for happiness and contentment. I want to see them happy and contented. I do not wish the progress of the Territory to be in any way retarded. I am satisfied that this is a backward move by the Government. It may, and probably will, mean the enrichment of the few, but it will eventually prove a handicap to the many. That has always been the effect of the private ownership of land in every part of the world.
– The honorable senator has exhausted bis time.
– A very important aspect of this matter was touched upon by Senator Findley, when he referred to land-grant railways. Many years ago the Government of the state of Western Australia granted about 2,000,000 acres to the Midland Railway Company under the freehold system. That company has determinedly held on to the freehold of the land then granted to it, and it has been almost impossible, until lately, to secure payment of the nominal land tax that has been imposed by the Commonwealth Government. I understand that recently the company paid the amount which was owing by it. The railway from Perth to Albany also, I understand, was built under the landgrant system. If that system is introduced in the Northern Territory, what will happen? Look at the experience of Canada. The Canadian Government was approached by a number of wealthy people, and advanced, I believe, £5,000,000 towards the cost of constructing the Canadian-Pacific railway. In addition it gave the Canadian and Pacific Railway Company the freehold of alternate blocks along the route of the line - the total area so granted, being about 250,000,000 acres - for disposal to prospective farmers. The company disposed of the land at enormous prices. The right thing would have been for the Canadian Government to build the railway itself, and lease the land to the farmers. Instead of doing that, it placed thousands of farmers entirely at the mercy of the Canadian and Pacific Railway Company. It has taken some time to ascertain what is the objective of the Minister (Senator Pearce) in this matter. The Government is aware of the enormous wealth that has been amassed by the Canadian and Pacific Railway Company in Canada, and the Midland Railway Company in Western Australia, out of prospective land settlers. The Minister probably has that in mind when he seeks to obtain the approval of the Senate to the surrender of the lands of the Northern Territory to private individuals. The Government might proceed to construct a railway from Alice Springs to Borroloola or some other point on the Gulf of Carpentaria, and continue it through the Barkly Tablelands, and then dispose of the whole of the land on both sides of the line, as was done in Canada.
– The Canadian and Pacific Railway Company rendered a gr,eat service to Canada.
– The service that it rendered to itself was far greater. It was a splendid thing for the foundation holders of Canadian and Pacific Railway stock, but the people of Canada generally did not derive any advantage.
– Canada is a prosperous country.
– I do not think that it is any more prosperous than Australia. The prosperity of Australia will not be increased in this way. We have had too long an experience of the freehold system not to know’ exactly the way in which it works out. If it were a new idea we should have some hesitation in so strongly opposing it. It is exceedingly interesting to peruse the historical records of England. and to see how carefully, step by step, the freehold system has been built up. When the Norman robbers went across to England they obtained possession of large tracts of that country. They wished to give some of their followers the right to possession of that land in perpetuity. The system of disposing of land that we have in Australia to-day was not then in operation in England. They used to hold a general meeting, and agree to dispose of areas of land to their respective followers, and following on that principle in later years, the sovereign would allot certain portions of his country to some of his supporters. That was how the freehold system was built tip in Great Britain, where it has been responsible for a deplorable condition of affairs. I am informed on good authority that there are more than 1,500,000 free-born native-born Britishers who are at present unable to find remunerative employment, and are being supported by a system of contributions from the general revenue. Yet this is the system we are asked to perpetuate in the Northern Territory. When the Israelites came to Palestine, and the land was mapped out among the Twelve Tribes, it was laid down that it should not be sold for ever.
SenatorCrawford. - Palestine is not so prosperous to-day.
– No, because the Jews broke the conditions under which the land was allotted to them, and sold it, with the consequence that they have been scattered to the winds. However, we do not require to go to Palestine for an example of the evils that follow the adoption of the freehold system of land tenure. We have a sufficient example in Great Britain, where the lords and dukes, the countesses, duchesses, and dowagers are all land-owners, and other people are only allowed to live in Great Britain oncondition that every quarter they pay their rent. The adage that an Englishman’s home is his castle is all humbug. As a rule, he has no home, but lives in rooms rented from a landlord. We are asked to apply the freehold system to a huge area where less than 500,000 acres of land have been alienated. I have not heard that there has been any rush to cultivate the land already alienated. I feel certain that this 500,000 acres cannot be in one of the worst parts of the Territory, yet it is not making that progress we are assured the balance of the Territory will make if only this system which has brought about such a deplorable condition of affairs in England is adopted. I referred some time ago to the position in London. It is lamentable to see some of those titled lords, who never work or do anything useful, extracting week after week from the workers practically the balance of their income beyond what is absolutely necessary to enable them to keep on working. The freehold system is the finest thing devised for wealthy men, because it gives them the right to acquire land. We are assured by one prominent writer that the man who owns the land owns the people on the land. Nothing is more responsible for the unemployment that exists throughout the world to-day than the fact that there are people who own land and will not make use of it. I was amused at Senator Greene’s attempt to deceive honorable senators.
– Senator Greene placed before us his views in regard to certain people on the north coast of New South Wales. I have had many opportunities to visit that part of the Commonwealth, but have never seen any cases such as he referred to. I do know, however, that there are many instances in which the workers there are not at all pleased with the conditions under which they labour.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
Question - That clause 3 stand as printed - put. The committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment: report adopted.
Sitting suspended from 6.82 to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from 19th July, 1924 (vide page 1423, Vol. 107), on motion by Senator Ogden -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I dare say that most honorable senators have forgotten a good deal of what Senator Ogden said last session in introducing this bill. I must confess that I, at any rate, had until I refreshed my memory by a perusal of the Hansard report. Senator
Ogden asked for support of the bill chiefly on the following grounds: - (1) That it was inconsistent for the Government to deal with Tatter sail’s sweeps as an illegal business, and to re-, fuse to deliver letters addressed to Tattersalls, while levying taxes on the prize money; (2) that it was futile, because Tattersalls consultations were flourishing, notwithstanding the refusal of the Post Office to carry its letters; and (3) that Tattersalls was necessary to Tasmania. The honorable, senator dwelt upon this last point, and I shall quote one or two remarks he made under that heading. In one instance he said -
I am not a very strong advocate of Tattersalls, and if I were a member of the Tasmanian Parliament, and the state could finance itself without its assistance I would favour its abolition. I am not an advocate of gambling.
