10th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. T. Givens) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
The following papers were presented: -
River Murray Waters Act- River Murray Commission - Report for year ended 30th June, 1925.
Ordered to be printed.
Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure for the year ending 30th June, 1926.
Papuan Oilfields - Report of the Commonwealth Representative for the month of November, 1925.
Audit Act - Regulations Amended - Statutory Rules 1926, No. 3.
War Service Homes Act - Memorandum of Arrangement between the War Service Homes Commissioner and the Commissioners of the State Savings Bank of Victoria relating to the provision of homes for eligible persons in that State.
Commonwealth Bank Act -Regulations - Statutory Rules 1926, No. 4.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The honorable the Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained, and will he supplied at a later date.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The information is being obtained.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The honorable the Minister for Works and Railways has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
State Members’ Privileges
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -
– The honorable the Minister for Works and Railways has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
– (By- leave.) - As there are a number of new members in the Seriate. I should like to remind them that there is insufficient time for the officials of the various Departments to supply, on Friday mornings, answers to questions asked without notice on Thursday afternoons. The Government will be glad if they will be good enough to bear this in mind, and on Thursdays ask for replies to be given on the following Wednesday, or. if possible, ask the questions earlier in the week.
The following sessional orders were agreed to (on motion- by Senator Pearce) : -
Days ani> Hours of Meeting.
That the days of meeting of the Senate, unless otherwise ordered, be Wednesday, Thurs day, and Friday of each week; and that the hour of meeting, unless otherwise ordered, be 3 o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday and Thursday, and 11 o’clock in the forenoon of Friday.
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, the sittings of the Senate, or of a Committee of the whole Senate, be suspended on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 0.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.. and on Fridays from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m.
That on Wednesday, Thursday. ?aud Friday during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, Government business shall take precedence of all other business on the noticepaper, except questions and formal motions, nuri except that private business take precedence of Government business on Thursday after S p.m.: and that, unless otherwise ordered, private orders of the day take precedence of private notices .of motion on alternate Thursdays.
Adjournment ON Fill hays.
That during the present session, unless otherwise ordered, at half-.past 3 o’clock p.m. on Fridays the President shall put. the question - That the Senate do now adjourn - which question shall not be open to debate: if the Senate be in Committee at that bour, the Chairman shall in like manner put the question - That he do leave the chair and report to the Senate; and upon such report being made the President shall forthwith put the question - That the Senate do now adjourn, which question shall not be open to debate: Provided that if the Senate or the Committee be in division at the time named, the President or the Chairman shall not put the question referred to until the result of such division hag been declared: and if the business under discussion shall not have been disposed of _at such adjournment, it shall appear on the businesspaper for the next sitting day.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That a Standing Orders Committee be appointed., to consist of the President, the Chairman of Committees, Senators Duncan, Findley, Foll, Gardiner, H. Hays, Hoare, and Kingsmill, with power to act during the recess, and to confer with a similar Committee of the Bouse of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That a House Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, the Chairman of Committees, Senators Cox, Drake-Brockman, Graham, Guthrie, and Hoare, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or ait as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to -
That a Library Committee be appointed, to consist of the President, Senators Gardiner, Sir T. W. Glasgow, Graham, Kingsmill, Millen, and Ogden, with power to act during the recess, and to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Pearoe) agreed to-
That a Printing Committee be appointed, to consist of Senators Findley, J. B. Hayes, Grant. McHugh, Payne, Elliott, and Thompson, with power to confer or sit as a Joint Committee with a similar Committee of the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Needham) agreed to -
That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to amend the Commonwealth Workmen’s Compensation Act 1912.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to amend the Northern Territory (Administration) Act 1910.
Bill presented and read a first time.
Motion (by Senator Pearce) agreed to-
That leave be given to introduce a bill for an act to make further provision for the Development and Government of the Northern Territory of Australiaand for other purposes.
Bill presented and read a firsttime.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Debate resumed from 14th January (vide page 34), on motion by Senator Sampson -
That the following Address-in-Reply to His Excellency the Governor-General’s Speech be agreed to : -
To His Excellency the Governor-General.
We, the Senate of the Commonwealth of Australia, in Parliamentassembled, desire to express our loyalty to Our Most Gracious
Sovereign, and to thank your Excellency for the Speech which you have been pleased to address to Parliament.
Senator GARDINER (New South
Wales) [11.20.].- I do not know that I have ever addressed you, Mr. President, with more fear and trembling than I do on this occasion. I am very much concerned with the position I occupy, as I seem to have in my mind the impression that a candidate defeated at the polls has no right to participate in the legislation brought before this chamber. But I am in excellent company, as the Minister for Markets and Migration (Senator Wilson), who was defeated, and Senator Drake-Brockmnn - who did not seek reelection, and who, judging by the returns, would not have been defeated had he submitted himself to the people - are still participating in the business of the Senate. Therefore,with these two excellent examples, I shall still continue to carry out the duties I was elected to perform until the 30th June next. At the same time I think the Government would be well advised, before that date, to pass only a Supply Bill, and that legislation to deal with revolutionaries, concerning which it received a mandate from the people. All new legislation should be considered by the representatives elected to deal with it. I admit that the Government has a right to go on with its programme in relation to the dangerous element in this community concerning which it professes to know something. I wish to take this early opportunity to congratulate the mover of the motion (Senator Sampson) upon his opening remarks. His matter, manner, and method were such as would commend him to the members of all parties, if it were not for the fact that he comes from Tasmania. We have had so many representatives from that State with such taking ways that we shall have to wait before expressing any definite opinion. I am sorry that the seconder of the motion (Senator Andrew) is temporarily absent from the chamber. It is unique to havea direct representative of the primary producers in the Senate. His speech may, therefore, be regarded as somewhat historical. I wish to congratulate him upon the brevity of his remarks. We have got the habit of being guided by first impressions, and I looked for the marks of a farmer upon the seconder of the motion, but failed to find them. Instead of appearing as a man -who had been raising crops and stock, he seemed to me more like one who had been engaged in knocking down stock. Perhaps my judgment may be altogether wrong, as he may be a farmer, and not one of those who farm the farmer. We have also a farmer’s representative in Senator Abbott, who farms the farmer in a distinguished and capable maimer as a lawyer up Armidale way. However, the speeches of the mover and seconder of the motion were certainly very brief, and I gather from the mover’s remarks that he abhors waste. In that aspect he differs from Senator Payne. The mention of that honorable senator’s name calls to my mind the fact that statements were made to the effect that some honour was to be conferred upon him for the benefits obtained by the National party, in consequence of the passage of the compulsory voting bill, which Senator Payne introduced. I understood that he was to be rewarded by being given the right to occupy the presidential chair, but when I came along I found that he was still wearing his moustache. I am informed that the person who provides the adornments worn by the occupant of the chair supplies photographs of his customers with and without a moustache. Therefore, during the brief period which you, sir, are to occupy your present position, you may consider whether the suggestion is worth adopting. I shall not be here when a new President is elected, but if I were my vote would certainly go to one honorable senator who appears to be a typical farmer, as he has not only a moustache, but whiskers. I notice, also, that Sir Henry Barwell is now with us.’ I suppose the people of South Australia have very properly sent him to the Parliament where his ability and influence may be used in the direction of introducing coloured labour into the Northern Territory. It should be very pleasing to some South Australians to realize that a gentleman of the courage and ability of Sir Henry Barwell is available to make coloured labour an issue, and to think that he is worthy of a seat in the party and in the Parliament that may give him an opportunity to give effect to YH9 opinion on this subject. These are matters which, I think, should be discussed on the Address-in-Reply, and I am, therefore, giving the honorable senator an opportunity to give us first hand an indication of the manner in which he considers the Government should develop the Northern Territory with cheap coloured labour.
– I was also going to congratulate the Government upon the fact that it had within its fold a gentleman who had the courage to advocate the development of Australia by inferior races and that its supporters could associate with him in the party room. I have had to contend with a good deal of abuse - perhaps I should say criticism - from men I have had to be associated with. I do not mean in this Senate. My association with the members of my own party and honorable senators opposite has been such that it will end quite soon enough for me. My absence will certainly be satisfactory to honorable senators opposite.
Ministerial Supporters. - No
– Our personal relations have always been friendly, and I think I can see on the benches opposite as many warm friends as I could find in an equal number of persons elsewhere. They realize, I am sure, that my manner, although at times rude and offensive, is but part of the man. They overlook many of my shortcomings. I am sorry that Senator Payne is not to receive a reward for the splendid work he did for his party ! It may -be that the Government intend to recommend him for a title, and send him to England to represent the Empire in the House of Lords. His work almost entitles him to such an honour. Tasmanians, however, would not dream of doing that unless provision were made for the payment of a grant, to enable him to live up to the position. Coming back to the serious business of parliament, I repeat that in my judgment the Government would be well advised not to do more before the end of June next than pass the necessary supply and its promised legislation relating to revolutionaries, disloyalists, and those people who are bent upon destroying the Empire. Judging by the opening remarks of Senator Sampson, he favours such legislation. I do not know, but I suppose they have revolutionaries and disloyalists in Tasmania.
– The honorable senator should have been in that State during the election campaign.
– The honorable senator missed a splendid opportunity of putting us both out of Parliament. Any heated words which have passed between Senator Ogden and me in debate have not been in any sense personal. I am inclined to think that the haste with which I was prepared to meet the honorable senator in Tasmania during the last election was tempered somewhat by that keen knowledge I had of what would be the result of my contest in New South Wales, and I could have covered up my defeat very nicely by saying that I suffered it in a strange land. Bad as it was for the country to lose my services, the position would have been worse so far as Senator Ogden was concerned, because the country would have lost the services of both of us. My advice to the Government is to get their business through, and pass their laws to deal with the dangerous element said to exist in Tasmania. I can speak for the rest of Australia, and I know of no dangerous element threatening the law and good order of this country on the mainland. During the election campaign in New South Wales, at every meeting I addressed, and in conversation with every person whom I met, I put this question, “ Do you know of your own knowledge one man of the type this legislation just passed by the Commonwealth Parliament is intended to deal with, or one man who is engaged in a conspiracy for the disruption of the British Empire and interference with the trade of this country?” Had that information been given to me, I was prepared to do what the Government has shirked doing - I would have got the person who knew of these dangerous people to swear an information against them, and have them prosecuted immediately. If there are such people in our midst there is a simple method of dealing with them, because the laws of Australia are sufficient to bring to justice any one who,by committing acts of lawlessness, becomes a danger to the community. No one answered my challenge.” I am here now with a wider audience, and I issue the same challenge to honorable senators. If any honorable senator knows of one person who is engaged in these law less operations, I can show him a means by which that person can be dealt with I await with pleasure the opportunityof being supplied with the names of any dangerous individuals said to be engaged in a conspiracy todisrupt the British. Empire and destroy tike trade of this country.
SenatorThompson. - Does the honorable senator approve of communism ?
– I should like to be as good, true, and thorough an advocate of communism as was the Great Master whose religion we profess.
– Hedid not advocate obtaining it by revolution.
– Neither have I done so, but so far as revolution is concerned, Senator Pearce has been recreant to his oath of office if, knowing of the presence of revolutionaries in this country, he has still allowed them their liberty. He has taken an oath to protect the people of this country from any danger.
– And I have tried to do it.
– The honorable senator has all the power to do it.
– The honorablesenator says so.
– Senator Pearce’s control has been very feeble indeed, and he has been neglecting his duty if, knowing of the presence of revolutionaries in this country, he has permitted them to be at liberty.
