10th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands) took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– Is the Minister representing the Minister for Health aware that there has been a recurrence of an inconvenient complaint among the residents of Canberra? I understand it is ascribed partly to the after effects of ptomaine poisoning, several cases of which were reported after the dinner to the Eight Honorable L. C. M. S. Amery, Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. I am informed that during the last day or two several citizens have been affected in the same manner. If the matter has been brought under his notice, will the Minister consult with the Minister for Health with a view to having an investigation made?
– I was not aware that any citizens were affected in the manner described by the honorable senator after the dinner given to the Right Honorable the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, but I have heard that, during the last few days, a number of people have been suffering from a certain complaint. I shall direct the attention of the Minister for Health to the matter.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate,upon notice -
– The reply to the honorable senator’s questions is as follow: -
Motion (by Senator Sir George Pearce) agreed to, -
That Standing Order No.68 be suspended up to and including 17th December, 1927, for the purpose of enabling new business to be commenced after half-past ten o’clock at night.
[11.7]. - I move -
That, until the 17th December, 1927, unless otherwise ordered, Government business shall take precedence of all other business on the notice-paper except questions and formal motions.
If in the course of business, we find there is still an opportunity to deal with private members’ motions, I give honorable senators the assurance that advantage will be taken of it. As honorable senators are aware, it is desired to dispose of Government business in a reasonable time before the Christmas adjournment, and the altered procedure will operate only if it is found that we cannot spare the time for thediscussion of private members’ business. I ask honorable senators to accept this assurance. It is not as if it were proposed to close the session. Parliament will resume some time in the New Year when there will again be anopportunity to deal with any private members’ business that remains on the notice-paper.
– I rise to make a personal explanation mainly. I objected last night to this motion being treated as formal because I knew that Senator Grant desired to submit an amendment to it. I thank the right honorable Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) for his courtesy in postponing consideration of the motion until to-day.
. -Although I have on the noticepaper a motion relating to a subject in which I take some interest, I recognize that,- at this particular stage of the session, it is desirable that the Government should have all the time possible at its disposal to deal with Government business. I shall bc gla’d now if the Minister wilt be good enough to state what business the Government intends to present and deal with between now and the Christmas adjournment, and also when Parliament is expected to rise. If this information, is given, honorable senators will be in a position to make their arrangements.
– In view of the limited time available for the discussion of private members’ business, it is unfair that the Government should attempt to monopolize for the transaction of Government business, the whole of the session between now and the Christmas adjournment. It is true the motion states that “ unless otherwise ordered,” Government business shall take precedence of all other business; our experience has been that whenever this motion has been agreed l.o, pri-vaté members’ business has gone by the board. I am opposed to this being done. The Senate has ample time, in my opinion, between Tuesday and Friday, both days inclusive, to deal with any business’ placed before it by the Government, keeping Thursday evening free for the consideration of matters outside tlie Government’s programme. Besides myself, Senators Foll, Thomas and Elliot have all deemed it desirable to bring before the Senate certain matters which they regard as of first-class public importance. The only opportunity for us to do this in a formal way is by giving notice of motion. The mere discussion of the question, unless it is agreed to, does not get one far. The notice of motion standing in my name is most important. I therefore move, as an amendment -
That tlie following words be added to the motion: - “and the motion in the name of Senator Grant regarding the establishment of a wireless sta.tion at Canberra.”
In justification of my attitude, I refer honorable senators to the scanty reports concerning the proceedings of the Senate that have appeared in the columns of the daily press this week. I doubt if the publicity given to the work of this chamber exceeds three inches daily. On the other hand, ‘the fullest publicity is given to any unusual incident that occurs in another place. The manner in which the speeches of members are manipulated by the daily press is disgraceful. The reports contain words that are not to be found in the English language. My remarks, when submitting this motion the other evening, were scarcely noticed, but the fullest publicity was given to the offensive and objectionable statements made by Senator Duncan.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. Sir John Newlands). - The honorable senator will not be in order in attributing such language to another honorable senator.
– If you, sir, peruse the reports in the daily press-
– The honorable senator is now reflecting upon the Chair. Had the statement to which he refers been considered offensive, it would not have passed unnoticed by the Chair.
– But I do not think you were in the Chair at the time. I am objecting to what appears in the press; those words are not recorded in Hansard. Although the press supplies the people of Australia with information concerning this Parliament that is quite incorrect, we have no redress.
– I rise to a point of order. The question before the Chair is that Government business shall take precedence over private members’ business until a certain date and to that Senator Grant has moved an amendment. I submit that the honorable senator is going beyond the scope of his amendment.
– I rise to order. Senator Pearce has moved a definite motion proposing to set aside private members’ business up to and including 17th December, to which I have moved, by way of an amendment, that the following words be added - “ and the motion in the name of Senator Grant regarding the establishment of a wireless station at Canberra “. I know that I am not at liberty to discuss the whole question of wireless broadcasting from Canberra, but in support of the amendment I am entitled to refer to the unfair attitude of a section of the daily press in giving so little publicity to the proceedings in this chamber. By wireless transmission from Canberra, honorable senators could obtain the publicity to which they are entitled. I submit that the point of order raised by Senator Foll is untenable.
– Up to the present the honorable senator’s remarks have been relevant to the amendment.
– It cannot be said that my motion is frivolous* I am in deadly earnest in regard to this matter. Otherwise I should not ask the Senate to hear me at all upon the subject. It is unreasonable to ask that a motion of such outstanding importance should be swept aside to make room for Government business. It is unthinkable. If honorable senators received a reasonable degree of consideration from the press, I should not feel compelled to ask the Senate to agree to the establishment of a wireless station at Canberra for the purpose I have indicated. On one occasion Senator Lynch directed attention to the fact that an ordinary dog-fight received more publicity from the daily, press than the proceedings in this chamber. I recall the occasion when certain press representatives were excluded from the chamber, because of the unfair attitude they adopted toward some of the people’s representatives. I have not gone to the extent of suggesting that that should be done, but I think I would be fully justified in so doing. If the motion is agreed to, the private business in the name of Senator Thomas, Senator Foll and myself will not be discussed until next year. In the ordinary course of events Parliament will adjourn over the Christmas vacation, and between now an the date on which we adjourn, the Senate will be fully engaged in transacting Government business. There is no justification for squeezing out the small number of motions on the notice paper in the name of private members. The records in Hansard give a full report to those who read them; but the daily newspapers take scarcely any notice of our proceedings, and when they do, endeavour to discredit the Senate. The scheme I have suggested provides a way out of the difficulty. I am not suggesting that the proposed wireless station should be utilized entitrely for transmitting speeches from this Parliament, because, when Parliament is not in session, it could be used as an ordinary broadcasting station. A great volume and variety of news could be transmitted by the Commonwealth; but my primary objective is to place the views of the people’s representatives before the country. When Mr. Amery, the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, was here a few weeks ago, thousands of persons took advantage of the opportunity to listen-in to the speeches delivered. As there are approximately. 250,000 listeners-in in the Commonwealth who pay licences, they should not be debarred from listening, if they so desire, to the speeches of their elected representatives. I do not wish to discuss this matter further, but I think it unfair for the daily press to disregard all the arguments adduced on important topics, and magnify and circulate, as they have done, any scurrilous and scandalizing statements made in regard to the scheme I am advocating.
– The honorable senator will not be in order in discussing a motion on the notice paper.
– Perhaps the Government will give honorable senators an opportunity on Thursday evening next to dispose of the private member’s business on the business-paper. If it, should then be found impossible to do so, I am sure that those honorable senators who have motions on the notice-paper, would be prepared to meet the Government in an amicable spirit. I ask the Senate to support my amendment.
Senator LYNCH (Western Australia)
I’ll. 28]. - The motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Pearce) is such as we should expect at this time of the year. Such a large volume of important work is coming to the Seriate that it will be an almost superhuman task for us to do adequate justice to it in the time allotted. Only two weeks are allowed to discuss subjects of such serious and transcendent importance that it is difficult to undera stand how they can be effectively debated. There is, I understand, a measure to ratify the proposed adjustment of the financial relationship between the Commonwealth and the States, which in itself, is of such a nature that the Senate should spend weeks upon it in order to properly dissect and analyse it. I hope that we shall have an opportunity to deal with that measure. Could it not be introduced first in this chamber, and discussed fully here, rather than that we should spend our time considering details of a comparatively unimportant measure like the Electoral Bill? I do not say that in considering bills of minor importance the Senate is wasting time, because any time devoted by this chamber to the discussion of legislation is never wasted. Unfortunately, much of the work of the Senate is not made public. As the greater portion of an iceberg is below the surface of the water, so the great bulk of the work of tlie Senate is not seen. The electors know little or nothing of the time spent by their representatives in studying various problems with a view to dealing with them in a proper manner when legislation affecting them is under discussion. In the past I have endeavoured to secure greater publicity for the work of the Senate, and have even introduced motions urging that greater prominence should be given in the press to happenings in this chamber, but, unfortunately, I have received little support. I recognize that this session has been an extraordinary one, and that abnormal circumstances have prevented the Government from following its usual course. Nevertheless, more measures could have been introduced in this chamber instead of in another place, and by that means have the work equalized. A number of measures now before another place will probably reach the Senate next week. What chance shall .we then have to do justice to them,? Measures of first-class importance have yet to be dealt with by us, but we shall not have time to deal with them as they deserve. Next week we may be asked to deal with amendments to the tariff. If I were to express my real views about the tariff, they would probably not be complimentary to the Government - and I always like to give the Government credit when it deserves credit, which, however,’ is very seldom. Is this Senate merely to open its mouth and swallow without question what comes to it from another place? Those critics who have endeavoured to belittle this chamber, and to lower it in public esteem, forget that on the occasion, when there was a double dissolution, the
Senate more accurately reflected public opinion throughout Australia than did another place. That should not be forgotten, although it too often is. Notwithstanding the attempts of a small section to lower .the prestige of the Senate, the stand it has taken on various occasions is appreciated by all fair-minded persons in the community. I hope that something will be done to enable the Senate to do justice to the measures with which it is called upon to deal. Some of the more important questions which have yet to come “ before us should be either initiated in this chamber or postponed until sufficient ‘ time to deal with them properly is available. I realize the magnitude of the task which confronted the Government in connexion with the transfer of the seat of government to Canberra, and I admit that, in the special circumstances, it could not have done otherwise than it has done. But the result has been that this chamber has been made to suffer. It is not fair that we should be called upon to deal with important items of legislation in such a restricted time. Such treatment of this chamber provides some justification for the press not giving publicity to the solid work done here, although prominence is given to happenings elsewhere which have a tendency to lower the people’s esteem for parliamentary institutions. If the Senate were to engage periodically in a series of squabbles and unseemly wordy collision greater publicity would be given to those incidents than is now given to its more peaceful and intelligent deliberations. Nevertheless, rather than that the Senate should come into prominence in that way, I prefer that the press should remain silent concerning it. Even at this late stage in the session, I ask the Government to treat this chamber fairly, and not to bring forward legislation of an important nature without allowing sufficient time for us to deal with it as it deserves.