Again, the honorable senator said -
If I had the power to decide whether an institution such as this should be legalized I would decline to allow it. But it is almost indispensable to Tasmania in existing circumstances, and I -would not be a party to throwing away the revenue of £200,000 per annum which that state at present receives from it.
It is clear from those two quotations that Senator Ogden does not believe in Tattersalls on moral or ethical grounds, but he pleads for the passing of this bill on account of the alleged poverty of Tasmania.
– It is to the inconsistency and the hypocrisy of the attitude of the Common wealth in respect of this matter that I take exception.
– I should be sorry to believe that Tasmania is in as bad a position as it has often been represented to be in this chamber. I throw out the suggestion to Senator Ogden and other representatives of that state, that if they tried a little “ boosting “ they would find it more beneficial than alleging that their state is in straitened circumstances. Before federation the carriage of mails and the legality of racing consultations and lotteries generally had been dealt with by five of the states, all of which passed legislation designed to suppress institutions like Tattersalls . I believe that as far back as 1891, at a conference of representatives of the Postal Departments of the six states, a motion was carried to the effect that the Post Office should not carry letters in connexion with lotteries or racing con sultations. At that conference Tasmania was represented by two delegates, both of whom voted in favour of the motion. Tattersalls began, I understand, in Victoria, and when suppressive legislation had been passed in this state it moved on to New South Wales, where the same fate overtook it. Then it “went to Queensland, and when suppressive legislation was passed there it finally found sanctuary in Tasmania.
– Queensland now has something worse - the Golden Casket lottery.
– I am not speaking in favour of the Golden Casket. All states have passed legislation permitting the holding of art unions with the permission of the Minister, and I believe that it is under such legislation that the Golden Casket is beingconducted in Queensland at the present time. When the original Post and Telegraph Bill was before this Parliament, the section that Senator Ogden now wishes to amend was fully debated, and at least some of the Tasmanian representatives very strenuously opposed it. Parliament, however, evidently gave the matter considerable attention, and in the section sought to be amended there are no less than four provisions authorizing the Postmaster-General to refuse to deliver letters or any postal article to Tattersalls or any similar institution. The first is to be found in paragraph a which deals with “ horserace or other race or any fight, game, sport, or exercise.” So that if Tattersalls could not be dealt with as a racing consultation it could be as a gambling concern in connexion with 3port. Then in paragraph b there is a, provision under which if. can be dealt with as a lottery. That paragraph reads, “for promoting or carrying out a scheme connected with any such assurance, agreement, or security or a lottery or scheme of chance or an unlawful game.” Under paragraph c it could be dealt with as an institution receiving “ contributions or subscriptions towards any lottery or scheme of chance.” I think it will be agreed that the public conscience of Australia would be against Senator OgdenS proposal. It is quite true, as he says, that this legislation has been futile to some extent, and that Tattersalls carries on in spite of it. It may not be possible by any action that the Post Office is -authorized to take to stop it or interfere with it to any great extent. But, surely if the Commonwealth Parliament is unable to put an end to an illegal action it should not become aiders and abettors of it, which -would immediately happen were the present bill passed. As to the inconsistency of the Government in refusing, through the Post Office, to carry mails to Tattersalls, and at the same time taxing prizes won in those consultations, the honorable senator is aware that that argument, if it may be called an argument at all, cannot be supported, since the Commonwealth no longer collects such a tax.
– It has handed it over to the state in place of the grant.
– The Commonwealth has ceased to collect it, and the state does as it pleases. I have no doubt that the state concerned is pleased to get a little more out of Tattersall’s than it was previously receiving. I understood the honorable senator to say in introducing his bill that Tasmania had already received £1,750,000 from Tattersall’s, and that the Commonwealth had received a little over £500,000 ; but, as I have already stated, the Commonwealth is not now receiving anything by way of taxation from Tattersall’s.
– The Minister knows why.
– It may have been because of the honorable senator’s eloquent speech in introducing his bill.
– No; it was done to save the Commonwealth revenue.
– Not only was there state legislation, prior to federation, to suppress lotteries,- but all English-speaking countries have enacted practically similar legislation. It will be found on the statute-books of New Zealand, South Africa, the United States of America, and Great Britain, as well as in Ceylon and India. Therefore, the legislation of the Commonwealth is not singular in this respect. Senator Ogden does not believe in the encouragement of gambling, and his main argument in favour of the bill is the necessitous circumstances of Tasmania. I am quite satisfied that every honorable senator sympathizes with the position of that state. We recognize its problems and needs, and are prepared to assist it in every legitimate way ; but I think Senator Ogden is asking rather much when he requests us to do violence to our conscience by passing this bill.
– The concluding words of the Minister (Senator Crawford) have brought me to my feet. I think that we have been doing violence to our conscience for many years by encouraging legislation of the class at which this bill is directed. I had intended to cast a vote in support of the bill without addressing the Senate, but now that I have risen I wish to say that the only justification that the Minister has advanced against the bill is that the Commonwealth no longer collects a tax on the winnings obtained through Tattersall’s sweeps. Whilst this Parliament has declared for many years by its laws that these sweeps are illegal, people securing winnings from that source have been required by the Commonwealth to pay a tax on them.
– And the Commonwealth Government made Tattersall’s its agent for the collection of the tax.
– Exactly. Why not follow the action of last session to its logical conclusion, and accept postal matter addressed to Tattersall’s? Senator Crawford said that various states agreed to pass legislation prohibiting the holding of lotteries, but his own state has departed from the undertaking, for it has legalized the Golden Casket lottery.
– It is a socialistic activity there.