The Governor-General’s Speech says that the election has shown that the people of Australia are determined to maintain law and order, and protect the Commonwealth against the sinister activities of persons who pursue a policy of disturbance and unrest in order to promote revolutionary objects. Was an election necessary to show that the people of Australia were determined to maintain law and order? Last September this Government introduced a Bill in which it sought for certain power. In fact, it asked for a pretty free hand. I think Mr. Bruce’s statement was, “ We ask for full power to do anything we wish to suppress certain people.” It got the power it sought. Apparently it was then of the utmost importance to suppress these people. So important was it that even Parliament had to be dissolved to get further power. On the 14th November the people gave them further power. But nothing has happened since then. There is no suppression in progress. Possibly the Government is waiting to get more power ; or it may be that it is delaying matters in order to work up another election cry. I warn it, however, that it is not usual to win an election twice on the same cry if it be a false one. But let me begin at the beginning, and see what Mr. Bruce actually said when he was going to the country. He said - - 1 am appealing to the people of Australia for a definite mandate whether Parliament is to be flouted and law and order set at nought by a small body of extremists who desire to force their will and their desire .upon the whole of Australia. The position has now reached such a critical point that we want an expression of opinion from the people of Australia. . . . The maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire was being assailed now as much as it was in 1914, but by forces that were far more subversive to the retention of civilization ns it exists to-day than those that attacked it in 1914.
I believe that those honorable senators who were returned at the last election believed fully that the ‘danger to the community in Australia was at that moment greater than it was in 1914. All I know is that in 1914, when Australia was menaced, all parties were most active in the prompt suppression of the danger that then existed; supreme efforts were t’aken by all parties in this Parliament, and by the people of Australia as a whole, when there was a menace to the maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire. Notwithstanding the attitude of honorable senators in September last, I suppose the vote given on the 14th November was thought to be sufficient punishment for the revolutionaries, if such a dangerous element did exist. Perhaps, when the vote was given, these people ceased to be revolutionaries. I wonder if they left the country peacefully. In any case, I am wondering what has happened since then, and why the Government has not taken steps to deal with these people. Are Ministers still allowing them to hatch their plots? What is the Government doing in regard to those dangers which it told us were threatening the community? Perhaps that threat is not so great now that the term of office of the Government has been extended.
– I suppose that the revolutionaries are waiting until the Christmas holidays are over before they make another start.
- Senator Ogden may be right, but he has such a peculiar method of reasoning that I do not attempt to fathom it. Let me return to what Mr. Bruce said. He said -
I am convinced that ii is essential for’ peace, order, and good government that we should go to the people and ask them for a mandate to secure the supremacy of Parliament, and the maintenance of law and order.
As the result of the election the Ministerial representatives in this Senate have increased their strength. Mr. Bruce was convinced that the supremacy of Parliament and the maintenance of law and order had been threatened, but it appears to me that the judgment of the High Court has shown that the right honorable gentleman and his colleagues have been acting in a most lawless way by appointing certain officers, and sending them into homes. There is implanted in the breasts of all Australians the belief that an Englishman’s home is his castle. An Australian is not an Englishman, but he is certainly of British stock.
– Not if he is declared black.
– I admit that it is a dreadful punishment to declare a man black, but Senator Pearce should be, above all other men in Australia, ashamed of the part he played in his recent attack on Australian citizens and British subjects.
– I am not; I am quite unrepentant.
– Were Senator Pearce not such an old offender, I should expect him to be ashamed, and I am sorry he is not yet aware of the enormity of his offence in attacking citizens in this way, not for the purpose of preserving law and order, but for the mere purpose of fighting an election on a false issue. It was an election that slandered Australia by making people elsewhere believe that this country was full of revolutionaries. I regret that such a slander should have emanated from the Government of Australia, and what makes it still more bitter is the fact that the people should have “ swallowed “ it - should have accepted the falsehoods told, and have given them every endorsement by expressing their confidence in the Government. This stain on the reputation of Australia can never be removed. That distinguished Australian, Madame Melba, was in tears at the fact that her country was reported to be on the verge of a revolution. She was almost coming out to help in the fight, and, if time permitted, she would have done so. I believe she announced that she would submit her name as a candidate for election in the fight to preserve law and order.
– If there was nothing wrong in this country, why-
– That is the difference between Senator Lynch and myself. I know of no dangerous element in this country, and I speak, I hope, truly. I know of no party of revolutionaries or people who want to exert physical force that two policemen armed with batons could not disperse.
– If there is nothing of the sort in this country, why is the honorable senator’s party still indulging in a policy of expulsions?
– I suppose that we shall continue to expel those who will not conform to our platform and rules, but if Senator Lynch is anxious to get back-into the party, I shall do all I can to help him.
– No, thank you.
– Mr. Bruce also said -
Australian democracy is in danger, but while ten years ago the menace was from the aggression’ of a foreign foe to-day the danger lies in a small body of men within our own borders. But the external foo% and internal foes have one aim in common - the overthrow of constitutional Government and the disintegration of Australian democracy. Both would hand the people over to bondage. . . .
That was the issue on which the election was fought -
The issue is again the same - whether the will of the people is to prevail or whether we are to be dominated by irresponsible political and industrial extremists, who care nothing for this country, and are animated by » malignant hatred of the British Empire.
Again the Prime Minister said -
Australia was passing through dark -hours, when the laws were being defied and lawlessness and sedition openly preached.
What must one think of a Government that permitted lawlessness and sedition to be openly preached? He also said -
Labour had encouraged those who had flouted the law. those who were openly for Communism. The crimes resulting must be laid at the door of political Labour; it could not shirk its responsibility. The people would speak with a certain voice, and would answer those who sought to destroy the country as they did those who tried to destroy Australia in the dark. hours of war.
I hope that the Prime Minister has hanged his drinks if his mind is still in that state. I shall now turn to the other half of the Government, and quote the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page). Members of the Ministry do not meet in one party room, a fact which to my mind speaks for itself. One has to quote from both sides of the Composite Government to discover its policy. The Treasurer said : -
The issue is between order and chaos, continuous employment and unemployment, constant wages and no wages, rural prosperity and rural distress, industrial peace and industrial unrest, arbitration methods and job control, Australian law and revolution, the democratic rule of the majority and the dictatorship of a few, and between the Composite Government standing firmly for all that means progress, and political Labour betraying trades unionism into the hands of a few foreign ex.tremists and agitators. The political Labour leaders seek to evade their complicity in the guilt of these men. They cannot dissociate themselves, for in the last ten years they have allowed themselves to be used’ as the spokesmen and advocates of the I.W.W. man, the Communist, the alien wrecker, and all who want to mix up the worker in quarrels which do not concern him.
That is a fair representation of the issue on which this mandate was sought. What was Labour’s attitude on the matter? Let us have it fairly and squarely. Labour said1 “If you want to deal with people who are a danger to the country, the laws of the country are ample for the purpose. If those laws will not permit you to deal with them, then pass laws that will, and try men here as they have been tried for centuries in Britain - by a jury of -their fellowcountrymen, according to the laws of the land.”
– And afterwards review the decision of tlie jury, as was done in New South Wales!
– Nobody imagines that juries never make mistakes and that there should never be a revision of a jury’s verdict. Royal Commissions have been appointed, long before the advent of Labour Governments, to inquire into cases where justice has, perhaps, erred - a fact which rather adds to the value of trial by jury, but one that would not appeal to a man of the type of the Minister (Senator Pearce). “When the Peace Officers Bill and the last Estimates were under consideration last session, I challenged the right of the Government to do what they said they had power to do, but the Minister assured the. Senate that the Government had the necessary power,. and that it would be exercised. He and his colleagues repeated that assertion throughout the country. Speaking at Gympie on the 10th October last, the Treasurer made the following reference to the communists: -
Referring to the activities of the Communists in this country,he said that they were holding up shipping and holding back prosperity, but a Board had been appointed to deal with strike leaders, and they would go out of the country before the elections.
I have quoted from the Sydney Morning Herald of the Monday following the Saturday on which the statement was made. I know that the Government and their followers will claim that they have a mandate from the people to do anything they wish. I maintain that that mandate was obtained by the statement that the Government not only had the power, but were going to use it, and that before the election.
– Before the finding of the board was made known, too!
– That might have happened, except that a well-briefed counsel delayed the proceedings of the board.
– They ought to have, been bundled out without a trial!
– The issue that the Minister (Senator Pearce) put to the people was that the Government meant business. These disturbers of trade and commerce w.ere to be put out of the country without delay, and the Government wanted the power to enable them to do it. Perhaps the Minister did not express himself as roughly as that.
– What I said would have been something like that.
– He admits it. He said, “ Here is a law under which we can deport these people.” Labour contended that the law was unconstitutional, and that Australians could not be deported without a fair trial. The Govern ment acted in a lawless fashion, and used a power that the Constitution did not confer upon it. That was the decision of the High Court.
– The High Court did not say that trial by jury was essential.
– It did not even infer it.
– It will be found that there was a direct reference by the High Court to Magna Charta; yet when I quoted Magna Charta here I was laughed at. I shall quote in a few moments from the decision of that tribunal.
– The honorable senator will be unable to quote any member of the High Court as saying that these persons had to be tried before a jury.
– But I shall quote them as saying that the Government had no power under the law to do what they did. The Government told the people that they had power to arrest Walsh and Johnson or Johannsen. The High Court, in plain language, said that the Government had no such power, and ordered their release, with costs against the Commonwealth. Although honorable senators may argue the point, or try to side-step the facts of the case, the Court made it clear that a resident of Australia could not be punished by deportation under the provisions of an Act relating to immigration. Summed up, that is the finding of the Court.
– No; it is not.
– There are seven reasons given by the Court, but the unanimous opinion is that these men, who are citizens of Australia, should not have been arrested, and could not be deported under an immigration act if they were not immigrants.
– Not in the way that these men were.
– All I hope is that there will be sufficient commonsense amongst the supporters of the Government not to permit them to lead the people any further contrary to the manner in which Britishers are accustomed to be governed. It will be found to be unconstitutional if any person is punished without a fair trial. On matters affecting the Constitution, the High
Court is the sole interpreter of the people’s rights, but, on a question affecting the liberty of a British subject, there is a tribunal even superior to the High Court, -which says that men can be punished only in accordance with the principles of law to which Britishers are accustomed. The Government may have its own particular methods of dealing out punishment. It. adopts the law of the “push.” It takes up the attitude that it wishes to have the power and intends to “ put in the boot.”
Let me say a word or two regarding the judgment of the High Court. Honorable ‘senators seem to think that the Court gave no definite judgment, but I am inclined to the “belief that it gave a clear and definite finding. I really, thought that the Judges had been reading the speeches of Labour members on the Immigration Bill, since the text of their findings coincided so closely with our speeches. Naturally enough, I agreed that they were right in their judgment. The Chief Justice (Sir Adrian Knox) said -
Section 8aa of the Immigration Act, under which it was proposed to deport Walsh and Johannsen (or Johnson) is a valid exercise of the power to make laws with respect to immigration, but it is not a valid exercise of any other power to make laws conferred on the Commonwealth by the Constitution. _ But neither of the applicants is, in his opinion,’ a person to whom the section extends…..
That was a clear statement by the Chief Justice that neither of the applicants was a person to whom the section extended. Mr. Justice Isaacs said -
The immigration power does not extend to any person whose immigration into Australia took place before 1st January, 1901. . That disposes of Walsh. With regard to Johannsen he states that the provisions of ‘the Act have not been complied with…..