[11.40]. - I hope that the Senate will not agree to the amendment moved by Senator Grant. As pointed out by Senator Lynch, it is usual towards the end of a session for the Leader of the Government to move that preference be given to Government business, and for the Senate to agree to the motion. The right honorable the Leader of the Government in this chamber has already given an undertaking that, if the condition of the notice-paper permits it, an opportunity will be given later for private members’ business to be discussed. The honorable senator should accept that undertaking. In reply to Senator Thomas, who inquired the nature o.f the business likely to be brought before the Senate before the end of the session, I desire to say that after consideration of the Appropriation Bill, two bills dealing with income tax, and one dealing with land tax, will be brought forward. We may also have before us the wireless agreement, the financial agreement with the States, and the tariff.
Original question resolved in the affirmative.
Debate resumed from 30th November (vide page 2273), on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce) -
That the bill be now read a first time.
– In accordance with the quaint and interesting custom which obtains in this Parliament in relation to the first reading of money bills, a great multiplicity of subjects is open to discussion at this stage. Roughly speaking, the subjects discussed divide themselves into two classes - matters dealing with the development of Australia, and those relating to what I might call the polemics of politics. So far as the second class is concerned, I admit that it leaves me somewhat cold. Yesterday afternoon and evening we had a very typical polemical debate - a debate which did not do much credit to this chamber, in which a large amount of party feeling was exhibited - a debate, moreover, which sank to lower levels than any debate I have known during my experience as a member of this Senate ; and it resulted in the Government being given an assurance which I do not think was necessary. The Government has always obtained from its supporters that good and adequate degree of support that it deserves, and sometimes, I may add, even a generous degree of support.
I shall, however, say no more of discussions of that nature, but shall now deal with a few matters affecting the development of this great country. I desire particularly to refer to the territories of the Commonwealth. In doing so, I speak as one who wishes to obtain information as to the Government’s intentions concerning those territories, and, particularly, the nature of the relations between them and the Commonwealth as a whole. I do not think we have ever had in this chamber a clear statement of those relations. It is true that they are laid down in various acts of parliament, but acts of parliament to a great extent depend upon the way in which they are administered. Honorable senators, for the most part, do not realize to what extent we are concerned with these territories; they do not seem even to realize their vast area. Of a total area of about 2,500,000 square miles comprising the Commonwealth, 705,513 square miles comprise Commonwealth territories of which we not only hear so little, but for which we also do so little. Not sufficient time is devoted to their present development, or to planning for their future development. The greatest of those is the Northern Territory, which comprises an area of 523,000 square miles. We have passed two acts dealing with that territory, but it is only as a result of questions, which are sometimes awkward to frame, that we can obtain any information as to how development is progressing there. I should like to know the manner in which the new administration is performing its functions, what steps have been taken to establish an adequate service and, generally, what are the future prospects from both an administrative and a developmental point of view. Its geographical inclusion in the continent of Australia renders it to me, and I dare say also to other honorable senators, very much less interesting and intriguing than its neighbours on the north - the territories of Papua and New Guinea. South Australia was charged with the administration of the Northern Territory for many years. That State has always been given very good service for the money it has expended, however small it might be. Because of that characteristic it has been styled the Scotland of Australia. If it was not within the power of South Australia to bring about more progress than it did in the Northern Territory, some stimulus greater than any at present in bight will be needed if better results are to be achieved by the Commonwealth Government, whose control I may be pardoned for saying is likely to be more lax than was that of South Australia.
– The State of South Australia did as much as it could, with the funds that were available, for the Northern Territory.
– I am giving every credit to South Australia. My point is that if that State, which is notorious for getting a very great deal for as little as possible, could make such slight progress in the Northern Territory, the Commonwealth is likely to have an extremely hard task to improve upon it. There is one point about which I am exceedingly curious; that is the possibility of adding to the territory portions of Western Australia and Queensland, with the consent of those two States, provision for this having been made in the Northern Australia Act. A very great deal of the value of this project, from the point of view of Western Australia, depends upon whether the people of that State will accept the proposition that the Commonwealth shall take over that portion of their territory which is alluded to in the act. I am a Western Australian of very long residence in that State. I have travelled extensively in it, and am acquainted with the country and, I hope, the feelings of the people who inhabit it. I believe that there is no chance of Western Australia conceding to either the Commonwealth or any one else the whole of its area which lies north of the 20th parallel, south latitude; but, on the other hand, I believe that both the people and the Government would regard very favourably any project which concerned the taking over by the Commonwealth” of that portion of the State which lies north ;pf,,the 20th degree south latitude. That portion can be developed only by an amount of finance that i« not within the means of the State to obtain, but its development would make it a wonderful asset to the Commonwealth, because centres of population would be established exactly . where they are needed for purposes of defence. I hope that action along these lines may be taken in the future.
Let me now skip across the Torres Straits into Papua and New Guinea. Judging by the utterances of honorable senators, those territories are far more interesting to them, and of greater importance to Australia, than is the future of the Northern Territory. I have been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to see, at close hand, a cry groat deal of them. Certainly the lime at my disposal was limited; but I can assure honorable senators that I made the best use. of it, and I believe that I travelled with my eyes not altogether closed. I have seen practically the whole coastline of Papua. Few people have seen very much of the interior. From Daru, in the far west, to Buna Bay, on the north-east coast, I was fortunate in having the opportunity - because I travelled in fi small craft and under no definite orders - to see a very great deal of coastline that is not often visited by casual tourists, and to inspect, at close hand, the resources of the country so far as they have been developed. New Guinea is more interesting than Papua. It is slightly larger in extent, and very much greater in its possibilities. As a matter of fact, when the partition’ of the island was made between Great Britain and a former foe, the Germans were given a very great deal the better of the bargain. It is a pity that we are obliged to admit it, but they developed the portion which they held to a far greater extent than did Great Britain the portion which it administered. We received in New Guinea, a legacy in the shape of towns, roads and plantations, the loss of which the Germans must have felt keenly, but the value of which we do not appreciate sufficiently. One of the greatest assets of both of these territories is undoubtedly the native population. Before I saw the country or made even the casual and passing study of the native population that within recent years 3 have had the opportunity to make, 1 wondered why such an academic subject as anthropology was included in the knowledge which had to be possessed by any person who took part in the administration of these Territories. But when I learned that within their borders there is what might almost be called a museum of the human race, that each territory is undoubtedly one of the greatest meeting places of races that could possibly be found, and that they have problems connected with the purity of races which have puzzled the anthropologists of the present day; and when I saw the immense difference in the colour, the appearance, the mentality and the temperament of the various races that go to make up the population, I could understand why some person - possibly the first Governor, Sir William MacGregor, or the present Governor, Sir Hubert Murray - in his wisdom had deemed it necessary to stipulate that whoever was appointed to a responsible position should have some little knowledge, at all events, of anthropology. In this juxtaposition of races there lies both the strength and the weakness of this country in respect of its future development. Let me give a typical example. I hope that it will interest honorable senators; it certainly interested me. On a little island not far from Daru, in the far west of Papua, there is a tribe comprising, I should say, from 6,000 to 8,000 people, which is altogether different in appearance, physique, temperament and mentality from those that surround it; a tribe which, presumably, has been there for centuries, but has retained its racial characteristics in spite of the fact that it is now in close contact, and formerly was in frequent warfare, with its neighbours. Frequent warfare, I point out, has always in the history of man provided the best means of mixing races. It was a pleasing habit of the victors to carry with them, when they returned to their own country, not only goods and chattels but also wives. That appears to have been avoided by these Kiwais. Those who have been in New Guinea can appraise the value of these boys to the territory. They exhibit a cheery temperament, a willingness to work, a sense of humour, and a wonderful physique, that have marked them out as one of the best tribes in New Guinea. There are others who, whilst not possessing the same characteristics, are just as valuable. There is one great difficulty in the handling of the territory; that is the fact that it is divided rigidly into water-tight compartments. I allude to both Papua, which has always been ours, and New Guinea, which used to be German New Guinea but which we now hold under the somewhat unsatisfactory system of tenure that was devised as a sequel to the late great war. Even though the system of tenure is different in the two places, those who visit them and look a little below the surface must be convinced that amalgamation is absolutely necessary if they are ever to be great territories. Initial mistakes in the settlement of any country are unavoidable. We have numberless instances of that in Australia. The first arrivals went to this territory in vessels of a different class from that now. employed. They had a limited knowledge of the country. They lived, perhaps, in constant dread of the native inhabitants. Therefore it is, perhaps, not to be wondered al, that they chose their capitals for centres of administration, and principal towns, sites which, in the light df subsequent events, have proved absolutely unsuitable. There is one part of Papua which, I- think, has been marked out by nature, and undoubtedly should be adopted by man, as the centre of administration for those two territories. That is a position adjacent to the very beautiful island of Samarai. Those who have an acquaintance with the map of New Guinea can visualize it. Those who are acquainted with the geographical position of Singapore can visualize that also. The conclusion is inevitable that for all purposes - trading, administrative, developmental - Samarai is the Singapore of New Guinea. A great deal of saving and, I maintain, efficiency also, can’ be effected by the utilization of that site. The quick development of these undeveloped countries is a matter of the greatest importance to the Commonwealth. I hope, therefore, that the Government will consider the desirability of taking action in the direction I have indicated. I do not think that any difficulties are to be apprehended.’ It is necessary that in the first place the legislation of the two countries shall be assimilated. I have alluded to the native population as one of the greatest assets this country possesses. But that population, unfortunately, is not equally divided. Papua, which in resources is the poorer of the two, has by far the larger share of the native population; but there is a rigid law, or custom, or at any rate a practice, that no Papuan native shall go to New Guinea; and, I understand, that it applies vice versa, That it acts in the reverse way does not matter a great deal, because New Guinea has not enough natives of its own to cultivate the properties already there. From the examination that I made of the conditions under which the natives are employed, the system is undoubtedly a fair and proper one, and the rights of the natives are rigidly safeguarded - in some cases, it is thought, almost to too great an extent. When I speak of the employment of the natives, I am referring to a matter which can be discussed freely. It is an economic fact, and may be debated on lines that are good for both parties. While Papua has more natives than it can find employment for, New Guinea has fewer than it requires. To the South, again, in a group of islands which do not belong to us, but which I should wish did belong to us, if it were not for the fact that their possession by Australia would restrict development - I am referring to the Solomon Islands - there is a shortage of natives, and they could only be obtained from New Guinea or Papua. One of the greatest reasons why the administration of the two Territories should be under one authority is that it would assist in the settlement of the native labour problem, and the equitable distribution of the labour available.
– Why would the possession of the Solomons by Australia restrict their development?
– Because the Australian Government has a very restrictive influence on development in the tropics, and it is likely, as the development increases, to be more restrictive.
– The honorable senator, coming from Queensland, will realize that the production of tropical fruits, &c, in the Solomons or in the Mandated Territory, will be closely watched, with a not altogether too friendly eye, by the State of Queensland, which has precisely similar products. The islands are producing not only sugar, but also a lot of other tropical products in which Queensland would be their competitor. Australia’s administration of the Solomons, therefore, could not be altogether friendly.
– The markets of the world are open to the products of the Solomons.
– Yes ; but they are not open to us, and I doubt if they ever will be. I hope that the Leader of the Government will take note of what I have said, and let me have, at all events, some information on the points raised, and indicate, if he is in a position to do so, either now or at a later time, what the intentions of the Government are, if it has any intentions, in regard to the development of these territories on the lines to which I have alluded.
Another point on which I desire information is more or less a constitutional matter. These territories, one might say, are the Crown colonies of Australia. I should like to know what power they have to initiate legislation. Is it possible for the Australian Government to initiate legislation iu those two territories? If it is, a good deal of what I am about to say will have some point. If it is not, then I maintain that steps should be taken to give the Government of the Commonwealth that power.
A few days ago a Forestry Bill was introduced into this Chamber, and I received one of the disappointments of my life when I saw the measure. Early in 1923, just after I was elected to the Senate; but before I took my seat in this chamber, I began a correspondence with the Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) which, I hope I do not flatter myself, resulted in the establishment of a Commonwealth Forestry Department. I have taken a steady, not an effervescent, interest in forestry for a great many years. I started out on this correspondence with ideals. I thought that this department was to operate for the benefit of our purely Commonwealth territories, which comprise 705,513 square miles. I knew that we had available the services of the best forester who had ever come to, and remained in, Australia, and that his ideals were high. I believed that, by the establishment of a forestry department such as I pictured, an example and a stimulus could be given to the States, which, goodness knows, they very badly need. Matters moved very slowly, and when, as a result of some three years or so of thought, the bill was brought in I found that it was not a skeleton so much as one or two little bones. When T saw that the Forestry Act of my imagination, which I thought I had the right to expect, had yet to be realized, when I found that a scheme that provided for the forestry development of these 705,513 square miles was not thought of, when I found that the forestry policy of the Government comprized only the erection of a forestry school and indefinite forestry research, I thought that I had good reason to be disappointed. I think that many other Australian citizens were similarly dismayed. Is the Government going to take any steps that will lead to the development of the forests that already exist in our Federal Territories - and now I include the Northern Territory - which forests will be, in future, even if they are not now, of inestimable value, and which, in the case of Papua and New Guinea, have been thoroughly examined by the gentleman who is now in charge of forestry in the Commonwealth? Will the Government, in all the circumstances, take steps to ensure that forestry development in those parts shall be on a scale commensurate with its importance, or will it leave the matter in the perhaps willing, but not quite so capable, hands of the local administration, as has been the custom hitherto? I notice in the Forestry Bill that the InspectorGeneral of Forests has the right only to advise in respect of forestry matters in the territories. Apparently he is to have no control of anything except the forestry school. He is too good a man to be treated in that way. Then, again, what thought has the Government taken regarding the future of the graduates of the forestry school? The majority of the States have forestry departments with untrained men at their heads. Is it likely that these men are going out of their way to employ trained officers? Of course not. Would it not have been a good thing to include in this Forestry Act, if it is worth calling an act, the provision found in the Western Australia measure, that for every professional officer employed in the forestry department there should be a graduate of some recognized forestry school ? The time has passed when a forest ranger is able to direct the forest development of a country. For centuries past, forestry has been recognized on the continent of Europe, at all events, as an exact science that demands a great deal of education and application. It is a science that does not come to a man because he receives the title of head of a forestry department; but it can be learnt at recognized centres. We have those recognized centres, but what is the Government going to do with the graduates? Will this matter be dealt with on the same scale as that laid down in regard to the engineering schools? We have six engineering schools, but the men they train have to go outside Australia to secure employment. That is not proper. I am afraid that the Commonwealth Government is in danger of treating forestry very much as some other governments do. That- way reminds me of the mother whose infant is well dressed and petted in public, but is starved in private. We have these effervescent periods now and again - we had one the other day- -when everybody becomes enthusiastic and exclaims that afforestation is a remarkably fine thing for Australia and that the future of the country depends upon it. We have these declarations by responsible men, and then they go back to their offices and forget all about the subject for another year. Unless we do some real work, - we are in danger of losing the benefit even of the stimulus which these periods of effervescence stir up for the time being. The Government has an opportunity now such as is given to very few countries at this stage of the world’s development. Australia has territories on which no restrictive influence towards development has been exercised.
– Has the InspectorGeneral suggested any schemes for development ?
– I do not know. I cannot say whether he has been asked to do so; but he has a more thorough working knowledge of the forests of Papua and New Guinea than any other person in the world, and he has presented report in regard to those forests which “Would command ten or twenty times more respect in Europe than it has. received in Australia. “We have two huge territories with virgin forests of proved “value which can be developed - countries with every opportunity for afforestation as it has been practised in other parts of the world. I was in Java about ten years ago, and honorable senators will know that the tenure of Java by a small nation like the Dutch is not too secure. Java thinks so much of her forests that at the time of my visit, she had just finished planting 500,000 acres of teak, well knowing that an axe could not be put into it for 80 or 100 years.
When I was in Papua- I saw an instance of the genius of the Germans in connexion with the same industry. At Madang there is an avenue of teak trees which have made marvellous growth within a very short time. I understand that there are not hundreds of thousands, but millions of acres in Papua which can be utilized in the same way. Of course “afforestation is an altruistic industry. If we engage in -it we do so for the benefit, not of the present, but of succeeding generations. Where would the British Empire, be to-day if the people who were responsible for its development and expansion had thought only of themselves? In a’l these undertakings we have to think of the welfare of succeeding generations. I entreat this Government, therefore. to revive once more that interest in forestry which it exhibited a little while ago, and not to treat it as a petted child, but as n child which, given average treatment, will attain to lusty manhood, and all that manhood implies. 1 am sorry that Senator Findley is, for the moment, absent from the chamber, because I fear that in what I am about to say I shall tread upon his political corns. I am about to suggest that his pet bugbear, the Development and Migration Commission, has a wide and useful .field for its operations in our territories. Unlike the honorable senator, I have a very high opinion of the commission which has come into being at a time when we in Aus- tralia, in our endeavour to build up our varied industries as quickly as possible, should be giving serious attention to those advanced scientific principles which hitherto have been conspicuous by their absence in Australia, but the application of which has led to the prosperity of uther countries. The words of the late Cecil Rhodes might well be applied to Australia : - “ So much to do, so little done.”