– Probably Senator Crawford has risked a shilling or two in it now and again. Perhaps he has even invested in Tattersall’s. At least, he knows how to get a letter to Tattersall’s. In spite of our prohibitive legislation, a heavy mail reaches Tattersall’s regularly. I believe, with Senator Ogden, that we should not encourage cant and hyprocisy. Probably every member of this Chamber has at one time or other sent a remittance to Tattersall’s. I dare say we all have invested ls. or so on a horse at some time. The plain fact is that gambling cannot be prevented by act of Parliament. I support the bill.
Senator C. W. GRANT (Tasmania) [8.171. - I also support the bill. I agree with the views expressed by Senator
Ogden, lt is time ‘that’ the hypocritical attitude that the Government adopts towards Tatter-sail’s, and which has been maintained almost since the federal income tax was first imposed, should be altered. Honorable senators know very well that when the tax was first imposed on prize money won by holders of Tattersalls tickets, the Commonwealth Government, by various means, endeavoured to trace all the persons who had won prizes in Tattersalls in the preceding three or four years. It tried to collect the tax as from 1915. Now that it no longer imposes the tax it might be said that it has justification for refusing to deliver letters, but I can see no force in that argument. Letters for other gambling institutions are carried through the post. Bookmakers are able to get their letters through the post in the ordinary way. No attempt, has ever been made to prevent letters from reaching the management of the Golden Casket lottery.
– That is not so.
– Tasmania is flooded, week after week, with books of tickets for lotteries in Queensland, New South Wales, and other parts of Aus-‘ tralia. Our people have become thoroughly tired of these repeated requests to subscribe to outside lotteries. No embargo is placed upon this class of mail matter except in the case of Tattersalls consultations. I consider that Senator OgdenS arguments are quite sound. It must be remembered that the continuance of the Tattersalls consultations is vital to Tasmania. She needs every penny of revenue she receives from that source. It cannot be said that the ex-Premier, Sir Walter Lee, was biased in favour of these sweeps, but he never felt that he could introduce a bill to abolish them. The consultations are run on absolutely fair lines and under government supervision. They are drawn in the fairest possible way and everybody has an equal chance. They are certainly a more desirable form of gambling than many .that ‘aire legalized. The people who send their money to Tattersalls know that the ‘chance of winning a prize is very remote, whereas if they put it on a racehorse they anticipate some return. It is generally recognized that the prospect of winning a prize in a Tattersalls sweep is so slender that no one would ever think of embezzling money to invest in it. The least that this Parliament can do in the interests of Tasmania is to permit letters to be sent direct to the promoters of . these sweeps. Tattersalls get their mail now by indirect means. We should permit them to get it openly.
– Tattersalls, as we know, is an important institution in Tasmania. It has been established for many years. The people who invest five or six shillings regularly in the consultations hope that if they cannot secure one of the principal awards, they may at least obtain a consolation prize. The chance of winning the first prize is very remote. I suppose the lottery is one of the best conducted in any part of the world. This Parliament, however, enacted special legislation many years ago to prevent letters from being delivered to the management. I must confess that occasionally I make a pilgrimage to Flemington and Caulfield, and even invest a few shillings on a quadruped that does not always travel as fast as I think it ought to do. I hope some day that I may be more successful in this regard. I have even been guilty at times of infringing an act of Parliament by sending a modest amount to Tasmania, but I have never yetbeen successful in winning a prize. I wish to say, however, that on principle I am altogether opposed to private monopolies.
– Then the honorable senator should oppose the bill.
– I am doing so. Why should we pass special legislation to assist a private monopoly? If we are to have a lottery, let the Government run it, and let the proceeds be devoted to charity or some other laudable object. If we give a special privilege to Tattersalls, we cannot reasonably deny it to any other institution that may feel disposed to run a lottery. What special claim has Tatter salls upon us ?
– Other states countenance similar institutions.
– Certainly no other state in Australia would legalize Tattersalls.
– But they legalize bookmaking.
– Bookmakers may only operate upon registered race-courses. I do not dispute that the Tattersalls consultations mean much to Tasmania, but I have no hesitation in asserting that she would have been far better off had she never legalized them. She would then have obtained her revenue from more legitimate sources. Governments are always tempted to take the. line of least resistance, and Tasmania thought the easiest way to raise revenue was to legalize these sweeps. That also afforded the Commonwealth Government an opportunity to tax the prize-winners. Notwithstanding the difficulties with which the promoters of the consultations are faced to obtain their mail, I feel that I, at any rate, am not justified in making conditions easier for them.
– We ought to be consistent, but I suppose it is too much to expect.
– There is no inconsistency in my attitude on this matter. The measure which it is sought to amend was placed on the statute-book very many years ago, and no government that has since been in power nas attempted to repeal it. For the reasons that I am opposed to private monopolies, that I consider we should not give special privileges to particular institutions, that to facilitate the means of communication would be to increase the number of consultations, and that I consider Tasmania could raise its revenue in a more legitimate way, I intend to oppose the bill.
– Twenty years ago the Commonwealth Parliament, in its wisdom, passed legislation prohibiting the carriage of mail matter to the institution in Tasmania known as Tattersall’s. Prior to the passing of that legislation all the State Governments, with the exception of Tasmania, had refused to allow Tattersall’s to carry on business in their respective states.
– It was declared illegal.
– Yes, by legislation. Consequently, the Commonwealth Government took action in support of the legislation passed by the states, since by carrying correpondence to Tattersall’s it would have been assisting to defeat that legislation. Notwithstanding the efforts made by the Commonwealth and state authorities, it is well known that this business in Tasmania is flourishing. I have yet to learn that the institution itself has ever submitted a request for the introduction of such a bill as this.
– I have not submitted the bill with the intention of benefiting individuals, but in the interests of the finances of Tasmania.
– That may be so.
– The honorable senator was a member of a Tasmanian Government for three years, and did not take any action in the direction of suppressing the consultations.
– It was not my duty to initiate any opposition to Tattersall’s. My objection to the bill in this instance is based mainly on the fact that it is not in the best interests of the younger generation to facilitate the dispatch of communications to Tattersall’s. The institution is well established, and the avenues through which remittances can be sent are well known to its patrons. In many parts of the Common wealth, particularly in Tasmania, notices bearing the words, “We send to Hobart to-night,” are prominently displayed. I do not think it is the duty of this Parliament to pass legislation which will enable application-forms for tickets to be dispatched to every home in Australia, and thus facilitate the business pf Tattersall’s. That is not in the interest of the younger generation, whom it is our duty to protect. The institution is well conducted, and has made considerable contributions to Commonwealth and state revenues, but, in the light of the experience of many years, 1 do not think anything has occurred which “would justify me in supporting the bill now before the Senate.