There is a slight difference between the two opinions, but they are very high authorities, and I have a great admiration for both of them. Mr. Justice Higgins declared -
There is no power to deport residents - citizens - of Australia under the immigration power, or any other power conferred. . . .
That is the view of one of the greatest men we have ever had on the High Court Bench. Then we come to Mr. Justice Rich-
It was his opinion that Walsh is outside the scope of the Immigration Act, and that even if he were within it, there is no proof that the
Act was complied with. Mr. Justice Rich states that although the Act applies to Johannsen, it has not been carried out as its provisions require. . . .
That is a brief summary of what the judges said, and yet there were people who honestly thought the Government had power to do what they did. Although the Minister (Senator Pearce) is a most skilful manipulator of situations, I am inclined to think he really believed he had the power to pass laws to deport anybody whom he did not like and who was opposed to him.
Before entering upon a discussion of the actions and speeches of Senator Pearce, let me deal a little further with what was said by the Chief Justice of - the High Court of Australia, Sir Adrian Knox. He said -
The relevant circumstances in relation to the question whether either of the applicants is an immigrant, or, more properly, a person within the operation of a law validly made under this power, are as follow : - The applicant Walsh was born in Ireland in 1871, and in the year 1893 he became a resident of, and domiciled in the State (then Colony) of New South Wales, where he has ever since had, and still has, his permanent home, except for a period during which his home was in the State of Victoria. Since 1893 he has never had a home outside Australia. The applicant Johnson was born in Holland in 1885, and in the year 1910 came to reside In the State of New South Wales. In the year 1913 he became naturalized under the law of the Commonwealth. Ever since 1910 he has had, and still has, his permanent home in New South Wales, and, so far as appears, he has never been out of Australia since his arrival in the year 1910.
With regard to both applicants, I think it is impossible to maintain consistently with the reasoning in Potter v. Minahan that he is an immigrant and not a member of the Australian community. It seems to me to follow, from that decision, that if either applicant were now seeking to enter the Commonwealth on his return from a visit abroad, a law relating to immigration, and depending on the immigration power alone, would not be held to apply to him. If this be so, I am unable to see how a law made under the same power can be held to apply to him so as to authorize his expulsion from the Commonwealth. In this view, the provisions of section 8a a, if that section be regarded ns a valid exercise of the power to make laws with respect to immigration, and of that power only, do not operate in respect of either applicant.
Dealing with the question of emigration he said -
It was suggested, somewhat faintly, that the action was an exercise of the power to make laws with respect to emigration. “ Emigration” it was said included the involuntary re’moval of persons from the Commonwealth, and, therefore, the power to make laws with respect to emigration covered laws providing for deportation. In my opinion, the compulsory deportation of a citizen from the community to which he belongs cannot consistently with the ordinary use of language be described as emigration.
The High Court decided that the law was in part faulty. It follows, therefore, that it was faulty as a whole.
– What was the decision of the High Court in regard to the facts?
– Its decision was given absolutely on the facts. That decision was that the law was faulty. If an act is declared unconstitutional as to one of its sections, the whole act goes.
– That is not so.
– The Minister is always ready to say whatever strikes him, without any consideration of the facts. We know that the principle which I have stated applied with regard to new protection, and also with regard to the compensation of seamen. Let us return to a consideration of the methods by which this lawless attempt of the Government was made. I have read the statement of the Treasurer to a public meeting, that the’ communists by their activities were holding up shipping, and interfering with the prosperity of this country, but that a board had been appointed to deal with strike leaders, who would be sent out of the country, and that before the elections. Counsel for Walsh and Johnson asked the presiding officer of the board to sign a subpoena summoning certain witnesses before the board. That application was refused, and on the following day the board terminated the hearing of the case. The Government may have a feeling of security, because it has received the endorsement of the people, but there is still in the hearts and the minds of the Australian people a love of justice, which will not tolerate the condemnation of men who are upon their trial.
– That is why the people returned the Government to power.
– Honorable senators opposite may believe that that furnishes a complete answer. I tell them, however, that there is a higher power than this Government, and that there is something greater than the majority which they possess in. this Parliament. Senator Payne must be given chief credit for having enabled that majority to be obtained, because it was his little act that made it compulsory to vote at the last election. But the point that I want to stress is that whilst these men were being tried - if I can call it a trial - a meeting was addressed in Sydney by the Prime Minister. I did not’ attend that meeting, I merely saw pictures of it in the local press. There were streamers round the inside walls of the building which advised the gallery, “Your duty is to boot out Walsh-ism.” The intention was to rouse the people to a pitch of enthusiasm that would be calculated to terrorize the board.
– And to start a revolution.
– That was the idea. There should be some decency in our public life. If a magistrate’s court had been trying the issue and such statements had been made by the Prime Minister or the Treasurer, in an endeavour to work up the populace against these men. who were fighting for their homes and the right to end their days with their families, they would have been punished for contempt of court.
What happened? The finding of the board was sent to Senator Pearce. Although it was favorable to the deportation of these ‘ men, and the Government could, therefore, have taken steps to have them deported before the elections, Senator Pearce kept that report in his pocket until after ‘the vote had been taken, or he returned it to the Prime Minister, who carried it round the country. I was so incensed at that, conduct that I said that if the Labour ‘ party were returned with a majority these Ministers would be put upon their trial before a judge and jury, on a charge of conspiracy to bring the King’s laws into contempt. That is what should have been done. The manner in which the Government conducted the proceedings against these men constitutes the greatest outrage that has ever been placed upon tlie people of Australia, in the name of justice. Its action will be found to have been even more surprising if Senator Pearce carries out his promise to lay upon the table of the Senate the evidence that waa taken in the case. I challenge any honorable senator to find in that evidence one sentence that could justify the Government’s decision to deport these men. Counsel for Walsh and Johnson informed the Government that they were willing to submit themselves, to arrest at any. time. That did not suit the dramatic instincts of Senator Pearce; Mr. Yates, the head of the peace officers, must make a dramatic descent upon the homes of these men in the early hours of the morning, and drag them: from their families. Whilst the High Court was hearing, the appeal, surely there was no necessity to keep the men in prison I If- that necessity did exist, Parliament should have been’ called together to pass a law enabling it to be done. The High Court sat for eight days, during the whole of which time Walsh and Johnson were kept away from their families
– Does the honorable senator know that the High Court refused to grant bail?
– I am quite aware that the High ‘ Court refused to grant bail. But surely it was within the power of the Government that had them arrested, to liberate them ; because there was no chance of their getting out of the country I Instead of doing that, it allowed them to be treated as only murderers are treated. I believe that in New South Wales bail is refused only when a charge of murder has been laid. For days after its decision was made, the Government withheld it from these men. Senator Pearce may say that there was no need to hurry. That may have been alright from the point of view of the Government, but what about, the feelings of this good, clean-living man who was being kept in suspense ? Honorable senators may say what they like about Walsh. I have never laid eyes on him, but I have been told by those who know him that his greatest failing is one which both Senator Pearce and I share - an abhorrence of strong drink. He is a strict teetotaller. I suppose it is a mere nothing to the Government to keep in suspense men of that ‘ type. I should like honorable senators to imagine what would be their suspense in similar circumstances, whilst callous Ministers, with a cruelty worthy of the middle ages, served only their own political ends. That is the sole reason that can be advanced for their action.’ They were not quite sure whether it would be wise to make known their decision on the 5th November, so they held it over until a later date. The wives and children of these men counted for nothing with. these cold-hearted, callous gentlemen who were intrusted with the administration of the affairs of this country.’ From beginning to end this has been the most discreditable act of lawlessness that has ever come under my observation in Australia. ‘ Now the Government and its supporters are keeping up the pretence that they intend to deport Walsh and Johnson. I may not have many more opportunities to advise the Minister from this side of the chamber, so 1 now advise him to pass a law to deal with those who interrupt the trade and commerce of Australia, . and disturb its peace, order, and good government, making the penalties commensurate with the offence. Such offenders should be tried in the manner to which British people are accustomed ; and upon the Crown should rest the onus of proving their guilt.
– The rights of the community should be conserved equally with the rights of individuals.
– The rights of all must be conserved, and justice done to every one. I go further and say,, in the interests of men of the type of Senator Lynch, that the laws of this country, should bear evenly upon every citizen in it. We should not- have one law for Senator Lynch, when he is dealing with industrial matters, and another for me when I am. Let us have even laws and even-handed justice.
– It is about time’ that the community had a “ look-in,” and that its rights were- conserved.
– For ten years, the people have had the “ look-in “ mentioned by Senator Lynch. As a result of the last election, they will have another six years of it. For tcn years the party supported by Senator Lynch has been declaring that there is lawlessness in the land ; that- trade and commerce have been dislocated, and prosperity retarded; hut as far as I have been able to learn, every attempt ‘ made by the party in power to put an end to this so-called lawlessness and interference with trade and com- .merce has ended in a screaming . farce, and brought ridicule upon its authors. The industrial legislation passed by this Government in the last session of Parlia-ment proved a costly farce, humiliating even to those who support the Government, and, as far . as the smaller States are concerned, it has dealt a”’- (more severe blow at the privileges which they are .supposed to enjoy than any other law passed since the inauguration of the Commonwealth. It is impossible to say where, under this legislation, State authority begins or ends. When the Constitution was drafted the framers, in my opinion, imposed too many restrictions upon the legislative authority of the Federal Parliament. The representatives of the smaller States, fearful of unusual legislative power being in the hands of representatives of States containing the larger populations, insisted upon certain safeguards being incorporated in the Constitution, and, as a consequence, the authority of the Commonwealth Parliament- has . been narrowed down to the 89 powers, contained in section 51 of the Constitution. Thus this Parliament is compelled to legislate within the Constitution, otherwise we shall have a repetition of the farce of a few legal gentlemen being briefed to enable the Government to pretend that it is doing something. This business served its purpose recently. The Government won the last election by fraud and misrepresentation.
I am not permitted by. our Standing Orders to refer to the utterances of Mr: Bruce as Prime Minister in another place, but I may speak’ of him outside this House, and as a member of this. Parliament. During the election campaign, the Sydney Morning Herald reported him as saying in Adelaide-
And now Senator Gardiner comes along advocating live days a week and six hours .a day.
That .was such a gross misrepresentation that I immediately telegraphed to Mr. Bruce directing his attention to the statement. In justice to that gentleman, I must say that I received a reply informing me that, in his references to that matter at Adelaide, he did not use the word “ Senator,” or the word “Gardiner,” but that he referred to Mr. Garden. I have waited from that day to this for a contradiction by Mr. Bruce of the statement that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.
– Why did not the honorable senator ask the Sydney Morning Herald to correct the statement?
– I took what I considered- was the proper course. I ap proached the Primo Minister, and I expected him to publicly contradict it. But, of course, he is an educated gentleman. I believe he boasts of a Cambridge education, and perhaps he was unaware of having misrepresented any one in the recent election campaign. All I can say is that he took very little trouble to undo the mischief caused by his statement, and since he omitted to correct, the misrepresentation when it had been brought under his notice, I was indifferent, and did not even ask the press to contradict it.
– It was obvious that the reference by the Prime Minister was to Mr. Garden, because that is the communistic objective.
– I have no doubt that, now that polling day has passed, and electors are not roused to such a pitch of enthusiasm as. to expect to find a revolutionary in every bush, or behind every house, they will realize that the reference could not possibly have been to me, because I do not stand for five days a week.’ I advocate a great deal more than these communists do. My proposal, if adopted, would put an end to all this turmoil between capital and labour, but it is so simple that the Government and its supporters would never give effect to it. If I had my way, I would give the workers all they earn. Senator Lynch would be able to keep his farm because I think he has earned it.
