13th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. P.J. Lynch) took thechair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Petition, in similar terms, concerning the conditions of the aborigines of Australia, and suggesting measures for their amelioration, from -
The Lord Bishop of Adelaide and the Synod of South Australia ; the Moderator and officers of the Presbyterian Assembly of South Australia; the President and officers of the Workers Education Association of South Australia; the President and officers of the Methodist Conference of South Australia ; the President and officers of the Church of Christ Conference of South Australia; the Commanding Officer and members of the Salvation Army of South Australia; and the President and officers of the Girl Guides Association of South Australia. (Pre
His Grace the Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr. Spence; the President and Secretary of the Prisoners Aid Association of South Australia; the President and officers of the Housewives Association of South Australia; the President and officers of the Australian labour Party of South Australia;and the President and officers of the South Australian Alliance.(Presented by Senator O’Halloran.)
The President and officers of the Baptist Union of South Australia; the President and officers of the Christian Endeavour Union of South Australia ; the President and officers of the Women’s Temperance Union of South Australia; and the President and officers of the Congregational Union of South Australia. (Presented by Senator Hoare.)
That the petition be. received.
Petition (on motion by Senator Hoare) read by the Clerk.
– by leave - When the Iron and Steel Bounties Bill was being considered in committee on Tuesday afternoon, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes) expressed concern at the attitude of the representatives in this chamber of the primary producers. He said that we were not prepared to dual fairly by secondary industries, despite the fact that the fanners of this country had received more miles ofwire netting at the expense of the taxpayers than they themselves had bought and paid for. Later I expressed the opinion thatthe Leader of the Opposition had been misinformed, and that on further inquiry he would find that he had made a mistake. I went on to state that the farmers of Australia had never received sucha free gift. Money had been advanced by way of a loan to enable them to purchase wire netting, but the money so advanced had to be repaid with interest. I had intended to refer to the fact that this scheme was initiated by the Bruce-Page Government some ten years ago, and that the first advance amounted to £500,000. The agreement covering the grant made to the State Governments contained a provision that the money was to be expended in thepurchase of wire netting manufactured in Australia. Before I had made that statement a hare crossed my path, us Senator Collings interjected, that in Queensland, farmers had been given hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of wire netting. I admit that at the time I was a little hot under the collar, and that I expressed in no unmeasured terms my doubt as to the correctness of the statement to which the honorable senator took exception. At the request of the Chair, I withdrew the statement and apologized, but added that I still held to my opinion. Yesterday, I telegraphed to the Honorable A. E. Moore, ex-Premier of Queensland, quoting SenatorCollings’ statement, and asking for confirmation as to the amount so given to the farmers of Queensland. I received the following reply: -
Unable to discoverone instance gift wire- netting; allsoldon terms and full payment made. (Signed) Moore.
SenatorCollings, who took exception to my statement at the time, said that he took himself and his duties in this House seriously, and that he never made a statement without fully knowing what ho was speaking about.
SenatorCollings. - I did not say anything of the kind.
– In view of the telegram which I have just quoted, it. will be seen that the honorable senator sometimes speaks without a full knowledge of the facts. Moreover, the telegram shows that the honorable senator knows very little at all about the affairs of the State which he represents. I do not care what the honorable senator says aboutme personally, but I resented the imputation that the farmers of Australia have received enormous sums of money as free gifts from certain governments in Australia.
– by leave-I desire to make a personal explanation concerning the charges levelled against me bySenator Carroll. I do not propose to go into details at this juncture. It appears to me that the honorable senator has taken an unfair advantage of me. I shall fortify myself with the facts, and refresh my memory as to details, and deal further with this matter on another occasion. I should like to inform Senator Carroll that I did not for a moment intend anything personal when 1 took exception to his remarks. Nor did I make the statement which he now attributes to me that I took my position here seriously, and that I never made a statement without knowing that it was true. What I said was that I was not in the Senate for fun, that I possessed some standard of political honour, and that I never knowingly made a statement that was untrue. The statement I made is true. Mr. Moore was Premier of Queensland for only three years, and the gift to which I referred was made long before he entered the Queensland Parliament. Later, I shall regale the Senate with the actual facts?. Without particularizing, I repeat that my statement is true because of the fact that many farmers who obtained wire netting under the conditions mentioned by Senator Carroll were unable to repay the money advanced to them for that purpose.
– That is so; but it was not afree gift.
SenatorCOLLINGS. - The honorable senator now admits the truth of my statement. During a Labour regime, their liabilities were remitted, and if that does not mean that they received the wire netting as a gift I do not know what it does mean. I shall supply the Senate with the actual factsat a later stage.
– I ask you, Mr. President, whether your attention has been drawn to the following report in the Sydney Sun of the 29th November: -
READY FOR GAS ATTACKS.
Australia is Prepared. (From Our Special Representative. )
As an actof preparedness, a special subcommittee, appointed by the Federal Government, is investigating means of safeguarding the civilian population from gas attacks.
If so, are you in the position to say whether this will apply to citizens of the Commonwealth who visit Parliament House, Canberra, during the sittings of Parliament?
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. lynch). - Under the Standing Orders which govern the asking of questions certain obligations are imposed on honorable senators. They may ask Ministers questions on matters of public importance, and also may ask other honorable senators questions about matters appearing on the notice-paper of which such honorable senators have charge. There is nothing on the notice-paper about gas masks, or any contemplated gas attack on Canberra. I therefore rule the question out of order.
– As Chairman of the Joint House Committee, and as the custodian of the rights and privileges of the Senate, would it not be your responsibility, sir, to take measures to cope with any gas attack which may be directed against this building?
– The occupant of the Chair is called upon, not to remould the Standing Orders, but to administer them. I have already ruled that the question is out of order.
– Is the Minister representing the Treasurer yet in a position to give the information I asked for a day or two ago regarding the tabling of the report of the Royal Commissionon Taxation?
– As the result of inquiries which I have made, I am now in a position to inform the honorable senator that the report will be laid on thetable of the Senate early next week.
– Can the Minister for Defence say whether the special grant of £3,000 for civilaviation has been allocated, and, if so, on what basis? If it is not yet allocated, will the Government consider calling for tenders for the service which it proposes to assist in order to ascertain their approximate cost before distributing the grant?Will aviators not already known to the civil aviation branch of the department be given an opportunity to prove their qualifications for participation in such grant?
[ 8. 25]. - by leave - As honorable senators are aware, there are two means by which the vote in connexion with civil aviation is being expended. It is expended, first, in connexion with certain definite airmail services over specified routes.For those services, tenders are now being invited. In addition, it was pointed out to the Government that even when tenders for those services had been let, a number of persons interested in aviation would be prepared to carry out some definite aviation service in theCommonwealth if given some assistance. The Government, therefore, decided to set apart £3,000 to be allocated in a manner to be determined subsequently. It then invited applications and suggestions from all persons interested in the distribution of the money as to the best way in which it could be distributed. A number of suggestions and proposals have been received, and they are now being considered by the Controller of Civil Aviation, who informed me a day or two ago that his report was practically ready. Obviously, if the Government were to invite tenders for these additional services, the grant would be placed in the same category as the £90,000 allocated for the services for which the Government is inviting tenders, and would not assist those people who, although not tenderers for the air-mail services, would be willing to assist civil aviation in other ways. I know the genesis of these suggestions, and the motive which prompts them. In saying that, I do not refer to Senator Rae. Although £3,000 is a small sum for the purpose, the money will be distributed in a way which will encourage civil aviation apart from the recognized airmail services for which tenders are being invited. Before the Senate adjourns at the end of next week, I hope to be in a position to say in what way the money will be distributed.
– I ask the Leader , of the Senate whether he is yet in a position to make a statement of the Government policy in respect of the wheat industry?
– A bill embodying the Government policy is about to be presented in another place, and that measure will come before the Senate for ratification.
– I ask the Leader of the Senate what increase the Government estimates will take place in the price of bread per loaf, consequent on the imposition of the proposed tax on flour, and what action the Government proposes to prevent an increase in the price of bread?
Senator Sir. GEORGE PEARCE.I suggest to the honorable senator that the matters he has mentioned can be fully discussed when the bill for the imposition of a flour tax is before the Senate.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
Is it a fact that a big Scandinavian cooperative society has agreed to take a sample parcel of Australian oranges, which have not previously been sold in Scandinavia; if so, will the Department of Commerce see that shipments of Australian oranges to Scandinavia are in first-class order and true to label ?
– The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answer: -
According to a recent press statement, it would appear that arrangements are in hand for the shipment of a consignment of oranges from Australia to Scandinavia. Before the fruit is shipped, officers of the Commerce Department will see that the grades and standards provided for in the export rgulations are complied with.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Will immediate action he taken to convert any of Australia’s public debt in the United States of America on lower interest rates; if not, why not?
Senator Sir HARRY LAWSON.The Treasurer has supplied the following answer : -
The Government is carefully watching the position of the Australian loan issue in America, and, in the event of favorable conditions arising for dealing with these loans, will take appropriate action.
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
SenatorCOLLINGS asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Has the Minister considered the wisdom of redeeming the Australian41/2 per cent. 1928-56 loan in New York through sterling funds to be raised in London, if it is a fact that a saving of at least £500,000 to Australia could nowbe effected by such redemption?
– The Treasurer has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
The Government is carefully watching the position of the Australian loan issues in America, and in the event of favorable conditions arising for dealing with these loans, will take appropriate action.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The honorable the Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answers : -
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows: -
asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice -
Senator Sir HARRY LAWSON.The Treasurer has supplied the following answer : -
Inquiriesare being made, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.
IntermediateSchoolExamination– Cost of Living.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Interior has supplied the following answers : -
SenatorCOLLINGS asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
– The Minister for the Interior- has supplied the following answer: -
No such inquiry has been made for some time: but the question of conducting one is at present under consideration.
asked the Minister administering the Development Branch, uponnotice -
Whether, before the Senate goes into recess, he will make a. general statement upon the question of the development of certain parts of Australia by the chartered company system, setting out the present position ?
-The answer to the honorable senator’s question is as follows : -
Consideration will be given as to whether it would be possible to make a general statement on the lines suggested.
asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, upon notice -
Will the Minister inform the Senate what action, if any, is proposed in the direction of providing free legal aid for destitute persons involved in litigation in the Courts of Comwealth jurisdiction?
– The Attorney-General has supplied the following answer to the honorable senator’s question : -
The law of the Commonwealth provides that where, in the interest’s of justice, counsel should be provided for a person committed for trial for an indictable offence against the laws of the Commonwealth, the AttorneyGeneral, on the certificate of the Justice of the High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court, may make arrangements for the assignment of counsel.
SenatorCOLLINGS asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -
Has the Minister yet received the report from Mr. H. C. Brown relative to the cancellation of special holiday leave hitherto granted to school teachers in the Northern Territory?
If so, what is the nature of such report?
What action, if any, has the Minister taken in the matter?
A report has been received, and is at present under consideration.
Bill received from the House of Representatives, and (on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce) read a first time.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Motion (by Senator Sir George Pearce) agreed to -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the hill being passed through all its stages without delay.
Motion (by Senator SirHarry Lawsonproposed -
That the bill be now read a first time.
– I should like to he informed whetherthis motion affords honorable senators their only opportunity, prior to the recess, to discuss matters of general public importance. I understand that, on the second reading of this measure, the debate will be strictly confined to its subject-matter.
– This being a bill which the Senate may not amend, honorable senators, of course, are at liberty, on the motion for itsfirst reading, to speak on questions not relevant to the subjectmatter of the bill; bur, on the second reading, their remarks must be confined to the matters with which the bill deals.
– I should like to take this opportunity to make a few observations about the development of the Northern Territory, referring particularly tothe more recent proposals to hand over portion of that unoccupied country to chartered companies. This suggestion was, I believe, first mooted in Sydney, and took the form of a proposal to construct a railway, at an estimated cost of £4,000,000, from Bourke, New South Wales, toBirdum, in the Northern Territory. Other lines mentionedwere to the Mc Arthur River and to Wyndham, Western Australia. The proposed railway from Bourke, via Thargomindah, Boulia, Dajarra,Camooweal, Avon Downs, and Alexandra Station would traverse excellent tableland carrying Mitchell and Flinders grasses. It has a rainfall of about 16 inches. After a certain amount of propaganda had been issued in connexion with this proposal, apparently it was dropped, because of late we have not heard much about it.
I had been following this matter rather closely, and in May last I noticed that a resolution in support of it was carried at a meeting of the Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce. A copy of that resolution was forwarded to me, and, I dare say, to other honorable senators also. In support of the project it was contended that it would lead to an increase of population, the investment of a considerable amount of British and Australian capital, and, incidentally, provide a great deal of employment. I addressed to the Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce a communication, in which I expressed my views on the subject as strongly as possible, and the local newspaper was good enough to publish portion of my letter. I thought it necessary to speak plainly, because, obviously, forces other than those directing the Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce were moving in this matter. The Melbourne Age at the time, in its comments on the proposal, said this -
Old Territory settlers have expressed the view that the Federal Government, by an nouncing itswillignness to grant very wide and long-term privileges to big financial organizations,hasunintentionallybut nevertheless definitely played into the hands of companies whose interests, financially speaking, are more international than national. People of Australia must take careful counsel before accepting ministerial proposals.
Another writer in that newspaper expressed the opinion that companies would never develop the Northern Territory unless they had been turned out of other countries - a, rather significant remark I thought - or unless they received free grants of large tracts of land. Apparently, the proposal got to the stage when direct negotiations were entered into with the Government at Canberra. At about that time I asked questions of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), who said that no agreement had been made with any chartered company to take over any portion of the Northern Territory, and added that, as soon as definite arrangements had been made, the details would be placed before Parliament for ratification. Any proposal to hand over portion of the Northern Territory to people outside Australia for development under the chartered company system should he strenuously opposed by the people of this country. If this Government takes any such, steps without (consulting Parliament, its action will be resented at the next election. The Ministry might be able to force an (arrangement of this nature through Parliament, but if it did so, Ministers and the parties supporting them would be signally defeated at the first opportunity. According to the last report of the Administrator for the Northern Territory, at the beginning of 1932, there were, in that area, 750,000 cattle, 33,000 horses and nearly 2,000 sheep, while the value of the mineral production was £13,000, of -pearl shell £45,000, and trepang £14,000.
During the last session I advanced certain proposals which should receive the serious attention of the Government. Although some people may think that they were somewhat in the clouds, I believe that if we are to develop that vast heritage on a satisfactory basis, some of the ideas which I then put forward must be eventually adopted. Sir- Hal Colebatch, who was then a member of. this chamber, in criticism of my suggestions, expressed doubt that we would be able to induce Australians to go to the Northern Territory, . but Senator O’Halloran effectively answered the honorable senator by pointing out that, for one vacant position in the Mounted Police force of the Northern Territory, there were no fewer than 700 applications.
– There have been 360 applications for the position of a married couple to look after the station for half-castes at Alice Springs.