.- -It has often been a matter of wonder to me why past acts of Parliament are always attributed to the wisdom of those responsible for them. As a mark of respect to those parliamentarians who have physically or politically disappeared, we always refer to measures passed by them as evidencing the wisdom of Parliament. But it is not always so, because, if it were, why are so many amendments of the various acts which appear on the statute-book necessary? I intend to support the second reading of this bill, because I recognize that, after all, very many of the people of Australia, for their good or evil fortune, whichever it may prove to be, are determined to have what the more technical ones term r’ a little flutter.”
If they are going to have that, I wish them to have it under the best and fairest conditions, and furthermore I think those conditions can be more easily obtained by the use of mechanical means, such as those employed in a lottery of the type we are now discussing, rather than by trusting to human agencies such as are employed for various and devious purposes in practically all the states of the Commonwealth. I cannot understand why politicians allow bookmakers to bet in the streets and on the race-courses and decry such a measure as this. Furthermore, I am anxious to extricate the PostmasterGeneral from a very awkward situation, and improve his position both morally and financially. Several honorable senators have referred to the channels through which communications can be sent, and which are openly advertised. I do not know what these channels are - possibly because I have never troubled to inquire - but I have heard, not perhaps, on the best possible authority, that a great number of applications for tickets are now sent by parcels post. If that is so, undoubtedly the Postmaster-General is not only occupying a very invidious and awkward position, and one which demands some explanation, but is also losing a lot. of revenue. In addition, he is inconveniencing the patrons of this particular class of sport. The Postmaster-General is not by any means, as has already been pointed out, achieving the objective he desires.
– The Postal Department issued 5s. 6d. postal-notes as a matter of convenience to those sending to Tattersalls.
– I often wondered why it was considered necessary to issue postal-notes for that amount, and this shows how little I know concerning the facts. I have known occasions on which honorable senators, when unhampered by facts, have been most eloquent. I cannot lay claim to that : but, apparently, I am as unhampered by facts as those honorable senators to whom I have listened. I look upon this measure from the point of view of an ordinary citizen who does not profess to be what he is not.
– The honorable senator does not possess all the virtues.
– I do not lay claim to be the possessor of any of them, and that is why I am such an absolutedesperado as to support the bill. The secret and illicit nature of the methods employed in obtaining tickets has had the effect of raising the percentage to be paid by the unfortunate people who find that they cannot do without “ tickets in TattS.” I understand that the commission which now has to be paid does not all go to Tattersalls, and that it is very much larger than it was some time ago. I can remember this institution over a long period, particularly during the happy years I spent in the back-blocks of Australia. I can readily recall conversations concerning these consultations, and also the financial arrangements, appropriations, anticipations, and almost every other “ ation “ that could be mentioned which were then made. . By interfering with the means of communication, by endeavouring to hamper their operations in this connexion, Ave are taking great interest out of the lives of many who live in the back-blocks. Personally, I do not think it is a fair thing. I do not consider that the position is in any way logical or consistent, when we wink our eyes at illicit practices in connexion with other forms of gambling and single out this, which, after all. is one of the fairest forms of speculation. In walking through the streets of the city one is asked again and again to purchase tickets in an art union at ls. or 2s. each. The collector who takes our modest 2s. legally keeps ls. of that amount for himself, but what he does with the other I do not know. The transaction is on a 50 - 50 basis… There is no limit to the sale of the tickets, and the number of tickets sold does not bear any fixed ratio to the value of the prize. It makes me think to what an extent we are capable of deceiving ourselves. I speak impersonally on this mat ter, because it is many years since I had a ticket in Tattersalls. I got tired of taking them, because I never had to send one back. The accumulation used to sicken me whenever I looked at it. I hope that I have made myself perfectly clear. The division that is to be taken will, indeed, be a most peculiar one; there will be lions lying down with lambs, rooks with worms, and other strange sights, the like of which is very seldom seen in a deliberative and serious assembly such as this is. I do not say to which order of the animal kingdom honorable senators, on either one side of the chamber or the other, belong: I leave that to the good taste and discretion of any honorable senator who wishes to specialize in that particular phase of natural history. I shall support the bill for the reasons I have given, and also because I have a very friendly feeling for the little island state of Tasmania.
– As Senator Kingsmill claimed to do, I propose to approach this matter from the standpoint of an ordinary citizen of Australia; but I shall not. follow the path that he traversed. This is a very important bill to Australia. Through its Parliament, Australia, by section 57 of the Post and Telegraph Act, provided over twenty years ago that no institution controlled by the Government of Australia should In any way encourage the growth of the gambling spirit.
– It did not provide any such thing.
– It did. If the honorable senator has read the section that he seeks to amend, he must admit that that is its object, because it removes the postal facilities that otherwise would exist for indulgence in gambling by the people of Australia.
– It merely gives the Minister the right to do that.
– The section in question provides that if the PostmasterGeneral has reasonable grounds for believing that any correspondence which is going through the Post Office contains matter from which the person sending it expects to receive some benefit from a horse Tace, the delivery of that matter can be prohibited.
– It is permissive, not mandatory.
– The honorable senator has been in Parliament sufficiently long to know that “may” in a statute almost invariably means “ shall “. I have heard extraordinary views expressed upon this bill, and the necessity for passing it. On the one hand I have heard that gambling cannot be stopped by legislation. Nobody has ever suggested that it can, but we know that legislation oan minimize it to a certain extent. The honorable senator knows that in Melbourne the authorities are continually prosecuting people for indulgence in gambling at two-up schools, and other games that develop the gambling instinct that is inherent in many people. As a citizen of Australia I say that we should do all that we can to prevent, the spread of this spirit, which, unfortunately, in recent years has grown to a very remarkable extent. Senator Ogden referred to the hypocrisy of the Federal Ministry in taxing winnings whilst refusing to carry through the post correspondence to or from Tattersall’s. Had the honorable senator dealt with the matter from that point of view last year, he would have been justified in making such a statement, and I should have felt that I could endorse it; but we know that the Federal Government does not now derive any revenue from Tattersall’s.