Lt is only natural that the commission, having regard to the magnitude of the task ahead of it, and having a full knowledge of the importance of the application of science to industry, should display a tendency to take on a few more subjects than it is able to handle with the funds and the staff at its disposal. That is the only fault which I have to find with it. I know that Mr. Gepp, the chairman, is always willing and anxious to give consideration to any new phase of the work that lies before him, notwithstanding that already he has quite enough to carry for the time being, and that additional tasks will hamper his work. This may account for the fact to which Senator Findley has directed attention, that the chairman of the commission has travelled so extensively throughout Australia.
– Did the honorable senator have the Development and Migration Commission in mind when he said “so much to do; so little done”?
– Yes, I did, because up to the present although it has not done overmuch, I realize that the task which awaits it is a hundredfold greater. That there is a danger of this, I am fully prepared to admit.
I turn now to a subject in which I know Senator Ogden is interested. After correspondence with the Prime Minister’s department for about four years, on the subject of the development of the fishcries of Australia, I know that the investigations to be made in connexion with this phase of our activities have been entrusted to the Development and Migration Commission, and that considerable progress has been made. I am hoping that a great deal will be done in this direction at a minimum of cost. By this I mean that the States are being induced to take an interest in the subject.
If we can be sure of their co-operation with the Commonwealth Government it should be possible for us to develop this important source of wealth which we have around our coasts. I am sure that the commission will earn the gratitude of the people of Australia if, as a result of its activities in this direction, it will be possible for our citizens to obtain this most valuable article of diet at anything under half the present prices.
I feel that; I have already detained the Senate at considerable length, and I must apologize for so doing. I should apologize, also, for displaying a good deal of feeling with regard to those things which may not be within, the polemics of politics, the discussion of which occupies about 75 per cent of the time of most parliaments in the British Empire. A poet of the Victorian era says -
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate’er is bestadminister’d, is best.
It is true thathis reputation was somewhat tarnished later by the expression of certain views concerning the democracy and the nobility; but I think there is a good deal of commonsense in the couplet which I have just quoted. I am afraid that honorable senators opposite sometimes regard me as an example of a party man, but I do not think they are right. I hold strong convictions, and when the occasion demands, I do not hesitate to express them, but my party predilections are not great. I can truly say, however, that my aim is the development of Australia in order that we. may find many more avenues for the profitable employment of our people, and that Australia may be in a position to play its part in supplying the needs of the world’s population.
Senator THOMAS (New South Wales; [11.23]. - I desire to congratulate the Government on the appointment, recently, of another royal commission. Its action, I believe, somewhat cheered its supporters, because for four of five weeks previously the ministry had not given any indication that it intended to add still another royal commission to the many already in existence. There was a fear, if I may use an Australian colloquialism, that the Government had lost its “ punch.” But having appointed another quite lately, there is still hope that it will continue the good work, and we shall not be able to speak of it as an extinct volcano. I understand that the latest royal commission will inquire into the drought problem. If its members can find a solution for that great handicap to the development of Australia’s primary industries, it will indeed render good service to this country; I was under the impression that the Development and Migration Commission, having such a wide field for investigation, had complete authority to inquire into everything “ in the heavens above or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth, “ and I could not help thinking that the drought problem came within the scope of its inquiries.
– There is no clanger of the royal commission industry languishing while this Government is in office.
– That is so.
I desire to protest against an answer which I received a few days ago from the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs. Honorable senators are entitled to expect accurate information. If the Ministry does hot wish to supply answers to certain questions, it would be better for honorable senators to be so informed in plain language. A few weeks ago I asked what was the annual consumption of sugar in Australia, what was the price per ton in Australia, and what was the price outside Australia. I. was informed that the annual consumption in Australia was about £330,000.I presume that that figure is fairly correct. I was also advised that the wholesale price in Australia was £30 6s. 8d. a ton for refined sugar for fruit processing; £3611s. 9d. a ton for refined sugar for other purposes, and £32 15s. 6d. a ton for mill white sugar. I take it that those figures also are correct. The reply to my question as to the price outside Australia was to the effect that foreign prices vary according to the rates of duty in the various countries. Of course they vary. I was told that the price in England was £30 5s. a ton ; in Canada £30, and in the United States of America £28. Why was the answer limited to those three countries? Why was not mformation supplied as to the price of sugar in Cuba, Java, New Zealand and other countries? The quotations given -were, of course, the price plus the duty. Great Britain raises £17,000,000 a year from its revenue duties on sugar, so the price in the Mother Country must be plus the duty. I asked also if any rebate was allowed on the purchase of sugar used in the making of jam for export, and was informed that the rebate was £12 15s., thus making the price of sugar to the manufacturer of jams for export £17 lis. 8d. I should like to know if Australian housewives making jam for their own use, are also in a position to buy sugar at the Australian price, less the amount of rebate allowed to the export manufacturers.
– No. Rebate is allowed only on sugar used in the manufacture of commodities for export, and is equivalent to the amount of duty.
– I know that the same concession is not extended to housewives who use sugar in jam-making; but I should like to know if jam manufacturerssuch as Jones and Company, of Hobart, who manufacture largely for local consumption, receive a similar rebate.
– No, but they get the benefit of a special price of £30 6s. 8d. a ton. As the £1 shares of many of the jam manufacturing companies in Australia are selling at £2 10s. they cannot be doing too badly.
– I am not thinking of the manufacturers, but of the consumers. There is au import duty on jam.
– Yes, of 3d. per lb.
– Consumers in Australia who purchase Australian jam have to pay at the rate of £12 15s. a ton more for its sugar contents than is paid by the consumers of that jam when it is exported either to Great Britain or to the Dominion of New Zealand. To my mind that is unfair to the Australian consumers.
A few days ago I asked a question concerning the mail subsidy, a subject in which I have taken a good deal of interest, and I was informed that the Government paid £130,000 a year for a four-weekly service between England and Australia, which amount covers the carriage of mails and a certain area of refrigerating space. In 1897 a contract was entered into between the British Government and the Orient and Peninsular and Oriental Companies for the carriage of mails between England and Australia, under which these two companies were paid £170,000 a year for a weekly service. Of this amount, £72,000 was paid by Australia, and the balance by the British Government. The vessels of the Peninsular and Oriental Company and the Orient Company picked up the mails on alternate weeks.
– As that was before Federation, the States must have contributed.
– Yes; I believe they did so on a population basis. In 1905 the subsidy was increased by £10,000. In 1906 Australia’s contribution amounted to £120,000 for a two-weekly service, and in that year the Commonwealth entered into a contract on its own behalf with the Orient Company, as the British Government refused to be a party to a contract which provided that Iascar stokers should not be employed on vessels carrying Australian mails. For two years £120,000 a year was paid to the Orient. Company. As the Commonwealth was under the impression that it was paying too much, it gave the Orient Company notice that in two years’ time the contract would be reviewed. In the interim, the Government endeavoured to get another company to take up the mail contract, and a British company offered to provide better facilities, larger boats, and a certain amount of refrigerating space, which was then an innovation. The Government, of which Mr. Deakin was the leader, asked Parliament to ratify an agreement with that company, but some honorable members did not think that it could be carried out because of the opposition of other important shipping interests. They proved to be right. The Commonwealth Government had then to fall back upon the Orient Company, which undertook to carry our mails for £170,000 a year for a fortnightly service. It was then suggested for the first time that refrigerating space should be provided, and the contract embraced the carriage of mails and the provision of refrigerating space. In answer to a question I asked some time ago I was informed that the Government is paying the Orient Company £130,000 a year for a four-weekly service; but the information with which I was supplied through the Postmaster-General’s Department was that that amount covered the mail service and also refrigerating space. I am anxious to know how much of the £130,000 is for the carriage of mails and hov much for the refrigerating space provided. On a poundage rate our mails could be carried by the Orient Company for £30,000 a year, because the P. and O. Company, to which we do not pay a subsidy but which carries our mails on a poundage rate, carries more of them than does the Orient Company.
– The P. and O. Company receives a subsidy from the British Government.
– Yes, and the Commonwealth pays it on a poundage basis, and it carries a larger quantity of our mail matter than does the Orient Company. Immediately mails are ready for despatch from Australia they are forwarded by the first vessel available, and if the vessels of the P. and O. Company left twice as often as those of the Orient Company a correspondingly large tonnage of mail matter would be carried by the mail boats of the former line. According to the information I received from the Government, the subsidy of £130,000 is for a four- weekly service, and consequently we are not entitled to receive a more frequent service from the Orient Company. On a poundage basis I do not think we are paying more than £30,000 a year to the P. and O. Company. I have carefully perused the PostmasterGeneral’s report, but cannot find the actual amount which the Commonwealth is paying to the P. and O. Company.
– The P. and O. Company would not carry Australian mails unless it received a subsidy from the British Government.
