12th Parliament · 1st Session
ThePresident (Senator the Hon. W. Kingsmill) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– by leave - I move -
That this Senate expresses its deep regret at the death of General Sir JohnMonash, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., V.D., places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his daughter and other relatives’ in their bereavement.
Words of mine are not needed to impress upon the people of Australia the loss they have sustained by the death of General Sir John Monash. He was not only a great soldier, but also a great citizen, and had he entered public life, lie would, in all probability, have had as brilliant a career as a statesman as he had in the military service of his country and in his profession as an engineer. The Yallourn electricity works in Victoria stand to-day as a monument to his capacity as an engineer, for his were the brains that conceived that mighty undertaking and brought it into being.
Nothing that I might say would enhance his glory; he was so well known to all the people of Australia, and had so endeared himself to every section of the community, that I feel it would be presumptuous on my part to attempt to do more than express our profound sorrow at hi3 death, and to ask the Senate to pass this motion as an expression of our veneration for so outstanding a personality.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [3.2]. - I second the motion. In my capacity as Minister for Defence for a number of years, I came into contact on many occasions, in times of peace as well as war, with the late General Sir John Monash, and I have the most profound admiration for the great service that he rendered to his country. Many people are apt only to associate those services with his distinguished career with the Australian Imperial Force overseas, but in order to arrive at a full realization of the significance of that career, in the greatest of all wars, one must have a knowledge of all that led up to it. A study of the early years of General Monash’s military service is most instructive. It shatters at once the idea entertained by so many that a great army can be created in a short space of time, and that General Sir John Monash, and the other distinguished soldiers of our great Australian citizen army, learned the science of war in the few months of preparation which our troops were given before they wont overseas to face the enemy.
Sir John Monash joined the military forces of this country when quite a young man. He was one of those who do nothing by halves; whatever he did he did thoroughly. His was the scientific mind which makes itself master of every subject it approaches. When I became Minister for Defence in 1909, he had been an officer of the military forces for many years. At that time he held the rank of captain or major, and was a diligent student of military science. He was not a wealthy man ; he followed the profession of engineering, hut every spare moment of his time, all his holidays, were devoted to the service of his country. It was not the kind of service that was given prominence in the press or earned glory for him. It was but the painstaking service of learning the science of war. General Monash was one of that small band which organized what was then called the Australian Intelligence Corps, and was the beginning of the General Staff of the Australian Army. Composed of scientific and professional men like himself, it. devoted all its spare time to the most essential part of army organization, the brains of the army. Sir John Monash recognized then what a tremendous part a staff played in army organization, and tried to inculcate that into our military organization, devoting the main part of his activities at that period to that end.
Many think that military work is necessarily associated with uniforms and parades. Let me say that I have in my possession a photograph of the first meeting of that intelligence corps. Representatives of the various branches of the service from all the States assembled at the Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, where a photograph was taken, and in the group stands the late great soldier, not in military uniform, but in civilian dress. The work that was being done then by those men was to bear fruit afterwards in the Great War. From that time onwards, Sir John Monash devoted all his energy and spare time to preparation for the day when his country might need his services, and those of others like him, so that he might be ready when the call should come. In 1914, when the call did come, he offered his services; they were accepted, and he went overseas. When the confidential despatches commenced to arrive from General Bridges, and after his death, from his successor, Sir William Birdwood, they made mention of the officers who were commencing then to distinguish themselves, and who were being singled out for future commands in the gradually growing army of the Australian Imperial Force. In those despatches there were continually appearing the name of Monash, as well as the names of others, including my distinguished colleague in this eli timber, Senator Sir William Glasgow. It was no surprise to me when, later, Sir John Monash obtained command of a division. Every one knows the distinguished part he played as general officer commanding that division - so distinguished, indeed, that when Sir William Birdwood was translated to the command of a British army, Sir John Monash was the natural choice for the supreme command of the Australian army corps. Then came that wonderful list of victories that to-day read like an epic - Hamel, Villers Bretonneux, the Sth August - Germany’s black day, as Ludendorff lias confessed in his historical review of the war - and the events leading up to the breaking of the Hindenberg line. The master mind behind those remarkable developments was that of the commander of the Australian army corps the late Sir John Monash. Again I emphasize that the victories achieved by the Australian troops at that critical stage of the war were really the reaping of the harvest fields sown twenty years earlier by the late Sir John Monash and other citizen soldiers who, by their sacrifice of pleasure and devotion to the service of their country, had laid so well the foundations of military strategy. The late General Monash was in the highest and truest sense a citizen soldier. His scientific mind well fitted him for the highest command during the war, and the remarkable qualities which he displayed as a commander were admirably backed up by the quality and courage of the troops under his charge and by their loyal devotion to duty.