– Has the honorable senator ever had a ticket in Tattersall’s ?
– That is beside the question, but I can inform the honorable senator that I never have.
– The honorable senator is a remarkable man.
– Is it remarkable to have sufficient common sense to refrain from gambling? If it is, then I am glad that such a large number of the people of Australia are remarkable people. I should be very sorry to think that every unit in Australia indulged in gambling. Every reasonable man must admit that the larger these institutions grow, and the more power they obtain, the worse for the country as a whole.
– Has the honorable senator ever been to the Stock Exchange ?
– I have; but we are not now dealing with that institution. My honorable friend, Senator C. W. Grant, in justification of his support of the measure, stated that the Postal Department is not consistent in its attitude, inasmuch as it permits printed matter connected with other lotteries or art unions to go through the post. The PostmasterGeneral does not permit such literature to pass through the post if the contents of the envelopes are known.
– They are known.
– They are not. Printed matter relating to lotteries in Spain, France, and elsewhere, has come to Australia, but once the PostmasterGeneral’s attention has been drawn to it, ha lias ordered that it be prohibited and confiscated. Similar action will follow against the matter referred to by Senator C. W. Grant, when knowledge of the contents of the envelopes reaches the department. It may appear extraordinary that Tasmania’s representatives here should be divided on this matter. When a question affects the interest or the welfare of Tasmania, those honorable senators invariably unite in upholding the rights of that state. I fail to find in this measure anything that affects the rights of Tasmania, or which will improve its condition.
– Tasmania is having taken from it probably £350,000 a year.
– How can one take away something that is not possessed?
– It would get that additional . revenue every year if this postal embargo were removed.
– It has never had the additional revenue, although it might obtain it if the section were amended in the direction suggested by Senator Ogden. I claim to be as interested as any honorable senator representing Tasmania in the welfare of that state. I was born there, and I have been associated with it during the whole of my life. I was privileged to hold a seat in the Tasmanian Parliament for seventeen years. I have always lamented the fact that we have been to a certain extent dependent upon the revenue received from Tattersall’s.
– The honorable senator took that revenue when he was Treasurer of Tasmania.
– Unfortunately, I had to do so. I regret more keenly the fact that we have now to depend upon Tattersall’s to a much greater extent than formerly. That could have been obviated by a much more generous recognition of the right of Tasmania to financial con.sideration. I lament the statement by the Premier of Tasmania that if the taxation of Tattersall’s were handed over entirely to the State Government, its needs would be met.
– Does the honorable senator not think that the Federal Parliament has at all times acted very generously towards Tasmania?
– I am not charging the Federal Parliament with lack of generosity towards Tasmania. Honorable senators representing other states have always been prepared to give a fair deal to Tasmania when its case has been properly put before them. I do not know of any important request for financial assistance that has not been granted. The suggestion that the needs of Tasmania would be met by Tattersall’s did not emanate from the Federal Government. I shall always oppose an attempt to enlarge the avenues by which gambling may be made more extensive and easier to indulge in. Business men especially will tell honorable senators that the spread of the gambling spirit among our people is one of the greatest curses with which we have to deal. Surely Parliament acted wisely years ago when it inserted this provision, in the Post and Telegraph Act.
– Then why has it not been enforced t
– It is enforced today. The honorable senator, like myself, has been a minister of the Crown, and he knows how impossible it is to detect every breach of an act.
– I claim that no attempt is made to enforce it.
– That is nonsense. If section 57 of the Post and Telegraph Act is not being enforced, why is the honorable senator attempting to have it repealed ?
– Because some day we might have Senator Payne as PostmasterGeneral.
– The honorable senator knows “that what he is saying is not in accordance with facts. He is well aware that the Postmaster-General exercises the power given to him by section 57. We all know it. Otherwise, what plea could be put up by those who are anxious that this institution to which the honorable senator has referred should get still larger patronage? I am wholeheartedly opposed to the suggestion put forward by the honorable senator, because if he were successful in securing the approval of Parliament for his bill it would immediately increase the gambling spirit among our people, and instil it in the minds of many people who now do not indulge in it. I was rather surprised to hear Senator Kingsmill, who professes to have a kind regard for the little state of Tasmania, saying that something should be done which is likely to prove harmful to the state, looking at the matter from the highest point of view. The honorable senator’s suggestion was- that it was far better to have gambling by mechanical means than through bookmakers and avenues of that nature. His suggestion practically amounted to this, that if gambling were made more respectable it would be better for the community as a whole. I cannot - accept that doctrine. My experience is, that the more “ respectable “ any form of vice is made, the greater the danger in it. Once it is given the hall-mark of government sanction or control a great many more people indulge in it than would otherwise do so.
– In the first place, I did not make the statement ascribed to me by the honorable senator, and in the second place his interpretation of what I did say is quite wrong.
– I trust that the good sense of honorable senators will lead them to reject this bill.