– Mail matter would be carried by the company on a poundage basis even if the British Government did not subsidize the company; but doubtless we get the benefit of the British Government’s contribution. Of the £130,000 paid to the Orient Company as mail subsidy a proportion is really paid for refrigerating space. I understand that the mails carried by that company could be carried for about £30,000 per annum. In that case, £100,000 is paid for the refrigerated space provided. I should like to know whether we are getting value for that expenditure. It is significant that the Peninsula and Orient Company actually carries more mail matter between Australia and Great Britain than is carried by the Orient Company, although the former receives no mail subsidy. In a letter dated 27th October, 1927, the PostmasterGeneral’s Department wrote -
In February, 1925, Peninsular and Oriental vessels under contract to the United Kingdom post office commenced to run a fortnightly service, which is still maintained, as against a 28-day service by Orient contract vessels, as the result of which the Peninsula and Oriental Line carried the greater proportion of the mails and thus reduced the earning capacity of the Orient contract line.
Even supposing that my estimate of £30,000 for the carrying of mails is too low and that a fairer basis would be £50,000, we are still paying £80,000 per annum to the Orient Company for its refrigerated space.
– One of the conditions of the contract with the Orient Company is that only white labour shall be employed on its vessels trading to Australia.
– That is so; but I remind the Minister that in a discussion which took place in Parliament in 1906, it was stated that the Orient Company had admitted that that condition did not increase its working expenses. Even supposing that only £50,000 of the subsidy is paid in respect of refrigerated space, I maintain that it is unfair to saddle the post office with that expenditure. It may be contended that as it is government expenditure it does not matter to which department it is charged; but with that contention I do not agree. I am in favour of penny postage; but if I were to suggest in this chamber that penny postage should again be adopted, the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral would immediately reply that that could not be done because the post office is not paying its way. How can it pay its way if it is saddled with £100,000, or even £50,000, which should be borne by another department? We are’ entitled to know whether the amount Of the Subsidy paid in respect of the refrigerated space has increased the amount o’f that space made available on vessels trading between England and Australia. As a result of inquiries which I havemade I find that the refrigerated space provided by vessels belonging to different lines trading between this countryand Great Britain is as follows: Commonwealth and Dominion Line, 7,750,000 cubic feet; the Federal and British India Line, 7,700,000 cubic feet; Australian Commonwealth Line o’f Steamers, 5,680,000 cubic feet ; Peninsula and Oriental Branch Line 5,100,000 cubic feet; Peninsular and Oriental Royal Mail Line,4,490,000 cubic feet; Aberdeen White Star Line, 3,700.000 cubic feet; White Star Line, 2,700,000 cubic feet; Holt’s Line, 2,300,000 cubic feet; Orient Company, 2,250,000 cubic feet; Scottish Shire, 700,000 cubic feet - a total of 42,370,000 cubic feet. Honorable senators will see that the Orient Company, to which a subsidy is paid for the provision of refrigerated space, is next to last on that list. The refrigerated space on vessels belonging to the Orient Company trading between Australia and Great Britain is as follows: - Orama, 174,000 cubic feet;Otranto,156,000cubic feet: Oronsay, 152,000cubic feet; Ormonde, 104,600 cubic feet; Orvieto, 95,000 cubicfeet; Orsova, 88,000 cubic feet; and Osterley, 87,000 cubic feet, making a grand total of 952,600 cubic feet for the vessels ofthat company. The steamers belonging to the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers,to which no subsidy is paid, provide . refrigerated space as follows - Esperance Bay and Largs Bay each 362j000 cubic feet; jervis Bay, Moreton Bay, and Hobson’s Bay, each 360,000 cubic feet; Fordsdale, 158,000 cubic feet; and Ferndale) 157,000 cubic feet, a total of 2,119,000 cubic feet. If we reduce those figures to tons, on the basis of 4.0 cubic feet to the ton, we find that the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamersprovides refrigerated space for 142;000 tons of cargo as against 56,000 tons . provided by vesselsbelonging to the Orient Company. The Australian
Commonwealth Line of Steamers is third iri the list of shipping lines trading with Australia, so far as the provision of refrigerated space is concerned.
– Am I to understand that the Orient Company gets a subsidy for providing a stated amount of refrigerated space?
– According to the Post Office authorities, although £130,000 is paid to that company as a mail subsidy, a portion of the amount is paid to ensure that a certain amount of refrigerated space is made available.
– Then we get the refrigerated space in the other vessels for nothing. It appears to be a profitable undertaking for the Orient Company.
– The right honorable the Leader of the Government, when referring to the proposal to dispose of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, said that as that Line carried only 7 per cent. of the cargo between Australia and Great Britain, its influence in shipping circles was practically negligible. In that case, I ask him what effect can the small amount of refrigerated space provided by the Orient Company have. Out of 42,370,000 cubic feet Of refrigerated space it provides only 2,250,000 cubic feet. We are entitled to ask whether the payment of this subsidy has improved refrigerating facilities On vessels trading between this country arid Great Britain, and whether the Orient Company has advanced with the times. Honorable senators may recollect that the Public Accounts Committee recently investigated the finances of the Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers, and submitted both a majority and a minority report I propose to quote an extract from the majority report.Under the heading, “ Benefits of the Line,” that majority report states-
By the building of themodern “ Bay “ and “Dale” steamers the Commonwealth Line had impelled other owners to improve their ships and services; and by the provision of experimental refrigerated chambers in its ships it had encouraged andrendered possible the successful marketing of Australian soft and citrus fruits overseas. Goods carried in thesechambers, it mightbe mentioned, pay no freightunlesstheyarriveattheir destination in good condition.
That report gives tothe Australian Commonwealth Line of Steamers,not to the Orient Company, to which a large subsidy is paid-, the credit fbr having improved the refrigerated space in the vessels of the various companies trading between England and Australia. Our own Line not only provided better and more up-to-date refrigeratedspace, but compelled the other companies to do likewise.
SenatorFoll. - That evidence was given by the heads of the Australian Commonwealth Line:
-This is stated to be one of the benefits of the Line. As the majority of the Committee favour the sale of the Line, we can take it for granted that anything for which it gives the Line credit is somewhere near the truth. The Leaderof the Senate (Senator Pearce), in his speech oh a previous motion, outlined the conditions upon which the vessels would be sold. One of those conditions is that the Line shall remain in the Australian trade. Does the Government intend to allow the company which purchases the boats to compete in refrigerated space with another company to which it pays a subsidy of £130,000 a year ?
– The amount of space provided by the Orient Company is only a fraction of what is required.
-Of course it is. I am arguing that we should not pay a subsidy.
– Is it not necessary to work under a contract to ensure that the company will run to a schedule?
– Thirty years ago that might have been justified, but today the competition which exists renders it unnecessary. I have riot a word to say against the Orient Company; we owe a good deal to it. On one occasion I went to Wes’tern Australia by an Orient boat. During the voyage I had a conversation with the captain, in which he said, “ I feel sure that you will be pleased to hear that on this boat we have not only all white men, but also all British subjects.”
I believe I voice the view of all honorable senators when I say that the speech which was delivered by the Leader of the Senate respecting the Geneva Conferenceafforded us considerable pleasure. I agree with a great deal of what the right honorable senator said. I anl wholly with him iri believing that the pebpi’e of Australia do not take sufficient interest iri foreign affairs-. We had a striking illustration of that fact in a previous Parliament: The right honorable gentleman attended the Washington Conference, at which some very gbod work was done. Upon his return to Australia he gave the Senate a review of the proceedings. A speech along similar lines was delivered in theeither House by Mr. W. M. Hughes. The galleries were not even half filled, and the Sydney Morning Herald, which is probably the leading newspaper in Australia, published a reportonly seven inches in length ina back sheet. The following week the House of Bepresentatives had before it the question whether the people of the Commonwealth should pay a halfpenny a lb. more for their sugar.. The galleries were filled, the” Queen’s Hall in Melbourne was crowded, and it was difficult to secure the admittance of a friend for the purpose of hearing the proceedings. The Sydney Morning Herald in its next issue devoted 32 inches to the speeches which were delivered bli that occasion. I couldnot help contrasting the interestwhich was taken in foreign andhome affairs. I read on one occasion that the editorof the London Times wrote to one of his principal foreign correspondents iri Europe askirig him to try toincrease the circulation of that journal. The correspondent replied that it would be a very goodthing if more foreign news was published. The editor wrote back stating that a letter asking for suggestions had been sent to every subscriber, and that 17,000 replies had been received. A large number was satisfied with the paper, and did not want any alteration. Some suggested more sporting news, others more news in relation to the stock exchange. Only one of the replies suggested more news on foreign affair’s, and it was sent by a widow who had a son growing tea in Assam, and who wanted to learn more about that country.
Senator Pearce also toldus that we should give greater support to the League of Nations, and send our ablest men every year to its assemblies: I agree with him.I stand strongly for the League of Nations, in the belief that it is the hope of the world at the present time. I confess that I was sorry to hear the Minister’s explanation of one of the speeches he made at Geneva, in which he said that the tendency in Australia was to rely upon conciliation rather than arbitration. Surely it is not intended that the League of Nations shall take the place pf conciliation? It should function only when conciliation has failed. British statesmen in past years did not commit their country to war until they had exhausted every avenue of conciliation. I could not help contrasting that speech of the right honorable senator with the one which he made yesterday. In Geneva the gravamen of his argument was that we should press for conciliation rather than arbitration Yesterday he urged that we should place our reliance upon the Arbitration Court. Conciliation without arbitration is of no avail. It was tried in New South Wales and proved a failure. The father of Sir Robert Garran was the President of the New South Wales Conciliation Board, and did very good work. Conciliation must be supplemented by arbitration.
– Can you have conciliation when one party issues an ultimatum ?
– Conciliation can be tried first. The Arbitration Act does not take away the right to conciliate. The parties are advised to try conciliation first, and, if that should fail, to submit their case to the Arbitration Court.
