13th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.On the 10th November, Senator O’Halloran asked the following questions, upon notice: -
. Is the Government store at Port Augusta, established some years ago to supply groceries and household requirements of employees in the Commonwealth railways, still being operated ?
The Minister for the Interior has now supplied the following answers: -
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.On the 4th November, Senator E. B. Johnston asked the following questions, upon notice : -
The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers: -
On the 4th November, Senator E. B. Johnston asked the following questions, upon notice : -
The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers: -
On the 4th November, Senator E. B. Johnston askedthe following questions, upon notice : -
The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers: -
On the 4th November, Senator E. B. Johnston asked the following questions, upon notice : -
The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers : -
– Has the attention of the Leader of the Senate been directed to the following report which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of the 11th instant, of the Armistice Day message issued by the Prime Minister : -
To-day is the anniversary of the Armistice which ended the greatest and most terrible of all wars, and again the hearts of the people turn to the memory of those whose lives were the price of our deliverance. There is no other day on which all sorts and conditions of people are so deeply moved by thoughts and feelings common to all of them. But Armistice Day is not of the dead alone; it is also a day of the living, of the many who, cither on the battlefield or in the trenches, were deprived of the means by which they had won their daily bread.
– I rise to a point of order. Under our Standing Orders, an honorable senator in asking a question is permitted to read only sufficient of a report in a newspaper to enable him to ask his question. Senator Dunn is reading the whole of the statement which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.
– The right honorable gentleman is right. Senator Dunn must understand that he is entitled to quote from a newspaper report only to the extent necessary to make clear his question.
– That being so, Mr. President, I ask the Leader of the Senate if he will move the adjournment of the Senate for the purpose of requesting the Government to set aside the sum of £12,000 for Christmas Day food relief for the unemployed returned sailors and soldiers throughout the Commonwealth?
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Only a few days ago my colleague the Assistant Minister (Senator Greene) gave to the Senate a full statement of the amount of money that had been made available by the Government for relief works. I, therefore, suggest that the honorable senator’s question is unnecessary.
Senator James Francis Guthrie made and subscribed the oath of allegiance.
The following papers were presented : -
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1932, No. 125.
Navigation Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1932, No. 124.
National Debt Sinking Fund Act - National Debt Commission - Ninth Annual Report, year ended 30th June, 1932.
Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration) Act-
Ordinance No. 20 of 1932 - Licensing.
Public Service Ordinance - Regulation amended.
Tariff Board - Reportsand Recommendations -
Dairy coolers; pasteurizers; jacketed vats or jacketed tanks lined or unlined; enamelled vats or tanks not jacketed.
Motive power machinery and appliances (except electric).
Piece goods, woollen or containing wool.
– In view of the disagreement of the wheat farmers throughout Australia over the present policy of the Commonwealth Government in regard to the granting of assistance to the wheat industry, is the Government prepared to withdraw its present policy for assisting the industry, and pay a bounty of 6d. per bushel on all wheat delivered to country railway sidings and silos during the 1932-33 harvest? Has the Government received letters of protest from farming bodies in wheat-growing centres throughout Australia ?
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Various representations have been made to the Government in regard to the need for assisting the industry, and the matter is now under consideration. The decision of the Government will be expressed in a bill which will shortly be presented to Parliament.
– On the 9th November, Senator Dunn asked the following questions, upon notice: - 1.Is Balak Papan crude oil still being imported into Australia?
I am now able to furnish the honorable senator with the following information : - 1 and 2. The statistical records do not show separately the class of oil referred to. All importations of crude oil from the Netherlands East Indies are included under the one heading.
asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s questions : -
Notification of the change in proprietorship of the newspaper published under the title of the World has been received by the department. A change in the proprietorship of a newspaper, or a change in the form or title of a newspaper, does not necessarily involve fresh registration. The honorable senator may rest assured that, in the case referred to, the department will see that the requirements of the regulations are complied with.
asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
In view of a reply given by the PostmasterGeneral some time ago, viz., that telephonic communication between Tasmania and the mainland would bo established when the finances of the Commonwealth would permit, and in view of the improved financial position as now disclosed by the Treasurer’s statement of to-day, will the Government give early and favorable consideration to the question of such telephonic communication?
– The PostmasterGeneral has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
Whilst the Government is favorably disposed to the establishment of telephone communication between the mainland and Tasmania, it is regretted that, owing to other pressing demands on government finances, it is impracticable at this juncture to proceed with the project.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
How many Commonwealth police or “ investigators “ are stationed in Brisbane; and, if any, are they being used to investigate matters arising out of the Financial Emergency Act relating to old-age pensioners?
– The AttorneyGeneral has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
Three members of the Investigation Branch of the Attorney-General’s Department ‘are stationed at Brisbane. Their services are not utilized in investigating matters arising out of the Financial Emergency Act relating to old-age pensions.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
What was the total quantity of superphosphates sold and distributed throughout Australia during the year 1932?
– The answer to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
Figures of production prepared, by the Commonwealth Statistician are not yet available for 1932. The following figures are available: - Superphosphate - 1931: Production,660,131 tons, value £2,986,595; importations, 26 tons, value £353. 1932: Importations, nil.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Would it have been possible for the Government to have made the remissions of taxation just announced to the Senate, were it not for the reductions recently made in invalid and old-age pensions and the collections anticipated from relatives of invalid and old-age pensioners (including war pensioners) ?
– The Treasurer hassupplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
The proposed remissions of taxation which have been announced by the Government aggregating in all £2,100,000, are the direct result of the unexpected buoyancy of Commonwealth revenues, particularly fromcustoms and excise, and are not being made consequent upon any possible reductions of expenditure under the recent amendments of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. The total saving to date in invalid and old-age pensions since the Financial Emergency Act of 1932 became law, is only £40,000, and the saving in the total expenditure on invalid and old-age pensions this year compared with last year will not exceed £300.000. From these facts it is, of course, obvious that remissions of taxation amounting to £2,100,000 could not have been made from pension savings.
Has his attention been drawn to an article appearing in the Sydney Sun on Sunday last stating that the Minister for the Interior had npprnved of a regulation recommended by the Chief Protector of Aborigines requiring settlers in North and Central Australia to employ one half-caste apprentice for each five aborigines engaged in station work?
Is the report correct?
Has the Minister taken any steps to amend the regulations relating to the employment of half-castes which were made on the 3rd February, 1930, and which were not placed upon the table of either House of Parliament?
Has any further regulation relating to the employment of aborigines or half-castes been gazetted without being submitted to Parliament in accordance with section 16 of the Northern Territory of Australia Ordinance No. 3 of 1931?
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: -
There is no proposal before the Minister to amend the regulations to provide that one half-caste shall be employed for every five aboriginals engaged.
The regulations made on the 3rd February, 1930, were amended on the 29th October, 1930, and on the16th June, 1932. The regulations made on the 3rd February, 1930, were not planed upon the table of either House of Parliament, because they were made by the
Government Resident of North Australia, and, at the time of making, there was no statutory requirement that regulations made by the Government Resident should be laid before Parliament.
asked the Leader of the Government in the Senate, upon notice -
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The replies to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: -
The figures quoted are advance, and subject to revision.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior,upon notice -
What premises in Canberra are leased by the Government; from whom are the premises leased, and at what tenure and rental ?
– The Minister for the Interior has sup plied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions: - 1 and 2. Reductions in salary were made in various branches, including the works and services branches, New South Wales and Victoria, following upon re-organization and establishment of the Department of the Interior. The reductions were due to lessened activities, alteration of functions with reduced responsibilities, and to officers being in excess of requirements in their particular classifications, thus necessitating their transfer to positions of lower classification and salary.
Debate resumed from the 10th November (vide page 2195), on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce: -
That the bill be now read a second time;
Upon which Senator Dunn had moved, by way of amendment -
That the word “ now “ be left out, with a view to add the words “ this day six months.”
.- I oppose the amendment, and regret the attitude that has been adopted by those honorable senators opposite who have opposed the second reading of the bill; the reason being, I am afraid, that they have not grasped the significance of this legislation and the favorable bearing that it must have upon the development of New Guinea. Had Senators Barnes, Brown and Dunn investigated the matter thoroughly, I feel sure that some of their comments would have been left unmade. I hope that before the debate concludes they will realise that the measure is deserving of their support.
Honorable senators must recognize that iu this legislation we are dealing, not with a country that belongs to Australia, but with one that has been entrusted to us, under a mandate, by the League of Nations.
– That is all the more reason why the franchise should be widened.
– We must exercise extreme care to see that we comply as fully as possible with the terms of the mandate. Honorable senators do not need to be reminded of the nature of those terms; it is sufficient for me to say that mandatory power is required -to develop this country, not in the interests of a few white people who reside there, but for the betterment of the native races.
– Why not give the natives representation in the proposed legislative council?
– Had the honorable senator visited New Guinea, and become cognizant of the position of affairs there, especially with respect to the mentality of the natives and the variety of the tribes, he would know that such a proposal is not justified.
– At one time that was said of the Maoris.
– The honorable senator has been to New Guinea, and ought to know that the indigenous races of that country cannot be compared with those of New Zealand; the difference between many of them and the Maoris is as great as between black and white.
Australia has had control of this territory for some years. Under the civil administration, eleven years or more have elapsed, and it is fitting now to pay a tribute to the gentleman who, in ‘the face of very great difficulties, has administered the affairs of New Guinea. Although faults may be found by some with his administration, the territory under his control made marvellous progress, and, to-day, presents many fewer problems than faced him when he assumed office. If honorable senators peruse the annual reports that are compiled for the .League of Nations under the terms of the mandate, they will see that, from year to year,’ steady progress has been made. We ought to congratulate ourselves upon the fact that no appeal for financial assistance has been made by the administration to Australia. For the last eleven years, the territory has been practically selfsupporting. That is a wonderful record ; and if we, either as a Commonwealth or as individual States, had equalled it, our financial position to-day would be infinitely better than it is. So far the only assistance is the grant of £10,000 that was made for a few years only, to aid the administration in its efforts to combat the diseases that are so rife among the native population. Unfortunately, that was withdrawn last year, and provision has not been made for it this year. Last year, the revenue of the territory practically balanced the expenditure, although in the previous year there was a deficit of between £7,000 and £10,000. Over the last eleven years, the ledger has been balanced without any financial assistance from the Commonwealth. The administration has been backed by a most loyal band of officers, who on the whole are obsessed with the desire to do everything possible to develop this wonderful country. New Guinea is not peopled by an indigenous population of one class; there are in it at least 100 distinct tribes who, it is estimated, speak 500 distinct languages. They vary as much in mentality as in physique, some of them being remarkably handsome specimens physically, while others are the reverse. The diversity’’’ of their mentality has been proved as a result of the magnificent work of the schools that were established solely for the benefit of the native youth. In them are to be found representatives of many tribes in the territory, and by the most careful compilation of a graph the administration has been able to determine the varying degress of mentality that exist. Some of the natives stand very high in the mental scale, while others occupy very low positions. Taken by and large, however, they are worthy of development. In many parts of the territory, they have been developed to such an extent that in the native plantations, which are nothing but forest plantations, more than two coco-nuts are being grown to-day where only one was grown a few years/ ago. That has been brought about by a careful observance of the conditions imposed by the mandate, which clearly lays it down that the country must be developed in the interests of the native races, whose customs, wherever practicable, are to be preserved. It has . never been suggested that all the native customs should be abolished. The administration has been wise enough to realize that it should intervene only when the customs of the natives are prejudicial to their moral and physical development or injurious to others. We have also to remember that the administration has been helped materially by the magnificent work undertaken by the missions prior to the administration assuming control, and since then. The missions of New Guinea comprise the Roman Catholics, Lutheran, and Methodists, and, lately, the Anglican Church has established a mission. Early in its career, the administration was able to take advantage of the good work performed by the missions.
– Most of the missions are interfering busybodies.
– The honorable senator should read the opinions expressed by a gentleman who knows more than the honorable senator concerning the work of missions. I refer to Colonel Ainsworth who had control of Kenya Colony in South Africa, and who came from England at the request of the Commonwealth Government to advise it with respect to the development of this territory. I advise Senator Collings to read that gentleman’s report, and to see the marvellous tribute which he pays to the work of the missions in New Guinea.
– So he would, so long as the missions continue to extend the principles of imperialism.
– The honorable senator should study the subject.
– Knowing the failure we have made of our civilization, we should not interfere with theirs. I am thinking of the conditions in Surry Hills an d_ Woolloomooloo.
– The honorable senator should be at those places instead of in the Senate interjecting as he is. That, is his place. I do not know of one member of the Federal Parliament who has visited the territory who would be guilty of making such as interjection as that made by Senator Collings. Everyone who understands the problems asso ciated with the Mandated Territory pays a tribute to the administration, and to the magnificent work performed by the missions. The missionaries are the real pioneers.
– With a rum bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other. I
– I have met men of the calibre of the honorable senator, and I know how much weight to attach to utterances of that character. The bill provides the first instalment of selfgovernment in New Guinea.
– Will New Guinea be exporting bananas to Australia ?
– The honorable senator need not be afraid of competition from that direction, although the bananas grown in New Guinea are equal to those produced in any other part of the world. The honorable senator fails to realize that a wise Providence has provided us with a country from which we can draw certain tropical products needed in Australia. The progress of New Guinea depends more upon its agricultural development than upon its mineral resources, which of course, when developed, are an adjunct to its agricultural development. Provision is made in the bill for the establishment of a nominee executive council, and a nominee legislative council somewhat similar to the councils already in existence in Papua. No honorable senator would suggest that the administration of Papua is not all that could be desired. The work of Sir Hubert Murray, the Administrator of Papua, has been most highly commended. He is regarded as the best possible type of public servant. Sir Hubert Murray never fails to recognize the magnificent assistance which he has received in his administrative work, from the missions in Papua. It has been suggested by some honorable senators opposite that by providing for the appointment of a nominee -executive council and a nominee legislative council, the Government is attempting to establish a form of Mussolini government in New Guinea. Honorable senators who hold that opinion should consider the topography of this wonderful territory, which consists of 90,000 square miles.
The main island of New Guinea is one of the largest islands in the world, and the portion of the mainland which is being administered under .mandate has 900 miles of coast line. There is also the island of New Britain, on which the seat of government is established. That, too, is a large island, and notwithstanding that the German people were in occupation for 30 years, it has not by any means been fully developed. Even today there are 50 or 60 miles of coastline which have not yet been brought under the control of the administration. The conditions in the centre of New Britain are still barbaric. Those who condemn the present administration should compare the development that has taken place during the eleven years it has been in control with the development of the preceding fifteen or twenty years. If they do so, they will find that the present administration has performed wonderful work. The suggestion that the Government should provide for elective councils could not be entertained for a moment.