– Honorable senators opposite have interjected that those honorable senators of the Opposition who are supporting Senator Ogden’s bill are on the side of private monopoly. The standpoint from which I view this matter is that if Tattersall’s sweeps cannot’ be nationalized, and for the time being must be a private monopoly, there is nothing wrong in making them as honest and above-board as possible. As I want to make them as honest and above-board as possible, I shall support the bill. I do not want to see people who are anxious to send their money to Tattersall’s dodging into back streets in order to do so. Every one .in Australia knows perfectly well what is going on, and scarcely any one makes any serious attempt to prevent it. Even Senator Payne has made no attempt to stop people from sending money to Tattersall’s. He still wants them to turn around dark corners and hide behind back doors in order to buy a ticket in one of the sweeps. Why cannot we be clean and above-board in this matter? Why cannot we allow people to send their money to Tattersall’s if they wish to do so? If we want to prevent people from gambling, why do not we abolish horse racing? While we -have horse racing in Australia we shall always have gambling. It is, so to speak, almost a religion as far as some Australians are concerned. Very often I agree with Senator Findley,- because he is an honorable senator of the Opposition, but on this occasion I cannot. He differs from me in this respect : he goes on a race-course, and has his little bet, whereas I never go on a race-course, and never put money on a race-horse. But if it is right for Senator Findley to walk on to a race-course, and have his little bet, it is equally right for any individual who wishes to invest his money in a Tattersall’s sweep to be in a position to do so in a clean and open manner. According to Senator H. Hays, we should not make it easier for the individual to do this, but, as a matter of fact, I understand that it is quite an easy matter to send money to Tattersall’s. All that one has to do is to walk into certain places, and say, “ I want a ticket in Tatt’s.” The passing of this bill will not make a great deal of difference in the number of subscribers to Tattersall’s, and in all probability the money will be forwarded through, the channels through which it now passes. I fail to see why any one should be debarred from having a little gamble. The whole of one’s life is a gamble, from the cradle to the grave. I suppose that Senator Payne has gambled on the stock exchange. Perhaps the greatest form of gambling in the world to-day is that which takes place on stock exchanges in regard to foodstuffs and the commerce of the world. If Senator Payne has not gambled on the Stock Exchange, he has gambled by investing his money in government stocks and bonds. That is a gamble, because he is seeking to get something for nothing. He puts his money into bonds in the hope of getting interest on it. Some one has to pay that interest. The investor does nothing for it. It comes to him through the sweat of seme other individual. The whole thing is a gamble.
– With mighty short odds.
– The odds are long at times, and it is a sure investment, because there are no “ crook “ jockeys ready to pull the horse or make it appear to be lame when it is not lame.
– For a non-racegoer the honorable senator knows a good .deal about the game.
– My knowledge is very limited. There is a race-course close to my home, and I watch the passers-by. I gather from what they say that they are all on winners when they are going to the course, and they have all been on losers when they are returning to their homes. I suppose there are eighteen meetings throughout the year on which Tattersall’s conduct sweeps, and as there are 100,000 subscribers in a full sweep, one can get a good idea of the immense sums of money that flow to Tasmania every year. If we are anxious to make this form of gambling a little cleaner, this is our opportunity to do so. We know perfectly well that it goes on, and why should we be hypocritical about it? Let it be done in the open. Let those who want to 3end motley to Tattersall’s have as much right to do so as people have to go on a race-course and gamble. In South Australia we have two systems of gambling on race-courses. One can invest 2s. 6d. on the totalizator, but the man on the flat who wishes to invest ls. must do it in an illegal way with a bookmaker. There are no licensed bookmakers in the state. Consequently, his bet must be made in a hide-and-seek manner. But the point is that the persons who are supposed to be there to prevent him from doing so are themselves putting on their own “bobs” in the same way. They have the gambling spirit. As long as we have Australian people we shall never wipe out that spirit. I do not claim to be a gambler. I do not go near a racecourse, nor do I ever bet. But because others go on race-courses and bet, I do not pat myself on the back, and say, “ Thank God, I am not as other men are.” They have a right to do it if they wish to do so. It is their business, and not mine. I think it is wrong, and, therefore”, I do not do it. But I am fairminded enough not to say that they should be prevented from having their bets simply because I do not believe in betting. We should endeavour to make transactions with Tattersall’s as honorable as possible, and allow its postal matter to be handled without the authorities having to wink one eye at what goes on to the knowledge of all. Every one knows that much of the postal matter constantly going through to Tasmania contains money for investment in “sweeps.” Thousands of packages are handled, but no effort is made to punish those who communicate with Tattersall’s. It is hypocrisy to try to cover up what is being done, and at the same time to refuse to accept letters addressed to Tattersall’s “for fear of encouraging gambling.”
– I support the bill. I have few of the virtues and probably most of the vices of the average man. One of my failings, at any rate, is a desire to take a chance in Tattersalls. I have done so for many years, but, like Senator Kingsmill, I have never participated in the sweets of success. If I had to decide my vote on this bill by my fortune in Tattersall’s, I should be found voting against it. I hope, however, that the day is not far distant when I shall receive one of the very acceptable prizes offered.
– Does the honorable senator break this law of his own country?
– Yes, as many others have broken it and continue to do, although they will not admit it. I expressed the opinion some years .igo, when I was a member of the other branch of the legislature, that the refusal of the postal authorities to accept correspondence addressed to Tattersall’s was an unjust restriction, and that the Commonwealth Government’s participation in the profits of the “ sweeps,” which they h’ad practically declared illegal, was even more objectionable. I said that, in my opinion, it was the height of hypocrisy, and that, personally, I would permit every state to conduct art unions, particularly where a portion of the profits was devoted to charitable purposes. It ‘ must be recognized that since the war the opportunities for obtaining money for charitable institutions have been greatly restricted, for the State Governments have heavy liabilities to face in providing the funds needed for such purposes as land settlement, the construction of roads and railways, and education. In fact, the prosperity of a state does not depend at all upon the legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament, which has a halo round it that, in some respects, is undeserved. What makes the huge federal surpluses possible? It is not the work of this Parliament. The Customs, Defence, and Postal Departments do not give one more man outside a job or start one new industry.
– Does not the tariff?
– I am not referring to the tariff.
– The honorable senator is now making a speech which would be more appropriate to a debate on the Address-in-Reply or a Supply Bill.
– I believe that the reason for this bill is that the Federal Treasury has absorbed money which, but for federation, would have gone directly to Tasmania. That state was placed in. the humiliating position some years ago of having to rely on the revenue that came from Tattersall’s. I should like this bill to be passed, and the right given to send through the post correspondence relating to an art union conducted under state supervision. It is true that the Commonwealth has safeguarded itself against a charge of hypocrisy, because it no longer participates in the .revenue drawn from Tattersall’s by the taxation of prize money. I listened to Senator Payne in his reply to Senator Ogden’s arguments. I understand that Senator Payne was formerly Treasurer of Tasmania, and in that capacity had to depend, in carrying out the policy of his Government, on the revenue derived from Tattersalls. Did he, as a Minister of the Crown, raise his voice in objection to the’ system in operation there ? I hope that power will be given to transmit through the post correspondence relating to art unions conducted for charitable purposes, provided that they are held with the sanction of the states concerned.