The following statement is contained in a cablegram, which I noticed in the press a few days ago: -
Australia is to have the full and early benefit of any,Marconi development in wireless communication. Were it not for Australia, the British Empire would not be in possession of her wireless chain to-day.
It is most gratifying to know that Australia put up such a good fight for the beam system, and it would ill become us if we did not give full credit to the right honorable member for North Sydney for the stand that he as Prime Minister of Australia took at that conference. He stood out against all the experts, and gained the day. We are indebted to the late Marquis of Salisbury for the advice “ never to trust experts ; that according to clergymen nothing is pure, that if wc listen to a doctor nothing is wholesome, that according to a soldier nothing is safe, and that if soldiers had their way they would fortify the moon to save us from an invasion from Mars.” I am bound to pay my tribute to the ex-Prime Minister who is mainly responsible for the fact that the beam service is in operation to-day. When I think of what he did to provide ships to take our wheat to the markets of the world during the war, I cannot help thinking how rich we are as a Nationalist party inasmuch as we can say to a great man like Mr. Hughes : - “We have eleven or twelve men in our team who are abler and more distinguished than you are, but although, the great services you have rendered to Australia in the. past entitle you to be classed as a professional bowler, you can not be a member of the team.”
– I intend to refer to only one matter, and I feel sure that I have only to mention it to make the Government sec that the anomaly which I shall point out should be rectified. I refer to the tariff schedule, in so far as it relates to the timber industry. The only timber item included is rough Oregon. Honorable senators know that foreign timber is coming to Australia in ever-increasing quantities. It is now being imported at the rate of over 1,500,000 feet a day. From the United States of America we get Oregon and hemlock; from the Baltic States cheap pines already dressed, and from Borneo and other islands hardwoods, such as Manchurian oak; all of which come into direct competition with Australian timbers. The only protection contained in this schedule is that provided in regard to rough Oregon. Hemlock is almost akin to Oregon, and I am informed that if our overseas competitors sent us hemlock instead of Oregon, they could evade the extra protection now’ proposed. It seems unthinkable no extra protection is to be given against Baltic timbers that come here already dressed, and are sold in direct competition with our best flooring boards, weatherboards and linings, for which the timbers produced in the various States are eminently suitable. If I know anything about the purpose of our protective tariff, it is to enable “us to pay reasonable wages to Australian workmen, and to compete with the manufacturers of low-wage countries. In the Baltic countries the wages are £2 8s. a week as against £4 6s. in Australia. Baltic timber is brought here for 3s. lOd. a 100 feet, while it costs from 5s. to 7s. a 100 feet to ship timber from Tasmania to the mainland of Australia. Furthermore these Baltic timbers are already dressed for use in buildings. The Government has proposed protection against rough Oregon, so that if it has to be dressed before use the work will be done by Australian labour, but the dressing of the cheap Baltic stuff that is coming in is done by cheap foreign labour. That is obviously unfair. An expert who has looked through the tariff schedule, has pointed out to me that the proposed duty on rough Oregon under a specified size is lis. per 100 feet, and that if it is dressed in a certain way before it is shipped, the duty will only be 8s. 6d. a hundred. Surely a mistake has been made. The schedule must have been drawn up by an officer having an imperfect knowledge of the case. If a duty of 8s. 6d. had been placed on rough Oregon, although it would have been insufficient, and if a higher duty had been charged for Oregon dressed, it might have been more reasonable.
– Does the honorable senator suggest that this timber should be kept out of Australia?
– No. I suggest the imposition of a sufficient duty to enable us to use our own timber. A very high authority, the Conservator of Forests in Tasmania, points out -
Thu position, ‘as regards Tasmania, of the timber industry and its bearing on the whole forestry problem is very, very grave. At the present time, I should say that somewhere about half of the sawmills of Tasmania are closed. There is nothing that knocks the timber industry back as local importations of foreign timber, and makes it harder for us to get a grip of these forests at all.
The total numbr of mills in Tasmania, according to figures given by the same expert, is 178, of which 76 are are working ‘ whole or part . time, and 102 are closed. The number of employees under normal circumstances is 2,825, and” the number now employed is 1,145, the unemployed numbering 1,785. Similar conditions prevail in connexion with the tim ber industry in the other States. Mr. B. D. Hay, Forestry Commissioner of New South Wales, states -
Speaking for New South Wales, 1 can say without hesitation that our local industry has been seriously depressed since the war ended. During the great part of the war period it was exceptionally brisk, because imports failed, and we had to rely upon and utilize our own material.
Mr. E. H. F. Swaine, chairman of the Provincial Forestry Board in Queensland, states -
No figures can remove the fundamental truth that very large quantities of semihardwoods, hardwoods, and pine-top logs can be marketed only at a loss in competition with imported Oregon and Baltic, and that in consequence Australia is undermining its timber assets by enforced destruction of unprofitable forests.
– The honorable senator does not suggest that foreign timbers should be shut out.
– No; but our own timbers are infinitely superior for many purposes, for which cheap Baltic and hardwood, milled by coloured labour, is now used. I realize that for some purposes pines are necessary; but for most jobs our Australian hardwoods are ideal. Unfortunately, in the large cities one finds house after house being constructed without a stick of Australian timber. The tariff was surely designed to protect Australian industries from the competition of cheaplabour countries. If the Government will only consider the’ matter, it will realize that the anomaly to which I have drawn attention should be. rectified.
.- I commend the Government for its intention to “reduce taxation. It proposes to reduce both income taxation and land taxation, the reduction pf the latter being in pursuance of its policy of assisting the primary producers. If anything can be done to stabilize the finances of this country, it will be a step in the right direction, because the time has come when we should call a halt in our expenditure, both public and private. Last year our trade balance was £20,000,000 on the wrong side. Unfortunately, owing to bad seasons, it is estimated that there will be a loss this year of £17,000,000 in wheat, and £6,000,000 in wool, and the adverse trade balance will amount to, approximately, £73,000,000. The time has arrived when this and other Parliaments should seriously consider the financial position confronting Australia, but I have no doubt that the Commonwealth Government is giving the matter its closest attention.
I was surprised to learn in reply to a question I asked the other day that the Government did not consider it necessary that representatives of the goldmining industry should be allowed to put their case before the Tariff Board. It is astonishing that such a decision should have been reached when the representatives of the copper-mining industry were allowed to do so. In view of the decline of the gold-mining industry, which has been of such great assistance in the development of Australia, it is disappointing to find that its representatives are not to be allowed to state their case. We have bee,n informed from time to time by highly-qualified geologists that large quantities of gold should still be available in Australia. In the vicinity of Bendigo there are 100 miles of reef, only 20 miles of which have been exploited, and from which £86,000,000 worth of gold has been taken. If such great wealth has been won from such a comparatively short distance, it is only reasonable to assume that there must be a considerable quantity of gold still remaining to be mined. Mr. Dunn, the Victorian Government Geologist, has said that the prospects ii: tin Bendigo district are favorable, and I suppose the same can be said of many other places in Australia. A commission which investigated the conditions of the gold-mining industry in Western Australia reported that large quantities of payable mineral could be mined in that State if scientific prospecting methods were adopted. In ‘some instances sinking is done to a depth of 100 feet or 200 feet, and has then to be abandoned, but if scientific methods are adopted payable mineral may be mined at a much lower cost than is possible without the application of those methods.
There are so many anomalies at pre* sent in connexion with soldiers’ pensions that a thorough investigation should be made into the present system. I know of a soldier’s widow who has three chi.dren, and who receives a pension of only 6s. 9d. a week, 3s. 9d. of which is for her*
Self, ls. 2½d. for one child, ls* 1-Jch for another, and 9d* for the third. No sane person will say that a woman can keep herself and three children on 6s. 9d. a week. I have brought this matter under the notice of the Pensions Department, but up to the present I have not received any satisfaction* I have been promised the papers, and when they are made available I shall carefully peruse them, in an endeavour to ascertain why such a small amount should be paid. Another case that has been brought under my notice is that of a soldier who had portion of a leg blown off; in consequence of which a generous country allows him a pension of 14s. a week. His case has also been brought under the notice of the department, but as yet has not been satisfactorily settled. It is difficult to understand why Such low pension rates should be paid, particularly when a man receiving a 50 per cent* pension, and wish’ ing to have it increased to 100 per cent, because of alleged total disability, was informed that he could not be paid a higher rate unless he agreed to be de clared mentally deficient. He was as mentally alert as I am, yet he is now re*ceiving the higher rate. When such glaring anomalies exist, the Government should institute a thorough inquiry. If it did so I believe it would save money, as many persons at present receiving full and half pensions are not entitled to them.-
As it is the intention of the Government to spend further money on the lighthouse service, which I am pleased to note, I trust it will also endeavour to develop some of the outer ports in Australia on which Sir George Buchanan reported some time ago. I notice that the Victorian Government is adopting some of the recommendations’ of the Outer Ports Commission appointed by it, and intends to proceed with the development of Welshpool, in the Gippsland district. If more of our outer ports were developed trade and population would be decentralized, and large tonnages would then shipped from the outports, and primary producers would be saved large sums in railway freights.