– The limited white population is scattered over numerous islands, with 900 miles of coast line on the mainland alone, in addition to the numerous islands. Communication between the various settlements is slow, because the absence of roads makes it necessary for travellers to follow the n aci ve pads or tracks.
– That would not prevent them from having an elective body.
– It would take a long -time to conduct an election. Moreover, what knowledge would people living at say, Bougainville, or Vanimo, close to the equator, have of a planter in a southern portion of the territory who desired to nominate for election?
– The same knowledge that people -in Australia have of candidates.
– The point is whether or not we have any faith in the Administrator. I knew the exAdministrator well, and I have every reason to believe that his successor is a very fine officer who is just as desirous of improving the conditions in the territory as he was. Does any honorable senator suggest that the Administrator would select as representatives on the legislative council men of mediocre ability, merely because he thought they would pander to him?
– If a member does not please the Administrator, he will, under ;this bill, get the sack.
– Nonsense ! The Administrator should be empowered to dismiss any member who is incapable of performing the duties required of him. The two bodies proposed to be created will be consultative bodies. The underlying principle is that, with their knowledge of the conditions in the territory, tho members will be able to assist the Administrator in the administration of the territory. I do not -approve of the proposal in the bill that the legislative council should be representative of certain interests because I fear that it will weaken the administration. We should not make it a hard and fast rule that the council shall comprise a certain number of members to represent specified industries. For instance, the bill provides for two representatives of the mining industry. That may be all right at present, but the time may come when other industries may develop and one representative of that industry will be sufficient. I have given notice of an amendment to remove these details from the bill, so that the selection of members of the legislative council shall be left entirely to the Administrator, who will then be free to appoint the best men available for the job.
I visited New Guinea about five years” ago at the conclusion of an important conference of representatives of the various missions, and the administration. It was the first conference of its kind, and for a week had discussed various problems of the territory. At the conclusion of the conference certain decisions were unanimously agreed to. Senator MacDonald referred to the representation of the natives on these bodies. One of the recommendations of the conference, to which effect will gradually be given, was that those native tribes which were fitted to accept the responsibility of self-government should be given a modified form of control of local affairs, of course being subordinate to the administration. That could not be done with all the tribes, because, in some cases, the mentality of the natives is such that they are not fitted to be entrusted with selfgovernment. Other tribes are gradually approaching the stage at which they could safely be entrusted with some form of local control. Every effort is being made by the administration, in conjunction with its own schools and the mission schools, to train the natives, so that on their return to their own people they may gradually prepare them for a measure of self-government. Particularly on the main coast of New Guinea, the natives are now showing a return for the education work undertaken by the administration. The last time I visited the territory, I noticed from the vesselin which I was travelling a chain of fires along the coast. At first, I thought that they were ordinary bush fires, but, on making inquiries, I was informed that they were fires to destroy rubbish in tie native plantations, and had been lighted in compliance with the instructions of the patrol officer in order to exterminatethe vermin which affectedthe coco-nuts. So successful were the means employed, that within a few years there grew two or three coco-nuts where previously only one had grown. Once the intelligence of the natives has been awakened, they are as keen as are white people to improve their position.
– Are they as keen on degrading others as the white races are?
– When their intelligence is awakened they are keenly desirous of further developing their holdings. I am convinced that if the Opposition were able to destroy this bill, its members would eventually regret having done so, because it would put back the clock a number of years. This bill is the first step in the further development of New Guinea along the lines that have been followed with success in other places. Surely, no honorable senator would suggest giving to New Guinea a Senate or a House of Representatives, elected on a franchise similar to that given to Australians.
– I should not like them to see this Senate once they have become educated.
– Should the honorable gentleman remain a member of the Senate long enough, and many others of his calibre join him, there may then besomething in his interjection; but so far the Senate has commanded the respect of the people of Australia.
In conclusion, I express the hope that the retrograde step suggested by Senator Dunn will not be taken, for it would mean leaving New Guinea without an advisory council, as was the case last year. Half a loaf is betterthan no bread. It is better to hasten slowly than to go to the other extreme, and undo the good that has already been accomplished.
– Does the honorable senator believe in giving the franchise to the white population of New Guinea ?
– Not at the present time. Honorable senators fail to realize that the white population of New Guinea is made up of government officials, overseers of plantations, miners, commercial men, aud white missionaries, the last-named numbering about 200. The honorable senator spoke of the injustice which, he said, this bill would inflict on the working man in New Guinea. Who is the working man in that country? Practically all the labouring work on the gold-fields is done by the natives, who are quite efficient if handled properly.
– Who built all the dredges on the gold-fields?
– The dredges were constructed overseas, shipped to New Guinea, and transported to the field in aeroplanes.
– How many boilermakers, engineers and shipwrights went from Sydney to assemble those dredges?
– I do not know; in any case dredges are not being built every day. The permanent work in developing the agricultural resources of the country is also done by natives under white overseers. It is gratifying to know that the initial difficulties connected with the development of the gold-fields have been successfully overcome. The story of the way in which the most modern and the most primitive have been linked up in New Guinea reads like a romance. Aeroplanes, transporting machinery and supplies by air, occupy only 40 or 50 minutes on a journey which, by road, would take at least eight days, and it is a tribute to the magnificent organization of the New Guinea air services that machinery weighing 2,500 tons has been transported by air to the gold-field without a single accident. I doubt that such a record can be equalled in any other part of the world. I hope that the bill will be passed so that New Guinea, with its hundreds of small islands, and the northern islands of the Solomon group, may be developed under a wise administration. I intend to support the bill.
– Probably I should not have spoken in this debate, knowing, as I do, that the bill will be carried in its present form, but for the speech to which we have just listened from Senator Payne. I am well aware that anything that I, or any other honorable senator on this side, may say will not alter in any “way, or affect to the slightest degree, that which is going on in New Guinea to-day. But I wish to take advantage of this opportunity, as I shall of every other opportunity that comes my way, to protest against the sickening arrogance of this chamber in proclaiming itself or its component parts, especially those which constitute the Government side, as the be-all and end-all of human wisdom, progress, decency and dignity. It is nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator does not add to the dignity of this chamber.
– I am not suggesting that I do. My main purpose is to justify myself, and to enter my protest against the sickening hypocrisy of the white races posing as the pioneers of civilization, and all that is great and noble, when more than 10 per cent, of the Australian people are hopelessly doomed with venereal disease. We prate of our civilization, which we desire to see extended to the four corners of the earth, and refer with pride to what we have done. If there were less talk about civilization, and more talk about “ syphilization “ of the white races, we might reach a better understanding of our true position in the system of alleged Christian civilization in this and other countries. But it is not my intention to disclose all the horrors of civilization. I am impelled to say this, because I do get “ fed-up “ when I am forced to listen to fellow members of this chamber talking about the sacred duty of the white race to carry the flaming torch of righteousness, civilization and decency to the four corners of the earth. The form of government about to be established in New Guinea may, in the opinion of honorable senators opposite, be an improvement on the form that has existed in the Mandated Territory to date. It will certainly be an improvement from the imperialistic view-point, because the bill moves in the direction of giving the servants of imperialism greater power over those native races that come within the ambit of their control. I pay a tribute to Senator Payne for his knowledge of the Mandated Territory; obviously the honorable senator has been there, and knows something of its geographical features. Doubtless he travelled through the territory with open eyes, if not with an open mind. But I am equally certain that he travelled through the land with the brand of superiority on his brow; travelled as a member of the superior white race, anxious, I believe quite honestly, to do what he considered best for those people who, because of a decision of the League of Nations after the war, were handed over to the tender mercies of this Parliament. May I remind him that the native races of New Guinea have a code ‘ of morals which, in some respects, is of such a high standard as to make us bow our heads in shame?
– Quite right.
– Then why all this talk about the superiority of the Christian races? Honorable senators opposite apparently, stand for the policy, concerning which I asked a question of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) the other day, under which the Government takes the last vestige of selfrespect from a section of our people in the evening of their lives. It is the very refinement of cruelty, a long, drawn-out agony, of which the aboriginal natives of New Guinea would be ashamed. The British race is noted for its colonizing ability. But what is its record? What has it done to the aborigines of Australia ? In the history of the colonization of this country is there one page upon which any selfrespecting member of the British race can look with pride? Recently the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) issued instructions for the shooting down of emus in Western Australia. I have known of natives in my own State being treated in exactly the same way. I have known of their women being outraged and ill-treated by unchristian, unrighteous, and arrogant, superior, colonizing, white people.
– If the honorable senator knew anything of the administration in New Guinea, he would know that things like that would not be tolerated.
– The honorable senator will not bull-doze me, if he succeeds in bull-dozing his friends who intend to support this bill. He says that this sort of thing would not be tolerated in New Guinea. I have in my hand a copy of a recent issue of the Rabaul Times containing an account of something so villainous as to be almost beyond belief. I intend to read certain portions of the report for the information of honorable senators, and to show that such things can happen, even in New Guinea. They have happened, and, no doubt, will continue to happen in the history of colonization, not only by the British race, but also by the Germans, the Belgians, and other imperialistic peoples. Has not the honorable senator read the history of the development of the Congo?
– Similar things are happening in Brisbane to-day.
– I should not be surprised that the honorable senator’s information in regard to events in Brisbane - I do not know the source of his information - is as unreliable as is bis interpretation of what is going on in New Guinea to-day. I admit that, in Brisbane as elsewhere in this country under our present system of civilization, things happen which should make us feel ashamed and reluctant to inflict our particular brand of civilization upon the people of another race. The Rabaul Times of the 4th’ December, 1931, reports the trial in the Central Court, before His Honour Chief Judge Wanliss, C.M.G., of the case, the King versus James Joseph Larkin. Joseph Larkin, it should be un necessary for me to add, is not a New Guinea native. No. He is one of the great colonizers, one of the civilizers, one of the Christians of the world !
– Oh! Is he?
– Senator Payne has spoken of some mythical happenings in Brisbane. I do not know what he is talking about. I now direct his attention to something, which is ten times worse, that has happened in New Guinea-
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch). - Will the honorable senator connect his remarks with the subjectmatter of the bill?
– Of course, I W111. That will not be difficult. The bill proposes to set up a new form of government which will, in effect, be government by one man only. Honorable senators supporting the Government have declared that the measure is the last word in wisdom with regard to the government of the Mandated Territory.
– Who said that?
– If Senator Payne did not actually say that the bill was the last word in wisdom, he implied that it was, because he declared that those who opposed it would be putting back the clock and would regret it. Ti that means anything, it means that those who support the bill will be putting forward . the clock of progress. Senator Payne said that he knew the previous Administrator was a worthy man, and believed the present Administrator would prove a worthy successor and do his best. My point is that under the condition of affairs that prevails in New Guinea, we should be passing, not a- bill of this kind, but a measure which would provide for a proper form of government for the Mandated Territory - a government from which the outraged natives could receive a favorable hearing, and by which they could have their grievances adjusted. Under proposed new section 13, the members of the executive council are to have seniority as the Governor-General specially assigns. Under section 14, the executive council shall not proceed to the despatch of business unless summoned by authority of the Administrator. Under section 17, the Administrator only shall be entitled to submit questions to the executive council for advice or decision. Under section IS, the Administrator may, in any case, if he thinks fit, act in opposition to the advice or decision of the executive council. Under section 19, which provides for the establishment of a legislative council for the territory, cer±ain non-official members are to be nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General. Three of the non-official members of the legislative council are to be nominated as representing the interests of the planting industry, “two as representing the interests of the mining industry, and two as representing commercial interests. Whenever the Administrator wishes to obtain the views of any person within the territory touching any matters about to be brought before the council, he may appoint that person to be an extraordinary member of the council.
I claim that a better form of government than that should be provided for New Guinea. I draw attention to some of the frightful thing3 that are occurring there at the present time, but of which this bill takes not the slightest cognizance. I have before me a newspaper account of a case in which a man was prosecuted because on Saturday, the 24th August, 1931, he had a brawl with three “boys” over whom he had no lawful control. He was in a position to’ order them to do certain work because, for the time being, he was in charge of a certain job. The “ boys “ began to be cheeky to him, because they were not so foolish as he took them to be. They would not take his treatment lying down. The newspaper published a summary of the remarks of the Chief Judge, who, in the course of his summing up, is reported to have said -
The three boys began to get anxious or restive, and sent up to the accused to say that they wanted to get away. There is some evidence that this was about 10 o’clock, and apparently the accused, although he had his duties to perform in order to let these boys go away, was not yet out of bed. In bis evidence lie stated that he had been suffering for a fortnight with recurrent low fever, or, as he put it in rather an extraordinary phrase, continuous recurrent low fever . . .
He was not in such a low state of health as to be prevented from having them brutally banged about by other “ boys “. They were “ spread-eagled “, flogged with a cane, and generally illtreated in a manner almost beyond understanding.
How many strokes were inflicted and how long it took must be a matter of uncertainty. The natives’ evidence for the Crown goes to show that it went on from about 4 o’clock until almost dark, which would be about six. I think that is impossible. As cruelly as that boy was used, I do not think there would have been a breath in his body if one could imagine a two hours’ flogging with the weapon used, even allowing for breaks and rests and so on. The accused, in his evidence, puts it at ten minutes. I think he is just as wrong as they are, but that it was some considerable time, and that it was a flogging of the severest description, there is no doubt at all . . .
The flogging, unfortunately, was a considered act, done after the heat of the struggle, after the other party to the struggle had gone, and after Sambung had been brought back for reasons of revenge and punishment. The revenge or punishment was brutal, cowardly and deliberate. The act was one which is a disgrace to the white race, and one of a type that discredits the territory. These things when they happen do more harm than many cases of violence by natives, and I cannot treat it as other than a very serious offence . . .
Larkin has been placed in a prison camp, where he receives extra remissions, better rations, and other concessions not ordinarily granted to prisoners. This is also the position in the case of Sabine, who was sentenced in Rabaul for obtaining money from natives by threats.
– That case demands a reply from the Government.
– Of course ii does.
– What was the sentence ?
– Of course, there was a travesty of justice, because, in these cases, when the accused are convicted, they are treated as first class prisoners.
– It would be only fair to say what sentence was imposed.
– I was interested in Senator Payne’s graphic account of fires which he saw burning on the coast on the occasion of one of his visits to the Mandated Territory. He mistook them for bush fires; but the fires had actually been lit by the natives, under the instructions of a patrol officer, for the purpose of destroying rubbish. The honorable senator presumably considered that that was a good point in favour of the administration. Not very far away from New Guinea is the wonderful city of Sydney. Anybody who walks down the main streets after the business houses have been closed will notice garbage containers at the sides of the streets, and he will also see men - white, Christian, and civilized like ourselves - rummaging in the garbage tins and extracting horrible elements of food, which they eat wolfishly on the spot. The various municipal authorities along the foreshores of one of the most wonderful harbours in the world are greatly exercised in mind, because in this civilized country - which is so superior to some other lands, and is glad of an opportunity to “missionize” and civilize the New Guinea natives - they do not. burn their rubbish, but take it out to sea and let it wash back upon the beautiful shores where the people indulge in the delights of surfing.