– It has been said that when rogues fall out honest men get their due. This is the first time that we have had the pleasure of seeing the representatives of Tasmania divided on the floor of the Senate. Honorable senators from that state have always sought special privileges, and at the present time Tasmania is permitted to use the postal facilities provided by the Commonwealth to conduct sweeps which would not be tolerated in any part of the mainland. Had Senator .Ogden been well advised, he would have permitted the matter to remain in abeyance, and would not have directed attention to the fact that his state is receiving “a special concession. Why does not Tasmania tax its population as much as other states do?
– Its taxation rate is higher than that in practically every other state.
– No doubt the honorable senator believes in his assertion, but unfortunately the Year-Booh of 1924 is against him.
– That is out of date.
– It shows that the honorable senator has no foundation for his statement. Some years ago, for the first time, we had an opportunity of ascertaining from the war census returns how the wealth of Australia was distributed. In 1915 there were in Tasmania 26,819 estates of the total value of £15,022,114, but the State Government has asked the landowners there to pay only a nominal sum. In 1922-3 they paid in taxation £97,352, or only a little over 1½d. per £1. Tasmania has its estate and probate duties, its income tax, and other forms of industry-penalizing imposts, but perhaps the most ridiculous, most damaging, and most disgraceful of all the taxes it imposes is that inflicted upon visitors from the mainland. Every person who lands at Burnie or Launceston has to pay a tax of 2s., and every person” who leaves those ports has to pay a similar sum. The imposition of this poll tax is really responsible, in my opinion, for the decline in the Tasmanian tourist business. The people on the mainland are realizing that New South Wales has many pleasure resorts superior in every respect to those of Tasmania, and this unpleasant fact is being brought home to that state.
– Does the honorable senator not think it is time he got back to the bill?
– I do, sir, but E could not help castigating Tasmania on the score of her poll tax, for she very richly deserves it. We are frequently asked to make concessions to Tasmania. Not so long ago we were requested to amend the Navigation Act to provide that its coasting provisions should not apply to Tasmania.
SenatorC. W. Grant. - They do not apply in Western Australia now.
– There may be a small boat that runs from Perth and touches at Darwin, which does not comply with the provisions of the act, but that is all. In my opinion the Navigation Act should apply alike to all parts of Australia, and I consider that the states on the mainland would resent any differentiation. We have permitted our Postal Department to be used year after year to send huge sums of money from the mainland to Tattersall’s. I do not know what percentage of its gross takings Tattersall’s management retains, but it is very substantial. The point I wish to drive home is that gambling does not produce wealth. Our people can never become prosperous by it. The gambling spirit is inherent in some people. We cannot stop gambling, but, so far as I know, the Commonwealth Government has never permitted itself to be openly used to support institutions like Tattersall’s. If this measure is agreed to Tasmania will obtain another unfair advantage over the other states. If she wishes to do the right thing, let her impose taxation upon her people in accordance with the principles laid down by Henry George. Only recently gambling scandals in Spain and at Geneva were so pronounced that the postal authorities warned Australians against having anything to do with sweeps and lotteries promoted in those places. I do not say for a moment that Tattersall’s consultations are not conducted on a straight basis. I have no knowledge to the contrary. But neither they nor the Queensland Golden Casket lotteries will increase the wealth of the community. Senator Hannan has suggested that we should support such lotteries in the interests of charity. That, in my opinion, is an entirely wrong principle. Our charities should be supported by a straight-out land values tax. We are told that we shall always have the poor with us. In that case we ought to put our charities on a proper basis.
– Surely there will be no poor when the single tax becomes operative.
– I advocate, not the single tax, but a straight-out landvalues tax.
– I ask the honorable senator not to pursue that subject any further.
– Whenever I refer to it, sir, there appears to be such an insatiable desire on the part of some honorable senators for further information that I feel that I must do my best to satisfy it.
– The honorable senator has been allowed considerable latitude.
– I admit it, sir. The Labour Government of Tasmania may require revenue, but this is not the way to get it. It should first of all repeal that objectionable poll tax. Australians on the mainland might then be disposed to give it more consideration. I advise Senator Ogden to leave well alone. If the people of Australia were to take this matter up seriously, they would probably demand the abolition of Tattersall’s, and the institution of a governmentcontrolled Australia- wide consultation on somewhat similar principles. If the Government were to undertake the lottery, the people would find it far more profitable to them, for a considerably greater percentage of the amount invested would be returned to them.
– The Government takes more than Tattersall’s do now.
– If the consultations were controlled by the Government, the overhead expenses would be smaller, and, consequently, the return to the investors larger. I object, on principle, to lotteries of this nature, for they can never promote the prosperity and progress of the people. They benefit only a few shrewd men who enrich themselves at the expense of the people.
– This debate has been most illuminating and interesting to me. I can quite understand that honorable senators on this side of the chamber feel free to either support or oppose the bill, and yet remain true to their political convictions; but I cannot understand how any honorable senator opposite can reconcile a vote in support of gambling in any shape or form Avith the platform he has accepted, and the principles he advocates. Honorable senators opposite are said to be socialists, and they frequently declaim their opposition to the capitalistic system, and the exploitation of the workers for private gain. They lose no opportunity to expatiate on the virtues of socialism. They say that the capitalistic system enables certain people in the community to secure wealth which they have neither created nor assisted to create. What is the gambling system? Do those who obtain prizes in such lotteries as Tattersall’s contribute in any shape or form to the wealth they receive? It is quite clear that they take wealth which they had no hand at all in creating. In. other words, gambling is the most extreme form of private enterprise, and of the capitalistic system, so often denounced by honorable gentlemen opposite. It is a singular spectacle to see them championing it and yet asserting that they are opposed to private enterprise. Senator Findley and Senator J. Grant, who have declared their opposition to the bill, have certainly been consistent, but I fail to see howother honorable senators opposite who have spoken in support of the bill can reconcile their attitude towards it with their professions that they are opposed to private enterprise and the exploitation of the people for private gain. It is rather singular, also, that the Queensland. Labour Government, which has no Upper House to place a check upon it, has legalized the lottery as a state institution.