– That is even more convincing evidence of the willingness of Australians to take up work-in those portions of the continent which, some people would have us believe, are not suited for occupation by the white race. More recently the Government made available six cadetships in the New Guinea Public Service, and received 2,126 applications. I happened to be interested in that matter because I was endeavouring to secure the appointment of two young men who were anxious to enter that service. No one can contend that no difficulty would be experienced in inducing people to accept employment in either the Northern Territory or New
Guinea. For this reason the development of the Northern Territory should be in the forefront of the Government’s policy. I do not suggest that that vast area is a land flowing with milk and honey; we all know that it is not. But it is possible to develop it under the White Australia policy, and, from a defence point of view, its claims should be no longer neglected. Certainly it should not be handed over to an .outside company which, after exploiting its possibilities, would, in all probability, seek to be relieved of its obligations with the result that, eventually, the Commonwealth would be forced to buy it out. Having given this important subject a good deal of thought during the last ten or fifteen years, I feel sure that, if large areas of the Northern Territory were handed over to chartered companies, the population would be restricted to the requirements of stock raising for the export trade in beef and mutton, and the real development of the country would be subordinated to the needs of the international meat market. We do not want the Northern Territory to be developed along such lines. That portion of the continent is, I think, properly regarded as the Achilles heel of ‘ the Commonwealth. Obviously, if vast areas are occupied merely for pastoral purposes, the territory will continue to be the weak spot in our armour. The defence possibilities of chartered companies are negligible. Ill-informed people with more enthusiasm thai: judgment, have suggested that the Northern Territory is capable of supporting a population amounting to tens of millions of people. We know, as a matter of fact, that it could not do that. The most condemnatory statement I have heard concerning the Northern Territory was uttered about ten years ago by Dr. Gilruth, an ex-Administrator, who said that he would not take 5,000 square miles of the territory on his own terms, even if he were allowed to import coloured labourers, and employ them free of cost. I understand that Dr. Gilruth did not have a. very happy time in Darwin, and, possibly, he left there with very gloomy impressions of the place. The only proposal which this Government can make is to hand offer a huge portion of the Northern Territory to a few land monopo- lists with international exploiting interests. Under such a scheme, the white population would not exceed 4,000. Even if a large tract of the Northern Territory were made available to a chartered company, as is proposed, I do not think that the white population would increase by 5,000 persons. Although I do not agree with a policy of national socialism such as that sponsored by Hitler in Germany, and Mussolini in Italy, I believe that a properly organized national scheme would assist in the settlement of the Northern Territory? and that, in time, a population of 50,000 whites could obtain a reasonable livelihood there. The number would increase as the population of Australia generally became larger. The Northern Territory has always been a burden upon the Governments controlling Lt; but the Commonwealth Government, which has shouldered the burden for some years, cannot shirk its responsibilities. Even if a grant of a large tract of land were made available to a chartered company, the population would not increase to such an extent that it would have a defence value. With the proper development of tropical agriculture and close attention to the production of other commodities, a population of possibly 500,000 persons could, in time, be maintained in the north. Although over 2,000 applied for six positions in New Guinea, I do not think that under present conditions we can ever expect large numbers resident in the south to migrate to the Northern Territory. The attractions available to those resident in other parts of Australia are so great that it is unlikely that even under the most favorable conditions many would transfer their activities to the north, and remain there permanently. Under a national service scheme, the Government could provide for a moveable population under which young men of the right stamina could assist- in administrative work, in production, and in other ways, and also be of service for defence purposes. Closer settlement and intense cultivation have been of great advantage, particularly in northern Queensland. Under a national service scheme, persons transferred to the north could remain there for a time, and when they returned south their places could be taken by others. The history of Darwin, which is the most important centre in the Northern Territory, shows that under the charming, if disturbing eccentricities, of capitalism and private enterprise, large sections of the population have been compelled to move without notice or preparation. When Vestey’s Meat Works closed down, hundreds of meat workers were compelled by private enterprise to shift for themselves. It is the responsibility of the Government to retain full national control of the Northern Territory, as of any other part of Australia. I shall not deal with the history of chartered companies, as honorable senators are aware of what has happened in South Africa, India, and other parts of the world. A well-known Australian writer, Mr. Randolph Bedford, has dealt with this subject at great length, and tha experience of those working under such companies makes a wretched story. Three petitions with respect to the position of the aborigines in Northern Australia were presented to the Senate today from representatives of the Christian church, who contend that the present form of administration is not in” the best interests of the Australian native.
– That subject can be more effectively dealt with when the measure is in committee, and the vote for the Aborigines Department is under consideration.
– That is so, but I am taking this opportunity to make a few general observations concerning the problems which exist in that portion of Australia, and for which, at present, there does not appear to be any solution. Recently, I have been reading harrowing reports in certain Australian newspapers concerning the treatment of aborigines, particularly in the Northern Territory, and I was shocked to find that a number of these unfortunate people are alleged to have been most brutally handled. It is obvious that if a chartered company obtained control of a large tract of land in the Northern Territory, the aborigines, half-castes and others, would be exploited. ‘Chartered companies operating in other countries have welcomed the presence of coloured labour, which they have always exploited in their own interests. I do not agree with those who think that if a chartered company were given certain rights in the north, all our troubles with respect to settlement, unemployment, and difficulties with the natives would be overcome. I do not suggest that the Government would permit the natives to be exploited, but unless the conditions imposed were very rigid, there would always be that possibility. [Quorum formed.] In the Sydney Morning Herald of the 28th November, the following paragraphs appeared: -
Rev. W. Morley, of the Association for the Protection of Native Races, in a speech at the Millions Club, yesterday, drew a distressing picture of the plight of the 75,000 aborigines in Australia, and urged immediate action to make their lot happier. “The Australian aborigines have never had and do not now receive proper protection and equal British justice,”he said. “ Theirs is a condition practically of slavery in regard to the condition of labour in some States. Native women are not adequately protected against unscrupulous men of other races. Half-castes constitute a serious problem, and an increasing menace. My association has been in negotiation with the governments for several years. So far, little has resulted from our efforts. “ They are countrymen of ours. We have taken their land, their food, their water-holes, their customs andsacred spots, and even their wives andhave given them no compensation whatever. Approximately £630,000,000 worth of gold has been taken out of the country, while incalculable wealth in stock and produce has been obtained, yet we are supposed to be too poor to do some of the simple things that would make for the welfare and comfort of these people.”
The following statement by the Rev. E. R. Gribble, of Palm Island, which is on the Queensland coast, I believe, in the vicinity of Townsville, appeared in the Daily Standard in February last : -
Rev.E. R. Gribble, chaplain at Palm Island, who is at present visiting Mackay on a lecturing and preaching tour, says that the history of Australia’s aborigines, if it could be written, would be one of the blackest murders in the history of the British Empire.
The lecturer believes that all the trouble between whites and blacks can be traced to the whites having deprived the blacks of their lagoons, and molesting their women.
The blacks numbered 1,500.000 when the whites first took control, but the number was now estimated at 70,000. The main article of food in North Australia was the water lily, which the blacks produced all the year round, and for which they must have access to the lagoons. The owners of cattle objected to the stock being frightened by natives, who, after being keptaway, started killing the rattle.
This gentleman is a recognized authority on the Australian natives. He has lived the greater part of his life among the blacks. His father established the Warangesda Mission Station in 1879 on the banks of the Mumimbidgee. In an address dealing with the tribal laws and customs of the aborigines of Australia, Mr. J. W. Bleakley, the Protector of Aborigines in Queensland, said -
The native should be placed on a higher plane than he is, as the standard of intelligence displayed by him in maintaining his existence shows a keen appreciation of natural surroundings and their adaptability to his needs. Mr. Bleakley also displayed a number of examples of aboriginal craft work, and spoke of an interesting present made to him by the blacks of Central Australia, when he was initiated into one of the totems.
Mr. Bleakley’s reference to the intelligence of the Australian aborigine interested me, because last session I said that no Australian aborigine had ever taken a university degree. That statement was immediately challenged by one of my colleagues in this chamber, and I therefore wrote to the universities of Australia, and also to the Commonwealth Department of the Interior. The replies which I have received confirm my statement. Nevertheless, the Australian aborigines are not without intelligence, although they cannot be compared with the Maoris of New Zealand. It cannot be denied that many of them are keenwitted, and are proficient at cricket and other games of the white races.Whatever their intelligence, our treatment of them is something of which we ought to be ashamed. From a number of other quotations, I shall select only one. Mrs. Bennett, of Mount Morgans, Western Australia, recently stated that the aborigines are dying out, not from natural causes, but because they are denied a chance to live. She said -
The aborigines are not dying out naturally, but are denied a chance to live. The primitive ‘ aboriginal culture was hard on women, making them property atpatriarchial disposal, but white civilization was harder on them, as it turned them into merchandise. She advocated the creation of living areas for aborigines, essential medical and educational services, preparatory to giving them full citizens’ rights.
The aborigines of Australia should have their own direct representative in the House of Representatives, even if they are denied representation in the Senate. A direct representative would bring them into closer touch with the white man’s form of government, whereas now all they know of the justice of the white man is that he sends punitive expeditions into their territory from time to time. The Maoris of New Zealand are probably not much more numerous than are the aborigines of Australia, yet they have four representatives in the House of Representatives of that dominion.
– The Maoris are a superior race.
– I have previously pointed out that Christianity does not recognize any distinction between the different races of the world.
– The Australian aborigine is a nomad, whereas the Maori is not.
– That may he, hut it is not long since many of the Maoris were cannibals, and had advanced little beyond the hunting and fishing stage. It is true that the native dwelling of the Maori - tlie “whare” - is a much superior building to the “mia mia” and “gunyah” of the Australian aborigine, and that Maori art has developed far beyond ‘that of the Australian black.
– The superiority of the Maoris is shown by the fact that many of them have passed through the universities of New Zealand.
– I am well aware of that. It is not right that, any native race, whatever its standard of intelligence, should be treated as cattle. I understand that, in a number of British settlements in the West Indies, the native races are directly represented in Parliament. If the same principle were adopted in Australia, we should not have charges and counter-charges in regard to their treatment, such a3 have taken place in the House of Representatives recently.
– I should not like to be the returning officer in Arnheim Land.
– No one will deny the intelligence of the German people; but what is the position of the German elector to-day? Similarly, the individual in Italy is almost without rights, notwithstanding that that country is renowned for its art, music and scientific achievements. The only reason why, in this so-called democracy, the aborigines have been denied justice is the belief that “might is right.” Had the blacks been sufficiently powerful and we’ll organized to kill a few thousand whites in the days of early colonization, they would have been given representation in Parliament. I strongly advise honorable senators to read some of the books by Australian authors, which they will find exceedingly interesting. Here is the lament of the last aboriginal upon revisiting a certain part of Australia, and discovering that all his kindred had vanished, as pictured by James Devaney in Tlie Vanished Tribes -
Not understanding, bewildered and lost, the wild dark hordes of my people have passed like the sunset. They have gone from the forest and the plain, from the ridge and the river, the hunts, the camps, and the laughter. I am old. I have no place with the strangers, but I watch out here under our totem stars, and hear tlie boobook cry and the croon of the wind in the she-oaks like the far-off voices of the vanished tribes.
I have said that “ might ,is right “ has been the principle governing our treatment of the original inhabitants of this continent, and I may add that the same principle applies in the oppression of the great majority if our white population. They live in a condition of economic slavery. Not long ago I saw a cartoon in a newspaper not supporting Labour, which depicted private enterprise and its basic principle - the competitive system. I am not so enamoured of socialistic theories as to suggest that there should not be competition, that life should be made so easy that biological forces would be inverted. Competition is good for the individual. This cartoon aimed at illustrating that, in a large number of cases, the sons cf wealthy people have an infinitely better fightingchan.ee than have the sons of poor people. It pictured private enterprise as a giant, who was saying to an orphaned child, possessed of nothing like the same physique, “Come on. Get into the ring and fight.” That is what is happening at present. Fair competition does not exist for a large number of our people, any more than it exists for the aboriginal race of Australia. There are two cures for this condition - cures which have been previously emphasized in other countries and times. I am sorry that some honorable senators are not present to hear my remarks on economic slavery and the non-existence of the competitive principle. Only a few days ago, in a book published this year by Dr. Hugh Dalton, an exmember of the House of Commons, I read -
Too little attention lias been paid in the past to the institution of inherited wealth. It takes a very sturdy supporter of the present system to justify the transmission of these enormous lumps of wealth, which are still enor«mous even after the deduction of death duties from one generation to another.
As we know, the death and succession duties are much higher in Great Britain than they are in Australia. But, despite the operation of these duties, there still remains in British estates a very large surplus, which, from the stand-point of national salvation, ought nol to be left to sons and daughters who never worked for it, and who are quite content to live a life of idleness and extravagance. The author of the book I have quoted, Dr. Hugh Dalton, says -
In exchange for terminable annuities, the State should obtain ownership and control of an ever-increasing part of the wealth of the country, as it passed at death. The terminable annuity would be the incinerator for national debt and privately-appropriated rent, interest and profit.
He thus directed attention to the unfairness of the capitalistic system when, its basic principle of competition - a fair field and no favour - has been eliminated. Some years ago I wrote an article, entitled “ The Individual as Providence “, in which I sought to prove that, despite the efforts of any individual to stretch out his arm over future generations for the purpose of protecting his descendants - efforts foredoomed to failure - the State could achieve the desired result far more effectually. I urged that the power of unrestricted bequest should be abolished, and pointed out that the well-known. British economist, Alfred Marshall, had held that the mainspring of the motive of saving was providential care for offspring - a truly admirable impulse; but, when it results in the hoarding and withholding of wealth which is necessary for the proper development of other people’s offspring, a wretchedly deplorable one. That is what must happen under our present system, unless we are prepared to establish a regime of Hitlerism. Here, it is pertinent ‘to quote the case of a man in Britain who inherited £1,000,000 30 or 40 years ago. This inheritance did not prevent ham amassing still more wealth. He converted the £1,000,000 into £4,000,000, which, after the payment of death and succession duties, ho bequeathed to his children. Assuming that he had ten children - a very large family - all that he needed to amass, in order to put them in “ easy street “ for life, was £40,000, which would have returned to each of them an income of £4 a week. It will be seen, therefore, that the State, without ‘ imposing any undue hardship upon individuals, could have appropriated the whole of his £4,000,000, less £40,000. Obviously, no matter how wisely the hoarder of wealth may act, he cannot safeguard his family for more than one or two generations against the dangers to which other people’s offspring are condemned. “Wealth and wealth-holders pass away, and except for some extraordinary circumstances, are forgotten and absorbed in the general stream of life though not without having done very considerable damage in the meanwhile. We have all read references to the law of entail in England, and we know how socalled noble families endeavour to safeguard their lands and wealth against extravagance by their descendants. I have examined the main principles of this law of entail, and, looking over the history of England, I am prompted to ask where are the descendants of the children and grandchildren of those warriors who invaded that country with William the Conqueror? Only to-day I read a statement that nobody in England can prove descent from any of the Norman invaders of 1066. In this connexion, I should like to quote a few words by Lord Chief Justice Campbell, who, speaking of the Mowbrays, the De Bohuns, and Plantagenets, said -
They have returned to the urns and sepulchres of their ancestors.