– What has that to do with New Guinea?
– I cannot allow this opportunity to go without protesting against the arrogant assumption of the British race, which is more obvious and detestable because we have so little claim to the right to boast of our dealings with natives. The last thing we should do is to preen ourselves on our capacity to improve the conditions of the natives in the Mandated Territory. We fail to recognize our utter incapacity to improve their morals, physique, or any other worth-while qualities. The things that we inflict on the natives would be better not done, and we always take away that which is worth most to the people whom we try to Christianize and civilize.
Senator Sir HAL COLEBATCH (Western Australia) [4.15]. - I did not intend to speak on the second reading of this bill, and I do so now only because of an omission on the part of the last speaker, which might set up a wrong impression. The report from which ho read referred to the trial of a white man on a charge of having flogged a native, and I think that the honorable senator would have given a more correct impression of what happened if he had told us that the Chief Judge inflicted on the accused a sentence of ten years’ imprisonment with hard labour. I consider that it was an entirely fitting and proper sentence, and it shows that British rule at all events, not only aims tit doing justice to the natives, but also punishes a Britisher when he commits an offence.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. The newspaper report of the trial, to which I referred, came into my hands only a minute before I rose to my feet. In my haste, and in my desire not to weary the Senate with a lengthy quotation, the sequel to the case escaped my notice. I gave only hurried quotations from the report, my object being to show not that the accused was punished, but that the crime was committed.
– It is not any easier to speak on a. bill of this kind with a level head after having listened to a diatribe of the type of that to which the Senate has just been treated. Holding my own definite opinions, I can make excuse. I hope, for others with whose views I do not agree; but I cannot justify, or in any way condone, the attitude of any one who dismisses as entirely useless work which has been done for many centuries by missionaries. People may disagree as to the effects of missions, but surely nobody can suggest that the work which has been done by a large number of people in an entirely altruistic way has been simply wasted.
– More than wasted ; vicious.
– Nor can I agree that the pioneering spirit of our nation or of any other nation has been entirely ineffective. It does not do for the people of any country to have too high an opinion of their own performances - we are all inclined to err in that direction - but after all, if one looks back at history, what race yet has been able to compare with the British, not only in its genius for exploration and adventure, but also in its opening up of lands all over the world? Above all, of what other race can it more truly be said that in the midst of coloured and differing races it has honestly endeavoured to .administer what, appeared’ to it to be essential justice? Everybody is human and liable to err, but neither the achievements of the British race, nor the results of all missionary work, can be discounted by a speech such as that to which we have just listened. Take Britain’s work in Egypt, for example. I gather that the honorable senator suggests that no race should go into a country populated by a race of a different colour. Had that rule applied, this Senate would not have had the opportunity of hearing Senator Collings this afternoon. That perhaps would have been a misfortune. But Britain did populate Australia. I do not say that we have done a fair thing by the coloured people of this country, but I am not prepared to agree that white people here of British or any other stock, have been completely corrupt and that their works have been detrimental to the human race.
– Nobody said that.
– That was the effect of what the honorable senator said. As I was saying, take Egypt as an example.
– We caught the people of that country with machine guns when they had only spears with which to defend themselves.
– Look at the history of Egypt. For countless centuries it continued in the same old way, which presumably is the way of which the honorable gentleman approves. It was not until the British went to Egypt that corruption, financial and otherwise, was cleared up. It was only then that agriculture was given a chance owing to the fact that the great waters of that land were then harnessed. I am aware of course that the results that have been achieved in Egypt arc not due entirely to the British ; the Italians have played some part. I do contend, however, that the principal part of the work has been done by Great Britain.
As I have not been to New Guinea, I am at a disadvantage in debating this matter compared with Senator Payne. I was glad to hear the honorable senator pay a tribute to the exAdministrator, whom I hardly know personally. When a man has been in charge of a territory like this under rather unusually difficult circumstances, and when his administration has apparently been satisfactory, not only to this country, but also to the League of Nations, I think we should assume that the results are due to some extent to his ability and to the control that he has exercised. If there is one thing in which we of this country are lacking at the present time it is a sense of gratitude to our public servants and to public men at large who have done good work for the Commonwealth. Barely indeed do we hear a tribute paid to them. I listened in vain, until Senator Payne spoke, for any recognition of the work that has been done by the Administrator who has just retired.
There are several different ways in which a country may be governed. Hitherto this territory has been governed by an administrator with an advisory council. Probably that is the best form of government fora community that is uneducated and in the elementary stages. It is admitted that the coloured people of New Guinea fulfil that qualification; that they are not a very intellectual or a highly trained race. Therefore, I personally have no objection to government by an administrator, who gradually gathers round him advisers in the form of an executive council until the system develops into some form of elected representation. That method has been followed in most of the British colonies. It appears to me, however, to be entirely erroneous to suggest that this bill proposes anything in the nature of what has been called “the Mussolini type” of government. So far as it goes, it tends to limit the powers that the Administrator at present possesses. How any one can suggest that it is an attempt to set up a dictatorship when to a certain extent there is to be a modification of what is very nearly a dictatorship, I cannot see. But there is a feature of the bill which I confess I do not like. If, as Senator Pearce says, the present circumstances “warrant the granting of a measure of self-government “, some such measure there should be; but if it is not thought that there should be self-government, matters should be left where they are now, and that is very likely the better course to adopt. But if it be thought desirable to grant selfgovernment, do not let us make it a pretence, as is proposed in this bill.
An analysis of the measure was made the other day by Senator Brown, to whom I listened with a good deal of interest, and with the greater appreciation, because he voiced some of the sentiments that I intended to express, evidencing a close scrutiny of the bill and a mastery of a good deal of its detail. Two councils are proposed, the first an executive council, and the second a legislative council. One of my objections to the bill is that, while certain things may take place, there are reservations, qualifications and restrictions with respect to every one of them. First of all the executive council, whose duty it will be to advise and assist the Administrator, is to number nine persons, of whom eight are to be officers of the territory and one a non-official member of the legislative council. They will hold appointment from the Governor-General during pleasure and therefore may be removed from office if either he or the Administrator so desires. They need not even be summoned. The Administrator may decline to submit any question to the executive council, although the question and answer may be recorded for whatever value that may have. The Administrator may in any case act in opposition to the advice or the decision of tne executive council, but in such an event he must report the matter to the Minister. Yet their business will be to advise and to assist in the despatch of business. No sitting may be held unless the chairman and at least three members are present. I should think that if the Administrator requires advice, that of these officials is alreadyavailable to him, and that in any case the number of nine ought to be sufficient for the present, particularly as they are all likely to have much the same point of view as the Administrator.
-It is a loaded jury.
– I do not think that the attitude of Senator Dunn is likely to help the matter in the slightest degree.WhatI should like is a slightly improved bill. I accept the idea that there is a desire gradually to widen the control from that of one man, to that of a number of men, in other words, to obtain advice for the Administrator, although I do not think that the bill goes sufficiently far in that direction. It would not have the effect of procuring the advice sought, to have this bill read a second time this day six months; it would simply mean that meanwhile, the Administrator wouldcontinue, under existing circumstances, on a more restricted basis - somewhat as a Mussolini, to use the honorable senator’s words.
I come now to the legislative council, which is to be comprised of sixteen persons, the Administrator, the eight official members of the executive council appointed by the Governor-General, and seven non-official members nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General. The non-official members may be removed from office by the Governor-General. The Administrator is to have a casting as well as a deliberative vote, and he may withhold his assent from any measure that is passed. ‘The GovernorGeneral also may disallow, or refrain from assenting. There are copious restrictions on the legislation which the legislative council may enact.
– Elaborate provision is made to prevent anything from being done.
– I find myself, to a certain extent, in accord with the views, not of Senator Collings, but of Senator Brown. If we are to have anything which purports to be a form of self-government, it ought not to be a pretence. The appointment by the GovernorGeneral, on the advice of the Administrator, of sixteen men to do what is now done by the Administrator and his advisory council, simply means trebling the number of advisers, and gaining no advantage thereby.
– It is not selfgovernment, but government by one man in the persons of nominees.
– It rather appears that the other fifteen will be what one may call either pale reflections of the Administrator, or possibly, what is even worse, over-zealous friends. I urge the Minister, if possible, to see that representation is given to persons who are not. appointed officially by the Administrator, even if their number be few. After all, if anything very dreadful should happen, they may be removed, or assent may he withheld, or the GovernorGeneral may disallow, or the matter may come before this Parliament for disallowance. Therefore, a great deal of risk would not be run. Perhaps honorable senators may remember the cartoon that some years ago was made of one of our Prime Ministers, a man of very striking personality. Itwas not altogether fair to his colleagues, but it depicted him sitting in the twelve cabinet seats, in each of which he was viewed from a different angle. There is at least a doubt as to whether, under the bill as it stands, we may not have the Administrator in sixteen different positions, and no expression of any other point of view in the legislative council. I adopted this stand in another place eight years ago, when the Papua Bill was being considered. I then said that if we attempted to give some form of local selfgovernment, it should not be a sham, and I have not since had reason to alter that view. I am not suggesting that there should be an election by any of the coloured races. I do not consider, however, that on a council as large as this, we should prevent the expression of opinion which may differ from that of the Administrator. Such discussion is good for every one concerned. It not only allows the Administrator to knowwhat is taking place in the country that he is administering, but also acts as a safety valve. It provides a means of what one may term “ rubbing shoulders “ by bringing the Administrator and his officials into contact with the thought of the whole community. If properly operated, and if the right spirit be shown, eventually that will be an assistance to him, not a deterrent. Sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19 reads -
Three ofthe non-official members of the legislative council shall be nominated as representing the interests of the planting industry, two as representing the interests of the mining industry, and two as representing commercial interests.
It is a matter for the Government to decide whether there should be a ballot of those associated with these particular industries or whether the nomination of the central body which represents these industries, should be sufficient. I assume that there is a centralmining organization and a central planters’ organization, and possibly a chamber of commerce. I think it would be preferable for these organizations to submit names, and, if the Government is not prepared to allow the members of these various interests to vote for their respective candidates, it would be much better for these organizations to nominate their own representatives, although some of whom might be firebrands. It would be better for the interests concerned, and even for the whole community, to have some small representation which is not entirely official. To let in a breath of air from outside, although that air may be bad, is much better than to have expressed the same old views by sixteen different persons. The Government could, if it desired, limit the representation to one of each of these interests, which would then be only three out of a total of sixteen. Their decisions or acts may be largely overruled. But if by slow degrees we are to give some form of local representation, provision should be made for appointing representatives who are not strictly official, and who could express official members. They could discuss viewpoints differing from those of the matters from other than the official angle. A clash of views in the legislative council is not likely to be extreme, and may beof advantage to the residents of New Guinea and lead later to a larger measure of self-government being extended to them than is now possible.
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [4.38]. - I suggest that the whole of the subject-matter referred to by Senator Collings, and which appeared in the Rabaul Times, should be embodied in Hansard. It gives a full report of the trial to which the honorable senator referred and the decision of the court, and should be embodied in Hansard.
– I object. It should not be embodied in the official report unless it is read so that honorable senators may know exactly what it contains.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senatorthe Hon. Herbert Hays). - An honorable senator is not entitled to embody in Hansard matter which has not been read.
SenatorRAE. - I agree with Senator Duncan-Hughes that, if there is to be anything in the nature of selfgovernment in New Guinea, it should be real, and not a pretence. Speaking generally, I agree with the sentiments expressed by Senator Collings, that hitherto we have as a race assumed to ourselves virtues which we do not possess, and which we have not practised with our own kith and kin. We all know that self-praise is no recommendation. I am not one of those who wish to cast any reflection upon the work of missionaries; but I know that competent anthropologists and ethnologists who have studied mankind from every viewpoint, have said that the work of missionaries, to a large extent, destroys the native culture without substituting a culture which the natives can understand or appreciate. Therefore, it is not a question of the goodwill or altruistic sentiments of those concerned, but one of whether the methods adopted by missionaries may not do more to break down the customs or psychology on which the culture of the natives is based, without substituting something which they can understand. The history of New Guinea and other countries peopled by black races, shows that the greed of gain is the great impelling force in matters of colonization. There is no doubt that what we term our colonizing genius merely means the exercising of an unscrupulous power to dominate a very large proportion of the coloured races of the world. As a race, we are past masters in covering up our real aims and motives by the assumption of a piety, virtue, and culture, which a large portion of the British race does not even possess. I doubt very much whether there is sufficient perfection in any parliamentary system to justify the Government in attempting to plaster such a system all over the world. I doubt also whether there is any in this measure at all, and whether it in any way forms the basis of an evolutionary process by which in time the native races could be brought to establish and work a parliamentary institution.
– There is no intention of doing that.
SenatorRAE. - There is no foundation upon which such a superstructure could be built, and I do not think it wise to do so. This measure is farcical in that it is an elaborate attempt to do nothing. It is a colossal sham. It merely gives the Administrator power to nominate a certain number of persons to advise him on the conduct of business. He already has that power. He can obtain whatever information the officials are capable of affording. It seems, therefore, that all the bill provides is some elaborate way of formally directing the Administrator to do what he does at present. This idea of condensing and crystallizing everything into an act of Parliament seems to have reached the limit of absurdity. If it is the object of the Government to introduce a system of selfgovernment, which is gradually to evolve into some elaborate and perfect shape as the indigenous population becomes enlightened, the whole matter should be placed on a firm foundation. If the missionaries are rendering such gallant services in enlightening the native population, why not give them some representation on the proposed council? Why should there not be a representative nominated by the missions? The records of planters in countries peopled by coloured races are not such that any race should congratulate itself. If it is considered desirable to give the planters representation in the legislative council, what is wrong with consulting the planters’ organization? I have not been to the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, but I paid a visit to Papua some years ago, and the evidence available there disclosed that 95 or 97 per cent. of the planters are members of an organization, and conduct a ballot when electing their officers. If that is so, what is wrong with using the samemachinery to elect representatives to the legislative council? Are we to assume that because certain persons holding official positions are to be nominated, the remainder are not to have any representation at all? I understand that the white population of the Mandated Territory is approximately 2,900, of which 300 are officials.
– The mining and commercial organizations could elect their representatives.