– There is no analogy between the Golden Casket and Tattersall’s, as one is conducted in the interests of charity, and the other for profit.
– The Golden Casket is purely a gamble conducted by the state. Irrespective of the destination of the profits it is a gambling machine conducted by a state government which proclaims itself a socialistic government, and which by this means diverts wealth into the pockets of those who do not earn that wealth, or take any part in its creation. It is an extraordinary anachronism that the first government in Australia to establish a state lottery was a Labour Government. If this’ debate has served no other purpose it should at least cause some honorable senators opposite to examine the principles they have been advocating so strenuously and so vociferously, and enable them to determine whether they are consistent when they denounce the exploitation of the workers by capitalists under the capitalistic system - a system under which they say the capitalists take the wealth which they have not created - and at the same time support this proposal, while a Labour Government in Queensland, by its votes and actions, has also recognized the most extreme form of exploitation of this kind.
– In the first place I wish to reply to a statement of the Minister (Senator Pearce), who is generally logical in debate. In this instance the right honorable senator seems to have missed the point of the subject we are now discussing. The Labour party, in supporting this measure–: -
– The Labour party is not supporting it.
– I should say that the honorable senators supporting thismeasure are not necessarily in favour of gambling. Although section 57 of the Post and Telegraph Act, which has been on the statute-book for a number of years, gives the Government power to prohibit the carriage of letters to a lottery, the Minister, who has been a member of various governments for many years, has never made any serious attempt to administer that law. If any one is guilty of aiding and abetting gambling it is not those supporting the general principle involved in this instance, but Senator Pearce and his Government, who have allowed the act to be evaded.
– A gambling institution in New South Wales was suppressed by this Government last year.
– The Minister and the Government of which he is a member have not only aided and abetted this institution, but in taking one-half of the revenue have become actual partners in the transaction. Mr. Harvey and his colleagues were asked if they would act as agents for the Government for the collection of the tax on prize money, and in asking them to collect’ that tax the Minister and his colleagues are as much open to the charge of being supporters of gambling as are any honorable senators who support the second reading of this bill. The law at present on the statutebook has not been .properly administered, and the Minister has placed himself in a most invidious position. He and his colleagues have proved that they are not honest iu-
– Does the honorable senator say that I have proved myself dishonest?
– I do not say that, but 1 will say that the Minister and his Government have not honestly endeavoured to prohibit this gamble, although they could if they desired. I say definitely and advisedly that the- Minister controlling this department could, if he desired, suppress Tattersall’s within a week. The Government* has never attempted to do it. The position is ridiculous. Tattersall’s is nut a monopoly, as suggested by Senator Findley, because it is established under the law of the state, and Senator Findley could conduct a similar lottery so long as he was prepared to put up the necessary deposit.
– He would have to obtain the consent of the state.
– Yes, and the Treasurer, without approaching Parliament, could give that consent. Therefore, it is not a monopoly. Any other state in the Commonwealth can do what Tasmania has done.
– Not under the existing law.
– No, they would have to pass the necessary legislation. In 1924 the Commonwealth Government derived £110,000 from Tattersall’s, whilst the Tasmanian Government, during the same year, received £201,000. It is quite correct, as the Minister stated, that the Commonwealth Government is no longer participating in the profits derived from this institution. It did not cease receiving revenue from Tattersall’s because its conscience had been smitten, but because the Treasurer of Tasmania asked that he should be allowed to collect the amount instead of being allowed a special grant from the Consolidated Revenue. The Government knew what it would mean. The time may arrive when there may be in this Chamber a minister sufficiently strong and honest in his convictions to strictly administer the law. Senator Payne, for instance, might some Hay be Postmaster-General, but I hope we shall be spared such a calamity. We can also imagine the treatment Tasmania would receive if Senator J. Grant were a minister of the Crown. If Senator J. Grant were Postmaster-General, I believe he would administer the law. if we were really honest in the administration of that part of the act which this bill proposes to amend, Tasmania would be deprived of approximately £340,000 a year. During the period in which Senator Payne and Senator H. Hays were Ministers of the Crown in Tasmania, and also while they were private members, they did not raise their voices against this institution. If I believe a thing’ is wrong I will do my best to wipe it out. If I believed the use of alcoholic liquor to he uri evil, I would be a prohibitionist. If I thought, that Tattersall’s was an evil I would, if a member of the State Parliament, openly advocate its abolition. Are we honest in practically closing our eyes to what is being done and at the same time allowing the institution to carry on in a way which some honorable senators declare to be immoral. Enormous power is placed in the hands of the Minister, who can, by proclamation, act openly, honestly and justly in this matter.
– The honorable senator is proposing to legalize Tattersall’s, and to allow other lotteries to continue to be illegal.
– I hope the Minister will not endeavour to create that impression. I am endeavouring to eliminate section 57 of the Post and Telegraph Act.
– Only certain words in it.
– No, the whole portion relating to lotteries and gambling.
– Clause 2 of the bill reads: “Section 57 of the principal act is amended by omitting from paragraph (a) of sub-section (1) the words, any horse race or ‘ “.
– That is quite right, but my proposal does not relate only to Tasmania. It refers to the whole of the states. It does not repeal the whole of the section.
– It will leave the Postmaster-General free to prohibit the carriage of postal matter relating to the Golden Casket, which is not conducted in connexion with horse-racing.
– That may be so: but whatever the bill provides will apply to the whole of the states without any discrimination. I thank honorable senators for the consideration they have given this measure, and trust that a majority will be willing to give it their support.
Question - That the bill be now read a second time - put. The Senate divided.
Majority . 7
Question so resolved in the negative. Senate adjourned at 10.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 20 August 1925, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1925/19250820_senate_9_111/>.