– The trouble would be to determine how much each .worker earned.
– I realize that, and the time at my disposal this morning will not permit me to demonstrate how to give effect to my proposal. I am satisfied that the simplest way to bring about industrial peace is to give the worker all he earns.
The Government, with its increased majority, will no doubt proceed to legis-late further along the lines of the Deportation Act, but I should like’ to remind Ministers that they will be on the wrong track if their legislation is designed to secure the conviction of a man for actions or utterances of twelve months previously. If they attempt to do that, then as in the case of Mr. Lamb, K.O., we shall have to pay out a. few thousand pounds in fees to legal gentlemen. It is exceedingly dangerous to get off the beaten track of British law. These short-cuts to peace, order, and good government always prove costly and unsatisfactory. I understand that the Government proposes to introduce legislation to deal with the management of trade unions; that it contemplates compelling all unions involved in an industrial dispute to take a ballot and perhaps will appoint someone to count the votes.
– And there will be no sliding panels.
– Of course. The ballot boxes, I suppose, will be sealed. If all this is to be done, the Government will be faced with a huge task of regulating trade union ballots. Possibly if I am searching for something to do I may be offered an important post.
– Perhaps that of Crown Prosecutor.
– Since I appear to be able to think along the lines of eminent legal authorities I may even enjoy that honour. But why all this pretence on the part of the Government and this proposed interference with the management of trade unions? Senator Duncan knows even better than I do how well average trade unionists are able to manage the business of their unions. I am not exaggerating when I say that trade unionists conduct the business of their organizations better than any other body of men. Senator Pearce and Senator Lynch both know this.
– They can manage their affairs well when they are allowed to.
– I can assure the honorable Minister that the trade unionist of to-day is the same type of honest, worker that he was when the Minister was associated with the movement. The democracy of Australia does not yet want a Mussolini. Our spaces are so wide, the air we breathe is such as to produce a people who value individual freedom too much to allow of any serious interference with the liberties of individuals. The people of Australia, and particuarly the trade unionists of this country, have had their patience sorely tried by the indignities put upon them recently by constituted lawbreakers; - men sworn to protect the laws and conserve the rights and liberties of the people - men who pretended that they had the power to act when they must have known that they had not. It is of no use for Ministers to say that in these matters they were guided by the advice of high officials. They knew quite well that the whole business was a fraud and a sham, and that they had not the power to do what they said they were going to do.
It is quite true that the act passed off very successfully. No doubt. Ministers feel as elated at their success as does the confidence man when he secures another victim with the old story about the rich uncle in Fiji. They have secured office for another three years. They may retain it longer if they can again stage the farce as successfully as was done at the last election, but I have every confidence m the good sense of the law-loving, thoughtful men and women of Australia. The Government will pay the penalty when this trickery has been exposed, and when the people realize what a pretence is all this business of deporting alleged law breakers and disturbers of trade and commerce. It was all a sham. These men who were to be deported are still in Australia carrying on the affairs of their unions with all the earnestness and integrity of good unionists. They are still doing what the Government and its supporters alleged they were doing prior to the election - they are still engaged in what the Government described as preparation for a revolution ! I do not think, however, that in the trade unions of Australia there are ten men who want a revolution. Actually our weakness as a labour movement is that we are too pacifist, but recent happenings and recent legislation passed by this Government have awakened trade unionists. I warn the Government that. if by arbitrary legislation it attempts to stamp out freedom by interfering unduly with trade union organizations, it will cause a conflagration that will burn more fiercely than the Government dreams of. This country has prospered more than any other country.. Its progress has been due entirely to the- foresight and ability of good labour men who came from the trade unions. Practically every business man who travels in other countries breathes, a deep sigh of relief as he steps from the vessel that brings him back to what he is convinced is the best country in the world - the country where business prospers, where the industrial movement is well organized, and where, with the one exception of Victoria, all the essential features of government that so closely affect business administration, are in the hands of the Labour party.
– Labour is in power, in a majority of the States, but not by virtue of a majority of the votes.
– In New South Wales the Labour Government represents a majority of the people, and I think I can say the same of the Queensland Labour Government.
– The Queensland Labour Government is in a minority of 14.000 votes.
– The Labour Government of W estern Australia also represents a minority of the electors.
– Senator Thompson has just said that the Queensland Labour Government represents a minority of 14,000 votes in that State. If I had time I should like to put the figures on record and allow Senator Thompson, if he wished, to so manipulate them as to show thata majority is not a majority. Figures can be made to prove a great deal. It depends upon the manner in which they are handled. I think it was Senator Duncan who supplied figures in connexion with the last New South Wales election, and who said, “You are only about 14,000 ahead.
– I said that more people voted against the Labour party than for it. The honorable senator will admit the truth of that.
– That may be so if you take the votes in, say, five constituencies, but when the total votes of all the candidates elected to the Parliament of New South Wales are considered, it will be found that Labour voters were in the majority. At the last New South Wales election Sir George Fuller lost about twelve seats, which were, of course, gained by Labour. If that had happened to us we should have been told that we had no right to speak here for even five minutes. Taking the whole of the Commonwealth into consideration, I can see no indication whatever in the present figures of any disinclination on the part of the Australian people to vote Labour. In my own case, although a defeated candidate, I am encouraged to sit here to-day by the knowledge that I secured approximately 500,000 votes. When Senator Cox’s first preference votes were counted it was found that I did not obtain more than one in a thousand second preferences, so that it is safe to assume that all my votes were Labour votes. I wish the Government to realize that if it starts trampling upon Labour, and using coercive measures in the endeavour to manage labour unions for the unionists, itw ill have a mighty big army of men to deal with. There are, as I have said, in New South Wales alone approximately 500,000 who possess unpurchased and unpurchasable votes.
The Government has its majority, and has received a mandate,but it should take a friend’s advice and not imagine that it has power that it does not possess. The Government must remember that it has not the power to illegally interfere with decent citizens, and cannot drag men from their homes and their wives and families. That was part of the farce it was playing. It was part and parcel of the Government’s policy of degradation, scandal, and villification to circulate from one end of the world to the other the statement that Australia was bordering on revolution. I donot know whether the word “ lie “ is permissible, but I wish to give the lie direct to those who openly stated outside that Australia was in danger of a revolution. It was one of those black cowardly slanders that the Government was guilty of. The Government has now returned victorious, and not only Labour supporters but also supporters of the Nationalist and Country parties are waiting very patiently to see what action will be taken. They are saying, “ Hurry up and do what you said you would do, and remove those men who are interfering with trade and commerce, and are opposed to law and order.” If the Government does not do what it promised it will, in my judgment, be recreant to its trust. The new members particularly should insist upon action being taken. The mandate received by the Government was over generous, and the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) and his followers can now work their will upou the people. Let us see how it will be done. I suppose if the Government has time it will do something, and I shall anxiously await the time when these great reformers attempt to remove from the community those who even dare to give expressions to opinions that are not in accordance with common practice. The right of absolute freedom of speech has helped to build up the British Empire. We should be allowed to express our opinions even when derogatory to the existing Government or form of government. I remember reading of a distinguished patriot in New South Wales - I refer to the Rev. John Dunmore Lang - who’ lived before my day, and who said, “ We shall have a republic in Australia within ten years.” That is what he thought, and he freely expressed his opinion. They often put him in jail. My father has since told me that one of the common expressions of the day was, “ John Dunmore Lang is in quod’ again.” That gentleman expressed the opinions he held, but they were never realized, and, perhaps, the day when Australia, will be a Republic is further off now that it was thought to be then.
The conditions in Australia are so well ordered that those who say that this country is full of revolutionaries are doing a serious wrong to Australia. If there are such people in the country we should deal with them, and if there are not we should hold our peace. If the Government intends to act in the direction, suggested, it should legislate as British people should, and remember that all charges should be upon indictment. A man should know the charge he has to answer. The Crown should submit the evidence upon which it seeks to convict him, and show that he is guilty of the charge against him. Laws framed in . such a way would be respected by the whole of the community. If the Government introduces legislation merely to punish people because they have expressed views which are objectionable to it and its supporters, it is exhibiting not strength but extreme weakness. I feel strongly upon this issue. The action the Government proposes to take in order, as it says, to preserve law and order, is a grave departure from the established practice, and so far as I can see is a foul attempt to use force instead of judgment. I sincerely trust that the Government will not rely upon the efforts of subordinates to interpret the decision of the High Court. If the judgment of the High Court is carefully studied it will be found that it is that the powers of the Government are limited by the Constitution and so soon as it gets beyond those powers it will be brought back to section 80 which provides that trial on indictment shall be before a jury. We. have had an interpretation of the Constitution different from that submitted to this chamber by the Minister (Senator Pearce). The eminent men who framed our constitution never imagined for a moment that we would have a Parliament which desired to depart from trial by jury, but we have a Government which used every loophole in an endeavour to inflict injury upon some of its opponents or to raise a false issue in order to win an election. The duties of senators are more arduous than mine, as some of them have six years before them and I have only six months. I am merely waiting to receive notice to quit, but the Government and its supporters have to carry out the promise they made to the country and deal promptly with those who they say are interfering with the trade and commerce of Australia, and endeavouring to destroy the British Empire. If there are any such people in Australia to-day all I can say is that the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce), the Minister (Senator Pearce), and the Treasurer (Dr. Earle Page), are taking matters very easily. We have had strikes. I have no proof that the Government organized certain industrial disturbances, but I firmly believe it did. Certain men in Queensland were organized and were allowed to take the business out of the hands of the Government. I have not the slightest doubt that the Nationalist organization, if not the Government itself, had a hand in that matter. We have been confronted with a spectacle of persons visiting every town and collecting the names of men and women who were willing to be enrolled at a handsome remuneration. Whether the Government was doing this or whether it was acting in conjunction with the Nationalist party I do> not know. Promises ‘of permanent lucrative positions were made te some who were asked to act as peace officers. The Prime Minister asked for a mandate in order to send certain people out of the country and he has received the verdict of the people. We are now waiting to see what he will do. While I am here I shall closely scrutinize and criticize every measure that will interfere with the liberty of the people. What right has the Government to endeavour by legislation to stamp out trades unionism, or to suggest that trades unions should be controlled by government officials? The Government may try, but it will not be successful. It will soon be found that members of trades unions are more capable of controlling their own affairs than are the Government, and that they will exert themselves to such an extent that they will eventually take their place in this Parliament and assist in legislating for the people of Australia.