Foreign Migration is now assuming such large proportions that it is time careful consideration was given to the subject, perhaps in the direction of adopting the quota system. It should be the policy of the Government to attract as many suitable Britishers as is possible, and at the same time regulate the flow of foreign migrants to Australia. The Salvation Army has been doing wonderful work in the matter of migration, and, for the information of the Senate, I quote the following from a letter I have received from that organization : -
During the last six years the Salvation Army has escorted to Australia nearly 7,000 souls - men, women and children - the bulk of whom we have taken full responsibility for. These arc generally made up of young women domestic servants. We meet them, house them, and fix them in situations. In addition, we give them three years personal aftercare, and during that period, with the most of them, at any rate, we are in regular touch. We have young women’s clubs established for their entertainment and encouragement. There are hundreds of positions available for such. In Western Australia we have a lodge which cost &),500, and which is for the use of the British young women and widows. A great many of those who have come to hand are farm youths, and here, again, we find that there are many applications for this class of labour. We have nineteen officers throughout the Statu centres whose whole time is devoted to the assistance of new arrivals. Over 400 widows, in addition to their children, have come here, and I think I can say that practically all are doing very well indeed. I have some splendid letters from some of them within the last few days. Then numbers of young men have come, but they have gone to the country for farm work…..
The Salvation Army’s organization in the Old Country is perfect, as it trains ou its own farms for a period of six months young men who wish to come to Australia. They are then presented at Australia House, where they are medically examined, and, if physically fit, come to Australia. As we spent £200,000 last year on migration, I trust that the Government will consider the advisability of assisting this organization which is doing such good work in the direction I have mentioned.
– It is being assisted.
– I am glad that such is the case. The Big Brother movement is also a fine organization. Mr. Richard Linton, the chairman of that organization, states -
The first shipment of boya arrived under our auspices in December, 1925. To date we have delivered into Victoria 009 boys; in New South Wales, 48fi. T might mention that since the inception of the movement we, in Victoria, have been working on a monthly requisition of 25 boys per month….. It might interest you to know that the move’ ment is appealing to parents at Home so much that our London organization has sufficient boys up till next March, and stopped recruiting in June last, which, I think, you will agree is most regrettable, particularly as we find a regular flow of foreigners coming into our country. It must be obvious to you that for every foreigner who arrives here it makes it doubly difficult to place a Britisher. We can claim 98 per cent, success with our boys. They are working enthusiastically on the land in all instances, and the ambition of the majority is to bring out, at a later date, their parents; and, further, we find that the boys are the best recruiters, for they are corresponding with their chums and schools in the Old Country urging their friends to come to the Commonwealth under our auspices.
Perhaps the Government might also assist the Big Brother movement, which is doing very fine work in selecting the right class of lads, and arranging foi them to be kept under supervision on and after their arrival in Australia.
I read only this week that the National Dairy Council at Ottawa has urged the Canadian Government to end the Australian trade treaty, and also to immediately apply a dumping- clause against New Zealand butter. The Canadian Council of Agriculture supported the demand. The delegation was received by the Prime Minister and eight members of Cabinet. Australia imports from Canada a great deal more than she exports to Canada. It behoves us to watch the movement to check the entry of our primary products into our sister dominion. I commend the Government for assisting the primary producers by reducing land taxation.
– The case put by Senator J. B. Hayes for our softwoods applies also to our hardwoods. Notwithstanding our keenness for protection, the timber industry seems to have been forgotten. Increased duties on imported timber are justified. While timber is imported for manufacture into furniture, our own timber, which is eminently suited for the purpose, is burnt or allowed to go to waste. The importation of timber has reached such dimensions that many Australian sawmills have been forced to close down, thus throwing large numbers of workmen out of employment.
I agree with Senator Andrew that the gold-mining industry should be assisted. The Minister said that the Government did not propose to pay a bounty on goldmining even to tide that industry over a difficult period.
– That was not the question raised. The Government was asked whether it would refer the question of a gold bounty to the Tariff Board, and I said that the Government did not intend to do so.
– I have not seen the interim report of the Development and Migration Commission on goldmining in Western Australia, but I agree with Senator Andrew that an industry which has been so largely responsible for making Australia what it is to-day, and has given employment to thousands of persons, should be assisted. The goldmining industry provides employment not only for those directly engaged on the mines, but also for many engaged in a number of other industries. The sum of £25,000 has been placed on the Estimates to assist prospecting. When we deduct from that amount the £10,000 to be spent in Northern Australia, there is not a great deal left to assist those who are endeavouring to find new gold-fields in other parts of Australia. It is a sad sight to see, in once flourishing mining districts, buildings and machinery abandoned and all removable parts taken away and sold. In Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie alone, private property valued at £1,000,000 is going to ruin, and men who have invested thousands of pounds in gold-mining are almost penniless. That condition of affairs exists notwithstanding that there still remain large deposits of ore from which 6 dwts. of gold to the ton can be obtained. Unfortunately, without the assistance of a bounty, it does not pay to mine that ore.
– What ore could be worked at a profit?
– With a bounty of 12s. a ton, 6 dwt. ore could be worked profitably, with the result that many mines which have closed down would be re-opened and thousands more people employed.
– What is the size of the reefs?
– They vary in size. One on the Boulder is about 90 feet wide; some are only 6 feet wide; the average width would be about 12 feet. I speak of the bigger mines. Many mines could be worked from the surface down, and would, therefore, not cost a great deal to develop. I believe that if the gold-mining industry were assisted for twelve months, it would then no longer require assistance. The £25,000 placed on the Estimates for prospecting for gold is as a drop in the ocean. At least ten times that amount should be provided. The Western Australian Government has assisted one mine to the extent of £50,000 to enable ,it to carry on. Senator Andrew said that in Victoria there was one reef 100 miles in length. According to a geological report on the Western Australian gold-fields, there is in that State an auriferous belt 1,000 miles long and 250 miles wide. There is plenty of room for prospecting that belt. Before gold was discovered in Western Australia, conditions in Australia were far from satisfactory; but the discovery of gold there did a great deal to alter that state of affairs. Hundreds of thousands of pounds passed through the post offices of the Commonwealth.
– One million pounds a year.
– Those moneys assisted materially at a time when things were far from satisfactory, and helped to make Australia what it is to-day. The Government seems willing to assist other industries, but it will not assist the gold-mining industry which has done so much for Australia. The sum of £7,000,000 has been expended in bounties on wine, meat and sugar, and in granting assistance to other industries, yet, when assistance for the gold-mining industry is sought, the Government replies that our gold-mines are a diminishing asset. It is within the bounds of possibility that by the end of this year those mines will be working on tribute and the number of men employed will be considerably reduced. What will become of those who now have their homes and families there? It may be argued that Western Australia has had a wonderful harvest. That is quite true. But if gold had not been discovered in that State the population would not have been attracted there and farms would not have been taken up.
SenatorFindley. - But for the discovery of gold Australia would not have been on the map.
– I shall be agreeably surprised if the report of the Development and Migration Commission recommends the assisting of the industry. Judging by the remarks of the Minister, the commission has not made that recommendation. I should like to know when its report will be available, so that we may learn the nature of its findings. We are at present in the dark and can only resort to conjecture. The gold-mining industry has been a boon not only to Western Australia but also to every other State. The ore is available and if a small bounty were given it could be worked. The opening of a number of mines would provide employment, either directly or indirectly, for thousands of people. Since I have been in the Senate I have never opposed the giving of assistance to other industries. I therefore ask honorable senators, irrespective of the party to which they belong, to try to induce the Government to assist this great industry, which has done so much for the welfare of Australia.
[3.34].-I trust that honorable senators do not expect me to traverse all that has been said during the debate, seeing that I have only a limited time at my disposal.
Senator Needham charged the Government with having failed to initiate a scheme of national insurance against unemployment. In approaching such a question, which touches not only unemployment, but also national health and various other matters, we must be sure of our ground and not make blunders. An investigation has been made by a royal commission, which has presented reports to Parliament. There is an important aspect of the matter which cannot be dealt with lightly or airily, as the honorable senator appears to imagine. In this, as in the majority of civilized countries, there is a highly organized system of friendly societies. These health proposals affect them very vitally. They undoubtedly have been responsible for a vast amount of good work, and we ought not, by our legislation, to wipe them out of existence. If possible, we must work in with them and utilize their organization. It is necessary, therefore, to devise a scheme which, while it is acceptable to them, may also be fair to the whole community. Such a matter calls for negotiation. The Government has requested Senator Millen to undertake those negotiations, with a view to an amicable arrangement being made.
I pass over Senator Needham’s diatribe against migration, which is becoming stereotyped. The best way to counter foreign migration is to increase the stream of British migrants. If we close our doors to foreign migrants we must also keep out British migrants.
SenatorNeedham asked me last week the amount Australia is supposed to receive by way of reparations, and how much had been received to date. I then replied to him, but he reverted to the subject on this motion. I have a statement prepared by the Treasurer, which will inform honorable senators of the exact position. Under the Treaty of Versailles, the Reparations Commission assessed the liability of Germany for reparations at £6,600,000,000. As the result of pressure by the Allies for payment the financial collapse of Germany followed. It became clear that it was a physical impossibility for Germany to pay the required indemnity. It was also evident that in the interests of Europe generally Germany should be reconstructed so as to enable normal trade relations to be resumed and the maximum payment by way of reparations to be obtained. Eventually an expert committee, known as the ‘ Dawes Committee, was appointed by the Reparations Commission to deal with two problems, viz. : -
This committee evolved a plan known as the “Dawes plan,” which was accepted by the Allies and by Germany. The aim of the plan may be briefly described thus : -
The following extract from page 43 of the Dawes report is interesting: -
We would point out finally that while our plan does not, as it could not properly, attempt a solution of the whole reparation problem, it foreshadows a settlement ex-tending in its application for a sufficient time to restore confidence, and at the same time is so framed as to facilitate a final and comprehensive agreement as to all the problems of reparation and connected questions as soon as circumstances make this possible.