SenatorRAE. - Yes. In selecting a representative of the missions, difficulties may arise in reconciling the interests of the various sects. I do not want to raise a sectarian issue; but it would probably be raised by the various sects. If the missions have done such good work, they should be recognized; and certainly their experience in dealing with the natives should be of considerable value to the administration. Even though the rival sects may have their different points of view, they may agree on certain important matters, and may be able to assist materially. There would at least be no difficulty in getting the commercial and mining interests to chose men to represent them. The bill makes no mention of the representation of the white wage-earners in the territory. Senator Payne said that there were no white men doing manual labour in the Mandated Territory. When I was in Papua some years ago, I visited Woodlark Island, and saw there a number of white men, stripped to the waist, working in a developmental shaft. The surface work was performed by natives. If white men do that class of work in Papua, they probably do it also in New Guinea, where the climatic conditions ave much the same.
– I said that the agricultural development of the territory was done by coloured labour. The mines are situated in higher altitudes, where the climate is more suitable to white men than to natives.
– I admit that the white men I saw were working under conditions resembling a Turkish bath; but the fact remains that they were there, working for wages. If other sections of the community are to be given ‘representation on this farcical council, why should these workers not also be represented on it? Senator Payne overlooked some facts when he said that the Maoris of New Zealand were infinitely superior in mentality to the natives of New Guinea. I spent my youth in New Zealand, and I know something of the Maoris. I know that at one time the white population of New Zealand thought that the Maoris were not entitled to representation. The Maoris were given representation, not because of their superior intellectual development, but because of their ability to fight. They met force with force; they held their own against British soldiers for many years, and so won respect.
– The only way to obtain justice in this world is to do what they did.
– Some means should be provided to enable the natives to express their views. If the consensus of opinion is that the missions represent their views, why not give the missions some representation on the council? In my opinion, the bill is an absolute farce. It contains elaborate provisions to ensure that nothing shall be done which is in opposition to the wishes of the Administrator. If it is intended only that the Administrator may obtain the advice of the members of the council, it should not be necessary to provide all this elaborate detail, because he can get all the advice he desires at any time. I object to being asked to accept a “ kidstake “ proposition - a measure which professes to give representation which, even if it is given, is immediately taken away. Surely this ,is only a stopgap measure, which has been introduced in order to give the Senate an excuse for its existence until certain other legislation has passed through another place!
I protest, also, against the idea that a mandated territory must necessarily be governed on the same lines as other territories or colonies of the British Empire. Some honorable senators seem to think that the greatest crime is that of decrying imperialism. I am opposed to anything which extends the power of any empire, because imperialism i3 directly opposed to the best interests of the human race. .1 am as opposed to imperialism as I am to slavery in its worst form. The very meaning of the term is the domination of the weak by the strong. Imperialism implies the power to exploit, to plunder, to rule, and to suppress discontent by any means available. It has been well said that no nation can deprive another of its liberty without ultimately losing its own liberty. Legislation which authorizes the most tyrannical forms of oppression is only an expression of the imperialistic idea that power is justified in using any means available to retain its supremacy. We have seen that in our own country.
I object to the hypocrisy indulged in by the League of Nations in virtually handing over territories to the exploitation of the most powerful of its members. It must be admitted that the great powers control the League of Nations, and that the others follow blindly where they lead. Under the hypocritical guise of a mandate, the League hands over t;o its strongest members the right to exploit the backward races of the world. A mandate implies ownership, and although those nations entrusted with mandates have to submit reports to the League, we all know how those reports are made, and how they are received. The other mandatory powers are not likely to be too critical of the way in which a mandate has been exercised by another power.
– Does not the honorable senator think that a report which has been wrongly compiled would soon be detected ?
– As I have said, the great powers control the League of Nations, and as nearly all of them are colonizers, they have been granted mandates. They are not likely to be oversevere in their criticism of one another. British people are inclined to think that everything they do is of the highest order, and I suppose other nations are equally vain and foolish.
– It is a good thing to believe in ourselves.
– Yes; but not to be always praising ourselves. In private life nothing is regarded as more nauseating than self praise. The old adage, “ Self praise is no recommendation,” is as true of nations as it is of individuals. No nian is competent to be the judge of his own case, for he cannot be truly impartial. The same is true of nations. .If we, by our actions, show that we possess the virtues which we claim, those virtues will be recognized by other nations, and
Ave shall receive praise in due time.
– When wo as a nation show a virtue, the honorable senator condemns it.
– No. Every white nation which is a member of the League of Nations starts off with a prejudice in favour of the point of view of the white races.
– This report contains no boasting ; it is merely a’ statement of facts.
– Facts can be coloured. It is not so much the facts themselves, as the inferences to be drawn from them, which are important. To any unbiased observer, it is evident that the white races have assumed that they are the cream of the earth’s humanity, and consequently they are disposed to (judge their own actions leniently. They must believe that their own point of view is right, or they would not hold it; and, consequently, we have no opportunity of knowing what the native races who are controlled by a mandate think of the mandate. I remember that some years ago in the mandated territory of Iraq - formerly Mesopotamia - some of the native tribes refused to pay the taxes imposed by the British authorities. We, in this country, being more civilized, do not refuse to pay our taxes; we simply neglect to pay them. How did the enlightened British nation treat the natives of Iraq? It sent aeroplanes over the villages and bombed men, women, and children. In India, the tribes on the north-west frontier were bombed from aeroplanes under instructions from the Ramsay MacDonald Labour Government. Bombing is, perhaps, the most disgraceful and barbarous method of intimidating helpless people; yet that is the method which has more than once been adopted by the highly-civilized and enlightened British nation.
– Were the natives who were bombed those who shot down a man flying iii a commercial aeroplane?
– That mau was shot down later, because the natives associated all aeroplanes with bombing. And even if the shooting took place before the raid, does the honorable senator think that it is right that the British Government should have authorized a wholesale massacre of natives because a few individuals murdered a white man? Yet that is the policy which the British Empire has followed from the beginning. From my boyhood days, I have read of punitive expeditions being sent against tribes which, perhaps, had attacked a white trader - possibly of the worst type. Do these punitive expeditions always seek out the individual murderer, and, if so, do (they examine the circumstances associated with the deed, or do not the white people merely send a warship, or a number of aeroplanes, to the locality to blow villages to pieces with their guns? That is the way in which the British Empire has been built up and governed ever since it, was an empire, and that is the way in which it is being governed to-day - under a system of imperialism, which, in its modern aspect, is the greatest curse that has ever afflicted the world.
– How long is it since the honorable senator has had a good word to say for the British Empire?
– I would not be permitted to go into that matter now. This bill is framed on the imperialistic idea, that we must get these native races to conform to our ideas of civilization so that we may further our own interests.
– That is not so.
– The bill is a sham, and T believe that no good result will come from it. When I visited Papua, I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Hubert Murray, who, I believe, is among the most en- >- lightened of our democratic rulers of coloured races. No one will deny that he has always endeavoured to treat the native races as fairly as possible, and has stood firmly against any tryanny attempted on the part of the planters towards them. The success of our administration in Papua is due, not to the particular form of government, but to the calibre of the man administering it.
– The same may be said of the New Guinea administration. I invite the honorable senator to ask the planters what they think of it.
– I hope that what the honorable senator has said is true, but’ I cannot see that this measure will do any good. While, in a material sense, it may, like the chip in the Scotchman’s porridge, do neither good nor harm, its effect on the people of New Guinea will be bad, because it pretends to do for them something which actually it does not perform. The bill pretends to be the foundation of a system of selfgovernment. Actually the foundation is so absolutely rotten that it is impossible to build on it any legislative structure of value to the community concerned.
– I agree with other honorable senators from this side that, from a democratic or administrative point of view, the bill offers nothing of any practical value to the people of New Guinea. I do not endorse all that Senator Collings said this afternoon with’ regard to British institutions, though I cannot help feeling that the records of our imperialism disclose features of administration which justify severe condemnation.
We are in New Guinea because the Germans were there before us, and since we accepted the mandate from the League of Nations, we are likely to stay there. If we surrendered the mandate other imperialistic colonizing forces would secure a footing there. But considered from the point of view of pure justice we have no right to be there at all. The white race is in Australia because of the application of superior force to a native population. The world i§ built on force. This is one reason why the workers have their own direct representatives in this Parliament and in other legislatures in this country.
– Are not the people of New Guinea better off because of our administration ?
– I do not think that they are. Quite a number of people have expressed some doubt as to the value of our so-called civilization - whether, after all, we have made the progress which we claim to have made. Possibly the native races in any given community hold the same opinion. Senator Rae has commented on the fact that in all the reports of the League of Nations concerning our administration in New Guinea, there is an entire absence of opinion from the native races. This is simply because in New Guinea, as in Australia, their opinion of the system of government and its results is entirely ignored. Like Senator Rae, I spent’ many years of my early life in contact with native races, and while I have lived for years in : Australian back-blocks, where aborigines were numerous, I was brought up in Nev/ Zealand. Consequently, I have a fairly intimate knowledge of the mental outlook of the New Zealand Maori, for whom I have a high regard. The Maoris are a fine race. When British settlers occupied New Zealand, the Maoris offered fierce opposition. Before they were subdued, they engaged in many battles and suffered severely at the hands of 4,000 regular British troops, who were stationed in that country to protect the white settlers. Having demonstrated that they could mt up a good fight, the Maoris commanded the respect of the conquering British race, and now have direct representation in the both Houses of the New Zealand Parliament, but not in ratio to their numbers.
Although the native population of New Guinea numbers several hundreds of thousands, there is no reference in the bill to what is going to happen to them under this new form of government.
– If the honorable senator will read the ordinances, he will find that ample protection is given to them.
– But I find no reference to them in the bill itself. As we have had cast upon us some share of the white man’s burden, members of this Parliament should, if possible, visit the dependencies of the Commonwealth to obtain first hand information of the conditions under which the people there are living. Senator Payne, Senator Bae, and Senator Hoare have visited New Guinea, and Senator Payne this afternoon delivered an interesting discourse upon the conditions of its people. Although the honorable senator believes that the natives are mentally unfitted to take any part in the government of the territory, I suggest that it should be possible to arrange for one or two members of the more intelligent sections of the native population to be appointed to the proposed legislative council. The honorable senator spoke of their low order of mentality.
– Of some of them.
– The honorable senator’s interjection strengthens my case. While I would not suggest that there is very much difference between the mentality of the lowest white and the highest native, I should say that among the more intelligent of the native races there are at least some of a sufficiently high order of intelligence to justify appointment to the local legislative body. I have also had considerable experience of the aborigines in the far west of New South Wales. Their mentality is of a very low order. Some anthropologists, notably German scientists, consider them to be the world’s original stock. I have never heard of an Australian aboriginal obtaining a university degree.
SenatorRae. - Some have done the university course and taken degrees. Some have even been inventors.
Senator MaoDONALD.- What the honorable senator has just said is news to me. The New Zealand Maori is generally acknowledged to be on a much higher mental plane than the Australian aboriginal. Many Maoris have attended university courses, and have played an important part in the public life of their country. As a nativeborn New Zealander, I feel some reflected pride in the achievements of the Maoris. I should think that the most intelligent among the New Guinea natives would compare with the best of the Maori race because, so far as I know, there is racial affinity between the various peoples of the Pacific. I, therefore, suggest that Senator Payne is wrong when he says that the mentality of the New Guinea native is not high enough to justify representation in the legislative council. There should also be direct representation of the working classes. Surely there is a sufficient white population employed in shops, on the gold-fields, and in shipping to warrant a demand for a representative on the council. I am not hungry for control in New Guinea. Real control will rest with this Parliament, but I contend that there should be in the legislative council at least one representative of the native races, and one of the white workers as distinct from the “ interests.” Senator Duncan-Hughes damned the bill with faint praise. He criticized it in general terms. He suggested that the Administrator will appear in a multiplicity of roles. The measure provides for the appointment of an executive council and a legislative council, the latter to consist of the Administrator, the official members of the executive council, and seven non-official members who shallbe nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General. The Administrator, of course, will have full control over the seven non-official members. Under the terms of the bill, eight of the members of the executive council “ shall “ be officers of the territory, and I presume that they will be public servants, under the control of the Administrator. There will be only one non-official member of the executive council. The proposal is ridiculous, from a democratic view-point. All the members of the executive body will be under the control of the Administrator. The thing is Gilbertian. When the Administrator presides at meetings of the legislative council, he will be entitled to vote, and also exercise a casting vote. As a matter of fact, the whole control will be in his hands. I am reminded of a story told by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, in his book, Socialism and Government, about the rajah of an Indian province, who sat in solemn council of state to hear the grievances of his faithful and wellgoverned people. His people gathered around him, and presented appeals for the redress of their grievances. The rajah merely tore their petitions to pieces, spat on them, and threw them upon the ground. That was how he demonstrated his power; but in private, in order to placate his subjects, he perused copies of the petitions, and eventually granted certain measures of reform.
I suggest that, if the legislative council of the Mandated Territory is to operate satisfactorily, it should have upon it a representative of the native population, and a representative of the working class. I notice that three of the non-official members of the council are to represent the planting industry, two the mining interests, and two the commercial interests. The word “interests,” which has acquired quite a sinister meaning, occurs too frequently in the bill. The commercial interests are distinct from those of the people as a whole. Why are not the working class interests mentioned in the bill? Senator Payne has pointed out that there would be grave difficulties in conducting a poll, even to secure the representation of the planting, mining, and commercial interests; but I suggest that the opinion of the workers in the different settlements could be obtained as to whom they regarded as a suitable man to represent them on the council. I have drawn attention to a few weaknesses in the bill that must be patent to anybody who examines it, and I daresay that, if I spent a couple of evenings over the measure, I could discover a good many more defects. Senator DunoanHughes damned the measure with faint praise. He practically told the Go- vernment that the bill was what I should call execrable, and what Senator Collings would call damnable.
– And what I should call a “ dud.”
– Then why have honorable senators opposite not sufficient courage to vote against the measure, instead of responding meekly to the crack of the party whip ? The planting interests would allow the natives to work for a farthing a day, and the commercial and mining interests would have regard, not for the workers, but for those who put capital into industries in Hew Guinea for the purposes of exploitation, rather than for the good of the nation.
– I oppose this bill, because it sets up a dictatorship. Under the measure, the Administrator will become a Mussolini, and I refuse to accept this camouflaged pretence qf giving self-government to the people of the Mandated Territory.
– What is the Administrator now?
– When I visited New Guinea some years ago, an administrator and about four other officials were in charge of affairs there, and I think that their administration was fairly successful; at least, I heard no complaints regarding it. We should not mislead the white residents of the territory by suggesting that under this bill they are to be given home rule. Surely they are entitled to that privilege, and we should allow them to elect their own legislative body. Surely the working-class section of the community should have an opportunity to put forward a candidate for a position on the legislative council.
– Would the honorable senator favour the granting of a vote to the natives?
– But they should have a representative.