The war being over, he rendered yet another service, of which we do not hear much, although it was no less valuable than that which he did before the armistice. I refer to the splendid way in which he organized the demobilization and return of our troops to Australia. Those who have any knowledge of all that this meant must pay a tribute to his genius, and express admiration for the masterly way in which the plans were laid. It would appear to the average layman that it was an easy matter to return the Australian Military Force 12,000 miles overseas to their homeland; but we must remember that our citizen soldiers, who, previously, had not been accustomed to soldiering, hod seen four years of the most strenuous war service, and, with no thought of further active service before them, were anxious to return to their homes. In these circumstances it was no small achievement to keep war-worn soldiers in demobilization camps for six months while ships were being made available for their return to Australia. The late Sir John Monash, referring to this phase of his war-time activities, on one occasion told me that he was immensely proud of the manner in which the men in the Australian Imperial Force, comported themselves. During the whole of that time, when scores of thousands of young Australian soldiers were leading a deadly monotonous and irksome life, not one serious disturbance occurred in any Australian military camp in England. He added that this could, be said only of the Australian Army. Naturally, he was very proud of the fact, and, I may add, Australia also has good reason to be proud of it.
The Leader of the Senate (Senator Barnes) has referred to the great service which the late Sir John Monash rendered to this country in his capacity as a civil engineer. Those masterly qualities which made him so successful in war commands enabled him also to make a success of that great undertaking with which his name is inseparably identified - the electricity works at Yallourn, near Morwell, Victoria. His thoroughness and scientific training, and the manner in which he applied himself to the carrying out of that monumental undertaking were typical of the man. By his death, Australia has indeed lost a great soldier and a great citizen. But while Ave say “ vale “ to the mortal remains of Sir John Monash, we realize that he yet lives through his achievements in peace and
War, and we say “ Live “ to the spirit of service which ho typified. May we, in this Parliament, catch some of the same spirit of service, and translate it into the national life of this country. If we do that we shall he able, in our turn, to comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we have rendered good service to the country of which the late John Monash was so distinguished a citizen.
Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland) [3.17]. - As a member of the Australian Imperial Force, and an officer who had the privilege and honour of serving under the late Sir John Monash, I desire to associate myself with the motion submitted by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Barnes). In the passing of Sir John Monash, Australia has lost one of her most illustrious sons. From his early manhood, until “he passed away, he was a leader in every phase of life through which he passed. Those who knew him in the opening stages of the great world conflagration, realized that he would become a distinguished leader in the war zone. His training of his brigade in Egypt was an object lesson to every officer associated with the Australian Imperial Force. All his plans were well thought out, and he was careful to see that every officer, and, indeed, the whole of the rank and file thoroughly understood what was expected of them before ho put any scheme into operation The care with which he trained his brigade ensured the success of its operations in Gallipoli and France, and later, when he was called to raise the new 3rd Division in England, the experience which he had gained was of the greatest assistance to bini and to his troops. After a short but strenuous period of training, his men. were sent to France, and took part in the operations at Messines and at Passchendaele, and were instrumental in checking the enemy advance between Amiens and Villers Brettoneux. Subsequently, as the leader of the Senate has said, General Monash was given command of the Australian Army Corps, and the history of its successful operations, from the engagement at Hamel until the breaking of the Hindenberg line in October, 191S, constitutes a lasting monument to his thoroughness and capacity as a commander. The whole of the Australian Army Corps, knowing the great care with which he prepared ali his plans for attack and defence, and his almost uncanny capacity for appreciating a difficult situation and being able to make provision for it, had absolute confidence in him. Looking back on the life of Sir John Monash, omrealizes that his was a master mind. As a university student he had a brilliant career, and later as an engineer, he was also eminently successful. Having chosen to follow the profession of an engineer, he specialized in concrete construction, and, in that branch of engineering, was one of the leading authorities in Australia. He had a genius for soldiering, and had the war continued much longer the outstanding qualities which throughout had marked his service at the front would have fitted him for the position of Chief of the /General Staff. After the war, he successfully carried out the difficult work of the demobilization and repatriation of our troops, with advantage to the Australian Imperial Force and with infinite credit to himself and the nation.
Having completed the work of demobilization, he returned to private life and, taking in hand the great electricity scheme at yallourn, brought it to fruition in a way that added further to his reputation. In every sphere of activity in which he was engaged, he showed himself a leader of men, and in the record he has left behind him we have an enduring monument to his capacity and genius.