– I take this opportunity to congratulate Senator Sampson, the mover, and Senator Andrew, the seconder of the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply, upon the very pithy speeches they made and to say that I feel that in respect of their brevity they have set an example which those who have been here for some years would do well to follow. Even the speech made this morning by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), would have been better had it been modelled on somewhat similar lines. It was certainly a remarkable one. The honorable gentleman who professes to favour the jury system has just returned from an appeal to the greatest jury to which any man could present his case, and he has come back with the verdict of that jury against him. Is he satisfied? Does he accept the verdict of the people? Not at all. On the contrary, listening to his remarks this morning .one would think that the jury to which he has just appealed consisted of the most ignorant - the most ill-educated - people on the face of the earth. He has clearly stated that these people were misled. They did not understand the situation. They were told, he said, that a revolution was threatened j but this was a mere delusion - there was nothing in it. The people living in Townsville, Cairns, Brisbane, Fremantle and other places who gave their verdict - who gave the Government this mandate - were labouring under a delusion. There were no disturbances on the wharf at Fremantle or at Cairns, Townsville or Brisbane His Majesty’s mails were not held up on the Government railways in Queensland. Quarantine, health, postal and customs officials were not prevented from boarding ships at Fremantle. All this was an hallucination ! The reports as to these matters that appeared in the press were all a mistake ! There was no incitement to revolution 1 Those who said, “ To hell with the British Empire “ were quite loyal. Those who said that they did not believe in arbitration, but that direct action which would lead to revolution was the right thing, were, I suppose, orderly, peaceful citizens. They meant . no ill. They would do no damage. The poor misguided fools who, acting on the suggestion of these individuals, proceeded to give effect to their policy, and in the final result had their heads cracked on the Fremantle wharf, or got into serious trouble at Cairns and elsewhere, did not correctly interpret suggestions made by Mr. Jock Garden ! And Senator Gardiner would have us believe that the educated democracy of Australia consists of poor, ignorant, illeducated people, unable even to understand and appreciate the things they see going on under their very noses, so to speak. According to him, they were misled by. evil-disposed politicians, and gave a verdict against Senator Gardiner and his friends, not because of what they saw happening at Fremantle, Cairns, Brisbane, and elsewhere throughout the Commonwealth, but because Mr. Bruce at Dandenong, Dr. Earle Page at Gympie, and Senator Pearce in Western Australia had drawn their attention to certain things that were happening in Australia. I can only say that I have a very much higher opinion of the jury to which Senator Gardiner appealed. That jury is, in my belief, the best educated and the most independent in the world. It is less influenced by the press than is almost any other jury to which an appeal could be made in any democracy throughout the world.
I shall tell honorable senators why I hold this belief. I was a member of tha Labour party that grew from practically nothing until it controlled the government of every State, with the exception of Victoria, and also the government of the Commonwealth itself. And it grew to that extent in spite of the opposition of every daily newspaper in Australia. That is the greatest tribute that could be paid to the people of any country, showing, as it does, that they do their own thinking. It was the same jury, though perhaps a little better educated, to which Senator Gardiner and his party appealed quite recently, and, therefore, it is idle for the honorable senator to say now that the people who showed their independence of mind in the years preceding 1916 are different from those who gave judgment in 1925. The truth is that they are the same people, with the same independence of thought that characterized them up to 1916, and they have never exhibited that independence of thought in a more striking way than they did on the occasion of the recent appeal to them. I venture to say that the result of that appeal was largely due to the fact that thousands of people in every State, who, because of their spirit of loyalty to the Labour movement, had previously voted mechanically and without much inquiry, examined the position for themselves on this occasion, and, knowing what it was from their own bitter experience, recorded, for ihe first time in their lives, votes against the Labour party.
– And made no secret of it.
– Yes, they made no secret of it, I met scores of them.
– And thousands did not know what they, were voting for.
– I shall not traverse all the remarks made by Senator Gardiner this morning; I shall endeavour to emulate the good example set by the mover and seconder of the motion, by trying to be very brief. Nor shall I traverse the judgment of the High Court in the deportation’ case. When the legislation dealing with that matter comes forward, we shall have opportunity to set out in detail what that judgment really meant and was. It was certainly not what Senator Gardiner said it was this morning. There are some other matters, touched on by the honorable senator, with which I wish to deal. First of all, the honorable gentleman seemed to express some doubt as to whether, in view of his defeat at the recent elections, he should continue to sit here arid participate in the framing of legislation until his term of service had actually expired. I hope that neither Senator Gardiner nor any other honorable senator who was defeated will labour under any misapprehension in that respect. The Constitution clearly contemplates- that every such honorable senator shall carry out his full responsibilities until his term expires on the 30th June next. Every honorable senator who, under the Constitution, holds his seat to that date has full power to legislate, and, furthermore, the responsibility of taking part in the shaping of any legislation that is brought forward until his successor takes his place in this chamber.
Senator Gardiner said that the laws of Australia were sufficient to deal with any person guilty of lawlessness, but the events of the last twelve months have demonstrated to the full the very opposite. The honorable senator has only to look at recent occurrences to recognize that they are of the direst eonsequence to the community, and it would be a wide stretch of imagination to say that they were lawful. They may have been lawful to the extent that they were not breaches of any State or Commonwealth law, but to say that they were lawful in the sense that they allowed the community to carry on its lawful occupations is to misuse and strain the English language.
Let us recall for a moment what did take place. Is it not a fact that we had Australian shipping held up all round the coast by a strike that was itself illegal ? The seamen were working under an award of the Federal Arbitration Court, and, under that award, a strike was illegal. The strike was wrong not only in the moral but also in the strictly legal sense. It continued for a period and was followed by a series of guerilla outbreaks, under the name of “ job control,” which were carried on, not in secret or “ under the rose,” but after a definite announcement by Mr. Walsh. that it was a deliberate line of policy the union intended to follow. This gentleman actually had the audacity not only to announce the policy, but also to defend it.. Of what did it consist? It consisted of a series of offences against the Federal arbitration law, and against awards of the Court, which were of such a character as to make it almost impossible to secure a conviction against those who offended, and such that if those who were the direct participants had been convicted, the innocent victims of the dictatorship of Walsh, and others would have been penalized. I shall give an example of what took place.
A ship was in Sydney Harbour loaded with perishable products and with passengers on board ready to sail for Great Britain. It was a vessel of the Australian Commonwealth Line. One of the paid officials of the Australian Seamen’s Union boarded this vessel a little before it was due to sail, went to the stokehold, spent about five minutes there, came on deck again, and returned to the wharf. Within, half an hour a number of the firemen came out of the stokehold and walked off the ship. When the ship’s officers remonstrated with them, and endeavoured to dissuade them from leaving, the men declared that they were acting under instructions from their union, and referred the ship’s officers to the union. The ship’s officers went in search of the union officers, but were told by them that they would- do nothing, and when the ship’s officers tried to engage other firemen to take the place of those who had walked off the vessel, they were told, that no others were or would be available. Can Senator Gardiner tell us how we are to deal with that sort of offence under any statute in operation to-day ? Are we to punish the firemen who walked off the ship? Obviously they were not the culprits. Every one in Australia knows who the culprit was on this occasion, but no ohe in Australia could convict him. Who could we put in the witness box to convict him ? Under thepolicy of terrorism and intimidation which, is the guiding principle in the Seamen’s Union to-day, no fireman would go into the witness-box and give truthful evidence as to the orders under which he walked off the boat. Who, then, would give evidence to convict the real criminal, the man who orders the firemen off the ship? No one would do so. Yet Senator Gardiner says that if we deal with this man in any way we are committing an act of lawlessness. Are we to assume that this community is . to .remain helpless and paralysed in a case like this; that, when certain evildisposed people in this community declare that they intend to pursue a certain policy for a definite end, the community must remain supine, powerless, and helpless? If Senator Gardiner believes in’ that, I say that he does not believe in democracy, but rather in the policy of Mussolini, to which he referred - he believes in a dictatorship, insofar as it amounts to giving to one man a power that is above and beyond the law, and putting him in n. higher position than the community.- On the other hand, the Government contends that the interests of the community are greater than those of any individual, and that, above all things, the community must be protected from men who make deliberate statements, as these men did, that they are perpetrating these acts, not for the purpose of conferring any industrial benefits on a section of the wage-earners - not to decrease their hours of labour or increase their wages - but. as they have deliberately stated in public, in order to break down the existing system of society, and bring, about a revolutionary system. When we find these deliberate statements in their publications - that this is the method by which they hope to bring about revolution - are we to say that the community is to sit down, helplessly and hopelessly unable to deal with the situation ? If Senator Gardiner does not believe in revolution - and I do not believe he does - if he believes that, whatever is to- be the end and aim of any political party in this country, it must be obtained by. constitutional action, then, although he may condemn the methods the Government proposes to adopt to deal with these men, that does not relieve him or his party from the obligation to say what his party will do. Now, what has it said? What proposal did it put forward at the last election- to deal ‘with this set of circumstances? Obviously, it was prepared to deal with these individuals with a feather duster.’ Not in one case in any .State, or in any speech made by a member of the Labour party, with the exception of the utterances of Senator Ogden, was there a suggestion as to what action the party proposed to take to deal with these men. . With the exception of Senator Ogden, they went about the country blissfully repeating the formula that all this talk of revolutionary tactics was an hallucination, a delusion, or a bogy. Senator Ogden told them that it was not a bogy. If they only knew it he was their greatest friend, because he was telling them the truth. He told them what others of his party did not have the courage to say, but, apparently, they thought that if they went round the country telling the people it was all a delusion and a scare, and that there was nothing in all this talk of communism and revolutionary efforts, the people would believe them. The people did not believe them, because they had before their eyes evidence to the contrary.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m.
– I now come to that portion of Senator Gardiner’s speech in which he says he knows of no revolutionary movement in Australia. I presume he will not deny that there is a communist party in this country. He knows that Mr. Garden, secretary of the Sydney Trades and Labour Council, has stated that there is a communist party here. Mr. Garden said that that party was so powerful, by reason, not of its numbers, but of its influence - by reason of its policy of white-anting the Labour movement - that it had been able to elect to the Sydney Labour Council a majority of members who are avowed communists.
– Is the Sydney Labour Council attached to the Australian Labour party?
– Unionists who constitute the council are entitled, I understand, to take part in the selection ballot for the Australian Labour party.
– They have nothing to do with it, and the Minister knows it.
– I shall not be drawn off the track. The Sydney Labour Council consists of representatives of a number of trade unions, some of which are affiliated with the Australian Labour party and some of which are not. Mr. Garden boasts that the majority of the executive of this council are avowed communists, who are members of his communistic organization, and who, by reason of their policy of “ white-anting “ and boring into the Labour party, are able to control the Labour movement of Australia. That is his boast, and it was made to the Third Internationale at Moscow.
– It is untrue, and the Minister knows it.
– That is Mr. Garden’s boast. What is the object of the communistic party? We have to recognise that its object is the same as that, of the Labour party. the socialization of industry, the socialization of the means of production, distribution and exchange. The difference between them lies in the means by which the two parties seek to obtain that objective; the Labour party hopes to obtain it by constitutional means, and the communist party by re’volutionary means.
Senator Gardiner declared that there was no revolutionary party in Australia, and yet we have here a party that lias declared its intention, by revolutionary means and acts, to bring about a form of society different from that we have today. Senator Gardiner is out of step with the Labour movement throughout Australia. We find that in Western Australia the Australian Labour Federation, which is the organization speaking for the official Labour party in that State, has taken action lately to expel from its ranks two persons who were avowed communists. I refer to Mr. Ryce and Miss Shelly, who were the promoters of the restaurant strike in that State, a strike that was accompanied by violence, terrorism and intimidation, the well-known practices of the communists. Moreover, the Fremantle Trades Hall Council has expelled from its building the Seamen’s Union, because of its association with communist practices. We also have the fact that the Brisbane Trades Hall Council has expelled from that building the communist party, which up to the time of the last election had occupied an office in that hall. We have further to remember the action taken in Queensland by the official .Labour organization to obtain a definite pledge from those who, in future, receive the support of that party, publicly dissociating themselves from the communist party and communism. We have Mr. Lang, the Labour Premier of New South Wales, declaring the existence of an Independent Workers pf the World organization in that State. He declares that it has revolutionary objects, and that it is 75 per cent, criminal in its objects; All these people, according to Senator Gardiner, are under an hallucination. He claims that there is no such thing as a revolutionary party, or a party with revolutionary purposes, in Australia. All I can suggest to him is that he should lecture not the Government or the Senate, but some of his friends in the organization of which he is so prominent and able a member. The honorable senator asked what was the evidence on which the Government proceeded to act against these revolutionaries. First of all, we say that there is distinct evidence that the disturbances that occurred throughout last year had a definite revolutionary object in view. There, is strong circumstantial evidence, that they were initiated and directed from Moscow.