– I quite agree with that. With all due respect to the natives, I do not consider that they are sufficiently educated to take an active part in the administration of the territory; they would be afraid to express their opinions. When I was in New Guinea, their interests were represented on the advisory council by Mr. Cardew, and nobody could have looked after them better than he did. He expressed opinions as to how the planters should treat the natives, and he was instrumental in obtaining improved conditions for them. He and others fought the planters over the schedule of rations supplied to the natives.
– Another officer now does the same class of work.
– If he is as suitable a representative of the natives as was Mr. Cardew, there will be no room for complaint regarding him.
I cannot understand why there should be two governing bodies. The white population of New Guinea and the surrounding islands forms only a small percentage of the total. One administrator, and five other persons elected by the white people, should be quite sufficient to govern this territory. When I was there, I questioned some of the officials as to why the governing body was not elected by the votes of the people. I was told, “If we elected our representatives, the planters, being in the majority, would secure the election of their nominees, and the governing body would be dominated by them”. That obstacle could be overcome by providing that there should be not more than one representative of the planters. Evidence of the strivings of the planters for predominance came under the notice of the Public Accounts Committee of which I was a member, when it visited New Guinea. At the present time the natives are indentured for three years, at the expiration of which time they must return to their own islands. The view of the planters is that they lose the services of these men just when they have reached the stage of being useful. On the surface, that would appear to be harsh; but an analysis of the position shows that the contrary is the case. A number of natives are married, and when they engage to work on the plantations, they have to leave their wives and families behind them. . A separation of three years is quite long enough. Many arguments may be advanced against the law which prevents a native woman from accompanying her husband. The conditions pictured by Senator Collings sink into insignificance when com pared with the reality, of which we gathered evidence in New Guinea. A startling fact that we learned was that only three per cent, of the native women around Rabaul are free from disease. In the main, that condition of affairs was brought about by the wretched and unfair law which prevents the natives from being accompanied by their wives. Many reforms could be effected, but not by selecting a governing body in the manner proposed by the bill. The people of New Guinea should be given the full franchise, and be allowed to elect their representatives for a term of three years. Those elected could be controlled, because if they failed to fulfil expectations they need not be re-elected at the end of their term.
Apparently, service on the legislative council is to be in an honorary capacity. The bill does not even mention an allowance for out-of-pocket expenses. But there are many men who place a high value on such positions. It is undemocratic to give power to one person to dismiss the members of a governing body. If the Administrator wished to get rid of any representative, he could easily manufacture an excuse. No official should have such dictatorial powers. The people of New Guinea should be given full autonomous rights.
– An ordinance promulgated a few years ago provided that married women might accompany their husbands to the plantations.
– I am pleased to hear that. It is not known for how long Australia will have the right to govern the Mandated Territory; at any time the League of Nations may decide against us. In ray humble judgment the Germans were unlucky in being deprived of these territories. Any one who has been to New Guinea must know of the enormous amount of capital that was spent by German settlers. They were forced to leave just when the coco-nut plantations had reached the bearing stage and represented wealth to them. Women of other nationalities who had married Germans were also deprived of their rights in regard to the holdings. Had there been a properly elected body, the probability is that some of those women would have avoided the sufferings that they are enduring to-day.
I am in complete sympathy with Senator Duncan-Hughes, who affirmed that the bill could be made acceptable. Let us determine to do away with the camouflaged dictatorship, and provide for government “ of the people, by the people, for the people/’
– This measure, in conjunction with the original act, is practically the Constitution of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. Regarded in such a light, there is a very serious omission from it, in comparison with all other constitutions I can recall to mind. The bill makes provision for an administrator, an executive council, and a legislative council, but contains no reference to one of the most important and fundamental features of ail other constitutions, namely, provision for a judiciary. I have had the pleasure of paying a short visit to New Guinea, and on all hands, among the commercial and business community, I heard serious comments upon this omission. Under our Federal Constitution and the constitutions of the States, it is provided that judges shall have a life tenure. In both Papua and the Northern Territory, I believe that the judges enjoy the privileges, of security of tenure laid down by the Public Service Act, subject to retirement at the age of 65 years. The judges employed in New Guinea, however, occupy their offices only at the pleasure of the Crown. Prom time to time, this matter has been brought under the notice of the Prime Minister’s Department, during the occupancy of that office by two successive Prime Ministers, each of whom gave assurances that it would be given careful consideration; but in the rush and the hurly-burly of politics during the last couple of years, the matter has not received this consideration. The judges of New Guinea still have no security of tenure, but occupy their positions ‘ wholly at the will of the Crown. I have been assured on every hand that this territory is most fortunate in those who occupy judicial offices. . They are gentlemen of high legal attainments, who have upheld the very best traditions of British justice. If we are to avoid even the appearance of evil, there is no part of the British Empire in which it would be more proper to give judges a life tenure than in New Guinea ; first, because it is governed under a mandate; and secondly - which is by far the more important - because the Crown is a party in nearly every important action that comes before the courts there. In cases relating to the very important matter of land tenure, involving in some instances hundreds of thousands of pounds, the Crown is always a party. This is an aspect that I am sure must have escaped the attention of the Government. At any rate, it is a position that should be put right as early a9 possible.
– The judge in the Northern Territory has a fixed tenure.
– Yes, he holds his office until he is 65 years of age. Why not place the judges of all other territories on a similar footing? It is only as the result of an accident that the present condition of affairs in New Guinea continues. Early in the administration of that territory, the fact that the judges have not a life tenure, as provided by the Federal Constitution, was made the subject of an appeal in an important case before the High Court. The decision reached was not accepted because of the insecurity of the tenure of the judge, which was opposed to the Federal Constitution. The justices on the High Court Bench who heard the case were * equally divided. Three held that the judges in New Guinea were not holding their offices in terms of the Commonwealth Constitution, and the other three justices including the then Chief Justice held otherwise. The opinion, of the latter was therefore paramount. When we realize that the High Court was evenly divided on such an important issue, and that the tenure of judges in all British dominions and territories is for life, I submit that the judges in New Guinea, who are doing their work honorably and faithfully, should have a tenure of office such as the important duties they are performing entitle them to have. I trust that the Government will give the Senate an assurance that this, matter will be taken up and a proper tenure provided.
Question - That the word proposed to be left out (Senator Dunn’s amendment) be left out - put. The Senate divided. (President - Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch.)
Majority . . . . 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
[5.59]. - Senator Payne in his admirable speech referred to the cessation of a grant of £10,000 made for several years to assist in protecting the health of the natives of New Guinea, and in educating them. It is a fact that that grant is not now being made; but I should not like the impression to go out that because it is not the work initiated by it is not still being carried out. It is still being done. The honorable senator was quite correct in saying that no direct contribution is being made by the Commonwealth Government towards the cost of developing New Guinea. But there is a steamship service to New Guinea which is very necessary for the economic well-being of the Mandated Territory, as well as that of Papua, and a subsidy towards the maintenance of that service is paid by the Commonwealth Government. Some years ago it amounted to £55,000, and it is now, I understand, £44,000. I do not say that the whole of that amount is of benefit to
New Guinea; but the people in that territory derive great benefit from the service.
I would remind honorable senators that it is unwise to make some of the extraordinary statements which have been made during the discussion on this bill; because the debates on the Mandated Territory of New Guinea are closely scrutinized by the people of other nations. A few minutes ago Senator Hoare said that he did not know how long Australia would retain control in New Guinea. I venture to say that if the League of Nations accepted at their face value some of the wild allegations made here this afternoon, and the scandalous attacks made on British justice and British administration generally, Australia would not hold its mandatevery long. I ask some of those honorable senators who have been making these statements to consider who would have the reversion of the mandate. I remind them that it would not be Germany but one of our allies, one of the nations associated with Great Britain in the great war. Therefore, when honorable senators opposite make these reckless statements, I ask them to remember that they may be used in evidence against us. I do not think that some honorable senators realize how reckless were some of their statements. First of all there was Senator Collings’ sneer at the work of the missions in the Mandated Territory. I am not misrepresenting the honorable senator when I say that he sneered at the work of the missions.
– It was a statement of facts.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.It may have been what the honorable senator regarded as a statement of facts. Honorable senators should realize that a great deal of the ameliorative work done on behalf of the natives is undertaken through the agency of these missions. Is it to go out to the world that this Parliament condones statements that these missions work not in the interests of the natives, but, as one honorable senator suggested, to exploit them? I for one resent that allegation. It is not true; it is not backed up by evidence, as any impartial person who goes to New Guinea can substantiate. On the contrary, there is on record ample testimony of the value of the ameliorative and educational work being done by Christian missions not only in New Guinea but in other countries as well.
A little while ago there was a dramatic happening in Australia which illustrates the effect of missions upon the savage mind. I suppose that there is no other part of Australia where the aboriginal is so savage, naturally, as he is in the northwest portion of Western Australia. In that territory the missions have been performing wonderful work among the most intractable of Australian aborigines. Recently two German aviators landed on the north-west coast and were practically at death’s door when discovered by natives who had come under the influence of those controlling a mission in- that part of Australia. I do not know if honorable senators heard Captain Bertram’s story of how these natives attended to him, but I did. The tenderness, the kindness, the care that those natives, who a few years ago were savages, showed to Captain Bertram and his companion in their extremity and helplessness; the way that they got them through that difficult country to succour, would be a tribute to any race on earth, white or coloured. That the missions have tamed those savage natives, and filled their hearts with the spirit of kindliness, which was so wonderfully exemplified in the case of the German aviators, is a tribute to their worth.
Reading from a newspaper which, later, he admitted he had picked up hurriedly and had not previously read, Senator Collings proceeded to traduce the administration of the Mandated Territory. It was left to Senator Colebatch to complete the story. Senator Collings tried to make it appear that a native was badly treated by the man, Larkin; but he did not show that justice was meted out to Larkin later.
– I was dealing with the commission of the crime, and not with the administration.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.In another place, and elsewhere, representations have been made to the Government that Larkin was too severely dealt with. It will be seen that there are two points of view regarding this matter.
Had Senator Colebatch not spoken, the impression left by Senator Collings on the minds of his auditors would have been that this man, Larkin, was allowed to treat a native brutally without being punished.
– I said nothing of the kind, but the right honorable senator is not gentlemanly enough to accept my explanation.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Senator Colebatch pointed out that Larkin was punished by receiving a term of ten years’ imprisonment. Senator Collings also endeavoured to make it appear that, even while in prison, Larkin received special treatment. He endeavoured to create the impression that, although the administration could not prevent him from being imprisoned, it took care to see that he did not suffer. It may be well to acquaint the Senate with the facts of the case. Obviously, it is not advisable to keep white persons imprisoned in New Guinea for any considerable time, and, consequently, early in the administration of the territory - while it was under military control - the then government arranged with the Governments of Queensland and New South Wales, that persons sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment for crimes committed in the Mandated Territory, should be incarcerated in the prisons of those States. And since such persons could not be subject to two sets of regulations the regulations governing the State prisons were made to apply to them. A prisoner incarcerated in a Queensland prison becomes subject to the law and practice of that State in dealing with prisoners. Similarly, persons imprisoned in New South Wales gaols come under the New South Wales system. Any remissions of sentence that such prisoners have received, or will receive, are obtained by them, not because of federal intervention, but in accordance with the ordinary practice of the State under whose prison authorities they are placed. Those are the facts. No special tenderness has been shown to Larkin by the administration.
– Is he imprisoned in New South Wales or in Queensland?
– He is in a New South Wales prison. I was surprised, to hear Senator Collings indulge in a diatribe against the British race because of its administration of justice when dealing with native races. Senator Rae spoke in the same strain, but we have heard similar remarks from him ad nauseam, and they no longer occasion surprise. It was new to hear these sentiments expressed by Senator Collings.
– The right honorable senator will hear a lot of new things before I am finished.
– That may be; and possibly familiarity will breed contempt.
– It has already done so,’ so far as my opinion of the right honorable senator is concerned.
– Order !
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The views of Senator Collings as to the treatment of native races by the British nation, are not shared by the bulk of his own countrymen, nor are they shared by fair and impartial people of other races, particularly those which have felt the benefits of British administration. It is not true to say that the British deal with the native races only to exploit them. The honorable senator’s statement that, in its treatment of native races, British administration has associated itself with missionary agencies engaged in the spread of religion only because it has been dominated by trade considerations, was uncalled for. It was a libel on that splendid missionary spirit which has actuated Britain in pioneering uncivilized lands. I remind Senator Collings of the many men and women associated with missions who have laid down their lives in that humane task. I remind him of the love and affection of the native races for Livingstone and others like him. That these noble men and women should be charged with having been pioneers in order to exploit uncivilized peoples is a libel of which the honorable senator should be ashamed.
– I did not make the statement which the right honorable senator has attributed to me.
– It is the pride of the British race that it has not only pioneered new territory, but ha3 also been foremost in missionary enterprises in the interests of the native races.
– The British nation takes an interest in the natives only that it may exploit them.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The rebuke of Senator Duncan-Hughes that I had made no reference to the work of the Administrator was well deserved. In explanation, I point out that I am not the Minister administering the department, and that in introducing the bill in another place, the Minister did express the Government’s appreciation of the services rendered by the Administrator. Moreover, when General Wisdom recently commenced long leave of absence, the head of the Government publicly expressed his appreciation of all that he had done. In the circumstances, I did not feel called upon to make special reference to him, although I agree with all that has been said about him. General Wisdom has left behind him. a splendid record of service, and probably I ought to have made some reference to it earlier.
Possibly I have offended also because of my use of the term “ self-government.” What the Government is proposing in this bill is not self-government in the true and extended sense of the term. Senator Duncan-Hughes will remem!ber that I went on to say that self-government in British communities had almost always commenced in the way proposed in this bill. Scarcely any British community was given an elective form of government at the outset.
– Not even Australia.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Selfgovernment has almost always commenced with the nominated form of government. There are practical difficulties in the way of granting to the white residents of New Guinea an elective form of government. Chief among them is the lack of means of communication. Reference has been made to the difficulty of reaching the New Guinea gold-fields. The nature of the country is such that, although an aeroplane can reach the gold-fields in less than an hour, it takes eight days, and even longer in wet seasons, to get to them on foot. The distance from the coast is only about 50 miles, but the country is rugged and difficult. That is only one part of New Guinea. Looking at the map, New Guinea may not appear to be a large tract of country compared with. Australia; but actually its distances are great, aud when it is remembered that its climate is tropical, and that all travelling in the interior must be done on foot, it will be realized that to bring in an elective system for New Guinea, and apply to that territory the electoral law of the Commonwealth, would be altogether impracticable at this stage.
– There da also the difficulty of temporary residence.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.- I suggest to Senator Duncan-Hughes that in. this matter we might well follow the lines which have been adopted in the past, and commence with the nominee system of government, which contains the germ of self-government. Complaint has been made that only the official population of this territory will be represented on the council; but I remind honorable senators that the bill provides that there shall be one non-official member of the executive council.
Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.This bill contains the germ of local government, provision being made in it for representation other than official on the executive council and the legislative council. The Minister for Health (Mr. Marr), who has charge of the administration, informs me that in selecting the non-official members of the legislative council, the Administrator will consult such local organizations as exist with a view to securing the services of men representing the various shades of opinion in the Mandated Territory.
I come now to the comments made by Senator Rae this afternoon. It is said of some people that they see virtue in every country but their own. After listening to Senator Rae’s speech this afternoon, I doubt that we could say even that of him, because apparently he cannot see virtue in any country except one which he did not name. He regards all capitalist countries as equally unscrupulous in their treatment of native populations, which, he asserts, are exploited to the financial benefit of the nations governing them.
Let us take a survey of the British Empire and see how it has dealt with the native races that have come under its control. If one went back 100 years, one might, I suppose, discover records of acts of administration which would not be in accord with the public sentiment of to-day; but I venture to say that for a century at least, Britain has led the world in humanitarian legislation in the interests of the native races under its control. The better to illustrate what I mean, let me relate my own experience when I was representing Australia at the Limitation of Arms Conference at Washington. As honorable senators are aware, there is in the United States of America a very large negro population. -On one occasion I was invited to attend a purely negro function held in Washington, and I met there the leaders of the educated negroes in that country. I was very much impressed by their admiration and respect for British tradition. I would’ even go so far as to say that, although they were American citizens, their admiration and respect for Great Britain, because of the part which she had taken in the. movement to abolish slavery, did not take second place to their admiration and respect for their own country.
Let me also remind honorable senators that the natives of South Africa in the reservations which have been set aside for them, regard the British Government, and not the Union Government, as their natural protector. I Wow of no other nation which in its dealings with native races has accorded them the measure of liberty that is enjoyed by native races under the British rule.
Papua, formerly known as British New Guinea, was under British administration when what is now known as the Mandated Territory of New Guinea was under German rule, and the first administrator was Sir William McGregor. Under his wise control, British New Guinea became absolutely safe for white people without the use of any force whatever. At no time was it necessary to employ a single armed British soldier or sailor to protect the white people then living there. This cannot be said of any other country, not even of Russia, of which Senator Rae thinks so highly. By way of contrast, it may interest honorable senators to learn that in German New Guinea, before the war, there were never less than 200 armed German soldiers, not to protect the possession against aggression - -such a small force as that would have been useless - but for dealing with -the native population. And it is a fact that, although it was possible for white people to move about British New Guinea freely and in perfect safety, no white person dared to move outside Rabaul without armed protection. This, I suggest, is the reason why Britain has been so successful in dealing with the native races that have come under her control.-
– They know that they will be dealt with justly.
– That is true. The natives soon get to know that British rule means justice and fair dealing.
– Can that be said of British rule in India?
– Yes. Such trouble as has occurred in India recently has been caused more by dissension among the native races - friction between the Hindus and the Moslems - than by dissatisfaction with British rule. Actually, Britain is playing the part of peacemaker in. India. Her record in that country is something of which every British subject ought to be proud, instead of decrying it and making sneering innuendoes about our system of civilization. Britain has nothing at all to be ashamed of in the last 100 years of her rule in India. It is possible that while the East India Company had control, certain acts which were indefensible were committed against the native races, but administration by the British Government has always been directed towards raising the standard of the Indian people and keeping the peace between the adherents of the different religions in India. Britain justly enjoys a high reputation among eastern nations for her fair dealing with native races. I realized this when in 1911 I visited China, Japan, and the Philippines, and I felt justly proud to belong to the British race. Remembering all this, it is natural that I should become a little impatient when honorable senators opposite sneer at the British Empire and criticize so unfairly its treatment of native races under its control.
In our administration of New Guinea we have endeavoured to uphold the best traditions of the British Empire. “With this end in view, when we took over the administration, we immediately gave attention to the question of anthropology, because we realized the importance, not only of understanding the native point of view, but also of getting the native population to understand our point of view. Accordingly, one of our first acts was to make a grant to the Sydney University for the foundation of a chair of anthropology. Mr. Chinnery, who was appointed as anthropologist in New Guinea, has been most successful in inculcating in all members of the administrative staff the knowledge that their solemn duty is to understand the native difficulties in order that they may sympathetically administer the affairs of the Mandated Territory. Because of what we have done I may be pardoned for feeling a little impatient and resentful at some of the statements made in the debate this afternoon. I can only assume that the adverse criticism of our administration has been made without knowledge of the humanitarian policy that has been adopted in both Papua and the Mandated Territory.
– Was that the right, honorable senator’s opinion twenty-five years ago?
– It has always been my opinion. Some of us, I remind Senator Dunn, grow wiser as we grow older. I wish I could say that of the honorable senator and some of his friends.
We are responsible to the League of Nations for the proper discharge of our mandate over New Guinea, and from time to time have to submit reports to the Mandates Commission, a body upon which countries other than Britain are represented. On that commission there is usually some one who has an intimate knowledge of native problems. Lord Lugard, whose work in Africa is so well known, has been for some years the British representative on the Mandates Commission. As the Australian representative to the League of Nations Assembly, some years ago, I had to submit the report concerning New Guinea to the Mandates Commission, and I know with what care the various statements made are investigated by that body. Nothing is taken for granted. Our representative at the League of Nations has to go before the commission to be cross-examined on various points of administration, the purpose being to ascertain, not how the mandate is being administered in our interest, but to ascertain how the natives are being treated.
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch). - The right honorable senator’s time has expired.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Clause 4 -
After section eleven of the principal act the following headings and sections are inserted: - “ The Executive Council.
– (1.) There shall he an executive council for the territory to advise and assist the Administrator. . . . “
– At the proper time I intend to submit an amendment to proposed new section 19, the purpose of which will be to increase the number of non-official members of the legislative council from seven to nine, and have them elected by the various interests in the territory, instead of being nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the Governor-General.
– Is the Administrator to be a member of the executive council?
– Yes. He will preside at all meetings of the executive council at which he is present.
– Then I point out that sub-section 2 of proposed new section 12 provides-
The executive icouncil shall consist of nine members, who shall be appointed by the Governor-General and shall hold their places in the council during his pleasure.
Why is it provided in sub-section 1 that “ there shall be an executive council for the territory, to advise and assist the Administrator,” if the Administrator is to be a member of the council?
[8.24].- Strictly and technically, the Administrator will not be a member of the executive council, which is to be essentially a body to advise him. He will have the right, of course, to attend meetings of the council, and under proposed new section 15, he “ shall preside at all meetings at which he is present.”
– To my mind, proposed new section 12 makes it clear that the Administrator will not be a member of the executive council. Proposed new section 14 states that the council “shall not proceed to the despatch of business unless summoned by authority of the Administrator,” and that “ the presence of at least three members (exclusive of the Administrator or the member presiding) shall be necessary to constitute a meeting of the executive council for the despatch of business.” If the Administrator is not to be a member of the executive council, why are the words “ exclusive of the Administrator “ used in this proposed new section? While proposed new section 12 indicates that the Administrator is not a member of the council, proposed new clause 14 suggests, at least, that he is.
– Before the motion for the third reading of the bill is submitted, I shall ask the draftsman to look into that matter.
.- Under sub-section 2 of proposed new section 12, an executive council consisting of nine members is to be appointed by the Governor-General, and is to hold office during his pleasure, but prior to the selection of the members of the executive council, we already have an administrator of the territory. The executive council is to be chosen by the Governor-General for the purpose of advising and assisting the Administrator, who, according to proposed new section 15, will preside at all meetings of the executive council at which he is present.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [8.27].- In the Mandated Territory of New Guinea we already have a Government Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Public Health, Director of Native Affairs and District Services, Secretary for Lands, Collector of Customs, Director of Agriculture, Director of Works, and the Crown Law Officer. The Government will seek the advice of the Administrator as to which of these officers shall be members of the executive council. It will then recommend the GovernorGeneral to appoint them, together with one non-official member selected from the seven non-official members of the legislative council.
.- Proposed new section 16 states that minutes of the proceedings at all meetings of the executive council shall be kept, and that copies of the minutes relating to each meeting shall be transmitted by the Administrator to the Minister as soon as practicable after the meeting is held. I consider thatthe members of this Parliament shouldhave access to those minutes. The Minister is entitled to be informed of the administrative acts performed at meetings of the executive council; but there is not in the members of this Parliament the mandatory right to acquaint themselves with its doings. Such a proposal might well be considered. The Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) might say that he has no objection to laying these minutes on the table of the Senate for the benefit of any honorable senator who wishes to inform his mind regarding the proceedings of the executive council at Rabaul.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [8.31]. - I remindthe honorable senator that that course is not followed in regard to our own Executive Council. What is made know to Parliament are tho decisions of the Executive Council, expressed in ordinances, regulations, or anything of that kind. The meetings of the Executive Council of which the honorable senator himself was a member, were secret and confidential. Moreover, the members of the Executive Council are sworn to secrecy.
– (1.) There shall be a legislative council for the territory. (2.) The legislative council shall consist of-
.- I move-
That the words “seven non-official members who shall be nominated by the Administrator and appointed by the GovernorGeneral “ paragraph c, sub-section 2, and sub-section 3, of proposed new section 19, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following “ nine members who shall be elected by the residents of New Guinea. (3.) Three of the members of the legislative council shall be elected as representing the planting industry, three as repreing the mining industry, and three as representing commercial interests; all to be elected for three years by common vote.”
– As I have given notice of my intention to move the deletion of sub-section 3, I suggest that, at this stage, the honorable senator move only for the deletion of paragraph c.
– I have a prior amendment, and, therefore, suggest that the amendment of Senator Dunn be temporarily withdrawn.
Amendment - by leave - temporarily withdrawn.
– I move -
That the word “ seven “, paragraph c, subsection 2 of proposed new section 19, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “three”.
If this amendment is accepted, I shall move for the amendment of subsection 3 to provide that one of the nonofficial members shall be nominated by the planting industry, one by the mining industry, and one by the commercial interests. It must be conceded that in this legislative council, which is only beginning, twelve members ought to be sufficient. As the Administrator and eight of the members will be officials it is particularly desirable that there should be non-official members nominated from outside. I can see no danger in my proposal; on the other hand it would give the white population of New Guinea some opportunity to put forward their views.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [8.37]. - I trust that the honorable senator will not press his amendment. The phrase “ one of whom shall be nominated by the mining industry” is very vague. Is it intended that the companies or the men who are employed by them shall have the right to make the nomination? Who is to be the spokesman for the industry ?
– What is contemplated under the bill?
– Under the bill as framed, the Administrator was to select two persons whom he regarded as representative of the mining industry. It is now desired by the Government to omit sub-section 3 and to give the Administrator greater freedom of choice. The Minister has intimated that the Administrator will consult the various interests as well as outside persons, so as to obtain the suitable representation of every section. We must have either consultation or election. If we have election, there must be an electoral roll, and the election must be properly conducted. Otherwise it might easily be found that two or three bodies represented the planters. I point out to honorable senators that there are two sections of planters in this territory, one representing big planting companies such as Burns, Philp and Company, and the other representing the comparatively small planters. Unless there was an electoral roll and everybody had a vote, who would be the spokesman for the planters to say by whom they should be represented? The system proposed has worked very well in Papua, and given general satisfaction. Under it different sections have had an opportunity to express their views. I am informed by the Minister that the whole of the representations that he has received of late from New Guinea have indicated a desire for something on the lines of the system that operates in Papua. Let us try nomination by the Administrator, and by the omission of sub-section 3 give him greater freedom of choice.
– I trust that Senator DuncanHughes will not persist with his amend ment. The members of the executive council, which is really the government under another name, will be members of the legislative council. If the representation of other interests is reduced to only one in each case, the official, members will have overwhelming power. While 1 have nothing to say against them as officials, they yet have a tendency to think in grooves. It would be better to have the number of representatives stipulated in the bill. ‘
– I do not apprehend the difficulty referred to by the Leader of the Government. After all, we need only legislate in general terms, leaving the details to be filled in by regulations. The legislation which initiated control boards some years ago was in general terms, the details being supplied subsequently by regulations. But I do not wish to press the amendment if it does not find favour with honorable senators. My idea is a double one. First, there are too many members of the legislative council representing substantially the same views. I cannot see any need for sixteen representatives, all nominated by the Governor-General on the advice of the Administrator. I speak as one who does not know the local conditions, and therefore, may be entirely wrong. But one may be quite sure, in the light of one’s experience elsewhere, that there are always many persons who desire not so much immediate reform as some opportunity to express views that are not expressed officially. On the ‘ whole, it is desirable that such views should be given open, rather than secret, and, possibly, explosive, expression behind the scenes. I would sooner have frank speech with which I disagree, than speech which is driven underground. That is what 1 had in mind when I suggested that these three different interests might be given the opportunity to say in public what they think. I do not see that there could be any great danger in that.
– The proceedings of the legislative council will be conducted in public, not privately; thus there will be an opportunity for the public expression of opinion.
– That is so. But if the speeches are all on the same lines, it is really not important whether they are made in public or privately. My amendment would give the representatives of outside interests an opportunity to express their views. I do not agree with Senator Payne that it is desirable to delete sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19.
– The honorable senator has not heard the reasons for my proposal.
– I am suggesting a reduction of the representatives of outside interests to three. It is most desirable that, in some form or other, those interests should be represented.
– I cannot support the amendment moved by Senator DuncanHughes, because, after all, the citizen who is not guided by past history neglects a very important means of obtaining information. I cannot see any reason why this comparatively new territory should obtain a status so popular with some. On the contrary, there are many reasons why we should proceed on the lines tried with comparatively successful results in Australia. Officialdom is always a target for attack; but there are many difficulties in getting away from officialdom, and too speedy a separation from it may prove disadvantageous. The officials in this instance are more likely to understand the circumstances, and particularly the objects sought to be achieved, than are some members of the council. The first system of government in Western Australia was very much behind that now proposed, and yet that State proceeded under that system for nearly a century until 1891, when it secured complete selfgovernment. The conditions in the Mandated Territory are quite different from those in the States represented in this chamber, and it is extremely difficult in the early stages to define any particular section or class. I can think at the moment of at least a dozen persons, whose names for obvious reasons I need not disclose, associated with all three interests mentioned in the bill. If an effort were made to give these three sections representation, the
Administrator would be faced with considerable difficulty. Judging from past experience, the Administrator is chosen for his character and common sense, and, so far, those who have occupied the office have satisfactorily filled the bill. This legislation is similar to that which has been so eminently successful in Papua for many years. I understand that it reached this stage in that territory in 1905, and that it has not occasioned any clash or hitch. I do not see any reason whywe should not trust the Administrator with the powers conferred upon him under this provision. I am merely opposing the suggestion of a speedy advance as foreshadowed by the amendment moved by Senator Duncan-Hughes.