I believe that there was a very, famous family called the Dolabellas during the period of the Roman Republic. I might go back oven farther to the Tarquins who were tossed out by their own race-
– Take some of the republics in South America - they will do.
– I could do that also. I read recently in a Sydney newspaper some comic references to Julius Caesar. Apparently, somebody had discovered that he was a cricketer. That, however, was common knowledge to those who had studied the annals of British cricket. Further, we had a Julius Caesar under t,he Southern Cross who took a very great interest in cricket. But, to-day, nobody can trace his descent from the Caesars. That circumstance merely goes to show the evanescence of things, and how pitiful are the efforts of the individual to safeguard his own descendants against the buffetings of fortune.
There is another solution to the problem of economic slavery, with which I intend briefly to deal. Here, I will interpolate a reference of my own writings of years ago to the need for a drastic limitation of the law of inheritance -
The right course, then, for our national economy is to make tlie death and succession duties so high that there can be no such thing as bequest of large fortunes. Wealth acquired under individual ownership should return to the State wherein it was made and to the people to whom it rightfully belongs. And with such a policy and the greatly increased financial strength it would mean to the State, would disappear many of the evils due to the oppression of the power of money, and the suffering and sorrow which are thu inevitable results of an unjust distribution of the wealth of the community. The inequalities of life, the few mansions and the many hovels, the few highly educated and groomed, and the many roughly trained and poorly garbed are due primarily to the unsocial allocation of the means of existence. And first in the cause of that wretchedly mutational and unjust distribution is the unrestricted power of passing on accumulations of wealth to a few individuals.
Another way to ease the position in regard to the economic slavery of our own people is to limit the right to exploit. I remember visiting the farm of a good Australian in Victoria, who remarked to me one evening over a pipe, “What I find wrong with your Labour party is that it seeks to limit the right of a man to make money.” I replied that I did not know that that result could be achieved under our present capitalistic system, and I added, “ You are worth about £40,000- how much do yo’u desire tto accumulate?” He thought for a little while, and then answered, “Oh, about £100,000”. In other words, he would be satisfied if he was worth that amount. But there are some persons who would remain dissatisfied even though they accumulated millions. This desire to accumulate money is increased by the fear of poverty. So far as freedom to exploit is concerned, the principle should be limited. It is not a new idea. People entertained it thousands of years ago. In an article which I contributed to the press some years ago, I stated -
The history of political ideas shows that the limitation or the gains or holdings of the exploiter is not new-fangled. A reformer of ancient days, name of Phaleas, circulated the notion that in order to equalize the enjoyment of wealth the rich should give marriage portions and nob receive any, whilst the poor should take dowries, and, of course, not give them. The idea of limitation in the area of land that should be held can be traced through the various ages and climes, and lias had modern translation in different forms in Australian States.
Coming to distributable income, a matter in these days of exhaustive taxation inquiries easily ascertainable, we have the method by which the licence of the exploiter could be most effectively regulated in the best interests nf the workers, the nation, and, sometimes, of himself.
Plato once had visionary ideas ; but, when he came to consider what could be done in a practical way, he changed his opinions considerably. History affords other examples of this change of outlook in men. Herbert Spencer, as a young man, was regarded as most moral. He did not believe in the private ownership of land, but when he became older he altered his views. I think that Henry George referred to him as “ the perplexed philosopher.” My article continued -
The “ laws “ of Pluto, his practical exposition of model legislation, considered that no citizen should be allowed to possess more than five times as much as the lowest income. So on that basis, when the Australian Workers Union is told that the minimum wage cannot be more than £4 a week, or, roughly, £200 a year, the Queensland Rockefellers and Morgans would have to cry content with £1,000 of annual slices from the national income. By adequate income taxation these gentry could be bloodlessly separated from the rest of their unnatural and anti-national streams of wealth.
The forestaller, the price-raiser, and exploiter down the centuries have had to be publicly trimmed up in the interests of tlie people fi thu talk of the workers socializing industry is to get beyond a ceaseless discharge of words, definite action must bc taken in this direction of limiting power to acquire wealth either by accumulation or income. A maximum of five times the minimum income or basic wage is surely big enough to satisfy the most greedy and unlovely of exploiterdomAnd it should be clearly understood, if the Labour objective is to be more than an ideal, that this is a preparatory step towards the goal of full socialization of industry, when the Church’s old time interdict against usury will be revived, and production will be for use and not for profit.
A few days ago I was entertained on reading a passage in a recent book on economics in which it was said that the Jews, although they were permitted to take interest from Gentiles, forbade their own people from taking interest from one another. The wisdom of allowing the charging of interest is now under scrutiny, and, without doubt, the practice is responsible for much waste. Interest is taken mostly by persons who have more money than they require, and it is hoarded in banks until word, is given that money can be invested in industry at a profit. Capitalists keep their money in the banks, as they are doing at the present lime, until they see an opportunity to increase their wealth. I believe that in olden times the Jews celebrated every 50 years a jubilee year, in which they divided their land, and each member of the community received a share. That, J should think, was a. commendable practice. If the passing on of accumulated wealth were not permitted, the capitalistic system would be more competitive, and would not invite the fate that overtook it in Russia.
Last session I made a quotation from the Glasgow Forward, edited by T. Johnson, a former member of the House of Commons, who claimed that the war between Bolivia and Paraguay had occurred, not because of rivalry for the possession of Gran Chaco, but because of a collision between American capital in Bolivia and British capital in. Paraguay. Of course, the South American is always eager for a fight; but he should not be provoked by great nations which pretend to lead the world in intellectual progress. Australians have no imperialistic tendencies apart from those forced upon them by the war of 1914-18, and our ignorance about happenings abroad is surprising. An article in Foreign Affairs, of April, 1932, entitled, “ The American investment in Latin-America,” by William AScroggs, states, inter alia -
South American Republics at. War, by Henry Gratton Doyle, Professor of Romance Languages, George Washington University, Current History Associate, reports that neutral negotiations transferred to Buenos Ayres was not thought to promise success, since Bolivia is believed to be opposed toArgentine’s good offices because of the hitter’s financial interests in Paraguay.
It will be observed that Foreign Affairs supports the contention of the editor of the Glasgow Forward. I also referred to Current History, of February last. This magazine, which is published in New York; and edited by a native of Australia, had an article in which thefollowing passage occurred : -
While most of the war materials used in this, instance caine from Europe, it is charged that American bankers have lent Bolivia 20,000,000 dollars for the purchase of arms, most of themoney being spent for that purpose in Great Britain.
During the Great Wai-, British soldiers were shot by means of rifles and machine guns manufactured in England, and, similarly, French soldiers were killed by guns of French manufacture, in which French ammunition was used. Countries at war have no soul. They purchase their requirements in the most, accessible and cheapest market. I invite any honorable senator who has any doubt about the spheres of influence of Great Britain and the United States of America to study an official publication issued by the Government of the latter country, dealing with its investments abroad. In September, 1931, that publication showed that America.n investments in Bolivia totalled 116,000,000 dollars,, and in Paraguay, only 12,000,000 dollars. Need wc be surprised then, that the capitalists of the United States of America supported Bolivia in the war against Paraguay? In the post-war years, when the United States of America enjoyed an era of ‘ remarkable prosperity, it exported capital to nearly every country. Its investments in Australia amount to between £40,000,000 and £50,000,000.
I do not wish to resume my seat without referring to the necessity for lessen- ing unemployment, and for convincing capitalist interests overseas that, if the unemployment, situation in this country is to improve, they must revise their financial methods. The development of the Northern Territory along the lines indicated by me earlier in my speech would absorb a large number of our unemployed. There is no necessity for the introduction of outside capital. I defy any honorable senator to study the movement of the international money market without realizing that, whether we like it or not, wo are governed by overseas interests. Ministers and party leaders may strut about with an alr of importance, and endeavour to persuade the people that, because of the policy of the Government the affairs of this country are on a sound economic basis when, as a matter of fact, they have to take their orders from overseas. Senator Carroll, one of the leading members of the Country party, admitted a few days ago that even as regards the export of our surplus primary products, we have to take heed of the “ big bully “ overseas, his reference, being, of course, first to the financial interests of New York, and second, to Loudon, because those two centres actually control thu financial and economic destinies of the world. One need not be a pessimist to suggest that the world unemployment situation will not be remedied quickly. We shall have to proceed cautiously for the next ten or twenty years, because we are under a financial overlordship, and the prospect is not so alluring as was suggested in the “ prosperity budget “ presented by the Treasurer a month or two ago. 1 say this because I realize the probable effect of the international agreement with regard to wheat. Although this country depends for its financial stability upon the export of its surplus primary products, we have had to accept dictation from other countries and limit the export of this year’s wheat crop. It is possible that, in some future year, we may, for similar reasons, be required to limit the export of our wool or other primary products. Steps should bc taken to break the chains that bind us to overseas financial dictators. By the development of the Northern Territory with finance provided under an approved national scheme, we should be able to settle at least 50,000 Australians in that portion of the continent within the next few years, and possibly could soon increase the population to half a million. At the same time, we could improve the lot of the aborigines by segregating them in protected areas, and utilize them as part of a national defence scheme. The initiation of a forward policy for tlie Northern Territory would make it impossible for other countries to charge us with adopting a dog-in-the-manger attitude, because we should then be effectively occupying r.he country, without having to go cap in hand to some chartered company which would, in the long run, ruin the Northern Territory. Its population at the present time is under 4,000. If we handed over portion of it to .a chartered company, very little increase of population would result, and we do know that private enterprise would look to the aborigines as a source of cheap labour.
Many other proposals might be mentioned for the relief of unemployment. One is the unification of the railway gauges in the several States, but I know how useless it is to expect this Government to tackle that problem. It is a reflection on this Parliament that there should be such an enormous waste of economic material due to lack of employment in all. States. Every honorable senator from Queensland is required to pay £30 a year, as well as other taxation charges, for the relief of unemployment. Our present, position is unprecedented, but despite the urgent need for a bold financial policy, the Commonwealth is afraid to do anything that is not likely to meet with the approval of New York or London financial interests. The unemployment problem is becoming so serious that unless relief measures are soon brought forward, it may get out of hand, and we may experience a year or two of bloodshed, rapine, and general disaster in which any individual may suffer.
I again impress upon the Government, the urgent need for the introduction of unemployment relief measures. Ministers appear to take pride in the fact that this Government has spent a few hundred thousand pounds more than was expended by the Scullin Government for the relief of the unemployed. What is needed now is the introduction of proposals to provide remunerative employment for the workless. If we had in this country a social system which compelled every person to do his share of the work to be done, which eliminated all the unnecessary duplications of services, such as half a dozen milkmen serving customers in one street, and half a dozen storekeepers endeavouring to make profits and causing unnecessary duplication and waste, and which permitted of large-scale, organized farming, all the work of the community could be done with the expenditure of much less effort than under existing conditions, and this country would be able to pay off its national debt within a generation. Many of our present difficulties are due to the lack of economic planning. When the people realize what is happening under this Administration, they will place in power a Labour Government with courage enough to give effect to a forward economic policy that will bring contentment to all classes in the community.
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
[5.20]. - At this juncture I appeal to honorable senators to curtail their speeches. I know that they are entitled to speak for an hour and a half on the second reading, of this bill, but if every honorable senator exercises his right, the work of the session will not be completed until Easter time.
Senator MacDonald has made certain statements to which I should like to reply. There are some persons who can see virtues in every country but their own. The honorable senator made allegations buttressed by a quotation from an American journal to the effect that British interests are responsible for the war between Bolivia and Paraguay. That is typical of the usual slander hurled at Britain by persons who on other occasions call themselves British.
– I rise to a point of order. I object to the statement made by the Minister for Defence that I quoted from a foreign newspaper, because that is untrue. I quoted from a British newspaper, and the Minister has the audacity to say that I quoted from a foreign journal. I ask that that statement be withdrawn.
– The honorable senator must first withdraw the word “ untrue.”
– I ask that the Leader of the Government bc asked to withdraw the statement that I quoted from a foreign newspaper.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The honorable member quoted from a New York newspaper; to us America is a foreign country.
– I first quoted from the Glasgow Forward, and quoted other journals in proof.
– The honorable senator must first withdraw the word “ untrue.”
– I obey the Chair, but I am not prevented from thinking.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.I am certain that when the honorable senator reads the report of his speech in TI.ansa.rd he will find that one of the quotations he made to buttress his. claim that British interests were responsible for the war between Bolivia and Paraguay, was from a New York newspaper.
– I rise to appoint of order. The Minister has made an inaccurate statement, and I ask that it be withdrawn.
– To what does the honorable senator object?
– I read a quotation from the Glasgow Forward edited by Mr. T. Johnson, formerly a member of the British House of Commons.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The honorable member made two quotations.
– The second quotation was from Current History, a New York newspaper, edited by an Australian. That journal (has the virtue of being impartial.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Then the honorable senator is confirming what I said. He also quoted the remarks of certain gentlemen who have been speaking of the treatment of the Australian aborigines. Mere quotations of something said by somebody concerning the treatment of the aborigines by govern- ments convey nothing. What we want to know is whether the gentlemen he quoted are competent to express an opinion. In order to prove the competency of one of these gentlemen. Senator MacDonald mentioned that he lived on Palm Island. The honorable senator was not quite sure of the location of the island, but he thought it was on the Queensland coast in the vicinity of Townsville. Does the fact that some gentleman lives on Palm Island constitute him an authority on Australian aborigines ? What we want to know is whether this gentleman has ever had anything to do with the Australian aborigines. Has he ever _ lived amongst them? These statements will appear in Hansard, and will be quoted by philanthropic ladies and gentlemen on the other side of the world as the opinion of a member of the Australian Senate regarding the treatment of the aborigines. . To-day several petitions dealing with this subject were presented on behalf of tlie representatives of certain churches in South Australia. These persons are appealing to the Federal Parliament in respect of the treatment of aborigines, presumably, in the Northern Territory, which is the only portion of Australia where the Federal Parliament has jurisdiction over the aborigines. The honorable senator referred to these petitions in order to buttress his contention that the natives are being badly treated. I wonder if similar petitions were presented to the South Australian Parliament, because there are aborigines in South Australia. Every time I travel over the transAustralian line to Western Australia I see them, and I happen to know that the Commonwealth Commissioner of Railways has appealed to the Governments of South Australia and Western Australia to remove the natives, because they are being debauched by living in proximity to the line. I have never heard of the South Australian Government doing anything in response to that appeal. I wonder if the representatives of these churches have appealed to the Government of their own State before attemptting to deal with aborigines so far away. Humanitarianism, like charity, should begin at home. I suggest that until the aborigines of South Australia are properly cared for, these gentleman should not concern themselves about the natives at the other end of the continent. They should know more about what is being done, or not being done, for the aborigines in the State in which they live.