Students of economics and political economy know that one . of the objects of the Soviet is to spread its pernicious doctrines throughout the world. Through the mouths of its own speakers and apologists it has declared that its failure up to date is due to the fact that it is an island of Sovietism in an ocean of capitalism, and that in order to succeed it must spread its doctrine to other States. It is necessary that States should trade with one another, and so long as a Soviet or Bolshevist State trades with a capitalist State, the doctrine of Sovietism cannot be brought to full fruition. Therefore, by its propaganda, and by violence, and particularly by industrial action, Sovietism seeks to spread its pernicious doctrines throughout the world. Looking abroad it recognizes, as the Kaiser did, that its chief opponent is the British Empire, and that if it can bring about the fall of that Empire, nothing else can effectually stand in its way. It has, therefore, particularly directed its activities against the British Empire. It realizes, as Germany did in the late war, that- the most effectual blow at the Empire could be given through ite shipping. It recognizes that Britain lives by its shipping. It has to bring from overseas raw materials for its great manufacturing industries. It does not produce enough foodstuffs to supply the needs of its own people, and the cutting off of Britain’s supply of foodstuffs would precipitate a state of affairs favouring revolution. Every one who has read of the conditions which have obtained in Great Britain since the war - of her titanic struggle to keep Europe solvent, and civilization on its base - knows that the financial stability of Great Britain is the keystone of the arch of European civilization ; and that if that can be destroyed the arch will fall to the ground. And so we see thic deadly plan of campaign. Where is the evidence of its direction against Britain? First of all, we have it in China. One of the provisions of the treaty arrived at between the Soviet and China, was that Soviet agents and propagandists should have the right to enter China. They have been at their work for nearly two years since the signing of that Treaty. Up to the time of the recent disturbances in China, it was safe to say that no foreign nation stood higher in the estimation of the Chinese than the British. _ Ever since the disgraceful opium war the British were respected, and the business relations between China and Great Britain were outstandingly amicable. The British were the most respected race in the East, and particularly did the Chinese hold a high opinion of them. After two years of Soviet propaganda, however, what do we find? Under the guise of industrial disturbances a boycott is organized from Moscow, through Chinese agents, against British commerce in the East. If one reads the story of what is happening in Hong Kong to-day, one will find that the attack has been directed chiefly, and almost solely, at British shipping. Before the British seamen’s strike occurred in Australia there were hundreds of British ships held up in the ports of China, while Japanese, American, and other foreign shipping was allowed to go freely through those ports. We only need to look at these facts to realize that that diabolical plan never originated in Chinese minds, but was conceived at Moscow and aimed at Britain. But British commercial prestige is still able to stagger along, although the Soviet aimed this deadly blow at its vitals.
We find that the next move was one to disorganize the shipping services with the dominions, from whom Great Britain’s supplies of foodstuffs and raw materials are mainly drawn. While the wages paid on British ships are lower than those paid on Australian vessels the conditions on English vessels are better than those on any other European ships. Yet this socalled industrial movement was not intended to raise the wages of the other European seamen to the level of those of the British seamen. The other ships were allowed to continue their commerce, and the attack was directed solely at British ships. In Australia the first movement to bring about this dislocation was led by men who had already publicly declared two things - their enmity to and hatred of the British Empire, and their intention to use industrial means to bring about, a revolution in Australia. These are the men who took the lead in the strike of British seamen in Australia, and it is significant that the first meeting held by the seamen at the invitation of these instigators took place at the Communist Hall in Sydney. This strike was obviously aimed at British shipping. No improvement has been brought about in the industrial conditions of any seamen anywhere in the world; the only effect has been to strike a deadly blow at British shipping, and to inflict a loss on Australia and the commerce of the Empire in general. Yet Senator Gardiner says that we have no revolutionary movement in Australia ! The honorable senator shuts his eyes to what is going on around him. I do not intend to name individuals to-day, but there are men whose names are well known, and it is the duty of the Government so to legislate and administer the laws of the country as to protect it from the actions of such men, and the men who have been carrying on these nefarious practices in the past.
I am astonished that any man who professes to speak in the name of Labour should protect and defend those who openly say that they do not even pretend that their actions are> for the betterment of the working classes of this country. Not a single thing that they are endeavouring to do would add one penny to the wages, or shorten by one minute the working hours, of any section of the workers of this country! Yet, when the Government, in protection of the interests and the economic life of Australia, proceeded to take the action which it was its bounden duty to take, the political party that occupies the benches opposite in the name of Labour, rushed to the defence of these men. justified their actions, and denounced Ministers for daring to interfere with them in any way. They endeavoured to make it appear that we were attacking trade unionism. Senator Gardiner spoke of Mussolini and dictators. The fact is that trade unionism to-day is under a dictatorship which is proving a curse to- it. The Government will endeavour to break the power of those dictators, whose methods, it is significant to note, are those used by the dictators of Russia - terrorism and intimidation. Our legislation will be framed with the intention, not of attacking trade unionism’, but of defending it from these deadly enemies who, from within, are sapping its foundations. We wish to restore the democratic foundations upon which trade unionism rested, and to give to the trade unionists the control of their own business The speech by Senator Gardiner to which we listened to-day was that of a man who either wilfully shuts his eyes to current history, and refuses to recognize the stern facts that are confronting every citizen of Australia, or, knowing the facts, tries to hide the issue, and cause the people to believe that the Government proposes something in the nature of an attack upon their liberty or freedom. Nothing is further from our intention, and nothing in our legislation will have that effect. But there can be no freedom or liberty so long as an evildisposed minority has licence to terrorize and intimidate.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL (South Australia) [2.19]. - Having been closely and actively associated with State politics for the last eleven years, for the greater part of which I was a Minister of the Crown, I am naturally interested in many subjects that come within the Federal sphere, and particularly in the relations of the Commonwealth and the States. My remarks will be very largely confined to matters on which the States are keenly, and in some cases’ vitally, concerned.
I wish, first, to make a few general observations about the recent election, and particularly to refer to one or two of the statements of Senator Gardiner. The result of the recent general election should not cause surprise, but it should carry a wholesome lesson. It is to be hoped that that lesson will not be lost upon those members of the Labour party who’ have been ill-advised enough to make common cause with traitors. I was astonished to hear Senator Gardiner say that he did not know of a single individual in this country who was anxious to disrupt trade and commerce. He knows as well as I do that not only are there many persons who are anxious to do that, but many who have succeeded in doing it. He said, too, that he did not know of any individual who was opposed to the British Empire, yet he knows well that certain individuals have said, “ To hell with the Empire; to be a member of the British Empire is nothing to be proud of.” He stated that there is no dangerous element, that there are no revolutionaries, in the community. No man or woman who believes in free government, or who is a friend pf democracy as we enjoy it in Australia, could possibly look with indifference - as Senator Gardiner apparently does - upon the repeated attempts that have been made to undermine the foundations upon which have been built the free and democratic institutions of this Commonwealth. I ask honorable senators opposite particularly, where would be the security of property, of religion, of life itself, if fanatics like “Walsh and Johannsen, and the remainder of their unholy tribe, succeeded in undermining those foundations? Yet their ann admittedly is that and” nothing less. In a country such as ours, which enjoys the freest form of democratic government that the ingenuity of man has been able to devise, there is no need for direct action by any section of the community, and there is no excuse whatever- for revolution or revolutionary tactics of any kind. If the distribution of powers between the Commonwealth” and the States be faulty, if an amplification or modification of the Commonwealth powers is necessary in any direction, it must be remembered that we work under a Constitution that contains within itself a provision for its own amendment. Any alteration of the Constitution that may be necessary should be brought about by the force of public opinion, expressed and given effect by the means the Constitution provides. When Senator Gardiner spoke of liberty, he was speaking not of liberty but of licence. Any success that men like Walsh and Johannsen achieve in Australia can be won only at the expense of public liberty. Obedience to properly constituted authority, and compliance with the laws of the country, are duties enjoined upon us by the fundamental principles of true liberty.
Any attempt to disrupt society, to subvert the power of the people, or to usurp the powers of the Government, should be frustrated at the very outset. That is not my opinion only; clearly it is the opinion of the people of Australia, deliberately expressed by them on the 14th November last. If the verdict of the people means anything, it means that and nothing less.
The Government has received a mandate to take whatever steps may be necessary to prevent disruption, to enforce obedience to constituted authority, and to establish and maintain law and order throughout the country. Walsh and
Johannsen, and their communistic friends, about whom Senator Gardiner says he knows nothing, have certainly been given far too much liberty, and even licence, in the past. Senator Gardiner asked what the Government had done over the long period that elapsed before it took action for their deportation. It is perfectly true that for very many months, if not for years, the Government neglected to take . action against this mischief -making faction. In that it was guilty of a delay which must have been embarrassing to its followers in Parliament, and which well nigh exhausted the patience of rightthinking people outside Parliament. But when at last Ministers did rise to a full sense of their responsibilities in the matter, what was the position? The Government found itself faced by the most violent opposition from the Labour party. And this notwithstanding that it was to the Labour party that the people of Australia had a right to look for action. These men are members of the Labour party. All communists are members of the Labour party, and are subject to’ discipline by that party.
– Communists cannot be members of the Labour party.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.What about Mr. Garden, who is the chief executive officer of the Labour party in New South Wales?
– Nothing of the kind. The honorable senator is absolutely wrong.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.The Trades and Labour Council of New South Wales is composed of representatives of the Labour unions throughout New South Wales.
– Trade unions.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.They are members of the Labour party.
– The Trades and Labour Council of New South Wales is composed of representative men from the various trade unions. It is useless to argue otherwise.
– Mr. Garden is not a member of the Labour party.
– It is a question of an alias.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.What about the other ten members of the Sydney Trades and Labour Council who are avowed communists ? I do not think that Senator Gardiner will say that Garden is not a member of the Labour party.
– He is not a member of the Labour party any more than the members of the Government are members of the black labour party, because the honorable senator is one.
– The Trades and Labour Council in New South Wales is admittedly a body representative of the Labour party.
– Not at all ; it is not connected with it.
– It is composed of men who are selected from the various Labour organizations, and it is well known that eleven of those twelve men are avowed communists. Honorable senators cannot deny that. Those men are members of the Labour party, and they were put in their positions by the Labour party.
– That statement is quite wrong.
– Honorable senators opposite cannot hoodwink the people of Australia on this matter. They attempted to do so on the 14th November last, but failed dismally.
– The honorable senator and other members of the Government succeeded in hoodwinking the people.
– Honorable senators opposite will not meet with any more success in their at- ‘ tempt to hoodwink the people now than they did during the recent election campaign.
Several honorable senators inter jecting,
– Order! There are too many interjections.
– The honorable senator must not make mis-statements.
– The honorable senator must obey the chair.
– I am doing so.
– I shall direct my remarks to the Chair. These men, I repeat; are prominent members of the Labour party.
– That statement is wrong.
– They are representative men of the Labour party.
– I rise to a point of order. Senator Sir Henry Barwell has repeatedly stated that these revolutionary communists are members of the Labour party. I take that as a reflection on the party of which I am the leader in this chamber, and I call upon you, Mr. President, to insist on a withdrawal of the statement.