The nation mourns the loss of a cultured gentleman, a capable engineer, a great soldier, and a masterly organizer and administrator. Looking back, we cannot but realize that he could have enjoyed both wealth and ease in any walk of civil life, but that he chose instead a life of service to bis country, which should be an inspiration to the nation.
– As a junior regimental officer who had the honour and privilege of serving under the original command of Sir John Monash, when he was still Colonel Monash, in the Fourth Australian Infantry Brigade, I desire to add my meed of praise to what has been said regarding him. The Fourth Infantry Brigade was unique in that it was representative of the whole of Australia. In its units were men from every State. I well remember when that brigade was camped at Heliopolis, in Egypt. The standing, routine, camp and marching orders of the brigade, which were framed by Colonel Monash, were models of lucidity and thoroughness, and displayed an infinite grasp of detail. During the period of their training in the desert, the men of the Fourth Brigade sometimes thought that Colonel Monash was a hard taskmaster; but they came to realize that all that he did was for their good. By the time that we left for the Gallipoli Peninsula, Sir John Monash had under his command an efficient and well-forged instrument of war. This brilliant soldier was a just as well as a great man, and those who served under him had confidence in his justice, even though they sometimes thought him hard. Soon after he took command of the Australian Corps, he addressed the Fourth Brigade at Quirreau, in June, 191S. I remember the occasion well. The brigade had had a long and hard time in the line, particularly at Hebuterne, where it had been isolated for some months, and. subjected to heavy strain and hard fighting. The men in the brigade thought they deserved a rest. But when Sir John Monash inspected the brigade one Sunday, he did not raise their hopes or endeavour to mislead them with false promises. Instead, he told them candidly and truthfully that, although they thought that they had worked hard, he could hold out no hope of any rest for them; that, on the contrary, a harder time was in store for them in the immediate future. Instead of resting, the brigade had to work harder than ever. After the Armistice, the tremendous task of demobilization began - a task bristling with difficulties. It was only because of the implicit confidence which every man in the Australian Imperial Force had in his commander, Sir John Monash, that that task was carried out smoothly and successfully - more smoothly, indeed, than in any other branch of the British army in France. To-day, the nation mourns the loss of a great Australian, whose sim- plicity and directness appealed to all who served under or came into intimate touch with him. I add my tribute to the memory of a great man.
.- As one who served in the ranks in the First Division of the Australian Imperial Force, I desire to endorse what Senator Sampson has said regarding the esteem in which Sir John Monash was held by the humblest soldier who served under him. It can truthfully be said that every member of the Australian Imperial Force, not only revered, but loved, the late Commander-in-Chief. From the signing of the Armistice, all through the period of demobilization until the time of his death. Sir John Monash was regarded by all returned soldiers, and returned soldiers’ organizations, as their chief. At various conferences, both in Australia and overseas, he represented the men of the Australian Imperial Force. I join with those who have spoken in paying my tribute to the memory of a great citizen.
.- It is fitting that this branch of the Australian Parliament should pay its tribute to one of Australia’s most distinguished citizens. The grim Reaper has dealt Australia a fell blow in depriving this country of the services of a man of such outstanding capacity, such unswerving integrity, as Sir John Monash. In the tributes which have been paid to him by other honorable senators, mention has been made of the service which he rendered to the nation in a military capacity. I was associated with him for about ten years in business matters, and I learned to admire those qualities of mind which he possessed - qualities that were bound to take him to the forefront in any calling he chose to adopt. Sir John Monash was thorough and efficient in all that he did. Indeed, we might well say that his watchword was efficiency. He possessed a clarity of vision, and quickness of understanding, which enabled him almost immediately to get to the core of any problem with which he was confronted.
Australia mourns the loss of one of her greatest sons. I am glad that the Government has given the Senate this opportunity to record its appreciation of one of the biggest men that Australia has produced. Sir John Monash. will rank with the greatest of Australian statesmen and those others to whose memory we have from time to time paid tribute in this chamber, because to him, also, Australia owes much. His example should be an inspiration to the youth, and, indeed, to every citizen of Australia.
– Before putting the motion I should like to state in words as brief as possible my support of this motion. It is, I think, very rarely in any period of time, even if we make that period of time as long as the centuries, that a man arises in the community to shine forthas did the late Sir John Monash. His was a mind big enough to grasp the greatest of subjects, and on the other hand delicate enough to keep in touch with the lighter side of life, and to excel in the support and understanding of the arts as well as the sciences. General Monash was appreciated by everybody with whom he came in contact. I have said that he was theman of the century, and I think it would be safe to predict that it will be a long time before the public of Australia, representing all classes, creeds, professions and trades will, on the occasion of the death of one of our leading men, display their regret as they did at the funeral obsequies of the late Sir John Monash on Sunday last. It must be remembered that those who attended expressed the feelings of the people resident in only one State. But for the disabilities of distance, that ceremony, which was a tribute to his memory, would have been attended by three or four times as many people. Many thousands, owing to business and other engagements, were tied to their places of residence in other States and, consequently, could not thus pay this last tribute of respect to one of Australia’s greatest sons. It will be my duty to communicate to the daughter of the deceased gentleman, and to his other relatives, the terms of the resolution, and the report of the proceedings which have taken place to-day in the Senate.
Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.
– I have seen the report in the press, but at present I am unable to give the Leader of the Opposition any information on the subject.
– I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Barnes) whether it is true, as recently stated in the press, that the Government contemplates introducing legislation to alter the relationship at present existing between the Government and the Commonwealth Bank Board?
– The honorable senator must be well aware of what the Government has endeavoured to do in this connexion by legislation. The policy embodied in that legislation has not been abandoned.
– I. ask the Leader of the Government (Senator Barnes) if this protectionist Government proposes to cable to the Tariff Reform Party in Great Britain, and to the British Government, wishing them success in the electioncampaign now in progress.
– It is not the intention of the Government to interfere in any way in British politics.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.As the Senate is about to enter upon the discussion of the tariff, I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether all the reports of the Tariff Board, issued during the last two years, on the items in the tariff on which the duties are being amended by the schedule to be presented to the Senate have been made available to honorable senators.
– I understand that the reports have been published, and so far as I know, are available to those who require them. I am not sure if that is the position, but I believe the reports can be obtained.
– Will the Minister have inquiries made?
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs whether it is the intention of the Government, during the currency of this Parliament, to give the Senate an opportunity to discuss the prohibitions and. embargoes imposed by the Government under the Customs Act?
– In all probability these can be discussed when the tariff is under consideration.
– But they are not in the bill.
– I believe that the leader of the Opposition will be sufficiently adroit to overcome any such difficulty.
– Will the Minister representing the Treasurer make available for public appreciation, or otherwise, the names of the principal dissentients in the recent conversion loan. When the conversion loan was in progress, the names of those who voluntarily consented to convert were freely published for public appreciation.
– I do not remember the publication of individual names in connexion with the conversion.
– Many were published.
– I am not in a position to answer the point raised by the honorable senator.
Sale of Melbourne Houses
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs, upon notice -
Melbourne which it took over from civil ser vants who have been transferred to Canberra
– A number of houses taken over by the Commonwealth from officerscompulsorily transferred to Canberra have been re-sold. The question of reducing the interest rate under the contracts of sale was raised in August last, and on the 27th August, the Minister for Home Affairs intimated that he concurred in a proposal to reduce the rate from 6 per cent. to 5 per cent. for a period of twelve months as from the 1st August, 1931, at the expiration of which time the matter was to be reviewed. The Treasury authorities have now indicated that approval has been given to the reduction and the necessary instructions in the matter have been issued.
asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The Minister for Markets advises that a conference of Ministers of Agriculture of all the States and representatives of wheat organizations has been convened for Friday next, 16th October, when the whole matter will be considered.
Position of State Trading Concerns
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Will the Government take the necessary action to ensure that the sugar agreement is carried out in its entirety and that a sugar depot is established at Hobart forthwith, in accordance with the terms of such agreement?
– The sugar agreement is being carried out in its entirety. It does not provide for the establishment of a sugar depot in Hobart except under certain specified circumstances. Nevertheless, as a result of urgent representations made by the Commonwealth Government, the Queensland Sugar Board has arranged for the introduction at Hobart of conditions with regard to reserve stocks and selling prices of sugar that are represented to be fully equivalent to the depot system which has been advocated for that city for some time past. The new conditions are designed to give purchasers of sugar at Hobart all the advantages in selling prices, conditions and supplies that exist in the mainland capital cities.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Has the Government considered the decision of the Bankruptcy Court in the matter of Maskell and Richards, and the effect thereof in relation tothe estates of persons being carried on under inspectorship; and, if so, is it proposed to amend the Bankruptcy Act?
– The decision in Maskell and Richards is being considered in connexion with the draft Bankruptcy Bill which is now in course of preparation.
Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Is it the intention of the Government to make a special effort to make available a grant of money to enable the unemployed and their dependants to obtain a little extra sustenance during the Christmas period?
– The Government is still pressing the banks for money for the absorption of the unemployed. The banks have already agreed to make available £308,000 to local public bodies for this purpose, and other propositions are receiving consideration.
The following papers were presented : -
Conference of Common wealth and State Ministers, held at Melbourne, 10th to 14th August, and 1st to 12th September, 1931 - Proceedings and Decisions of Conference; together with Appendix.