Amendment (by Senator Dunn) proposed -
That the word “ seven”, paragraph c, sub-section 2 of proposed new section 19, be left out with a view to insert in Heu thereof the word “ nine “.
– The committee has already decided that the word “ seven “ shall stand.
– The honorable senator can test the feeling of the committee by moving that the’ word “nominated” be left out.
– I am agreeable to that.
Amendment (by Senator Dunn) put -
That the word “ nominated “ paragraph c, sub-section 2 of proposed new section 19, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ elected “.
The committee divided. (Chairman - Senator the Hon. Herbert Hays.)
Majority . . . . 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- I move -
That sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19, be left out.
The proposed legislative council should be established in the best possible way, and that can be done by leaving the Administrator free to select the most suitable men. If any restrictions are placed upon him, as is proposed, some of the most suitable persons in the Mandated Territory might be excluded. I believe that there are interests in the territory which are not mentioned in the subsection whose representatives could render very usefulwork in carrying out the object which the Government has in view. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Pearce) and other honorable senators have said that this measure provides the first step towards local government in the Mandated Territory. As the Administrator will need all the assistance he can get, we should leave him free to select those whom he thinks most suitable. I believe that if this amendment is agreed to, every interest will receive the fullest consideration when appointments are made to the legislative council.
.- As it should be the desire of the committee to make the proposed legislative council as representative as possible, I cannot see why the interests specifically mentioned in sub-section 3 should hot bo represented.
– If a restriction were placed upon the Administrator, the council might not be as representative as it otherwise would be.
– Sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19 does give the various interests some representation on the council, even though their representatives will be nominated by the Administrator. We ought to give the Administrator a lead, and therefore I cannot see any virtue in the amendment. I prefer the proposal in the bill to that of Senator Payne. If this subsection is deleted, I take it that the Administrator will be able to select whom he chooses, whether or not they are representatives of the planting, mining or commercial interests.
– If the amendment is carried, the Administrator will be able to select the best men available for the job.
– That may be so, but he may choose men who are not representative of the interests mentioned. In its present form the bill does ensure that those interests will be represented. The Administrator may not know all the men available and qualified for appointment, and, consequently, he may appoint his friends to these positions.
– The appointments would have to be confirmed by the Executive Council in Australia.
– I am not treating this as a party question at all; but I consider that Parliament should give a direction to the Administrator by requiring him to select men representative of the various interests concerned with the success of the territory. The amendment throws too much responsibility on the Administrator. I am not in favour of it.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [9.5]. - The amendment of Senator Payne is an improvement on the bill as it stands, and the Government is prepared to accept it. The Administrator will have more freedom of choice if sub-section 3 of proposed new section 19 is deleted.
– In that case the other people will not have any choice at all.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.No administrator would be foolish enough to overlook the interests of the industries mentioned ; but in the future other industries may be established in the territory, in which case they ought to be represented on the council. It would be wise to give the Administrator freedom of choice, and in his own interests, as well as for the sake of harmony, he would act in the best interests of the territory.
– Apparently, some members of the committee regard the various interests mentioned as being antagonistic to one another. That is not so, for the success or otherwise of one industry reacts directly on the other industries. Eor that reason I regard the amendment as a sensible proposal. I do not anticipate that there will be any rush to’ secure appointments to these positions, for so far as I can see, the gentlemen who will consent to be nominated will exemplify the truth that “ charity is its own reward “. No doubt a sense of public duty will induce some residents of the territory to accept nomination, and to allow themselves to be set up as “ cockshies “, and the objects of public derision and reproach, without remuneration. In saying that, I do not advocate that they should be paid for their services on the council. There are probably numbers of self-sacrificing men in the territory who would regard the honour of being chosen as sufficient remuneration for their services. The men engaged in the industries mentioned are busymen. Probably the only ones who would find attendance at council meetings comparatively easy are those connected with commercial interests; but it must be remembered thattheir success in turn depends on the prosperity of the other industries.
I do not think that any administrator could be more than a month in the territory without knowing fairly well the men from whom he would have to make his choice. There has been no reason to complain of any previousadministrator - indeed, the reverse is thecase - and any administrator worthy of appointment would be possessed of that discretion which is so essential and without which he certainly ought not to be appointed. The industries in the territory are allied, not antagonistic, and in their interests, as well as in the interests of the territory generally, I shallsupport the amendment.
– I cannot support the amendment. This Parliament, which is responsible for the administration of New Guinea, should give some direction to the Administrator. Although I consider that one of the seven non-official members should represent the white workers in the territory, I am prepared to support the sub-section in its present form rather than have it eliminated. I admit that the taking of a vote of the white residents in a territory where the means of communication are so unsatisfactory, would be difficult. It has been stated that the native population of New Guinea is not yet ready for any form of self-government, but I submit that one of the non-official members should be appointed specially to represent them. I know something of the native people of New Zealand, because I was reared in an outback district of that dominion, and went to school with members of the native population, and later, worked with them. The native population of New Zealand is given special representation in the Parliament of that dominion, and the same should be done in the Mandated Territory, and, indeed, in the Commonwealth.
– The Australian aborigines have not even a vote.
– I have heard some heartrending tales of the way in which they have, at times, been treated.
– They are eligible now, and can stand for Parliament if they wish to do so.
– There should be direct representation, as there is in New Zealand for the Maori population, by definite provision in the Constitution for aboriginal constituencies. In Australia, there are approximately 100,000 full-blooded aborigines who are without any voice in the government of this country. This is repugnant to the traditions of the British race, to which I am proud to belong. I do not agree with all that Senator Collings said this afternoon, because I think that, in its treatment of the native races that come under its control, the British Empire is in advance of other empires, though all would not stand searching examination. It should be possible to select from the more intelligent natives in New Guinea, a direct representative, who would be able to put the native point of view with regard to administrative acts. If they were thus represented, we should earn the increasing respect of the native population in New Guinea,
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [9.18]. - I arn sorry that the Government has accepted the amendment. Senator Payne has told the committee that there might be other interests which, if the proposed new section were passed in its present form, would be prevented from securing representation. That is true. There are two other interests - the wage-earning section of the white population, and the natives themselves. Under the bill, the nonofficial members of the legislative council will be drawn from the planters, miners and commercial interests, which must include all interests other than the wageearners and natives, so I fail to see the reason for the amendment. I dissent from Senator Kingsmill’s view that there will not be conflicting interests in New Guinea. Nothing is more common than to find, throughout the system under which we live, divergent opinions between the different branches of trade and commerce. For example, the Melbourne Age this week reports a sharp conflict of opinion between those who advocate the conservation of forest areas and the land-owning section which is anxious to have certain reservations thrown open for cultivation, Similarly, there would be conflicting views between the different sections in New Guinea. A group of miners might, for instance, be in favour of certain legislative action to whiqh thq planters, as a body, might be strenuously opposed. If the bill is to retain even the germ of representative government, there should be something in the nature of an instruction to the Administrator to make his choice of representatives of various interests as wide as possible.
.. - I intend to support the amendment, hut for reasons entirely different from those which have been given by other honorable senators. Because of the great distances to be covered, and the difficulty of transport the Administrator might experience great embarrassment in securing the services of suitable representative planters, miners, or commercial men. It might be impracticable to securetwo representatives of the mining industry, and three of the plant ing industry. We may assume that the Administrator will pay due regard to the whole of the interests under his jurisdiction, and do his best to get the best men available for the legislative council. He may not get the best men in the territory, because, for the reasons which I have given, they may not be available, If the Administrator’s choice is limited, as provided for in sub-section 3, it will militate against the selection of the best men.
– I intend to oppose the amendment. I agree with Senators Bae and MacDonald that the various interests in New Guinea should be represented in the government, and I believe that the franchise should be as wide as possible. Senator Millen has just told us that the Administrator will find it difficult to secure representatives of the planting and mining industries, because of the distances to be travelled. Are we to understand, then, that the representatives will be selected from the people living in the vicinityof Rabaul and down to Herbertshohe? Are the interests of the planters at Madang, Alexhafen, and on the Sepik River to be entirely overlooked ? And will the administration be in the hands of public servants? I have been in New Guinea, and I know what I am talking about. The difficulties mentioned by Senator Millen need not stand in the way of direct representation of the various interests in New Guinea. The planters’ association, which has its head-quarters in Rabaul, elects its members annually by ballot. It is. representative of all parts of the Mandated Territory, which are in communication by radio.
– Representativescannot travel by radio.
SenatorDUNN.-No, but proxy votes can be sent by radio.
-That is an entirely different matter.
SenatorDUNN. - The commercial interests in this country use radio for the transaction of their- business, and there is no reason why the wireless services of the postal department in New Guinea should not be utilized for the election of members of the legislative council or for the transaction of other public business.
No sound reason has been advanced why the wage-earning section of the people there should not be represented on the council. Senator Payne, apparently, would prevent the working class from being represented on the council, It seems to me that under the bill, the Administrator will be able to set up a sort of political basher gang. I am much concerned about the rights of the workers on the newly developed gold-fields of the Mandated Territory, where tradesmen of all kinds are employed. Men from workshops in various parts of Australia have found it necessary to go to those fields in order to obtain employment. The fact that circumstances have made it necessary for them to sell their labour in New Guinea should not deprive thom of a voice regarding the personnel of the legislative body in that country. I point out to Senator Payne that British fair play demands that he should withdraw his amendment and support that foreshadowed by Senator MacDonald.
Senator hoare(South Australia) [9.35]. - I do not favour Senator Payne’s amendment. There would be no difficulty whatever in obtaining in Rabaul suitable representatives of all the interests concerned. Senator Payne’s amendment would not afford the Administrator a wider choice than is provided under the bill. Senator Millen has contended that the Administrator might not be able to obtain suitable representatives of all the interests named in the sub-section,
Several years ago I spent a number of days in Rabaul, and at that time the wholeof the Mandated Territory was governed by five men, who did excellentwork. Senator MacDonald, -in suggesting that a native of New Guinea should be appointed to the legislative council, shows that he is totally unfamiliar with the intellectual standard of the natives. I spent four or five weeks in New Guinea and the adjacent islands,and having conversedwith the natives, I have no hesitation inexpressing theopinion that it wouldbe impossibletoselect anativecapable of satisfactorily representing the native population in the proposed legislative council, unless sucha personwere obtained from a mission station.
– Did the honorable senator visit all themission stations ?
– Yes; and I am sure that the natives who have come under the influence of the mission stations are all the better for it. Yet it would be hopeless to look for a native able to take part in the administrative affairs of the territory.
-Have not Australian aboriginals obtained university degrees ?
– They have had educational opportunities over a period of many years; but only quite recently have the natives in New Guinea received education. I desire to see every class represented in the legislative council, yet I am afraid that Senator Payne’s amendment would narrow the choice. It would be preferable toselect representatives from the sections named in the bill. I am surprised that the Leader ofthe Government has expressed willingness to accept Senator Payne’s amendment. If the desire is to broaden the choice, we should go even so far as to say that a Labour representative should be appointed to the council.
Senator payne (Tasmania) [9.43].- Judging by the remarks of honorable senators opposite, at least three of them should support my amendment, because the effect would be considerably to widen the choice of the Adniinistratpr.
– Does the honorable senator accept the proposal that there should be two wage-earners on the council ?
– Under the subsection, the Administrator is hampered by the definite provision that only certain representatives are to beappointed tothe council; but as there are other interests in New Guineaquite as importantas thosementioned in the bill, weshouldallow the Administratorthe widest possiblechoice.
Question.-That theamendment(Senator Payne’s) beagreedto-put. The committee divided. (Chairman-Senator theHon. Herbert Hays..)
Majority . .2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I move-
That the following new sub-section be inserted in proposed new section 19 - “ (3.) Of the seven non-official members of the legislative council two shall be nominated as representing the wage-earners and one representing the aboriginal natives of New Guinea.”
Honorable senators opposite have a perfect right to look after the planting, mining and commercial interests, but we have an equal right to look after the interests of the industrialists who have to sell their labour power. I have not the advantage of having visited New Guinea; but I can imagine quite a number of occupations in which people are employed outside the mining industry. There are clerks in shipping offices and commercial houses, shop assistants, waterside workers, and crews of small luggers. Where the mining is alluvial there will be found a number of prospectors, who, although they may not actually sell their labour power, come within the category of wage-earners, because they have to sell their gold to some profiteer. With two representatives out of seventeen, labour would not have an unfair proportion, or be in a position to upset the balance of power. Notwithstanding Senator Hoare’s personal observations, I believe that in the whole of the territory that we took over from the Germans there can be produced one native of superior intelligence. Before thewar the Germans had a reputation throughout the world for culture and high intellectual attainments. It would be to their interest, in the development of their settlements in New Guinea, to educate certain of the natives. It is known that, under the direction of the missions, some of the coloured people learn English, study the Bible, and obtain the rudiments of education up to and even beyond the primary standard. That is quite sufficient to fit them for the ordinary assembly hall. In New Zealand there are four Maori electorates, and several Maoris are members of the Legislative Council. In the Indian islands, in islands like Jamaica and Trinidad, there is mixed representation in the council. In India the appearance of a coloured representative in the council is not extraordinary. Therefore, mine is not a new proposal. There is not the slightest doubt that the coloured man’s point of view is best obtained from one of his own race. Action along these lines will induce the sympathy, support, and respect of the nativeswhomwe have assumed the responsibility of governing under the terms of our mandate. The wage-earning class should have representation on the council. Under the bill as it stands, the Administrator may take the view that those who are chosen should represent the exploiting interests. He will occupy the position of a Mussolini, and should be directed by this Parliament as to the lines that he should follow.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [9.58]. - Under the billas itwill stand, with the deletion of sub-section 3, there is nothing to prevent the Government from appointing wage-earners to the council.
– There is no direction that that shall be done.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Nor is there anything in the bill to prevent the Government from appointing a New Guinea native. Therefore, the amendment is quite unnecessary, and the Government does not propose to accept it.
– Honorable senators of the Opposition should support any amendment that will give representation to the workers. The Minister said that there is nothing in the bill to prevent the Administrator from appointing two representatives of the workers as members of the proposed legislative council. We admit that, but honorable senators on this side of the chamber wish to make it mandatory upon him to do so. It will be only a comic opera council from the view-point of exercising authority, but, the representatives of the workers, although in the minority, should be able to voice the opinions of their class. I have never visited New Guinea, but I hope to take advantage of the opportunity I am afforded as a member of this Parliament to do so. I am sure that the information which I shall obtain will be of great benefit to ine particularly when we are considering legislation affecting, that territory. I do not know what standard of mental development the natives have reached, but if it is anything approaching that of the Maoris, or of the North American Indians, they should have direct representation. That means not necessarily that their representative should be a coloured man, but that he should be a person capable of placing the views of the natives before the other members. If the natives and white workers are to develop New Guinea under terrific heat and conditions which a white man can scarcely tolerate, they should be entitled to representation. Under this Gilbertian legislation this so-called democratic Government will not even allow the members of the working class to be represented.