– It is a lie.
– Senator Grant must withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw it, Mr. President, but I say that Senator Barwell’s statement is inaccurate.
– On the point of order raised by Senator Gardiner, I have to say that Senator Sir Henry Barwell is quite within his rights in criticizing any one outside this Parliament. It is one of the privileges enjoyed by members of this Parliament.
– But not to tell lies.
– Order! I ask Senator Needham to withdraw that statement.
– I withdraw it, Mr. President, but I think Senator Sir Henry Barwell should speak the truth.
– The right to criticize public statements made by persons outside this Parliament is one of the privileges enjoyed by honorable members. The criticism may be entirely wrong, and yet not be unparliamentary. Senator Sir Henry Barwell is perfectly within his rights, so long as he does not reflect upon any member of this chamber. If he had done so I should have called him to order. I rule that the honorable senator is in order.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.These disclaimers by honorable senators opposite do not alter the facts. It is all very well for honorable senators of the Labour party to try to disown these people, but is it not a fact that Mr. Garden claims to be a member of the same organization as Mr. Lang, the Premier of New South Wales? Both, I believe, are members of the Clerks’ Union. Honorable senators opposite cannot get away from these well-established facts simply by repudiating them.
The point I was making when interrupted was that the people of Australia had a right to expect the Labour party to take some action against these revolutionaries within their ranks. They are members of the Labour party, and subject to the discipline of that party. Not only was no action taken by the Labour party, but these men were actually encouraged in every possible way. The Government, I submit, has obtained a clear mandate to take whatever steps may be necessary to ensure the maintenance of la%v and order throughout the Commonwealth, and the continued supremacy of constitutional government. The Prime Minister, only a few days ago, declared that the Government would not fail the people of Australia in this matter. I believe the Prime Minister means what he says, and that the Government will not fail the people. If it expects to retain the reins of office, it must do what it promised to do. Prior to the election, legislative action was taken by the Government, and Senator Gardiner has urged to-day not only that that action was illegal, but that members of the Ministry knew at the time that they had not the power to do what they attempted to do. That statement is unworthy of the honorable senator. No one inside, or outside this Parliament believes it. I repeat that the Government would be failing in its duty and would forfeit the support even of its own adherents if it allowed the set-back caused by the High Court’s decision to diminish its determination or slacken its efforts to confine each member of the communist party, and, indeed, of any other faction that sets itself up against established government, strictly within the limits prescribed by law. It is the duty of every member of this Parliament to assist the Government to deal with these enemies of society.
There is some reference to this matter in the Governor-General’s Speech. It is of a somewhat general character, but it promises certain action. It reads as follows : -
The election has shown that the people of Australia are determined to maintain law and order, and to protect the Commonwealth against the sinister activities of persons who pursue a policy of disturbance and unrest in order to promote revolutionary objects. To give effect to this mandate, and to ensure the safety of the Commonwealth, my Government will submit to you proposals forbidding the establishment of associations having for their object the forcible disturbance or overthrow of constitutional government, and providing for the punishment of persons promoting the objects of such associations. To prevent the dislocation of trade and commerce, which inflicts loss and suffering on the whole community, legislation will be submitted dealing with unjustifiable interference with the transport of goods and passengers.
We shall see what action members of the Labour party will take when the Government brings down this promised legislation to frustrate the sinister activities of these revolutionaries. Those who are now so anxious to disclaim Mr. Garden and certain other members of the Labour party will have an opportunity to assist the Government in destroying the men who did so much to bring about the downfall of the Labour party at the recent elections, and who, if unchecked, will prove themselves to be the worst enemies of the Labour party in the future.
– Give us the reins of government for a month, and we will settle all these difficulties
– I remind the honorable senator that the Labour party asked the electors of Australia for the reins of government, but the people very definitely declared that they had no confidence in the Labour party.
I do not propose to traverse the whole of the statements made by Senator Gardiner - they will not delude any one inside or outside this chamber - but I should like now to refer to certain subjects mentioned in my opening remarks, which vitally affect the relationship of the Commonwealth and the States. With regard to finance, although I am aware that the authority of the Senate is somewhat prescribed, there are certain aspects which, I think, might very well be considered* My remarks under this head will be confined to those matters which intimately concern the interests of the States, hecause this Chamber is supposed to be a States House, with a special mandate to conserve the ‘ interests of the States. The first in connexion with finance, to which I desire to direct attention, is that of double taxation, and the payments by the Commonwealth to the States. Honorable senators will, I think, agree that double taxation should be avoided as far as possible.
– There should be one straight-out land values tax.
– The honorable senator’s interjection opens up a very wide field for debate. That is a subject upon which I could say a great deal, and indeed have said much at various times; but I do not propose, at the moment, to deal with it. I shall listen with interest to Senator Grant when he addresses himself to the subject. I repeat that double taxation by Commonwealth and States should, if possible, be avoided. My second proposition is that the Commonwealth Parliament, on the one hand, and the State Parliaments, on the other, should be independent of one another so far as their financial requirements from revenue are concerned. Unfortunately, this desirable state of affairs does not exist, for we have double taxation, in the realms of land and income tax, and the States are dependent for a portion of their revenue upon the Commonwealth to the extent of the per capita grant of 25s. a head under the Surplus Revenue Act 1910. These anomalies, for they are anomalies, should be removed. Ifit is not possible to remove them, they should at ‘ least be minimized. The power to impose indirect taxation is vested exclusively in the Commonwealth, but the power to impose direct taxation is enjoyed both by the Commonwealth and the States. During the earlier years of Federation, as honorable senators know, the Commonwealth did not enter the field of direct taxation. It relied, for the most part, for its revenue upon Customs and Excise duties, three-fourths of which were returned to the States during the first ten years, under the provisions of the Braddon clause. In 1910 the Braddon clause was superseded by the Surplus Revenue Act, which provided for a per capita grant of 25s. a head to the States for a period of ten years, and thereafter until Parliament should otherwise decide. This ten-year period expired in 1920, so that the States are now entirely dependent upon the Commonwealth for a continuance of the grant. The position is not at all satisfactory from the States’ point of view. Certain proposals have been made by the Commonwealth Go vernment. Some years ago, as Premier of South Australia, I attended a conference of Premiers, presided over by Mr. Watt, who was then acting Prime Minister, at which proposals were made for a gradual reduction of the per capita payments at the rate of, I think, 2s. 6d. per annum. I have since been in close touch with the Premiers of the other States, and I say most emphatically that the State Governments cannot stand any reduction in the per capita payments without compensation. A quid pro quo must be given by the Commonwealth to the States if the States are to forgo either the whole or any portion of the per capita payments, as was proposed at a conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers some time ago. The time has arrived when the Commonwealth Government can vacate the field of income taxation. This matter has been discussed at various conferences of Commonwealth and State Ministers, and it almost seemed that we had come to an arrangement at the last of such gatherings which I attended in May, 1923. We failed, however, to do so because of a dispute in regard to some figures submitted by the Commonwealth to the representatives of the States, who considered them inaccurate., and consequently the discussion was held up. I believe that an arrangement can now be made under which the Commonwealth Government can vacate the field of income taxation, the States giving up the per capita payments. Some adjustment might be necessary in order to put things on a fair and equitable basis. There is scope for such adjustment, because there are other payments by the Commonwealth to the States which could be taken into consideration by some if not all of the States. There are, for instance, the interest payments on transferred properties which, if necessary, give something to come and go on, and other matters might be brought into account. Income taxation is only one of many subjects in regard to which there is either duplication or overlapping of Commonwealth and State activities. Another such subject is industrial legislation; but with that I shall deal later.
Speaking generally in regard to finance, I doubt very much whether the Government fully realizes the tremendous responsibility which rests upon the State
Governments in connexion with the opening up and developing of the resources of their territories. The powers of the Commonwealth, although very important, are strictly limited to defence, customs and excise, post and telegraph services, quarantine, control of banking,, the regulation of foreign and interstate trade and commerce, pensions, and arbitration in connexion with disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. That practically covers the whole Commonwealth field.
– But they are not the only sources of Commonwealth expenditure.
– That is perfectly true. I am merely pointing out that the powers of the Commonwealth are practically confined to those matters. The reserved powers of government which are held by the States, and are essential to their development, include the general control of industry, highways, water-ways, railways, land settlement and immigration. Immigration is practically under the control of the States because the Commonwealth Government cannot act regarding it without the consent of the States. It is practically impossible at this juncture to give an exhaustive list of the powers retained by the States, but it is safe to say that the principal powers necessary for the development of .the resources of Australia res.t with the State Parliaments, so that there is a tremendous responsibility upon the State Governments. The revenue of the Commonwealth Government, which is very buoyant, is derived principally from Customs and Excise duties. That revenue is rapidly increasing. I am inclined to think that the Commonwealth Government has too much revenue. Otherwise it would not, as it is doing at present, interfere with matters that are really within the realm of State control. For instance, the Commonwealth Government is finding money for road construction, a matter which comes within the jurisdiction of the States, and should be left to them. It is true that the States cannot find enough money for the purpose, and. it is also true that the Commonwealth has more money than it knows what to do with in the exercise of its strict powers. That is why the
Commonwealth is giving to the States £20,000,000 over a period of years for expenditure on roads. The States ought to receive whatever money is necessary for the maintenance of roads, but the expenditure should be under their entire control. Diverging for a moment I may say that I sincerely hope that when the Government does make this money available to the States it will not impose conditions as to the roads on which it is to be spent, as it has done previously. In some cases the grant had to be spent on roads which were in a fairly good state of repair, whereas others which required attention could not be improved. The Commonwealth has no right to dictate to the States how they shall spend this money. Of course the States are glad to get this money, because they are scratching for revenue all the time. Taxation in Australia is reaching that bearable maximum, beyond which, it ceases to be productive. This is due not so much to the extravagance of the State Governments as to the over-taxation of the ‘ Commonwealth. The Commonwealth does not know what it is to be pinched for money, whilst the Treasurers of all the States, and particularly of South Australia, are driven almost to distraction, because of the shortage of revenue.
– That is true of Tasmania.
– Yes, and of Western Australia. I am not sure about Victoria, but I think a similar condition exists in New South Wales.
– Victoria is on a far better wicket.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.Yes, Victoria is in a much better position than the other States. Some of the States cannot get all the money necessary to enable them to fully exercise their powers, because of the taxation imposed by the Commonwealth Government, which I believe is too high. I believe, too, that economies could be effected in many directions by the” Commonwealth Government. I am sure that ‘ economies could be effected in the Public Service. That is generally known and admitted, not by the Government, but by most people outside. If the Commonwealth Government wishes to see the resources of Australia fully and properly developed, it must recognize the ‘ fact that the primary responsibility for their development is with the State Governments and that therefore the Commonwealth must not spend a greater portion of its- revenue than is needed for the exercise of its powers.
The time is overdue for the review of the financial relations of the Commonwealth and the States. There is a difference of opinion as to how that should be brought about. Some who advocate a constitutional convention say that the work of reviewing the Constitution is highly .technical, and can be properly done only by trained men. They think that there ought to be a preponderance of legal talent in such a convention. On the other hand the Prime Minister .(Mr. Bruce) has said that Parliament itself is the proper body to review the Constitution if amendments are to be made. I would be opposed to n convention if it meant throwing our Constitution, into the melting ‘pot, . because we would not know what would come out. Besides, I do not think that necessary. I believe that the foundations of our Constitution have been well and truly laid, and it is only in regard to detail that amendments are necessary. These amendments could be specified, and I agree with the Prime Minister that the whole matter could probably be dealt with by Parliament.