Senator MacDonald then coolly suggested that the aborigines should be given the full rights of citizenship. Such remarks come trippingly off his tongue and sound impressive, but what do they mean? Has the honorable senator ever seen the aborigines of the Northern Territory? If he has, does he say that the thousands of aborigines I have seen and moved amongst in the Northern Territory are entitled to the full privileges of citizenship - that they should be given the right to vote? If he does not suggest that, what does he mean? It is mere flapdoodle to suggest that there should be a full-blooded aboriginal in each House of the Parliament. How would these representatives be elected? Are we to have a poll in the Northern Territory? If so, I agree with the interjection of Senator Foll, that the position of the returning officer in Arnheim Land would be far from enviable.
– Some of the officials at the poll would be butchered.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.After the election in Arnheim Land, boiled returning officer would probably figure prominently at native feasts. Statements such as those made by Senator MacDonald are published as the opinions of our legislators. When such ridiculous and false statements are made they suggest that those who make them know nothing about the Australian aborigines, and have never lived amongst them. Does the honorable senator know that the Australian aboriginal is still living in the stone age, and that he and the New Zealand Maori are as far apart as the poles? He would not dare to institute a comparison between the two races if he were in New Zealand. It would not be safe for him to do so. The Australian aboriginal is still in the Stone Age, while the Maori is well up in the scale of civilization, and capable of rising to heights to which the Australian aboriginal has not yet demonstrated himself capable of rising. The honorable senator should make himself familiar with what has already been done in the interests of the
Australian aboriginal. If he did so he would find that many of those things for which the petitioners in South Australia are asking are already being done, or were done long ago. One of the main problems which many critics fail to realize is that the Australian aboriginal is a nomad. An army would be required to keep him in one locality. He is a roamer. When I visited the Northern Territory some years ago I observed the treatment of the aborigines on the various cattle stations. On one station I was struck with their happy and contented condition compared with the demeanour of the natives on other stations, and I found that the reason was that the manager of that station realized that he was dealing with men of the Stone Age, and, accordingly, when their instinct caused them to want to go “ bush. “ or to “ walk about,” he allowed every man, woman, and piccaninny to go. After they had had their “walk about” they would return to the station happy and contented, and would resume their work, whereas had he tried to keep them there continuously they would have been miserable, sullen, and morose. That is one of the main problems in dealing with the aborigines. The critic who lives in the cities of Australia, or in other countries, and thinks that the aborigine has the same instincts and temperament as a member of the white race, does not understand the beginning of the problem.
Senator MacDonald seems to be afraid that the Government will give the? Northern Territory away to some chartered company when Parliament is not sitting. It may assist to compose the honorable senator’s mind if I inform him that nothing of the kind is contemplated. Even if the Government were willing to give away the Northern Territory, it might have difficulty in finding any one willing to accept such a gift. So far from the Northern Territory having been an asset, it has been a tremendous liability. The problem of the territory is the problem of peopling it. I listened patiently to Senator MacDonald in the hope that I might glean something from his remarks, and I was rewarded by learning that he had a scheme for the Northern Territory. He told us that when applications were invited for a mounted constable for the Northern Territory, 700 men applied for the position, and on that fact he based a contention that if Australia had a nationallydirected policy for the territory, 50,000 people could be settled there. Does the honorable senator suggest sending 50,000 mounted constables to control the meagre population of the Northern Territory? I submit in all- seriousness that if the Government were to advertise for 100,000 mounted constables for the Northern Territory, there would be no dearth of applicants. But the sending of 100,000 mounted constables there would not solve its problem, which is the finding of people who are willing to live there and develop it by utilizing its land and seeking for its minerals.There is no obstacle to people who wish to go to the Northern Territory ; its land laws are the most liberal in Australia, and probably in the world.
– There is no freehold title to land there.
– No; but, when there was, it made no difference. Whether freehold or leasehold, the land does not seem to attract population. Senator MacDonald spoke of nationally-directed government schemes. Has he read of what successive governments have tried to do there - of the experimental farms which have been established and other enterprises which have been undertaken? He spoke of hundreds of thousands of pounds expended in the Northern Territory, whereas the fact is that millions of pounds have been spent there in an effort to develop it. All the experiments which have been tried have failed to people the territory. Obviously, other solutions must be sought, for we cannot leave that country empty for ever. The Government has asked private enterprise to say under what conditions it is prepared to develop the territory, and has promised careful Consideration of any reasonable scheme put forward. The honorable senator fell into the error of trying to link a proposal to develop the northern portion of Australia by chartered companies with the problem of the aborigines. He hinted at a mysterious contract with a chartered company, which, he said, would exploit the natives in order to obtain cheap labour. Apparently, he spoke without having read the statement of the Prime Minister on this subject, for if he had read it he would have known that the rights of the aborigines to their reserves would be preserved, and that their carewould remain the responsibility of the Commonwealth Government, and of no one else. Either the honorable senator spoke without having read the Prime Minister’s statement, or, having read it, he was prepared to ignore it and to say that the Government’s object was the exploitation of the aborigines. It is true that the Government is inviting private enterprise to come forward with proposals for the development of the Northern Territory, but it is not true that it proposes to act behind the back of Parliament. Indeed, there is no reason why it should do so. If a British company is prepared to make an offer which the Government is disposed to accept, that offer will be submitted to Parliament before any binding agreement is entered into. That promise has already been made, and I repeat it now. 1 say definitely that the Government will not conclude any arrangement with any company for the development of the Northern Territory until that arrangement has been ratified by this Parliament.
Notwithstanding the promise which has been made by the Government, Senator MacDonald spoke of an arrangement with a chartered company, knowing that hisremarks would be believed by a number of the electors.
SenatorO’Halloran. - Will any agreement which may be entered into be subject to amendment by Parliament, or, like the Ottawa and Wiluna agreements, will it have to be accepted or rejected as a whole?
– Any agreement entered into will be subject to ratification by Parliament.
– But before Parliament is consulted, the agreement will have been signed, sealed and delivered.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.When a government enters into an agreement with a company or another government, it brings the whole agreement before Parliament, and Parliament may either accept it or reject it.
– Will the Government obtain the approval of Parliament to the terms of the agreement before entering into it?
– Any agreement entered into will be subject to ratification by Parliament.
– That is no good at all.
– There is no secrecy about this matter. There can be no binding agreement with any company in regard to the development of the Northern Territory until it has been ratified by Parliament.
– The terms of the agreement should be determined by Parliament before negotiations are entered into.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE The agreement would be tentative until ratified by Parliament.
– To what extent was Parliament able to amend the Ottawa agreemen t ?
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Parliament could have rejected that agreement.
– We want the power to amend any agreement which may be entered into.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.If an agreement between the Government and a company contained a provision to which Parliament objected, Parliament could say that it would not accept the agreement while it contained the objectionable provision, in which event the Government would have to arrange to amend the agreement or drop it altogether. It is not right to say that the Government proposes to enter into an agreement behind the back of Parliament. The problem of the development of the Northern Territory is not one for party bickering; it is one which affects the safety of the nation. Instead of indulging in carping criticisms, and innuendoes, or suggesting that something wrong is contemplated by the Government, honorable senators should endeavour to bring forward helpful suggestions for the. development of the Northern Territory. There is danger that unless Australia develops that province before another quarter of a century expires, it will be lost to us. There is good country there, and the tableland portion of it has a climate suitable for white mon. Undoubtedly, the mineral resources are extensive; there are also agricultural possibilities in some parts, but not so great as some people believe. There is capacity for development. Government enterprise has failed, and now private enterprise is being invited to tackle the problem. If honorable senators can offer any helpful suggestions for its solution, it is their duty to make them. Helpful suggestions will be welcomed by the Government. The development of this territory is too serious a matter to be made the football of party politics. Whatever party is in power in this country must direct its attention to the peopling of the Northern Territory, otherwise Australia’s future will be endangered by the existence of an empty north.
.- I shall be compelled to accept the advice of the Leader of the Senate to be brief, for I have to leave Canberra to-night, and shall not have another opportunity to speak to this bill.
In the press and elsewhere a good deal has been said lately regarding the defence of Australia and the danger that wars in other parts of the world will affect this country. For that reason it is well that honorable senators should be made aware of v what a war means even to a country with a small population. They will then be in a position to appreciate their responsibility when, from a public platform, they advocate a huge defence expenditure. Very few persons can obtain the information that I have here in a concise form, because most of the figures have been, culled from the budget of this year. To the 30th June last, Australia had paid in war and repatriation services, war pensions, &c, £519,000,000; in interest charges on loans raised, £255,000,000; or a total expenditure under these headings of £775,000,000. In addition, we have paid approximately £50,000,000 off our war debt. This £50,000,000 reduction of our war indebtedness has been arrived at by deducting our present war debt from our peak war indebtedness of £333,000,000, which is shown on page 104 of the budget. In other words, we have paid on account of war expenditure approximately £825,000,000. Between the signing of the armistice and the 30th June, 1933, our total expenditure on defence amounted to approximately £78,000,000. Thus, our total expenditure on defence and war represents £903,000,000, and there is a war debt still outstanding of £283,000,000, of which amount £192,000,000 is owed in Australia, and £90,000,000 is owed overseas. Summarized, the position is (1) that our war and defence expenditure totals £903,000,000; (2) that our war debt represents £283,000,000; and (3) that our annual expenditure for war and repatriation services, including pensions, interest, sinking fund, exchange, &c, amounts to £19,000,000. It has been estimated that the cost of the Great War to the four chief nations concerned was : - British Empire, £10,054,000,000; France. £8,126,000,000; United States of America, £5,519,000,000; and Italy, £3,502,000,000 ; a total of £27,000,000,000.
Mr. P. Snowden, now Viscount Snowden, when Chancellor of the Exchequer, was reported in the London Times of the 10th February, 1930, as having stated -
Great Britain spent some £10,000,000,000 on its part in that colossal tragedy. The war had left Great Britain with a debt of over £7,000,000,000. We have to raise each year £350,000,000 for the service of this debt. At the present rate of repayment of the debt, it will take 14.0 years to liquidate it. Our taxpayers have to pay on our debt services £1,000,000 per day, £40,000 an hour, over £600 a minute. Add to this the £115,000.000 wo annually spend on the fighting services and £56,000,000 we pay yearly for war pensions, and we get a total ‘of £520,000,000 a year- £1,000 a minute, which the people of Great Britain have to provide for war purposes. Wo have to raise annually from taxes for national expenditure a sum of £600,400,000. Three-quarters of our taxes are spent in paying for past wars and preparing for future wars.
The loss of life in the Groat War is given in The Reduction of Armaments, by J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, as 10,873,000. These astounding figures show that, apart from the natural hatred of war, that there is every justification for the Labour party providing in the defence plank of its platform that there shall be -
We maintain that the people themselves should decide this question, just as they decided the conscription question. Neither
I, nor tho party for which I speak, will allow an enemy to strike us under the ear, and then turn to him the other ear. Tlie policy of tho Labour party is the adequate defence of this country. By that, I mean that we must provide suitable home defence against possible foreign aggression. We must make the invasion ot Australia so costly that no enemy will dream of undertaking it. I am not a military expert, nor am I a “peace at any price” expert. Unfortunately, we have experts in every branch of our defence service, and each is ready to assure us that his own particular branch is the most necessary for the adequate defence of Australia.
– That is one of our ‘troubles.
– That is why we, laymen in this Parliament, should be influenced rather by our own knowledge and experience than by so-called expert opinion. My own view is that the most effective way of defending Australia is from the air, but we should provide necessary land defences at Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, and other vulnerable places. I have numerous quotations bearing on this phase of the defence problem, but I do not wish to weary honorable senators with them. I want,’ however, to make it very clear that the party for which I stand is a peaceful party; that it hates war, and that if is definitely of opinion that if, when war threatened, the people concerned were consulted, there would be no war. War is engineered by persons who are not in sympathy with the will of the people. I take the same view of this problem of defence as I take of safe-guarding my own property in my own ho.use. When I leave my home, I do not leave it unprotected so that anybody may blow in and help himself. It might be quite safe to do so, but I take the precaution of locking it up before I leave, and afterwards trusting to the vigilance of the policeman on the beat. It is just as legitimate for a nation to protect itself as it is for a citizen to protect himself. But that does not entitle us to adopt a belligerent attitude towards other nations. We should not interfere with them. We should trade with them as peacefully and profitably as possible in our mutual interest. The Labour party contends that one of the main aids to the preparedness of our country to resist attack is more and more organization of the industries that are essential for its defence. In this contention, we are supported by Lord Jellicoe who, in his Australian report some years ago, said -
A sound policy must aim at promoting Australia’s capacity to make or produce everything to its own protection. (Age, 20.11.24.)
Lord Jellicoe plainly indicated that it is necessary for a country to make itself as self-contained as possible. To this end, wo should develop the industries of Australia. Yet, only during the past week, some honorable senators did their very best to destroy our secondary industries, which would necessarily lend themselves to its defence should the occasion arise. I commend this thought to those honorable senators who are continually endeavouring to whittle down the protective policy of Australia, and to destroy our manufacturing industries. Our primary aim should be to provide opportunities for employment by developing our industries, both primary and secondary. Such a policy must result in Australia being more easily defended than it is at present. This year, the Government is proposing a greater expenditure for defence purposes than Parliament sanctioned last year. I have no fault to find with that. Probably, Ministers are acting on the advice of experts, and on knowledge which, as laymen, they have acquired. Personally, I would spend sufficient money to make this country too difficult for any enemy to invade. In other words, I desire to ensure the safety of my country in the same way as I desire to ensure the safety of my home, but I have no desire to encroach upon the rights of my neighbours, be they citizens or nations. That is a justifiable attitude to adopt, and it is one which cannot fail to appeal to every fairminded citizen of the Commonwealth. I and my party stand four-square against any attempt to militarize the people of Australia. In the light of our experience, and of the story told by the figures I have quoted, it would be a very difficult job indeed to persuade Australia again to participate in such a tragedy as was initiated in 1914. But we cannot visualize what elements may be operative in the future.. As a matter of fact, there are very different opinions as to who precipitated the last war. Certainly itwas not brought about by the will of the people of any country. Rather was it precipitated by an outside power, and it is possible that similar conditions may again obtain in the future. We know that millions sterling are annually expended by nations in armament propaganda - in inculcating the idea that one country has sinister designs upon another, thus engendering in the minds of peace-loving peoples the belief that as nations theyare in grave danger. Despite the regrettable failure of the recent Disarmament Conference, British countries should continue earnestly to advocate world peace. The people of Australia should avail themselves of every opportunity to let the other nations know that we are a peace-loving race, who object to have war foisted upon us by the “brass-hats” and the capitalistic interests that have been responsible for most of the armed conflicts of the past. The people of Australia hope that they will never again experience the horrors of war. Apart from the great sacrifice of human life between1914 and1918, hundreds of men returned so terribly maimed and mutilated that perhaps death on the field of battle would have been preferable. God forbid that any parliament of the Commonwealth should ever approve of Australia’s participation in another war. I believe that most honorable senators wish to discourage a war-like spirit among the nations, and I have no doubt that, if the people were allowed to decide the matter, war would be abolished.