Tariff Board - Reports and Recommendations -
Refrigerators and Refrigerator Parts. Cotton Yarns.
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c. - No. 25 of1931 - Amalgamated Postal Workers Union of Australia.
Navigation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules1931, No. 121.
New Guinea Act- Ordinance No. 30 of 1931 - Native Labour.
Norfolk Island Act - Ordinances of 1931 -
No. 2 - Marriage.
No. 3 - Education.
No. 4 - Partition.
No.5 - Trustee.
No.6 - Importation of Plants.
No. 7 - Police.
No. 8- Registration of Dentists.
No.9 - Companies.
Papua Act - Ordinances of 1931 -
No. 3 - Supplementary Appropriation 1930-1931; together with Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure for the year ended 30th . June, 1931.
No. 8- Appropriation 1931-1932; together with Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for theyear ending 30th June, 1932.
Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth Railways Operations for theyear ended 30th June. 1931.
Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1931, No. 9(1.
Defence Act - Regulations - Statutory Rules 1931, No. 120.’
Seat of Government Acceptance Act and Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Public Health Ordinance - Regulations (Sale of Food and Drugs).
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and sessional orders suspended, and bill (on motion by Senator Barnes) read a first time.
.- I move-
That the bill bc now read a second time.
This is not a contentious matter. It proposes merely to substitute the word “ scutched “ for the word “ combed “ in the definition of “flax” in the original act. The present definition reads - ‘ Flax “ means the cleaned, combed fibre of the flax plant, prepared by retting or by mechanical or other processes.
As proposed to be amended, it will read -
Flax means the cleaned scutched fibre of the flax plant. &.(:.
While the definition stands as at present, bounty on the flax cannot he paid, as bounty is payable to the person who produces the fibre from the plant. - that is, to the mills who buy the flax plants from the growers. The mills do not comb the flax, but dispose of it to manufacturers or to overseas markets after it has been scutched. The fibre is obtained from the stalk of the plant, which in appearance is much the same as wheat or oats, and successive processes are followed before the fibre is finally available for manufacturing purposes. Scutching is one of the processes, and combing is another, and scutching occurs before combing. Scutching is the process by which the outer covering of the stalk is removed, and the flax is left in thread-like form. It is in this state that in Australia the flax is sold by the mills, and the definition, therefore, needs to be altered to meet the actual situation.
Senator Sir HAL COLEBATCH (Western Australia) [3.52]. - I think that we should know something more about this bill before we pass it. I am entirely unfamiliar with the process of preparing flax, but, judging by the remarks of the Minister, it appears to me that the bounty is now to be paid for doing something less than was contemplated when the act was passed.
– The bounty is to be paid to the nian who grows the flax.
Senator Sir HAL COLEBATCH.According to the Minister, the process of scutching precedes the combing. The bounty was fixed to be paid after the combing wa3 done ; now it is proposed to be paid after the scutching is done, which is something less than the combing. At any rate, that is the only conclusion which I can draw from the Minister’s remarks; and, if what I understand is correct, we should know more about the matter before passing the bill.
– I take a great deal of exception to this manner of dealing with bills in the ordinary course of the session. There is some reason for making use of the contingency notice of motion for the suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders towards the end of a session, when the Senate is working to clear the businesspaper, but, in the ordinary parliamentary work, it seems to me entirely wrong that the process should be used habitually. It is becoming habitual. Instead of going through the usual routine, the contingent notice of motion is moved on every bill that comes to us from another place, and honorable senators find themselves involved in a discussion on subjects about which many have not heard until the Minister has spoken. Personally, I do not see the need for this. Perhaps I should have raised this objection at an earlier stage of the proceedings, but I was waiting for some one else to do so, and I let the opportunity pass.
– I have no objection to the adjournment of the debate.
– From what I can gather from the somewhat brief explanation given by the Minister, and from the memorandum which he read, the bounty is being paid and has been paid on the scutched flax, and it is proposed to go on paying it on the scutched flax. I should like to know if that is the position.
– I am informed that no bounty has yet been paid, and that the amendment is needed so that it can be paid.
– Is it a fact that no combing is done in Australia, and that the process of preparing the flax is not carried beyond the scutching stage?
– I cannot be expected to answer such technical questions offhand.
– I think that the debate should be adjourned until the Minister is in a position to tell the Senate what this bill represents.
– The honorable senator may ask leave to continue his remarks.
– I suggest that I be given, leave to continue my remarks.
– The procedure referred to by Senator Greene is absolutely correct. Its administration rests entirely with the Senate.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Barnes) negatived -
That so much of the standing and sessional orders bc suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
Bill read a first’ time.