It will be clear, therefore, that it is quite impossible to make any reliable forecast of the total amount that Australia will receive by way of reparations. The Dawes plan commenced to operate in September, 1924. Up to the 30th September last Australia had received the following sums as reparations: -
Up to date the Dawes plan has, on the whole, functioned satisfactorily. The further sums to be received will depend upon two factors, viz.: -
References have been made by Senators Payne, Chapman and others to the par liamentary visit to the Mandated Territory. Their speeches have shown that those visits are not joy-rides, but, on the contrary, are of considerable value to Australia and the islands themselves, because honorable senators and members of another place are thus enabled to give to Parliament informative and valuable information that it would not otherwise obtain. A number of honorable senators have commented on the fact that there is no form of local government in the Mandated Territory. I can assure them that that matter is receiving the attention of the Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Marr), and that the Government intends to extend the present form of government as soon as possible, so as to give the local residents a vote.
Senator Payne expressed the view that the salaries which are paid to civil servants in New Guinea are too low. Those servants were given a second classification only last year. I know, from the experience which I gained as Minister for Home and Territories, that the salaries paid in New Guinea are on a higher scale than those paid in Papua where the service is both contented and effective; and in both cases they are higher than the Australian rates.
I shall not refer at length to the remarks of Senator Lynch and other honorable senators, who have attacked the Government and alleged that its budget discloses extravagance. I point out, however, that the additional expenditure was incurred principally on old-age pensions, war pensions, war loan interest and the postal department. No honorable senator would suggest that a saving couldbe effected in any of those items.
Senator Findley referred in somewhat cynical and satirical terms to the Development and Migration Commission. Among other things he said that the commission had two highly paid officers, one of whom is a forestry expert and’ the other a customs officer, wandering around Tasmania doing he knew not what. It is easy to be satirical at the expense of any person or thing when one is not in possession of the facts.
– I was not satirical at the expense of those officers; I merely asked what they were doing.
– The honorable senator referred to them as illustrations of extravagance on the part of the commission. It so happens that, both are Commonwealth officers, and their salaries would continue even if they were not engaged on this work. I shall state their work, so that honorable senators may judge whether the results are likely to repay the Commonwealth. With a view to assisting the State of Tasmania .the Government decided not’ only to make a money grant, but also to place at the disposal of the State the resources of the Commonwealth in the way of expert advice. The Government of Tasmania has expressed appreciation of that offer, and has availed itself freely of it. One of the matters that has been discussed by the Development and Migration Commission and the Tasmanian Government is the development of forestry. The State had no experts who could advise it regarding that development, and asked the commission to procure the services of such a man. In relation to forestry the commission acts on the advice of Mr. LanePoole, the Commonwealth expert in all forestry matters. He recommended that the Federal Capital Commission should be asked to lend to the State of Tasmania its chief forester, who is a very competent man. He is the “ highly paid officer “ who has been engaged on that particular work in Tasmania. Neither Senator Findley nor any body else can take exception to that when they know the facts. A highly paid customs officer has also been engaged on work in connexion with the commission.
– I was merely asking for the information.
– Senator Andrew referred to work done by certain voluntary bodies in connexion with migration. It has been customary to subsidize bodies such- as the Salvation Army, the New Settlers League and the Big Brother movement for the work they do in looking after immigrants; but for some years these grants have been made in a somewhat haphazard fashion. No doubt representations were made to the Minister and grants that were thought to be adequate were given, but nobody had ever reviewed the position to see whether the Commonwealth was getting value for the money it expended in this direction, and whether the persons actually doing the work were getting the money made available. A customs officer was sent to the various States to make the necessary investigations, and his report having been received, it is now proposed to review the payments and see if it is necessary to re-allocate the grant. The Commonwealth will probably receive good value for the expenditure involved in that inquiry.
Certain criticism has been levelled at the Development and Migration Commission, because it has not immediately produced concrete results. I ask honorable senators to remember the purpose for which it was appointed. Under the £34,000,000 agreement with the British Government, the States are able to borrow through the Commonwealth, and are proposing various schemes of development upon which the money so borrowed may be spent. It is the business of the Commonwealth, in the interests of Australia, and of the British Government, to see that the schemes thus submitted are financially sound. It is the task of the Development and Migration Commission to visit the various States, not as a critic or superior judge, but as a friend and helper of the State governments, to bring its expert judgment to bear upon those schemes, and offer friendly suggestions helpful to the States. Let honorable senators recall some of the scandals and failures experienced in connexion with soldier settlement - the losses for example sustained by the soldier settlers on the Murray, who were compelled by one State government to plant Doradillo grapes, and the failure of others to make good at Beerburrum, in Queensland. I believe that the soldiers have had to be assisted to leave their unsuitable land and commence operations else: where. We had also the example of areas selected for dairying in Victoria, which inquiry showed were not sufficient to support settlers. Mistakes of that kind had been made through overenthusiasm, and a lack of careful and critical analysis of the schemes from their inception. This precaution will be exercised by the Development and Migration Commission. How can it show practical results when a great deal of its success depends on negative results? Much of its work consists in preventing the inauguration of schemes that are financially unsound. It would be unwise for it to rush into the press and tell the States that certain work should not be proceeded with. That would quickly end its usefulness and prevent the State governments from co-operating with it. The work of the commission does not lend itself to big headlines in the press.
Various statementshave been made about defence, but I shall not reply to them now. When the bill is in committee the Minister for Defence (Senator Glasgow) intends to deal with defence matters.
asked questions in regard to the territories of the Commonwealth, and the intentions of the Government in regard to their development. In the mandated territory of New Guinea thereis no form of local government except the local advisory council. The territory is legislated for by this Parliament. Papua has a limited form of local government. But in regard to both territories a definite scheme of development is proceeding. It will be remembered that bounties have been given and preferential tariffs passed for the encouragement of tropical production in those territories.
Senators J. B. Hayes and Graham referred to the tariff. There will be plenty of opportunity to debate the tariff later, and I do not propose to enter that seductive field to-day. I can assure Senator Andrew that the Government appreciates the work of the Salvation Army and the Big Brothers in the interests of migration.
In regard to the Canadian treaty, I think that Canada will be glad to take advantage of our reciprocal tariff, because it has the “ big end of the stick.” Negotiations are now taking place in regard to butter, with which I hope we shall have greater success than has been achieved in the past.
I shall make a brief reference to Senator Graham’s remarks concerning the gold-mining industry. The report of the committee of experts appointed by the Development and Migration Commission to inquire into the industry, has been placed on the table in the library, and I hope that honorable senators will read it. It reveals the fact that, although the richer portions of the mines in Western Australia are worked out, the low-grade ores could be profitably mined under economical and co-ordinated management. When the very rich ores were being taken out it was possible for the Kalgoorlie field to support six mining administrations and pay dividends to six separate companies, but it is now advised by the most expert mining men in the Commonwealth that there should be an amalgamation of those mines.
– That suggestion was made before the commission was appointed.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The Development and Migration Commission has pointed out that in this way a large sum could be saved in administration and overhead charges. If economy were exercised by the various companies amalgamating, particularly in the supply of power for the treatment of the ore, some of the mines that are now unpayable, it is thought, could be profitably worked. The Government does not wish to pay a gold bounty for inefficiency, and the object of the report of this committee of experts is to bring about increased efficiency. The Commonwealth Government has made a grant to the State of Western Australia for two years following, and a certain portion of the money was intended to assist the goldmining industry. The State Government has earmarked it for that purpose, and it is available as soon as the companies do something on the lines of amalgamation. The Development and Migration Commission has made progress reports on the industry and it is now preparing its general report which will deal with the industry generally.
– To what use are buildings formerly occupied by departments now put?
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.That is really a question for the committee stage. Every building has either been given up to the landlord or is being used by other Commonwealth departments. In some of the States we receive rent for premises, and for others we pay rent. For instance, we receive rent for drill halls that are not now in use. We have buildings which are used both as railway stations and post offices. In some cases they were transferredproperties, but the State is still using a portion of them for which it pays rent to the Commonwealth. In other cases where they are not transferred properties, we are paying rent to a State. That explains what appears on the surface to be an anomaly.
– That is what I desired to know.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
[3.57]. - I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
As Senator Sir William Glasgow has already made a full statement of the financial position in presenting the budget papers, and as no change has since taken place, there is nothing for me to add at this stage. I simply submit the motion.
Debate (on motion by Senator Needham) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Sir George Pearce) agreed to -
That the Senate at its rising adjourn till Tuesday next, at 3 p.m.
Senator CRAWFORD presented Tariff Board reports as follow : -
Tariff Board - Reports and Recommendations with respect to -
Fused Bi-focal Lenses.
Tobacco Industry. - Application for reduction of Excise Duty or Bounty.
Motion (by Senator Sir George Pearce) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– When I asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General a question to-day concerning the advisability of establishing a court of petty sessions at Canberra, and the appointment of a stipendiary magistrate, he suggested that I should put my question on the noticepaper. I suggest now that the Government should give some consideration to this matter before the Appropriation Bill is considered in committee, because 1 desire some definite information upon it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 4 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 December 1927, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1927/19271202_senate_10_117/>.