– There is nothing in the bill to prevent it.
– I know that the Administrator is empowered to appoint representatives ofthe workers if he so desires; but it is most unlikely that he will do so. Honorable senators on this side of the chamber wish to make it mandatory upon the Administrator to appoint two representatives of the workers.
– They would be powerless if they were appointed.
– That is one of our objections to the bill. Two representatives of the workers and a direct representative of the natives could bring pressure to bear upon the Administrator to frame laws in the interests of the community generally. This is the only portion of the bill in which honorable senators on this side of the chamber are directly interested, and we would be recreant to our trust if we did not express our views on the subject. I trust that a majority of honorable senators will support the amendment moved by Senator MacDonald.
– I support the amendment for the reasons given by honorable senators on this side of the chamber. We have been told that a good deal of trouble ha3 been taken to see that the administrative officials possess a sufficient knowledge of anthropology to enable them to understand the peculiarities of the natives. I do not know that there is any reason why we should endeavour to understand their peculiarities unless it is that we are impertinent enough to regard ourselves as their superiors. I cannot think of any better method of enlisting the sympathies of the native population of New Guinea than by supporting the amendment moved by Senator MacDonald. I am supporting it also because it provides that two representatives of the workers shall be appointed to the legislative council. As stated by Senator Brown, the whole procedure savours of a comic opera, but the Government with its comfortable majority is able to get its own way. The bill is most unsatisfactory in many respects, and honorable senators on this side are endeavouring to improve it by removing at least one of its dark blots. Senator Sampson has said that the Administrator already has the power to grant the workers representation on the legislative council, but we are not satisfied with a mere pronouncement to that effect. We do not wish to leave it to the discretion of the Administrator, and in saving that we are not reflecting upon the office or the gentleman who at present holds it. We are opposed to the Administrator, however talented he may be, having such extreme power. The proposal submitted by Senator MacDonald is not unreasonable, and should appeal to. the more kindly and democratic supporters of the Government.
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [10.13]. - Senator Hoare has stated that there is no native in New Guinea possessing sufficient intelligence to entitle him to a seat on the legislative council. With all humility, I suggest that even Senator Hoare, with his extensive powers of observation, is scarcely capable of interviewing 500,000 natives.
– Only a small percentage are civilized.
– I do not know whether the honorable senator came in contact with even a small percentage of the total native population. “We do not question the statement that the Administrator is chosen for his discretion, ability, and good character, but under this measure, he is given the powers of a despot. If that is so, there is no need to appoint a legislative council; the affairs of New Guinea can continue to be administered as at present. My experience proves that the wisest among us can learn something from those who are generally regarded as illiterate and ignorant. A man who may only imperfectly represent his co-workers could, at least, make suggestions or criticize the suggestions of others, and in some way throw light on problems which confuse wiser heads. I feel no contempt for those who are classed as ignorant, for I know that, they can teach something to us all. The sweeping statement that there is not in New Guinea one native capable of adequately representing his fellows is, to say the least, untimely. It savours of arrogance. The Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Pearce) has said that in New Guinea there are many dozens of tribes, and almost as many languages. That may be ; but a member of one tribe, although not acquainted with all the customs or languages of the native population of New Guinea, could put the native viewpoint as no one else could do.
In any community the wage-earners are the only persons who cannot possibly be dispensed with. The designers of that splendid structure, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, would have been helpless without the assistance of the skilled artisans, and the labourers who did the work. Senator McLachlan, although an eminent lawyer, has to use pens and parchment created by the labour of others. The workers in New Guinea are an indispensable section of the population of that territory. Without them, there can be no progress; and, therefore, it is not unreasonable to ask that they shall be represented on the council. I fear, however, that it is largely a waste of time to make suggestions, however reasonable, to the Government, because it is callous to all interests other than its own.
– I appreciate the position of the Leader of the Government in the Senate (Senator Pearce) ; he is tired after a long train journey, and, perhaps, a little piqued because of the remarks of Senator MacDonald. It is well, however, that we should remember that Senator MacDonald is as much a representative of the people as is any other honorable senator.
– The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the proposed new sub-section.
– Surely it is neither a crime, nor a sin, for an honorable senator to ask that certain members of the council shall be closely identified with the commercial life and the industries of the territory. One of the principal industries of New Guinea is mining; yet the miners may be left without representation. The native population of New Guinea, whether coloured or white, should have the right to be directly represented on the legislative council which controls the country of their birth. In the Canberra Times this morning, it is reported that the Minister in charge of the Mandated Territory has been almost overwhelmed by applications from natives in New Guinea for appointment to the Public Service there. In another place the Minister stated, in reply to a question, that he had received a radio message asking him to withhold the making of appointments until he had received the applications of a number of white youths born in New Guinea. In compliance with the request made to him, the Minister has withheld further action for the present. Even if the Senate does not desire that the native coloured population of New Guinea should be directly represented on the executive council, it surely will not object to the white natives of the territory being given that right. In other countries, various native races have been given control of local and domestic affairs. As Christian senators, we should at all times be prepared to take a Christian view of all matters affecting the control of the Mandated Territory under our control.
We are frequently told of the sacrifice made on Calvary’s Cross by the Redeemer of mankind; and yet when mention is made of our responsibility to the native population of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, honorable senators opposite sneer. Their inconsistency is past my comprehension. The Government would not be humiliated by its acceptance of the amendment. No matter how honest and capable the Administrator may be, he should not be given autocratic powers. En addition to the salaried officers of the Mandated Territory, there are waterside workers, shipbuilders, engineers, clerks, storekeepers, overseers,- miners and others there, and they should be considered. Senator Payne said that there were practically no white men doing manual work on the New Guinea gold-fields. I challenge that statement, for I know that working on those mines are a number of highly-qualified technicians and mechanics whom I knew at Balmain, many of whom are still true to their trade union principles. These men are as much pioneers in New Guinea as is any planter, and yet it, is not improbable that to a coterie of men living within a’ radius of 50 miles of Rabaul will be given all the appointments to be made. I am not much concerned about the ethics of the best circles of society in Rabaul, but I am about the representation on the council of the working classes in that country. It is said that the mentality of the native race is not high enough to justify direct representation on the council. I do not agree with that statement. I wonder how many honorable senators could do the semi-skilled work that is done by native employees on coastal steamers, on the mining fields, and in the carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ shops at. various centres in the Mandated Territory. I also remind them that it is one thing to see New Guinea from the deck of a Burns Philp steamer, and another to see it with the pack on your back, as I did some years ago. If the Government is not prepared to give the coloured races representation on the council in the land of their birth, it should, at least, give representation to the wage-earning section of the community.
– I should not have replied but for the attitude of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) in attacking Senator Collings, and also the rude remarks he addressed to me, which I hope, for his own sake, he will not repeat. By withdrawing proposed new sub-section 3 at such a late hour, the Government showed great disrespect to the committee. We on this side, fully expected that we should have an opportunity to move our amendment, and have it discussed,’ but the withdrawal of the sub-section referred to rendered it necessary for me to have another amendment drafted hurriedly to cover the points which we had intended to make. I put it to the committee, that if representation of the native races is withheld, there will be the possibility of grave trouble in the future, and perhaps the Government will be obliged to call for volunteers to complete the work of subjugating the natives in New Guinea. The Leader of the Senate bitterly attacked Senator Collings for his criticism of the missions. All Senator Collings said was that although some missions had done good work, they were associated, with trade, and that traders followed the missionaries, and frequently with evil results. I understand that there is a Lutheran mission in New Guinea, and, I cannot help feeling that it must have produced a fine class of native which should have representation on the council. No one denies that Christian missions have done good work among the natives of the Pacific. Some missionaries, after having spent all their lives among the natives, return to their homeland bitterly disillusioned largely because of the interference of white races engaged in commerce with the coloured people. In this, the latest attempt to improve the form of government in New Guinea, we should not baulk at the colour line, because we broke it during the war when the allies employed numbers of black troops to fight against our enemies. The Government made provision for the representation on the council of the planting, mining and commercial interests. I take it that, so far as the mining industry is concerned, it had in mind not the class of men referred to by Senator Dunn, bur. company promoters, mining agents, and that class of people. As the natives of New Guinea are employed as house boys in the homes of
Avhite people, they get a certain amount of training which should help to fit them for the responsibility of self-government. The adoption of my amendment would not limit the power of the Administrator to secure the adequate representation of the planting, mining and commercial interests. If, as is expected, there is further development in the mining industry in New Guinea, there will always be tbe possibility of important discoveries, with a consequent rush of miners, and unless provision is made for their representation, trouble may occur, culminating in another Eureka stockade. I feel sure that if I were addressing my argument to an assembly which had not already made up its mind to reject the amendment, there would be very good chance of its acceptance.
Question - That the amendment (Senator MacDonald’s) be agreed to - put. The committee divided. (Chairman - Senator the Hon. Herbert Hays.)
Majority . . . . 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
.- I move-
That the following new clausebe inserted: -
The Judicature. 4a. The justices in the Supreme Court of New Guinea -
Shall be appointed by the GovernorGeneral in Council;
Shall not be removed except by the Governor-General in Council, on an address from both Houses of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia in the same session, praying for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity ;
Shall receive such remuneration as the Parliament may fix; but the remuneration shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
I have framed my amendment on lines similar to those followed in the Constitution in regard to the appointment of justices of the High Court and of the other courts created by the Parliament. There was difference of opinion in the High Court as to whether the Supreme Court of New Guinea could be regarded as one of the other courts created by the Parliament under section 72 of the Constitution which provides that judges of “ other courts “ created by the Federal Parliament shall have a life tenure of office. In a case from one of the territories, it was determined by the High Court, on the casting vote of the Chief Justice, that the Supreme Courts of the territories were not covered by section 72 of the Constitution, as having been created by the Parliament. At the present time, the judges of the Supreme Court of New Guinea are in the unenviable and unique position of holding office merely at the pleasure of the Governor-General. We find that inboth Papua and the Northern Territory, where the cases decided are not nearly so important as are those in New Guinea, the judges hold office until they are 65 years of age, subject, I believe, to the provisions of the Public Service Act. Yet the judges of all Commonwealth courts, even the Arbitration Court, are appointed for life. I am not wedded to the precise terms of the clause which I have proposed. I have no objection to any slight alteration that the Government may desire to make, so long as the judges are granted a term of office such as all judges in British dominions should have. In New Guinea, the Crown is often a party to the cases that are heard in the court. There have been actions over land tenure, in which large amouuts have been involved, and there is a general feeling among the people of New Guinea that judges who deal with cases in which the Crown is usually a party, should not be dependent for their tenure of office on the will of the Government of the day. The British precedent recognized throughout all the dominions is that judges should have a fixed tenure. They have to perform important duties concerning the lives and property of individuals.
– How can we appoint them for a long period in a country for which we are only trustees?
– The judges should certainly be given a definite tenure df office. This privilege is enjoyed by the civil servants of New Guinea, the judges alone being excluded. We have given certain individuals tenure of land in the Mandated Territory for all time, and if we have the right to alienate land there, surely we have power to say that the ordinary rules of British-justice shall be applied in regard to the judges’ tenure of office. The Royal Commission on the Constitution recommended a retiring age of 72 years to apply to future appointments of justices of the High Court. If the Government prefers to fix a similar retiring age for judges in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea I should not object to that course heing followed.
– Why not accept the same provision as that applying in the Northern Territory?
– That would be an improvement. The reports submitted regularly by the Administrator of New Guinea are of great value to the League of Nations, and we have every reason to be proud of them. This one weakness exists in the administration, and the matter should be put right; it is surprising that no attention has been drawn to the fact that the judges are not given tenure of office commensurate with the responsibilitiesof their position. If the Government fixed the retiring age at 65 years, which is the age in the Northern Territory, it would be a reasonable action. This matter has been previously submitted to the Commonwealth authorities, and two successive Prime Ministers have promised to look into it; but, owing to pressure of other business, no decision has yet been reached.
– Do these judges receive salaries similar to those paid to judges of a Supreme Court of a State?
– No. Speaking from memory, I should say that they are paid £1,000 or £1,200 per annum.
La regard to tenure, they should be placed in similar security to the judges of other British dominions.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for Defence) [11.1]. - The honorable senator is under a misapprehension in regard to Papua. He says that Now Guinea is the only territory in which the judges have not a fixed term. Section 17 of the act which provides for the Government of Papua reads -
The Lieutenant-Governor may in the name ofthe Governor-General appointall necessary judges, magistrates and other officers of the territory who shall, unless otherwise provided by law, hold their offices during the pleasure of the Governor-General.
Although a judge in New Guinea has no fixed tenure, his is by no means an uncertain appointment, seeing that he has survived every change of government - and there have been many - since he was appointed. That, however, is not the reason why the Government asks the honorable senator not to press the amendment, and the committee not to accept it, at this juncture. It is very likely that, if these appointments were made forlife, the circle of choice would be considerably narrowed. How many men would willingly accept an appointment for life in New Guinea? Obviously, the number is very few. In the appointment of judges there should be the widest possible choice. But there is another, and a much stronger reason why the amendment should not be accepted; that is, that the establishment of a judiciary ought to be dealt with in a separate measure, for some time, the Government has considered that the whole system under which our territorial services are dealt with needs recasting. At the present time matters concerning them are dealt with piecemeal. We now have the administration of the Northern Territory, Papua, New Guinea, Norfolk Island, and, temporarily, Nauru. Obviously, what we should aim at is a territorial service in which the officers are interchangeable. In no section of the service is that more commendable than in respect of the judiciary. It is not desirable that we should ask a man to spend the whole of his life in one of these tropical countries. If the services were interchangeable, there is no reason whya judge who was appointed to the territorial judiciary should not spend part of his life in New Guinea and perhaps the latter portion of it, in, say, the Federal Capital Territory. The Minister has been studying the whole question, with a view to re-organizing the system, but the proposals of the Government have not yet taken shape; in fact, they are still in process of being incubated. Several important questionsare raised by the proposal of the honorable senator. There is the very debateable one as to whether judges should be appointed for life or only until they reach a certain age. When the matter is tackled, it ought to be dealt with fully and not in the present piecemeal fashion. I assure the honorable senator that his representations will be brought to the notice of the Minister, and that the matter is not being sidetracked by the Government.
Proposed new clause negatived.
Clauses 5 to 9 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Senate adjourned at 11.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 16 November 1932, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1932/19321116_senate_13_137/>.