Bill received from House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Barnes) negatived -
That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
Bill read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a first time.
On the first reading, the bill is open for a general tariff discussion. As honorable senators are no doubt aware, this is the most comprehensive tariff revision which has been submitted to this Parliament. There are more than. 400 items and subitems in the schedule, and detailed information will be furnished to honorable senators concerning these as each one comes up for consideration. As the task before us is a heavy one, it is necessary that we should get down to the business of dealing with the schedule as early as possible, and whilst there is no desire on the part of the Government to restrict discussion in any way, I suggest that honorable senators keep this in view, and assist the Government to have the discussion on the items reached without undue delay. The Minister in charge of the bill will state the case for the Government in general terms at the conclusion of the debate. I therefore do not propose to speak at any length at this stage.
Debate (on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce) adjourned.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is a short bill to amend the Service and Execution of Process Act 1901-1928. Briefly, the objects of the bill are to permit of the issue of summonses by justices of the peace, and to provide for the execution of warrants for the apprehension of certain witnesses who fail to appear and give evidence. Sub-section 1 of section 15 of the Service and Execution of Process Act provides that when a summons has been issued, on information upon oath,’ by any court, or judge, or police, stipendiary, or special magistrate having jurisdiction in any State, or part of a
State, or part of the Commonwealth, commanding any person charjged with certain offences, or against whom a complaint is made of having, among other tilings, deserted his wife or children, to appear and answer the charge or complaint, or be dealt with according to law, the summons may be served on that person in any other State, or part of the Commonwealth. Sub-section 3 of that section enables all such proceedings to bo taken as if the summons had been served in the State in which it was issued provided that the person summoned fails to appear and the court, judge, or magistrate, by which or whom the summons was issued, is of the opinion that the summons was duly served on the defendant in sufficient time before the day appointed for the hearing. It will bo observed that in each sub-section the authorities by which the summons is issued, or which consider the question whether the summons was duly served are any court, judge or police, stipendiary or special magistrate. Although “ court “ is defined in section 3 of the act as including any judge or justice of the peace acting judicially, it is not considered that the term “justice of peace” would be included in the term “ court “ in section 15 for the reason that the issue of a summons is a ministerial act, and may only be issued by the authorities mentioned in section 15. The powers of a justice of the peace could be increased by the amendment of section 15 by the inclusion of a justice of the peace among the authorities mentioned in that section. Clause 2 proposes to effect this extension of the powers of a justice of the peace. In the border towns of northern New South Wales, the present limitation on the powers of a justice of the peace is a source of great inconvenience, as persons desiring process to be issued may have to wait so long as three months until the visit of a police magistrate, or else travel80 to 120 miles to interview t lie magistrate. In the past, summonses have been issued by justices of the peace, and when the defendant appeared, any irregularity has been rectified. It would, however, be improper to proceed in such cases where the defendant does not appear. It may be mentioned in passing that a justice of the peace may, under existing section18 of the act, issue the major process of a warrant to apprehend. Section 18 of the act provides for the endorsement of a warrant issued in one State or part of the Commonwealth by a justice of peace of another State or part of the Commonwealth by which the execution of the warrant within that other State or part is authorized. Clause 3 of the bill proposes to extend the classes of cases under section18 of the act, in which a warrant may be issued for the apprehension of any person to include a person who has failed to appear and give evidence, or to produce books or documents in any civil or criminal trial or proceeding, when duly served with a subpoena or summons, or bound by a recognizance so to do. At present there is no means of executing a warrant for the apprehension of a person who, upon being served, under the law of New South Wales, for example, with a subpoena, or being bound thereunder by a recognizance to appear and give evidence, fails to appear and, eventually, leaves that State. As the absence of a material witness may defeat the ends of justice, it is proposed that section 18 be amended in the manner already indicated. There is nothing controversial in the measure. It merely seeks to amend the act to meet the convenience of the people.
– Although there appears to be in the bill nothing to which one can take exception, it is only fair to remind the Senate that, when the original act was passed, or when the various amending measures were being considered, the legislature did not see fit to extend this jurisdiction to justices of the peace. Hitherto it has been limited to judges and police, stipendiary or special magistrates in any State or part of the Commonwealth. I realize, however, that difficulties in administration are encountered in some of the outlying parts of the Commonwealth, and, therefore, offer no objection to the bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate.