– I was somewhat surprised by the appeal made by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) that honorable senators on all sides should curtail their remarks because of the limited time at their disposal. I often wonder whether the right honorable gentleman submits requests of this nature with his tongue in his cheek. Why should the Senate be expected to pass measures hurriedly at the end of every session? Honorable senators were elected to this chamber to examine every item of public expenditure, and they have every right to disclose the maladministration of this “ prosperity “ Government. We are entitled to express our views on all public matters, despite the fact that the Leader of the Senate is no doubt anxious to return to Western Australia at an early date for the purpose of throwing political crumbs to the rank and file of the United Australia party in that State. On Tuesday evening, when honorable senators on this side of the chamber were prepared to discuss the action that should be taken for the assistance of unemployed miners, not only in the Newcastle district, but also at Ipswich and Red Bank in Queensland and Lithgow in New South Wales the Leader of the Government tried to induce honorable senators to leave the chamber, so that a count-out would occur; but members of this chamber are paid to be in their places, and to attend to the business of the country.
Sitting suspended from 6.15 to8 p.m.
– Bearing in mind that for the last few weeks the Senate has been adjourned frequently, it is strange that, at the eleventh hour, the Leader of the Senate should make an appeal to honorable senators on this side to limit their speeches on this bill. The frequent adjournments of the Senate have been properly the subject of criticism by the press, because this chamber has had work to do, and should have been kept in sessionuntil it was disposed of. Now that the Christmas season is approaching the Leader of the Senate impresses on us the need for speeding up business. I am prepared to sit here until all the work before this chamber is disposed of, and I believe that other honorable senators on this side are of the same mind.
Last year the vote for the Department of Commerce was £301,900, and the expenditure £322,151. Under the heading “Marine Branch” there is provision for £191,624 for salaries, wages, and the upkeep of lighthouses, buoys, beacons, for the relief and repatriation of distressed Australian seamen, and for the salvage of vessels and other services. Australia’s immense coast linenecessarily involves heavy expenditure on the upkeep of lighthouses and other essential services.
This afternoon the Leader of the Senate took Senator MacDonald very severely to task for having made quotations from certain newspapers published in the United States of America. A casual visitor to this chamber this afternoon would have assumed that this Government, at all times, stood for the safeguarding of Australian interests, when, as a, matter of fact,- it has not. In shipping services, for example, it is permitting foreign companies to take advantage of the suspension of the coasting trade provisions of the Navigation Act, the intention of which was to safeguard Australian shipping from unfair competition by overseas shipping companies which employ lascars and other coloured crews at much lower rates of pay than are provided for in the Navigation Act. This foreign competition is also affecting the well known Australian company of Burns-Philp, which, with a capital of approximately £2,000,000, has pioneered the shipping trade with the South Pacific Islands, and has rendered useful service to the Commonwealth. Personally, I should like to see all shipping services nationalized, but this is neither the time nor the occasion to argue that principle. In a recent issue of Harbour, a journal which appears to be the mouthpiece of Australian coal, shipping, and steel interests, there appeared the following article:-
To any one acquainted with the trade of the Pacific it is surprising to note the precarious share Australia enjoys even in the various island groups comprising the British possessions and mandates lying contiguous to our shores.
Occasional references have been made in the press from time to time regarding the activities of foreign shipping in the Pacific by one writer or another, with the object of stirring the Commonwealth authorities to take the necessary action to preserve Australia’s legitimate interest in this traffic, but up to the present an unaccountable passivity prevails.
Without boasting of my patriotism, I remind honorable senators that I left Australia as a youth on the 16th August, 1914, and served with the Australian Forces for approximately eight months in German New Guinea, now known as the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. It was there that I had my first experience of actual warfare, and saw a number of officers and men of my unit killed. After an absence of nineteen years, I revisited recently the venue of war-time operations, and stood beside the graves of approximately 100 Australian sailors and soldiers, many of whom had died as a result of black water or malarial fever, contracted while on active service. That Was part of the price paid by Australia for its custodianship of the Mandated Territory under the authority of the League of Nations. Distant approximately 400 miles from the Mandated Territory are the Caroline and Marshall Islands, which the Japanese seized from Germany immediately following the outbreak of war. In the course of time the Burns-Philp Company realizing that, under Japanese administration, it would be impossible for it to retain its trading interests there, sold out and allowed the whole of the business to fall into the hands of Japanese shipping companies, which are amply safeguarded under the maritime laws of Japan. It seems strange that, while the statesmen of all other countries safeguard the interests of their nationals, as regards shipping and other services, the statesmen of Australia are afraid to put up a fight for the protection of Australian shipping interests. Foreign vessels manned by coloured labour are having an “ open go “ in the Mandated Territory to the detriment of Australian shipping companies. When I visited the Mandated Territory a few months ago I was amazed to find that foreign shipping interests are handling trade valued at £800,000 a year, while tlie deficiency in the accounts of the island trade last year was approximately £500,000. The right honorable the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons), the Postmaster-General (Mr. Parkhill) and “comrade” Stewart, who controls the Department of Commerce, attend luncheons at the Constitutional Club or the Millions Club in Sydney, and say what this Government is doing on behalf of Australia. These “ big time “ politicians should devote their energies to matters of national importance and arrange for the major portion of the shipping trade with the Mandated Territory to be handled by vessels registered in Australia. From time to time we are supplied with propaganda, more or less standardized, by the publicity officer in the Prime Minister’s Department, to delude the Australian people.
The Government’s latest proposal is to appoint trade representatives in New Zealand, Batavia, and Shanghai, but, in my opinion, that is all “ bunk and tripe. “
The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon. P. J. lynch). - The honorable senator must moderate his language.
– When I visited the Mandated Territory I saw natives riding bicycles which they had purchased at £3 or £4 each. I inquired where they were manufactured, and was informed that the parts were made in Birmingham and then shipped to Japan, when they were assembled and enamelled and then sent to Australia, Papua and New Guinea. I understand that thousands of tons of Japanese cement is also sold annually in the Mandated Territory. I was informed that German ships not only visit the Pacific Islands, but many remain there and engage in general trading operations. American machinery valued at £150,000 is annually imported into the Mandated Territory while thousands of Australian artisans are walking the streets of our cities and towns unable to obtain work. On one occasion Senator Foll congratulated the Minister upon an excellent speech he delivered in defence of Thompson Brothers, an engineering firm at Castlemaine, which, he said, is one of the finest engaged in secondary production in Australia. If the Minister is willing to take up the cudgels on behalf of Australian artisans engaged in engineering works, such as Thompson Brothers, of Castlemaine, Walkers Limited, of Maryborough, Mort’s Dock and ‘ Cockatoo Island Dockyard, in Sydney, why does he not see that some of the machinery used in the Mandated Territory is manufactured in Australia ? In the Grey River district and in the Thames Valley in New Zealand, and in the Araluen Valley in New South Wales I have seen gold-dredging machinery manufactured in Australia which was equal to that made in any part of the world. It is useless to send “goodwill” ships to the East while foreign shipping companies are controlling the trade in our own waters. The article in Harbor continues -
Apparently, the Commonwealth Government are somewhat diffident about taking any action that will offend the susceptibility of our neighbours, but these friends do not display the same consideration for our interests.
I am in complete agreement with that statement. A German mission station in the Mandated Territory, which enjoys the protection of Britain, obtains the whole of its requirements from the United States of America. On one occasion the executive officers of ohe German mission were going cap in hand to the Administrator trying to secure additional grants of land. The article continues -
While the Commonwealth Government are by no means without data with respect to the various foreign shipping services operating in the South Western Pacific groups, it has apparently become necessary to draw their particular attention to the following formidable list of vessels, whose names frequently appear in the shipping news as having engaged in what may rightly be termed Australia’s domestic traffic with the islands to the detriment of local shipping.
This is to the detriment of Australian shipping. Greater consideration should be extended to Australian shipping companies which have a large amount of capital invested in Australia, man their ships with white labour, and pay award rates. The suspension of the coastal provisions of the Navigation Act has a most serious effect upon Australian shipping, and enables British shipping companies which employ black labour to secure most of the trade between the mainland and Tasmania. Australian tourists are largely to blame because many of them travel on the liners of the Peninsular and Oriental Company and the Orient Company to give them the right to attach the labels of these companies to their travelling trunks. They proceed to Tasmania, stay for a short time at cheap hotels or “ bughouses “ on the Hobart waterfront, and on their return to Sydney parade the streets with luggage covered with these labels in an endeavour to create the impression that they are overseas travellers. That is a form of vanity from which many people suffer. The sooner Australians wake up to the fact that by patronizing foreign shipping companies they are making a rod for their own backs, the better. I do not say that these vessels do not bring more trade *© Tasmania.
– They do.
– The tourists who travel from Sydney and Melbourne to Tasmania on palatial liners belonging to foreign shipping companies probably do not spend much money in Tasmania when they get there. They may buy a few postcards in Hobart, or pay for a pint of beer, unless they get it free at the Cascade Brewery. I am a total abstainer, but 1 do not object to another man having his glass of beer. I have visited the Cascade Brewery, and I know that visitors there are treated well. One would think, from statements in the Tasmanian press, and the remarks of Tasmanian senators, that thousands of Australian tourists walk down the gangways of these palatial liners to spend large sums of money in the business establishments of Hobart; Burnie and Launceston.
– More people are visiting Tasmania now than formerly.
– That may be. Even a short voyage on a palatial liner enables passengers to return home with their luggage covered with labels supplied by the shipping company. On returning to the mainland from Tasmania, they carry themselves with the air of world tourists. In The Harbour of the 2nd October, 1933, appears a list of vessels whose names frequently appear in the shipping news as having engaged in what might rightly be termed Australia’s domestic traffic with the islands, to the detriment of local shipping. The list includes the following vessels: - N.D.L. (German) Bremerhafen, 1,617; N.D.L. (German) Friderun, 2,327; K.P.M. (Dutch) Van Rees, 3,050; Messageries Maritimes (French) La Perouse, 4,885; Soc. Caledonickel (French) St. Joseph, 1,162; Carriso Inc. (America) Carriso, 3,894; N,S.K.K. (Japanese) HeiyeMaru, 465; Wilh. Wilhelmsen (Norwegian) Temeraire, 6,465 ; Taronga, 6,732 ; Troya, 6,650; Tudor, 6,607; Thermopylae, 6,655; Templar, 6,728; Matson Line (American) Monterey, 18,017 ; Mariposa, 18,017 ; Lurline, 18,000; Malolo, 17,232 gross tonnage. Being a bit of a “ sticky beak,” I make a practice of studying the social columns of the Sydney morning and weekend papers, where I find the names of the passengers who leave Australia by Matson line steamers such as the Monterey and Mariposa. Many of those whose names appear on the passenger list are regarded as Australia’s leading patriots. They take part in the periodical competitions for places on the platform in Martin-place at patriotic demonstrations. These great patriots depart from Australia on visits to New Zealand, Honolulu, San Francisco, or the Mother Country, not by the All-red route vessels flying the Union Jack, but via the United States of America, under theStars and Stripes. They prefer Uncle Sam, the Golden Eagle, the glorious Stars and Stripes, the outfit that won the war, to the Union J ack of the Empire. Many of these persons are supporters of the Government, and friends of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), who, this, afternoon, got hot under the collar when criticizing Senator MacDonald for having quoted from foreign newspapers. It would be interesting to see some of the Yankee newspapers which were published when the right honorable gentleman represented Australia at the DisarmamentConference at Washington in the land of the “ almighty dollar “ at acost of £9,000 to the taxpayers of this country. Another paragraph in The Harbour reads -
At one time, the Commonwealth Navigation Act gave Australian shipping protection in the trade with Papua and the Mandated Territory, but this or any other form of help does not now exist. Advocates of the reinstatement of the Navigation Act have been unsuccessful in their appeal to the Government toregrant Australian shipping this protection, alternative measures must be taken and without delay if the Australian services are to continue operating on their present itineraries.
What would happen if these Australian companies were driven out of the trade with the Mandated Territory? On the one hand, the Government spends £40,000 a year in subsidizing Burns Philp and Company to conduct a shipping service to the Mandated Territory, and, on the other hand, it suspends the coastal provisions of the Navigation Act in favour of foreign traders. The London Times in its issue of the 19 th December, 1932, said-
A correspondent, after paying a visit to the shipyards on the Clyde and at Belfast, pointed out the disastrous effect foreign shipping competition had on the shipping and dockyard activities of Great Britain.
Quoting from this letter he says, “everywhere, there was almost a complete silence, not a hammer moving. It is the same all round our ports, and every harbour crowded with idle British ships. I have since been asking myself whether there is a remedy, and I maintain that while there may not be a complete remedy there is a partial one.
There is no freedom of the seas to-day and that should be seen to. It is seen on every trade route - British ships steaming alongside heavily subsidized foreign ships. I maintain that the cargo of the Empire must be carried in Empire ships. I have no desire to shut out foreign shipowners from participating in our Empire trade, but I say most definitely that they should pay something for being allowed to participate in the trade. A tonnage tax of 5s. per ton should be charged on all foreign vessels loading at Empire ports, the amount paid to go to the revenue of each State. A matter of this kind could be settled in a very short period by a meeting of delegates from India, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, South Africa, Canada and the other sections of the Empire”.
A picture taken recently by a Telegraphphotographer, shows eight foreign vessels, carrying alien black crews, which were exploiting our coastal trade whilst they were exempt from the provisions of the Australian Navigation Act. Senator Grant, a camp follower of the Government-
– Not too much of the camp follower!
– A few weeks ago, Senator Grant, at a meeting of the federal section of the British Empire Parliamentary League, delivered an address upon his ramblings through the Empire, and at Geneva and Italy. Does he not believe in protecting white Australian seamen from the competition of cheap alien coloured races? To-day, thousands of white Australian seamen are walking the streets of our capital cities or carrying their swags in the hinterland of the various States, in quest of jobs. Had the Labor Daily been responsible for the pictures which were broadcast by the Telegraph, doubtless I shouldhave been told by Senator Johnston, who is the leader of the rebels, and of the Country party in this chamber, that the photos had been “ faked “.
– Senator Johnston is not the leader of the Country party.
– If he is not the Leader of the Country party in this chamber, he is the leader of the rebels and secessionists fromWestern Australia.
A week later, the Telegraph reported that the financial members of the Australian Seamen’s Union had dwindled from 3,000 to 1,000. In other words, 2,000 of its members were unemployed. It continues -
Other workers’ organizations could report a similar movement in their ranks as a result of tied-up shipping in Australian ports, and such being the case, is it not the duty of the Commonwealth Government to further the expansion of Australia’s shipping activities in the Pacific group of islands over which she has control.