I notice that the Government proposes to submit legislation to provide for the payment of a subsidy of £450,000 to Western Australia, and also that Tasmania is clamouring for greater financial assistance than she is receiving at present. Both Western Australia and Tasmania may be justly entitled to the assistance they are seeking while the financial relations between the Commonwealth and the States remain as they are. This only emphasizes the need for a review of the constitutional provisions relating to finance, in order that the States may be placed on an equitable basis.
Industrial matters referred to in the Speech were also mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Gardiner), and particularly the control of trade unionism. A paragraph in the Speech reads -
To secure the settlement of industrial disputes by methods of reason, and not by methods of force, the Government will introduce legislation designed to adapt the system of industrial arbitration to the requirements of the present day.
That is general in its terms. The paragraph continues -
A measure will be submitted to invest the court with judicial power -
I know from experience that that is necessary. The court should have had judicial power ‘ from the outset, and I believe it was thought that it possessed the power. It is essential to industrial stability and peace that the court should have the power to enforce its own awards. It has not that power at present. The paragraph continues - to diminish the conflicts between Federal and State awards, to give members of organizations registered under the Act control of their own affairs and of their officers, and generally to increase the efficiency of the machinery for the speedy and effective settlement of interstate industrial disputes.
With regard to the controlling of the organizations, Senator Gardiner predicts a great deal of trouble, but I think the Government should endeavour to give the members of organizations more control over them than they have at present. No one knows’ the need for this better than I do. Having lived at Port Pirie for a great number ‘ of years I have been in close touch with members of unions. They have spoken to me on many occasions of industrial matters generally. Being good sound commonsense men, as nine-tenths of the Labour party undoubtedly are, I have found over aud over again that I could agree with them on essentials. But when I said to them, “ Why do you not say at your own union meetings what you” are prepared to say to me?” the answer I invariably got. was, “ You do not understand our organizations. I would not dare to get up there and say what I say to you, and what I believe to be true, because if I did I would be called a ‘ scab ‘ and “ a ‘ blackleg,5 and would, be hounded out of the union. The result is that I do not go to the meetings.” The position would be very different if we gave the members of the unions control over their organizations, and made provision for the holding of secret ballots. It would help considerably to establish industrial peace throughout Australia.
– Is it not a fact that to-day nine-tenths of the unions can take secret ballots?
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.Yes, it is true, with a “ Yes “ box in one corner and a “No” box in the other.
That is the kind of secret ballot that has taken place in the past.
– It has taken place in South Australia.
– It is no worse than having a sliding panel in a ballot-box.
Senator Sir HENRY BARWELL.No, it is just about on a par with that. There is at the present time a very serious overlapping and conflict as between the Federal and State jurisdictions in the matter of compulsory arbitration. The Commonwealth Parliament entered into the sphere of compulsory arbitration as the result of an act passed in 1904 in pursuance of the powers contained in section 51, paragraph xxxv. of the Constitution which gives the Commonwealth Parliament power to make laws for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State. The State Parliaments are supposed to have exclusive power to control industrial matters and disputes within their own States, and I have not the slightest doubt that the framers of the Federal Constitution thought that by giving the Commonwealth control only with regard to disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State, they were drawing a sharp line of demarcation as between the Commonwealth and State jurisdictions. In other words, they thought that the- Commonwealth Parliament and the Commonwealth Arbitration Court would act only in regard to matters which were not domestic matters of a State, and were interstate in their effect or scope. In actual practice that line of demarcation does not exist, and to-day the Commonwealth Arbitration Court exercises jurisdiction over practically the whole realm of industry in the Commonwealth, with a consequent amount of duplication and overlapping that is harassing to employers, and, to my mind, detrimental to the interests of the employees themselves. That extension of the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court to the whole field of industry comes about as the result of certain High Court decisions which make it possible to create an interstate dispute in regard to any industrial matter merely by the serving of a log by employees in a certain industry upon employers in that industry in more than one State at the one time. This duplication and overlapping occurs in all the States of the Commonwealth, although it does not come about in the same way in all of them. For instance, in Victoria the wages boards system is in operation. In South Australia there are wages boards and there is also a State Arbitration Court. A matter may be first brought before a wages board. From that board there is an appeal to the State Arbitration Court. If the employees - it is usually the employees who take action - are not satisfied, with what they get from the wages board or from the Arbitration Court to which they have gone by way of appeal, they simply write to their friends in the same industry in a neighbouring State telling them that they have a dispute with their employers, and want to bring the matter before the Federal Arbitration Court. They get their friend’s to serve a log on their particular employers at the same time as it is served in South Australia, and so the dispute is made one which comes within the jurisdiction of the Federal Arbitration Court. That is how this overlapping and duplication comes about. Stability in industrial matters is absolutely impossible so long as there are two or three tribunals covering the same ground, as is the case at the present time. It would not be so bad if these different courts were acting in co-ordination. But they are not. As a matter of fact they often seem to be acting in hostility, or, at any rate, in rivalry towards one another.
– Sometimes they are in competition with one another.
– “ Competition “ is, perhaps, the better word to use to sum up the situation. At any rate, we have the difficulty of dual control resulting in overlapping’ and frequent conflicts. That is a hurried survey of the position, in a cursory criticism of the system now in operation. What is the remedy? Our friends of the Labour party have certain suggestions to make, but, unfortunately, in this matter as in others, the party speaks with two voices. One section says, “ We stand firmly by compulsory arbitration, and if you are to take any action to prevent overlapping, we believe that the powers of the Federal Arbitration Court should be extended so as to give it exclusive control over industrial matters.” Of course, they do not mind duplication or conflict between Commonwealth and State awards, because it gives them more than one string to their bow. If the whole box and dice were handed over to the Federal Court, it would certainly put an end to duplication, but I am afraid the remedy would be worse than the disease. Another section of the Labour party says, “ Let us abolish the Arbitration Court altogether, and revert to direct action.”
– What section says that I
– The whole of the Labour party in New South Wales, I think, said so. At any rate, a very large section of the party there and in Queensland declares itself against compulsory arbitration altogether. Having obtained from compulsory arbitration and arbitration courts everything it is likely to get from them, it is now in favour of wiping out the court and reverting to direct action
– The honorable senaator is completely misrepresenting the views of the State Labour party in New South Wales.
– I only know what has been said by prominent Labour leaders on numerous occasions, and that is that they are against compulsory arbitration. Every honorable senator of the Labour party knows that a very large section of the party is opposed to compulsory arbitration. It is true that I brought in a bill in South Australia some. years ago to abolish the Arbitration Court, but that bill contained a provision to substitute for compulsory arbitration the system of conciliation which has operated in Canada since 1 907, and has given the utmost satisfaction there to both employers and to employees.
– Why does not the honorable senator give the names of the prominent men who, he says, have made the statement to which he refers?
– When the measure comes down I shall have all the information to quote to the honorable senator, but he must know, as I do, that these statements are repeatedly being made. Reports in the newspapers are constantly showing to the people of Australia that a large section of the Labour party is opposed to arbitration because it’ thinks, it cannot get anything further out of it. On the other hand, we are pledged to the compulsory arbitration system aa we have it, and it is our duty to improve it as much as we can, and certainly to obviate overlapping and conflicts between the Commonwealth and State jurisdictions. There can be no satisfactory solution of this industrial difficulty except by having a clear, concise and permanent definition of the Federal and State spheres of jurisdiction. At the Premiers’ Conference which I attended in May, 1923, the Commonwealth and the States were in agreement upon many aspects of this matter. The Commonwealth and . all the States admitted the existence of .the evil of duplication and overlapping, that it ought to be remedied, and that tire only remedy was to have a clear definition of the powers of the Commonwealth and the States by drawing a sharp line of demarcation between the two. But there was a difference of opinion as to how the remedy should be applied. The States thought that the conference itself should set to work immediately and say what matters should come within the federal sphere, leaving all other matters to the States. The Commonwealth Government said that its idea was to set up some permanent tribunal which should, first of all, establish the .principle upon which there should be a division of jurisdiction as between the Commonwealth and the States, and that it should be a permanent tribunal with power to alter from time to time the list of industries and industrial matters which should come within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. To my mind, and, I think, to the minds of most of the State representatives, these conflicting jurisdictions are highly objectionable. If we do not draw a line of demarcation an between’ Commonwealth and States, and define the jurisdiction of the two, we at least should try to obtain some degree of permanency with regard to the matter.
But there is another question in connexion with ‘ industrial matters to which reference should be made, and I am sorry that there is no mention of it in the GovernorGeneral’s Speech. I refer to the exemption of State instrumentalities from Federal jurisdiction. I am sure it was not the intention of the framers of the Constitution that State instrumentalities should come under Federal jurisdiction. It is highly objectionable from every point of view that there should be a Commonwealth Court exercising jurisdiction over State employees. At the Premier’s conference, in 1923, it was admitted by the Commonwealth Government that it would have to take action with regard to the exemption of State instrumentalities from this jurisdiction. There are two ways in which the object in view can be achieved. It can be done temporarily by legislation, but the proper and permanent way is to provide for it by an alteration of the Constitution. I certainly expected - after the admission made by the Prime Minister, that this overlapping of jurisdiction was objectionable - to see in the Governor-General’s Speech some indication of the Government’s intention to bring down a measure to exempt these instrumentalities from Federal jurisdiction. For twenty years the Federal Constitution was so construed as to exempt them, and then came the decision of the High Court that the Federal Court had jurisdiction over them. The result now is that , we have State civil servants appealing to the Federal as well as to the State Courts. This means a duplication of jurisdiction. Apart altogether from the fact that the practice is wrong in principle, it is in every way objectionable that a State Government should be subject to Federal jurisdiction in regard to its domestic affairs, such as the conditions of employment and salaries of its employees.
– The. position is complicated by the introduction of various State trading concerns. How can we exempt them, and cut out nil other instrumentalities?
– That might be done, but, even then, if the operations of the State trading concern are confined to its own State, the Federal Court should no.t have any jurisdiction over it.
– It might easily come into competition’ with an industry, controlled by another State.
– That is another matter ‘ with regard to competition that has to be settled in connexion with legislation, if it is brought down, to define the jurisdiction of the Federal and State Courts. It may be necessary to set up some tribunal in connexion with it. That has been recognized with regard to questions of competition as between one State and another.
I was practically challenged^ by Senator Gardiner to make some statement with respect to the Northern Territory.
I am pleased to accept that challenge. One of the greatest problems with which Australia is faced at the present time is that of the development of the Territory; yet the matter is treated almost with supreme indifference by the public in general, and by parliamentarians in particular. The problem has certainly not received’ the attention that it deserves. One could understand this attitude if the Territory were a desert, as some people have described it, and really think it is; but we know very well that it is not. There ought to be some scheme for settling and developing this vast empty area, which is rich in its potentialities. Its possibilities are unlimited. The attitude of many people with regard to its development seems almost inexplicable. There must be some explanation of it, however, and one looks about to find it. We know that people from the south do not go to the Northern Territory. We know also that no scheme of migration even looks to it as a possible home of migrants from Europe. The white population is, I think, considerably less to-day than it was 30 years ago. I do not believe there are half as many people in the Territory to-day as there were when South Australia handed it over to the Commonwealth in 1910. As the usual adjournment hour is at hand I ask leave to continue my remarks at a future date.
Leave granted ; debate adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 3.24 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 15 January 1926, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1926/19260115_senate_10_112/>.