Report adopted. influenza, I asked if it would be possible to have a separate compartment, not particularly for my own sake, but because of the danger of infection to any one who might be my travelling companion. I was informed that I could not get a separate compartment, because the coach was full. I am not complaining on this score. I merely mention the fact to show that it could not be argued that there were not sufficient members travelling to justify the usual courtesy being shown to honorable senators. When we arrived at Albury we were told by the conductor that we would not reach Canberra until about 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday. Some of us could scarcely believe that that would be so. The conductor explained that the Railway Department is informed of the day on which the House of Representatives meets, with the result that arrangements are made for the carriage to go right through to Canberra. Apparently, the officers under your control, Mr. President, do not bother to inform the Railway Department when the Senate meets on a different day from that on which the House of Representatives meets. In another place some one realizes his responsibility, and informs the railway authorities; but things are different in the Senate. I hope that no attempt will be made to throw the blame on the messengers in Melbourne. The blame should be laid on the Clerk of the Senate who, knowing that practically all the members of the Senate have to travel to Canberra by train, should see that the Railway Department is informed of the day that the Senate will meet, so that arrangement can be made accordingly. The result of this inattention to duty, this inability to do the obvious thing, was that nineteen members of this chamber who arrived at Goulburn before 7 o’clock this morning, did not reach Canberra until about 20 minutes to 1 in the afternoon, notwithstanding that they needed time to prepare themselves for the work with which the Senate will be called upon to deal to-morrow. I frankly admit that I am extremely annoyed about this matter. You, sir, must be held responsible for this neglect, because it is the officers under your care who should attend to these matters. Honorable senators should not have to make their own arrangements with the Railway Department. The officers under your charge knew that the Senate was to meet to-day, and the least that they should have done was to notify the Railway Department, so that arrangements could be made for the carriage to go rightthrough to Canberra. If arrangements can be made with the Railway Department to meet the convenience of members of the House of Representatives, why cannot similar arrangements be made for members of the Senate? Until recently the carriage came right through to Canberra, whether the Senate met on Tuesday or Wednesday; but when a change was made it appears that it comes right through only when the Railway Department is notified by the officers of Parliament that the legislature will meet on a certain day. One wonders whether, in the event of the House of Representatives going into recess for a few weeks, honorable senators would have to come from Goulburn by goods train, and be bumped about over what is, perhaps, the roughest railway line in the Commonwealth, all because of inattention to duty on the part of the officers of the Senate, or their inability to make the necessary arrangements. I cannot lay the blame elsewhere than on officers of the Senate. It is time that you, sir, made inquiries to ascertain why these elementary things are not attended to.
I could mention another elementary thing which, although not of great importance, indicates that officers of the Senate are prepared to allow this chamber to drift into that junior position which some people in this country desire. Honorable senators will see from time to time in the press of Australia a list of attendances at the Federal Parliament; but they will find in it ho mention of honorable senators at all. The reason is that there is no list available of the attendances of honorable senators, although a list of the attendances of members of another place is supplied to the press.
– I obtained a list to-day when I applied for it.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.That is not sufficient. The day following the adjournment of the other branch
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time. in the Zoological Museum Agreement Act 1924, Parliament provided for the formation of a national museum of Australian zoology, and approved of an. agreement made between the Commonwealth and Sir William Colin Mackenzie. That agreement appears in the schedule to the act. Early in. 192S Cabinet decided that the administration of the act should bo transferred from the then Department of Home and Territories to the Department of Health. On the 24th July of that year, Cabinet approved the alteration of the title of the museum to the “Australian Institute of Anatomy”. These decisions necessitate a variation in the terms of the agreement between the Commonwealth and Sir William Colin Mackenzie approved in 1924. The bill, therefore, provides for the alteration in the title of the museum and for the ratification and approval of the variations in the agreement necessitated by the transfer of administration to the Department of Health, and by the alteration in the title of the museum.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without, amendment or debate.
Railway Arrangements for Senators: Complaints against Senate Officers - Publication of Attendance Lists.