One need only pause to think what the consequences would be, were those Australian firms and companies who are engaged in the Pacific shipping services to find themselves forced to change the registration of their tonnage to another flag, and run their ships from a centre like Hongkong, as the N.D.L. are doing. It would not only mean the wholesale dismissal of Australian crews, but a further depletion of work for the Australian artisan engaged in the docking, repair, coaling and victualling requirements of the fleet. This is no idle fantasy, but a very real possibility, and on this ground the Government is urged to provide measures for these associated industries.
Yet, in the schedule to this bill, it is proposed to appropriate £300,000 to enable foreign shipping companies to exploit the marine service of Australia. I have here a reprint of a leading article which appeared in the Age newspaper on the 19th April, 1933, under the caption, “ Navigation Act “. The article reads -
A demand for repeal of the coastal clauses of the Navigation Act has been made by several Hobart organizations. The visiting Federal Minister (Mr. Perkins) was informed on Monday that “ modification “ would be totally unacceptable, and that the organizations concerned would be content with nothing short of complete abrogation. It is reported also that no candidates will receive the imprimatur of the Nationalist party unless they are pledged to advocate and strive for repeal of the coastal clauses. Apparently it is hoped that a weak-kneed government will bestampeded into destructive action by the combined force of political threats and extreme overstatement of facts. The Minister’s evasive reply and the shuffling attitude of the Government on this and kindred questions ever since it assumed office encourages extravagant demands, accompanied by intimidatory tactics, which would be hotly resented by a. selfrespecting administration. If spokesmen for the Government had the courage to reply plainly that the national injury inflicted by repeal would outweigh a thousand times any possible sectional advantage conferred, and that consequently it is not to be entertained, the subject could be discussed dispassionately from the Tasmanian point of view. It is extremely unwise for any accredited Tasmanian body to make the issue - repeal or nothing. Repeal means the total withdrawal of protection from tlie Australian shipping industry ; it might mean the extinction of an Australian mercantile marine essential to community service in peace and vital to national life in war. It would exclude from the benefits and safeguards of Australian arbitration a large section of workers; re-admit coloured- labour to coastal services and, finally, put Tasmania, as well as the rest’ of Australia, at the mercy of oversea companies in respect of services provided and freight charged. Is it not obvious that the price is out of all proportion to the problematical benefits ?
Where the Navigation Act or any other foundational legislation essential to the national well-being adversely affects one part of the Commonwealth, there is ready public assent to special alleviatory measures. To offset the handicap of separation from the mainland suffered by Tasmania, passenger services are subsidized, and at those periods of the year when the volume of traffic warrants it permits are issued to certain classes of oversea steamers to trade interstate. Other measures may be necessary to ensure adequate mail and passenger services throughout the year; if the need is demonstrated action can be taken without any interference with the vitally important principles embodied in the coastal clauses of the Navigation Act. That is the line of approach recommended to those who wish to render Tasmania genuine service. At present the tendency is to accept without inquiry all the misleading and exaggerated propaganda circulated in hostility to Australian industry, and to falsely attribute the whole of Tasmania’s difficulties to the Navigation Act.
If in folly and ignorance the act were repealed to-morrow, it would be found that all the difficulties remained, leaving a new scapegoat to be found. For years past those demanding repeal have denounced the Navigation Act in general terms, but when opportunity has been presented for specific proof of harmful effects the case has dwindled away to nothing. The most recent detailed inquiry was made by tho Tariff Board, which found tho act guiltless of the general charges made against it, and fully confirmed the view that it is a national necessity. The board completely acquitted Australian shipping companies of the charge of abusing protection; asserted that the services provided were reasonably adequate, and strongly recommended that the substitution of any other form of protection was neither practicable nor desirable. Those findings have not been challenged, and the circumstances then prevailing (early in 1930) do not differ from the conditions of to-day. In November last Tasmanian members initiated a debate on the question in the House of Representatives. Tlie familiar generalities were repeated, but there was an entire absence of proof of disadvantages caused by the Navigation Act, and incapable of removal except by repeal.
If the case for destroying Uie Navigation Act on account of local disabilities breaks down upon inquiry, the reasons for maintain ing it as part of our national policy grow stronger every year. Australia does not prohibit British or even foreign shipping companies from participating in the coastal trade. The ships of any country are entitled to enter the trade, provided they conform with the conditions compulsorily observed by Australian shipping companies. Many other countries preserve coastal trade as a close monopoly for their own ships and men, and are seeking to build up maritime strength by lavish subsidies to companies trading overseas. It is significant that while opponents of the Navigation Act demand, with spurious Imperialism, freedom of the Australian coast to British ships, the British Chamber of Shipping is contending vigorously for measures exactly corresponding with our own laws. The chamber urges forcefully that coasting trade is a home industry, and that “ ships under other flags should only be allowed to engage in it as long as they comply strictly with all the rules and regulations that are applicable to British shipping “. Those are precisely the terms laid down by Australia, and it has been conclusively shown that there is no other fair and effective way of maintaining a national shipping industry against subsidized or cheaplabour competition. To repeal the coastal clauses would bc to withdraw at one stroke all protection from an industry representing, in investment, service and employment the equivalent of a very large group of secondary industries. This, to gratify those who think but cannot prove that the Navigation Act imposes overwhelming handicaps upon one State, would be sheer lunacy. The navigation laws urgently require extension to combat the new menace of American subsidized shipping, but they cannot be relaxed, except for special reasons and stated periods, without disastrous results. The Tasmanian organizations will be wise to abandon the preposterous demand for “ repeal,” and invite mainland cooperation in improving facilities without interference with a measure that vitally concerns the entire Commonwealth.
Most of the oversea shipping companies which take advantage of the suspension of the coasting provisions of the Navigation Act use huge quantities of fuel oil in the engines of their vessels, and I suggest to the Government that it could obtain from them, by means of a tax on this oil, -the £3,000,000 which it is proposed to grant by way of relief to the wheat-farmers. This would obviate the necessity for the imposition of a flour tax, the result of which would be to increase the price of bread. The oversea vessels which visit Australian ports at regular intervals carry tens of thousands of tons of fuel in their tanks, and they trade along our coasts for about six weeks on each trip. They avoid wharfage dues by anchoring off the shore when calling at Sydney, and on many occasions they pollute the harbour with the oil that is blown out of their engines. Recently the captain of either the Nieuw Zealand or the Nieuw Holland was fined £50 at the police court in Phillip-street, Sydney, for this offence. I wonder if the Government has even considered the practicability of imposing a tax on the consumption of fuel oil by the oversea shipping companies that ply for trade on the Australian coast? If a firm of carriers operates a fleet of motor lorries between, say, Sydney and Brisbane, it must bear numerous imposts, including a tax on all the petrol it uses, and I see no reason why a similar tax should not be imposed on the shipping companies.
– Oversea vessels are prohibited under the Navigation Act from carrying interstate passengers.
– They are permitted to carry passengers on special occasions such as when they make tourist trips, on which calls are made at Brisbane, Townsville, Palm Island, and Port Moresby. The Orient liner, Strathnaver, is shortly to take tourists from Sydney to Rabaul and back via Brisbane, Port Moresby, and Samarai. No expenditure will be incurred in Australia in bunkering the vessel, although thousands of miners in New South “Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia are Unemployed. In landing cargoes at Australian ports and loading other goods that are to be taken overseas, these vessels use the general facilities and protection that are afforded to shipping, and it would not be unreasonable to require them to make a contribution to the revenue’-in proportion to their consumption of oil fuel while in Australian waters. The suggestion might well be investigated by expert officers, of the Government.
– These shipping companies are required to pay duty on goods brought from overseas which they use while in Australian ports.
– That is true.
I am disappointed that no provision is made in the Estimates for the establishment of a hydrogenation plant for the extraction of oil from coal. For some years now the British Government has been carrying out experiments with the various processes, and more recent reports state that Imperial Chemical Industries Limited is -establishing a huge plant for the extraction of coal by the hydrogenation process and low temperature carbonization. From time to time I and my colleagues on this side of. the chamber have addressed questions to the VicePresident of the Executive Council (Senator McLachlan), with regard to the progress being made in Australia in this matter, but invariably we have received evasive answers, and up to the present have not been advised what stage has been reached. We were told that the Government was awaiting a report from Mr. Rogers, who had been sent to Great Britain to inquire into the various experiments that are being made there. Later Mr. Rogers went to Paris on the same mission, and on his return journey to Australia spent some time in the United States of America inquiring into the latest processes in operation in that country for the extraction of oil from coal. Although Mr. Rogers returned to Australia some weeks ago, »e are still without information as to the intentions of the Government. Australia is known to possess the greatest coal deposits in the world. Professor David, the well-known geologist, has stated that in New South Wales there is an immense coal basin, extending under the sea near the Nobbys, at Newcastle, right through the Lakes District to the north-west, and sweeping away past Cessnock towards Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains, extending as far west as Werris Creek, and right down the Illawarra Ranges, on the south coast, to Nowra, and dipping away again under the sea. A conservative estimate fixes the deposit in that basin at 500,000,000 tons. If there is noi sufficient coal in New South Wales for the future needs of the Commonwealth, there is an immense deposit of coal in the southern part of Queensland, and, if that is not sufficient, there are the huge brown coal deposits in Victoria, extensive coal measures at Collie, in Western Australia, and in Tasmania. The Minister, in statements issued to the newspapers, is always declaring that something is to be done by this Government for the scientific develop- ment of tlie industry, but up to the present very little work of a practical nature has been done. Sir Hugo Hirst, who is well-known in Australia as a member of the economic commission which visited this country in 1928, in the course of a presidential address to members of the Institute of Fuel on the 19th October, made some pertinent references to the coal industry in Great Britain, and as these references apply with at least equal force to our own coal industry, it is fitting that I should read what he said -
The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research gives a list of research associations. It even includes one for hoots and shoes, and another for the jam trade, but not one connected with the coal industry.
Surely it is time to end this state of affairs. Hay I plead that, iu the interests of the coal industry and the nation, a really powerful organization be formed to undertake research and to deal authoritatively with all matters relating to the preparation of coal for the market, and its known uses and those yet to be discovered. One-fifth of a penny on each ton of coal raised would provide £200,000 a year, and I contend that such a sum could profitably be spent on such important work. Such an organization as I visualize would raise the coal industry to a technical level hitherto not imagined. Only a comparatively few years ago, the hydrogenation of coal was unknown. It was not the coal-owners, but the largest chemical firm in this country, which spent a very large sum in developing a practical and commercial method of producing petrol from coal. A scheme has been submitted to the Government to erect a works to hydrogenate 1,000 tons of coal a day, and produce G20 tons of high-grade petrol. This can be done for an all-in cost of 7d. per gallon, and among the advantages of the scheme are more employment, national security ensured by a home supply of petrol in case of war, a better trade balance, and, what most concerns the coal industry, an entirely new market for coal.
Mr. Rogers has stated that petrol can be produced from coal at a cost of 8d. a gallon by the hydrogenation process. This being the case, is it a crime for an honorable senator to urge that action be taken by the Government to establish a plant for the treatment of the immense coal deposits in this country, with a view to making Australia independent of foreign oil interests, which take from this country annually a sum of approximately £18,000,000? Our American “cousins” as they are termed by some newspapers, are doing very well out of Australia, but they have no particular love for us. All they want is our trade.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Motion (by Senator MacDonald) negatived -
That Senator Dunn be granted an extension of time.
– For some time there has been an ever increasing agitation in Western Australia for the resumption of work on the Henderson Naval Base at Cockburn Sound, near Fremantle, which was strongly recommended by Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson, K.C.B., in a comprehensive report on the naval defences of Australia, which, at the invitation of the Commonwealth Government, he submitted on the 1st March, 1911.
– The Singapore Naval Base was then not in existence.
– That is so. I am glad to know that the British Government is proceeding with that work which is now nearing completion. Its action should be an example to the Commonwealth which, some years ago, abandoned the great work at Cockburn Sound. [Quorum formed.’) Does Senator Foll suggest that, because the Singapore Naval Base is approaching completion, there is no necessity for a naval base on the western coast of Australia? The people of Western Australia feel that the time is opportune for the completion of this work. It was strongly recommended recently in a leading Western Australian newspaper, The Fremantle Advocate, a copy of which was sent to the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce). When I wrote to the right honorable gentleman asking whether work was to be resumed on this naval base, he stated that it was not in the immediate defence policy of the Government. His reply, however, gave me very little information. As on other occasions, the right honorable gentleman avoided making a definite pronouncement on the subject which is regarded by the people of Western Australia as one of great public importance. I should like to know now from the Minister if it is the intention of the Government to .proceed with the construction of the base at an early date. As the result of the agitation in Western Australia, I have made myself conversant with the report submitted by Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson in 1911, when many honorable senators present to-day were unfamiliar with the project. It is interesting to recall that in the terms of reference to Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson, the Commonwealth Government of the day said that the main points to be considered were -
The point which I wish to emphasize is that even at that time the Federal Government wished to know the best position for a central naval base. I have little doubt that the reply it expected to receive was that such a base should be established at Sydney. In this interesting report, the recommendation of this distinguished expert was that there should be two primary naval bases, and that such bases should be equal in importance and equipment. The admiral was invited to make a recommendation for a central base; but he said that two bases of equal importance were necessary - one at Cockburn Sound and one at Sydney. He recommended that the construction of both should proceed simultaneously. In Sydney there is a naval base which I believe is thoroughly well equipped, and on which a tremendous amount of money has been expended, but a naval base on the western side of the continent, which was definitely recommended by the admiral, has not been proceeded with. A few hundred thousand pounds were expended on the Western Australian project, but no one seems to understand why the work was abandoned. This distinguished admiral, in submitting his report to the Government at that time, referred to the naval policy adopted by the Australian nation, but his recommendations concerning a base at Cockburn Sound have been entirely ignored. He said -
In establishing a fleet of her own and developing her own naval resources, Australia is taking a large share in the inauguration of an imperial movement, which must result in strengthening the sea power of the Empire. I wish, however, to emphasize especially the fact that, although the Government may propose and guide, and although the naval administration may organize and foster, the naval development of the Commonwealth, yet the ultimate success of this development rests, and must continue to rest, with the Australian people; upon their sincere and whole-hearted support and co-operation depends the efficiency of their fleet. Moreover, it will be to the personnel of that fleet that the people will entrust the guardianship of their homes.
I have full confidence that the people of this great country will show that they retain those maritime instincts which are the proud heritage of our race, and that they are determined to support their government in having an ideal naval force imbued with the naval traditions of our past, thoroughly efficient in every respect; a force to which every officer and man will be proud to belong.
In conclusion, I would express the hope that my recommendations will assist and facilitate the Government in the furthering of their wise naval policy.