Motion (by Senator Barnes) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [4.15]. - I regret to have to bring under your notice, Mr. President, :i matter that has caused considerable inconvenience and discomfort to a number of honorable senators, and could have been avoided by a little forethought on the part of officers under your control. During the parliamentary session a con siderable number of honorable senators representing distant States live in Melbourne or Sydney, and the arrangements for train services between those cities and Canberra were, until some little time ago, fairly satisfactory. Then, for reasons of economy, a change was made in the service from Melbourne, at all events, with the result that on certain, week-days, when Parliament is not sitting, travellers have to join a mixed train at Goulburn, and do not reach Canberra until about 12.30. So far as the House of Representatives is concerned, arrangements are always made on the days when the House reassembles, whether it bc Tuesday or Wednesday, for the train to come straight through from Goulburn, arriving here about 9.30 a.m. I understand that the railways authorities are always willing to meet the convenience of Parliament in this way, so I feel sure that there is no reason for complaint against the Railway Department. I am well aware that, on. the days when the House of Representatives re-assembles, many more members travel by train from Melbourne and Sydney, but I wish to bring under your notice the apparent growing custom of regarding the House of Representatives a.s the Parliament. On other occasions I have directed attention to this matter, so I do not hold you responsible for that: but I should take strong exception if you, or the officers under your control, gave countenance to this practice of ignoring the Senate in any arrangements made for its re-assembly. On Monday those who made application to the messenger employed in the federal members’ room there to bc booked to Canberra came through as usual, reaching Canberra at 9.30. As the House of Representatives re-assembled on Tuesday, there was no difficulty. Yesterday, those of us who were in Melbourne made application in the usual way. On the assumption that the Senate is a part of the “Parliament, and a by no means subordinate part, either, we asked for the same courtesy and consideration as is given to members in another place. I may add that there was a full coach of members of the Senate, so it cannot be urged that there were not sufficient members to justify a through train. I know this to my cost, because, “being ill with of the legislature there appears in the press of Australia a paragraph giving the attendances of members there. I have spoken to you, sir, as well as to the Clerk of the Senate, in regard to this matter, and have suggested that a statement showing the attendances of honorable senators should be handed to the press from time to time, but apparently nothing has been done by the Clerk of the Senate, or by you, because no such list has appeared. At the last adjournment of “the Senate the same thing happened. This is not a matter of great importance to mc personally, but there may be other honorable senators whose constituents desire to know whether they have been attending to their parliamentary duties regularly. The omission to supply such a list to the press indicates the state of mind of officers of the Senate. Evidently they are of the opinion that it does not matter what people think about the Senate. I keenly resent such , an attitude on their part. I do not ask for any special privileges for honorable senators, nut I do claim that they should be given the same consideration that is given to members of another place. The fact that the Railways Department is prepared to make arrangements to suit the members of another place when it is notified of the day of sitting shows that it is merely a matter of notification. I speak warmly because I know that other honorable senators were also inconvenienced through the lack of attention to elementary matters by officers of the Senate.
– Some time ago I asked a question concerning the granting of assistance to the unemployed at Christmas time, and was informed that money is to be made available to local governing bodies to enable them to provide work. Such an arrangement will not provide any cheer for those out of work. A man who is in employment cun look after his own Christmas cheer, and that of his family, but there are hundreds of thousands of good Australians who will be without Christmas cheer this year unless something special is done for them. Last year the Government made available to local bodies certain moneys, primarily for Christmas cheer; but it was after Christmas before they received it. I urge that something be done in good lime to make the lot of those who are compulsorily idle a little brighter at Christmas time this year.
– I desire to say a few words in reply to the right honorable the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce). First, I express the opinion that it would have been better had the right honorable gentleman spoken of this matter to me privately before raising it in the Senate in the way that he did, on. what I regard as wrong premises. So far as I am aware, neither the Senate nor the House of Representative deals with the Railways Departments of the States, but has to fall in with their views of economy. That, I understand, is at the root of the whole trouble. I do not propose to say more at present than to express my regret that the right honorable gentleman should have adopted the tone he did. I am not so greatly concerned with what he said’ concern rig myself ; but I feel deeply his charges against the officers of the Senate. I am convinced that when an explanation is obtained from them it will be found that what has happened has not been their fault.
As to the publication of the attendances of honorable senators, the right honorable gentleman must know that they are published in the minutes of the proceedings of the Senate. Apparently, the press of Australia does not take so much interest in the attendance of members of this chamber as in that of members belonging to the other branch of the legislature. Such an attitude is entirely, wrong. I shall ascertain whether a list showing the attendances of honorable senators is from time to time furnished to the press. If it’ is, and the press does not publish it, the fault” lies with the press. I repeat that 3 regret the tone which the right honorable gentleman imported into the discussion, and the good scolding which he has given the officers of the Senate and myself. I shall make inquiries, and to-morrow I shall make a statement to the Senate ou these matters.
– Senator Pearce inquired whether reports of the Tariff Board would be made available to honorable senators during the debate on the tariff? I have communicated with the Customs Department/ which has informed me that, witha few exceptions, all its reports have been laid on the table and distributed among honorable senators. The reports not yet tabled will be made available to honorable senators as soon as they have been considered by the Government.
I was also asked whether additional copies of the Macmillan report will be made available to honorable senators. Three additional copies have been placed in the library. The Prime Minister (Mr. Seullin) considers that the expense which would be involved in printing a sufficient number of copies to supply one to each member of this Parliament would not be warranted.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjournedat 4.32 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 October 1931, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1931/19311014_senate_12_132/>.