That section of the report can be read with pride and patriotism, but the recommendation for the establishment of a naval base at Fremantle, the most important in the report, has been ignored. In several respects this report is the foundation of our naval system, but the recommendation for a naval base at Cockburn Sound has been totally disregarded, to the great detriment of national safety. A government basing its naval policy upon this report should have carried out the two recommendations simultaneously. Had that been done, we should now have a naval base at Cockburn Sound equal in all respects to that at Sydney. It is very interesting to recall some of the remarks made by Admiral Sir Reginald Henderson in regard to naval defence. In the report, he points out that -
That was preliminary to his recommendation that two naval bases should be established. I do not suppose that any honorable senator present disagrees with the policy embodied in the report, a portion of which I have just read. The views of Admiral Henderson are of interest, as also are those of Field-Marshal Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, who, in his memorandum on the defence of Australia, said -
It is an axiom held by the British Government that the Empire’s existence depends primarily upon the maintenance of adequate and efficient Naval Forces. As long as this condition is fulfilled, and as long as. British superiority at sea is assured, then it is an accepted principle that no British dominion can be successfully and permanently conquered by an organized invasion from overseas.
To fulfil that great objective, which included the erection of two powerful naval bases, a great deal has been done to improve the base at Sydney, while that at Cockburn Sound has been abandoned. There is a great deal I should like to say upon the subject, but I do not desire to detain the Senate too long.
– Hear, hear!
– Last week ample time was available for the discussion of this and other important subjects, but at the instigation of the Government Whip, the Government with the aid of the Opposition curtailed discussion. The suggestion made by the Leader of the Government (Senator Pearce) this afternoon that the business of the Senate should be facilitated would have been more sympathetically received, but for the unfortunate and unnecessary incident that occurred last week.
– Is this in revenge?
– Not in the least. I am doing my duty to my constituents and intend to proceed regardless of the desires of the Government Whip.
– I understood the honorable senator to say that he was occupying the time of the Senate to “ get square “ with the Government.
– The honorable senator has misinterpreted my remarks. Honorable senators have a duty to perform, particularly in the matter of defence. The work at Cockburn Sound has been abandoned merely because it was. on the western side of the continent.
– What benefit would such a base be to the Commonwealth if Western Australia should secede?
– Had Western Australia seceded, the base could have been built two or three times over with the revenue of which we have been robbed since this report was submitted. Last week the Government gagged the Senate to await the assistance of an honorable senator who has seldom been present since he left the Ministry, and then adjourned the Senate over three sitting days.
Lord Kitchener continued -
In applying this principle to Australia, consideration of time and space cannot be disregarded. The conduct of the Great War depends upon the calculated and proper combination of naval, military and diplomatic forces, and it is quite conceivable that, in the future, as in the past, national consideration may require the concentration of British naval forces in one or other theatre of operation. It follows that, in seas remote from such a concentration, the British naval forces may find themselves’ for the moment inferior in force to an actual or potential enemy. In such a situation, although our ultimate superiority at sea might not be a matter -of doubt, some time might elapse before our command of the sea was definitely assured in all waters. It, therefore, becomes the duty of all self-governing dominions to provide a military force adequate, not only to deal promptly with any attempt at invasion, but also to ensure local safety and public confidence until our superiority at sea has been decisively and comprehensibly asserted. For this reason it has been agreed that the home forces of the United Kingdom should be so organized as to compel an enemy contemplating an invasion to make the attempt on such a scale as to be unable to evade our naval forces. The same arguments -apply to Australia, and its land forces should be calculated and organized on this basis.
Another authority, Admiral Henderson, from whose report I quote, said -
The military policy of the Commonwealth is thus based on two assumptions-
That sea supremacy of the Empire will be maintained, though some period may elapse after the outbreak of hostilities before the command of the sea becomes effective.
That the naval forces in Australian waters will be of sufficient strength to preclude an enemy who attempts invasion on a large scale from evading them during such a period.
The Commonwealth Naval Forces will, therefore, be required to share in attaining -
to fulfil, (b) and also to render protection on the high seas to merchant shipping, upon which the commerce, and, therefore, the prosperity of Australia depend; and it is, with these requirements in view, that I make the following recommendations.
Then follows a lengthy list of recommendations regarding the strength of the fleet, and of the naval reserves. Following that, the admiral gave a list of naval bases and sub-bases, and set out the order in which they should be built. In his recommendation for the building of two fleet primary bases - one each at Sydney and Fremantle - Admiral Henderson stated -
The general requirements of these fleet primary bases are -
Notwithstanding the admiral’s recommendation, there is no dock whatever at Fremantle to-day, although it is the first Australian port of , call of vessels from Europe. The report of Admiral Henderson proceeds -
That is a long list of requirements, every one of which is essential at Fremantle, to the safety of Australia. The government of the day sent officials to Western Australia, and, on their report, resumed a large area of land fronting Cockburn Sound, and, later, expended hundreds of thousands of pounds on preliminary work in accordance with the recommendation of the distinguished expert. Then, for some inexplicable reason, the work was stopped, and it has not been restarted. In my opinion, every condition which justified the admiral’s report still exists; indeed, the greater sea power of foreign nations renders the construction of these works even more necessary than when the report was submitted. Admiral Henderson then set out the requirements of . the primary bases at Sydney and Fremantle. I am inclined to think that effect has been given to most of his recommendations with regard to Sydney; certainly huge expenditure has been incurred there; but the special work which he recommended should be undertaken at Fremantle has -not been done. Those works included -
I hope that honorable senators will not confuse Jervoise Bay, near Fremantle, with Jervis Bay on the east coast south of Sydney. I feel confident that had this recommendation in respect of Jervoise Bay applied to Jervis Bay, the work would have been done many years ago, even at a cost of many millions of pounds. Unfortunately, Jervoise Bay is on the wrong side of the continent for the work to be done. The report continued -
The site should include space for graving docks, building slips, workshops, storehouses, and all plant, &c, for the building of ships and for the repairs and maintenance of a fleet. It appeared to me that a site in the vicinity of Jervoise Bay was best suited for naval dockyard requirements. A channel for deep draught ships would have to be dredged through the Parmelia and Success banks, and slight dredging would be required in other places. It would probably also be necessary that a short breakwater should be thrown out from Woodman’s Point. I understand that plans and estimates have been framed for the carrying out of a great part of this dredging, and I am sure that it will prove of the greatest benefit, not only to the navy, but also to merchant shipping and commercial interests, as it would greatly relieve the pressure on Fremantle Harbour for shipping accommodation which the future must inevitably bring.
In view of the recommendation that followed for the construction of a dock at Fremantle by the Federal Government, as a part of the naval base, I emphasize that in this section of his report Admiral Henderson pointed out that the proposed work, including the dock, would be of great value, not only to the Government, but also to merchant shipping and to commercial interests. Had the work recommended by him been proceeded with, Fremantle’s need of a- commercial dock would have been met. The admiral’s report proceeded -
In the interim, the needs of the fleet will be met by -
The completion of the dock now building at Fremantle, and of the repair and refitting shops proposed to be attached thereto at as early a date as possible.
Unfortunately, that site was, like the bottomless pit; excavation revealed thata sound bottom did not exist. The work carried out by the State Government was a failure, and there is now no dock at this important gateway to Australia. Other recommendations were -
The provision of adequate reserves of coal and oil fuel, &c. .
The land was resumed, and it is now the property of the Commonwealth. The total expenditure was, probably, £1,000,000. If the work is again proceeded with, most of that expenditure will be saved to the nation; otherwise it will be a total loss.. An amount approximating £1,000,000 has been expended at Cockburn Sound; but there is nothing to show for it. Why does not the Commonwealth provide the necessary funds to finish that great national undertaking? The money already expended will be absolutely lost if this important work is not completed.
Fremantle is badly in need of a dock and if that were provided it would serve mercantile shipping as well as the vessels of the navy.
– The honorable senator believes in that kind of socialism !
– Certainly. In view of the arguments advanced here for the establishment of tin factories, the way in which recommendations for useful work of this character have been ignored is extraordinary.
– We had better hand over defence matters to private, enterprise !
– It is idle to adopt Admiral Henderson’s report”, while refusing to give effect to its most” important recommendation. What federal’, spirit has been exhibited towards Western Australia when even the recommendation for the building of a primary naval base and a dock there is entirely ignored ?
I come now to a very important portion of the Admiral’s report - that which deals with the order in which certain works should be taken in hand. He recommended that the following order should be followed : -
– Is that report more than twenty years old?
– Certainly. But, despite its age, it embodies the policy upon which our system of naval defence has been built up. If there is any reason why effect should be given to that portion of it which benefits Sydney while the other portion relating to Cockburn sound is ignored, we are entitled to know it. This work was commenced on the authority of one of the greatest British admirals; it was started by naval and other qualified engineers, but political engineers were responsible for it* abandonment. The report also recommends -
The last recommendation is one which has been entirely ignored. Cockburn Sound is a magnificent natural harbour. It is bounded on the’ east by the land resumed for the naval base, and on the west by Garden Island, which was resumed by the Commonwealth. The town of Rockingham is situated to the south. Cockburn Sound is well protected, and is large enough to shelter the entire British Fleet. The “failure of the Government to carry out the recommendation of Admiral Henderson is a national menace, and I submit that at the very least the dock at Fremantle should be built immediately. Had Admiral Henderson’s recommendation been carried out, half the fleet would now be at Fremantle instead of lying in Port Jackson, and of the £2,000,000 spent annually on our naval establishments, practically one-half would be spent at Fremantle. The remarks made by the Minister for Defence at the Millions Club, Sydney, concerning the necessity which exists for increased expenditure on national defence, prove my contention up to the hilt. In 1911 Senator Sir George Pearce was most active in his endeavours to give effect to the excellent report of Admiral Henderson advocating the establishment of a naval base at Fremantle. “What was responsible for his change of attitude ?
– That was 22 years ago.
– Exactly. But no reason has been assigned for the stoppage of the work.
– The honorable senator has been supporting the Government ever since.
– I have been a member of the Senate for only four and a half years, and that has been a period of the greatest financial difficulty. I have supported the interests of my State, and have followed no government during that period. Now, however, that a recovery budget has been submitted, we are entitled to be told whether this important work was abandoned as a result of political engineering, and whether it is to be resumed.
– The people of Fremantle want another war jamboree.
– No ; they merely want adequate defence, and this work is essential to our national safety. The Fisher Government was in office in 1911, and was responsible for bringing Admiral Henderson to Australia to inspect the whole of our coast line from Fremantle to Thursday Island and from Port Darwin to Hobart.
– Is not “Western Australia going to secede from the Commonwealth ?
– It will if it can. The vote was two to one in favour of secession. Had the Western Australian Government exercised control over its own affairs during “the past 22 years, these great works would have been completed out of funds which have been taken from us and spent in the eastern States.
– Does the honorable senator know the reason why Western Australia has not advanced?
– She has advanced in spite of federation, and not because of it. If I traversed Admiral Henderson’s report in its entirety, I could advance a hundred reasons why the naval base at Cockburn Sound should be completed. Not a solitary reason has been adduced for the abandonment of that work. What is the intention of the Government in respect of it?
– How can the honorable senator claim that the work should be proceeded with when Western Australia is agitating for secession?
– Whilst Western Australia is a member of the Commonwealth it- suffers from the disabilities of federation and has a right to any single advantage that’ federal policy may offer. It has a right to demand the completion of this work which was so strongly recommended by Admiral Henderson.
– It should be proceeded with to supply work for the benefit of Fremantle.
– Surely the honorable senator does not suggest that a work of national importance should not be proceeded with merely because it is located in Western Australia ?
– Nobody Las recommended its completion during the last 20 years.
– It is less than twenty years since the work was stopped. If there is any expert who recommended its stoppage, his name should be disclosed. Surely there is biting significance in the fact that the works recommended at Sydney have been carried out. Western Australia has many legitimate and deep-seated grievances against federation, but there is no matter in respect of which a more legitimate protest can be urged by the people of that State, than the abandonment of the work of which I am speaking. The work has been recommended by one of the greatest naval experts of the Empire, whose services and advice the Federal Government was able to obtain on application to the imperial authorities. Of what use was it to get advice of that kind from the British Admiralty, if it is not to be acted upon? I am amazed at the docility of the people of Western Australia in having submitted for so many years to the flagrant dereliction of duty on the part of successive Federal Governments, in not carrying out the important work of establishing a naval base at Cockburn Sound. It seems to me that the reason for this neglect of Western Australia is merely the fact that it is the Cinderella State of the Commonwealth. The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) is one of the representatives of that State in this Parliament, and was, I believe, in his present’ ministerial position for most of the 22 years that have elapsed since the report was presented. I hope that from his undoubtedly wide knowledge of the affairs of his department he will be able to enlighten the Senate as to why this particular work was stopped, and also state when it will be resumed.
. - I do not consider that the practice of taking full advantage of the opportunity which the first reading of a bill of this nature provides for the discussion of any subjects with which honorable sena tors care to deal is to be particularly commended; but I intend to avail myself of this opportunity, because, in my judgment, the Government is entirely respon sible for the congestion of the business remaining to be done. If the sessions were not unduly shortened by long recesses, ‘the matters brought under the notice of this Senate could receive the consideration which they deserve, and no difficulty would be experienced by us in completing our work before Christmas. This bill was received from the House of Representatives only to-day, and yet the Government, I understand, desires the present sittings to be concluded at the end of next week. I have frequently registered my strong protest against this method of conducting the business. The Government expects us to approve the expenditure of millions of pounds practically without discussion; otherwise, we shall be accused of “ stonewalling “. The procedure in this Parliament is becoming less satisfactory, even in regard to the simple matter of ministerial answers to questions. Wrong answers are frequently given, and these often necessitate further questions.
Senator MacDonald referred this afternoon to the need for the development of the Northern Territory, and the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) attempted to reply to his remarks. I cannot accept the Minister’s statement that the aborigines in the Northern Territory are receiving a fair deal, because I know that many white Australians in that part of the Commonwealth who are out of employment, are not receiving proper treatment at the hands of the Government. The representative of the Northern Territory is permitted to speak in the House of Representatives on behalf of his electorate, but he is denied a vote in that chamber; therefore, the territory is not so effectively represented as it ought to be in the National Parliament. Expenditure amounting to .millions of pounds is to be authorized for various purposes ; yet the comparatively small votes required for the granting of relief to the unemployed in the territory cannot be obtained. The present Government came into power at the end of 1931, and provided that only those persons who were resident in the territory prior to December, 1930, would be eligible to receive relief work or rations. Recently, the Government has re-affirmed that decision, and even those men who are entitled to relief work must go to Darwin for it, regardless of how many hundreds of miles away they may be living. A number of the unemployed have been endeavouring to stave off starvation by prospecting for precious metals; but, because they were not in the territory prior to December, 1930, they are refused relief work or rations. Surely those who are unable to obtain employment in the Northern Territory are entitled- to the special care of the Commonwealth Government. I am glad to know the Government has decided to provide a few weeks’ work for the 750 men who are registered as unemployed in the Federal Capital Territory; but it is deserving of censure for its neglect of those similarly situated in the Northern Territory. Obviously, the desire of the Government is to compel the latter to drift to the various States, thus avoiding its responsibility regarding them. Sir James Mitchell, the ex-Premier of Western Australia, definitely declared that the action of the Commonwealth Government had resulted in adding to the ranks of the unemployed in the States, men for whom the Commonwealth authorities should be responsibile. The Government declares that everything possible has been done to care for the aborigines in the Northern Territory; yet we know that the Government has not given to the members of the white race there the consideration; which they deserve. I was interested this afternoon to hear Senator Johnston, who is always horrified at the disbursement of money for the benefit of Australian citizens by relieving unemployment, speak so enthusiastically about the contemplated expenditure by this Government of millions of pounds upon preparations for war. On this question of defence I have quite a lot to say. I am not one of those who are mindful of their reputations. I think I have said before in this chamber that a man’s reputation is not made by him but by others for him. I believe that we should all be concerned about our characters, which is quite another matter. I say this, because I know that supporters of the Government ‘will take part in this debate who will endeavour to make it appear that my statements regarding war and all things that appertain, to it, are very unsatisfactory. But that is not the word which they will employ. I shall probably be described as a disloyalist, as a man with an antiBritish outlook, and all that kind of thing. However, that will not deter me from giving expression to my views on the amounts in the Estimates which we are asked to vote for defence purposes.
This afternoon, the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Barnes) told the Senate where we stand with regard to defence. All members of the Australian Labour party have signed a pledge, one plank of which is, “ adequate defence of Australia. “ Not one member of the party intends to break that pledge in any way. But that does not mean that we must remain silent while the war mongers unload their hysteria; their jingoism and imperialism upon the Senate in justification of the Government’s proposal for increased expenditure on defence. I am not going to be so foolish as to set myself up as an expert upon this subject. I am well aware that the Government must, in this matter as in others, be guided by the advice of its experts ; but it is surely competent for us to criticize expenditure based on the advice of experts. While I am prepared to admit that the Government, acting on the advice of its experts, believes that the expenditure now contemplated is essential to the adequate defence of Australia, I protest against Senator Johnston voicing at such great length a view based on a report submitted by the late Admiral Henderson, a gentleman I did not know, and whose report is now nearly a quarter of a century old. In view of the fact that his recommendations were made before aerial defence or attack became part of the science of war, I cannot remain silent when effusive eulogies are poured out concerning the qualifications of an expert who, after all, wasmerely an emissary of the war-mongers. All these people trade on the fearpsychology of the people of the different, nations and are doing work which, whatever may he said in favour of it, is theactual cause of wars. They trade on thefear of the people until they are prepared to approve the expenditure of any sums, modest or immodest, which governments feel inclined to ask for as; necessary to the defence of a country. The Leader of the Oppo- sition (Senator Barnes) this afternoon gave us some appalling figures concerning the cost to Australia of the Great War- £900,000,000, an amount absolutely staggering in its immensity, and equivalent to £140 for every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth.
– If there had been conscription in Australia, the expenditure would have been increased by £200,000,000.
– Exactly. This Government should seriously consider how far it can logically go in preparation for defence. Is it not time to ask ourselves whether it is possible to do all the things which naval and military experts, from time to time, advise the Government are the irreducible minimum of defence measures to be taken?
I do not know what control Parliament has over its members; but I could not help thinking some months ago, when an illustrious member of the House of Representatives, who was at one time Prime Minister of Australia, was running amok and declaring, with all the declamatory eloquence at his command, that before Australia could claim to be adequately defended it must be supreme in the air, in the water, and underneath the water. If Parliament had any control over its individual members, that distinguished gentleman should be put in a straitjacket and kept in close confinement, so that he could never again be guilty of inflaming the minds of the people as he is now doing. The idea that Australia, which has a population of only 6,500,000, can be supreme in the air, in the water, and underneath the water, is quite fantastic. The Government, in framing its defence policy,, should consider the capacity of the people to stand the load which is being heaped upon them in this connexion and others, and also the effect of its preparation for what is termed defence and not defiance, upon the people of other countries, who, I take it, are just as honest as we are, and believe that their defence proposals are also intended for defence and not defiance. The mere fact that the Government asks experts at different times to tell it what it should do, and then tries to give ‘effect to the recommendations made, leads to a condition of affairs which must result in our last condition being infinitely worse than our first.
Honorable senators on this side take the view that there are quite a number of ways in which Australia can be more adequately defended than by the mere placing of guns at our principal ports, or by paying attention to the Lord Kitcheners of the world. We believe, for example, that, by building up the industries of this country, and providing employment for the 400,000 people who are without work, and also improving the lot of the tens of thousands who are on the bread line, we can make a more effective contribution to its adequate defence than by increased expenditure on armaments. Moreover, we can set about this task more easily than can the government of any other country, because we are the only people on God’s earth who are in possession of a national bank, which can be controlled by this Parliament and made to serve the needs of the nation, instead of being side-tracked as it has been by the ministerial party into becoming merely a private bankers’ bank. We believe that, if the financial policy of the Commonwealth were directed along these lines, we could solve the problem of unemployment, and could then go on to greater things. We would make this country a nation, not of 6,500,000, but of 60,000,000, and from a defence point of view the Commonwealth would be practically impregnable. Everybody inside its borders would be keen to defend it, because every citizen would have a stake in the country. Australia would then become, in very truth, the finest country in the world, ‘and the best home for the finest people in the world. We should bend our energies more and more in the direction of preventing war. I know that I shall be told by some honorable senators opposite that our attitude towards the protection of Australian industries is conducive to trouble with other countries. Every country, including Great Britain, is making strenuous efforts to become self-contained, and we are asking that effect shall be given to such a policy in Australia. Immediately we make such a suggestion, we are told that if we are not careful, we shall antagonize Japan, a country which purchases a large quantity of our wool. If it is not Japan, Belgium is mentioned, and we are informed that if we protect employees in the Australian glass-making industry, Belgium will place an embargo on our barley, meat, and other primary products. Of course, we are not told that Great Britain will adopt a similar attitude, and may even take up arms against Australia, but Great Britain has gone to the extent of making impossible demands upon Australia, one of the most cruel of which is that we should restrict our exports of primary products, which are the very lifeblood of the nation. We should not be scared by the threats of international complications. We should endeavour to establish in our own country, not a war or fear complex, but a peace complex. If ever the world is to be rid of the curse of Avar and unemployment, which is caused by war, the psychology of the people must alter. Honorable senators may think that there is no occasion to discuss war and armaments, but I deny that. Those who hate war, should make some attempt to determine its underlying cause. We have been told thai we should not speak of the horrors of war. Too long we have been silent under all kinds of duress, but it is time we made our opinions’ known, especially in this National Parliament. Honorable senators will understand how I feel when I say that while it is essential under existing conditions to provide for the defence of our own country, we should not hold the opinion that there is only one way in which it can be defended. I have just mentioned some of the ways in which we can provide for adequate defence. Some day - no time could be more opportune than the present - some nation will make a definite stand against this iniquity, and commence definite an tl-war propaganda. This Parliament should take a lead in such a reform and disseminate facts, some of which I propose to bring under the notice of honorable senators. We are not without illustrious examples. There is no need to he apologetic. We should remember at the outset that in this Christian age, and in this Christian country, war is as contrary to the spirit of Christianity as is any other kind of murder. I was interested to read in the Canberra Times the other day, a statement made in London on Sunday last by Brigadier-General F. J. Crozier, who said, “ General strikes should immediately follow a threat of war.” If any government ever asked Australia to take part in a war beyond the borders of this country, and I am still alive, I shall advise my class to engage immediately in a general strike. I would advocate that not one individual or one gun should be transported from this country for use in any other land. Brigadier-General Crozier also said, “ If we must suffer, let us suffer for peace and justice.” That is what I meant; .that we must create a psychology for peace. He went on to say-
Armchair and cenotaph patriotism <is all founded on rot and loose talk. Women, instead of encouraging men to become tailors’ dummies, should discourage war by pointing to those in khaki, and exclaiming, “What silly asses you look.”
General Crozier said that poison gas had abolished chivalry, yet the Government had a gas yet more dangerous than that possessed by another great country. Governments ako had scientists who were able to devise masks to exclude their own gas. War, he added, va6 a put up job. If we had an understanding with Germany and Italy regarding peace with honour, it would be of the greatest benefit to Europe.
I cannot be accused of being anti-British because I am opposed to war, when I am only saying in my own way what this great British soldier, Brigadier-General Crozier,, said a few days ago. The same military authority is reported in the Sydney Sunday Sun as having said a fortnight ago “I would not object to leading ten divisions into the field if they dic! not consist of the country’s youth.” I am almost inclined to agree with him in that. He further said -
I would take every man between 45 and 70 years of age, every parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister, the whole of Whitehall, and drag them through.
The old men were responsible for the last war, and I agree with Brigadier-General Crozier that they should be compelled to fight the next war. I would.be a conscientious objector. It is distressing to see the smug self-satisfied faces of honorable senators opposite-
– We all read that statement the other day.
– Yes, the honorable senator reads the news with his morning coffee, and then, gramophone like, gives the information obtained as his considered opinion. The paragraph from which I am quoting continues -
I led 7,000 Belfast youths into action, and brought out fewer than 100. I would not do that again.
All honour to him. Ohe man led 7,000 youths and returned with fewer than 100, yet we are asked, with perfect equanimity, to support the Government’s proposals to increase armaments. Before this debate is concluded, we shall be told that the amount provided for defence purposes is inadequate, and that it must be increased.
I propose now to quote a few more illustrious authorities. I should not have attempted to do so in such detail had it not been for the speech of ‘ Senator Johnston. War is the outcome of the folly of ambition in some, and of ignorance in the many. There is nothing glorious or noble’ about it. . Mr. Winston Churchill said, “War is no longer a gentleman’s game; to hell with it”.
– It never was a gentleman’s’ game.
– In the days when battles were fought between the persons who had the quarrel there was at least some dignity about the fight, for then the individual prowess of the one was pitted against that of the other; but, today, when one gun miles away can devastate a city, and, to-morrow, when with one bombing plane, thousands of innocent women and children may be sent to their death, there is nothing dignified about it. I agree with Mr. Winston Churchill that war “ which was once cruel and magnificent now is cruel and squalid”. Tolstoi, a distinguished Russian, once said -
Every war, even the briefest, with its accompaniment of ruinous expenses, destruction of harvests,, thefts, plunder, murder, and unchecked debauchery, with the false justifications of its necessity and justice, the glorification and praise of military exploits, of patriotism and devotion to the flag, with tlie pretence of caro for the wounded, will, in one year, demoralize men incomparably more than thousands of thefts, arsons, and murders com mitted in the course of centuries by individual men under the influence of passion
Whatever we may have to do under duress in the way of voting money for the defence of Australia, I plead with honorable senators not to attempt to deceive the “ people into believing that there is anything noble about war. We should preach the doctrine of peace, and make the people understand that Ave hate to ask them for money for the defence of Australia, and that the sooner they set. about the job of educating first themselves and then the people of other countries, regarding the glories of peace, instead of the so-called glories of
Avar, the sooner shall we justify our wonderful heritage. Lord Ponsonby, a gentleman whose opinion cannot be brushed lightly aside, said -
We have more than enough to engage our attention at home. Wo want to build: we want to change things in our own way ; and surely we have learned that war, whatever the cause, whatever the excuse, however nobly represented, must set the hands of the clock back and will be encouraged and engineered by those who fear the approach of the inevitable changes in our social system.
I should not have quoted these authorities had not Senator Johnston held up Admiral Henderson, Lord Kitchener, and others as authorities on the other side.
– From a defence point, of view.
– That has al-
WaYs been the excuse for every filibustering expedition. The great preparation for Avar which the world. is witnessing today is due to the fear of the people in high ‘places of the coming social change. The armies of the world are being mobilized to prevent those social changes which would bring about more regular employment, more food, better homes, and better chances generally, for the common people. No one will accuse Mr. Lloyd George of being a pacifist or of entertaining anti-British sentiments, yet he said recently, “ The first condition of prosperity is that Ave should shun Avar “. In Australia, a distinguished member of this Parliament’ bars recently been talking a lot of inflammatory nonsense about making Australia supreme in the air, on land and sea, and under the sea. He ought to have been put in a straitjacket, and if I had the power, I would do it now. It is not too late. The wealthy section of any community never pays for a war or for defence against war. These burdens always fall on the workers. Even if they are fortunate enough to escape with their lives, the burden of paying for war falls on them. Tho wealthy section of the community has the unhappy knack of always being able to capitalize war. For every shell made and afterwards fired and destroyed; for every aeroplane built and subsequently crashed; for the stores lost, stolen or spoilt, the capitalist has an entry in his books which he calls wealth, and on which he proposes to draw interest at 5 per cent., whereas that entry represents to the community loss, not gain; debt, not credit; consequently, the interests of the capitalists must be regarded as being directly opposed to those of the community. Australia’s indebtedness of £900,000,000 in respect of the Great War stands as an asset in the books of the capitalists of this country. While drawing their interest, they are bleeding the nation. This after-noon Senator MacDonald quoted from a Scotch newspaper, and got into trouble for not confining his quotations to that paper. Unfortunately for him, ‘he also quoted from an American magazine, and’ was, therefore, accused of buttressing his arguments by quoting from foreign newspapers. I propose to quote from a newspaper published in Glasgow, Scotland, not because it is published there, but because I culled from it the opinion, not of its editor, but an official statement regarding the effect of the Great War. This socialist newspaper states -
There are in Great Britain to-day 1,795,166 people who are definitely the jetsam of the war. These are - 1,500,900 beneficiaries of the Ministry of Pensions, including 148,000 war widows. 204,000 war orphans, of whom 14,500 are total orphans. . 35,000 men who have lost a leg or an arm. 2,000 men disabled as result of injury or disease of the eye. 5,999 men certified insane. 277 severe neurasthenics classified as borderline cases. 3,380 men suffering from epilepsy. 35,531 men suffering from tuberculosis. 5,316 men still receiving in-patient treatment - apart from eases of insanity. 2,818 men receiving out-patient treatment. 845 men receiving home treatment.
A total of 1,795,166 lives wrecked by the war.
For those eloquent reasons I ask tho Government, coincident with its proposals for the adequate defence of Australia, to curtail expenditure in other directions with a view to developing in this country an anti-war psychology. The total expenditure in Great Britain on pensions and allowances up to the 31st March, 1930 - the latest figures available to me - was £914,000,000, or £20 4s. per head of the population. That amount is 40 per cent, more than the total national debt before the war, and is nearly equal to the combined pensions expenditure of France and Germany, whose casualties were greater than those suffered by Great Britain. While that £20 4s. per head must be found by somebody in Great Britain, there are towns and cities, and in some parts, whole counties, in that country, where destitution is rife and the people live in hovels which are a disgrace to our civilization, let alone to ‘Christianity. No effective voice is ever raised against war, always the chief cause of these conditions, without its being decried as anti-British, or, as the Leader of the Senate said this afternoon, “ the voice of one who is the friend of every country but his’ own.” Mr. E. G. Gardiner, another eminent authority on this matter in Great Britain, said recently -
We know what war is. We had four years of such experience as the world has never had before. If we sat day and night and saw the ghastly procession of those slain in the war file by in ranks of four, minute by minute, ten years would pass, and still the tale of the world’s sacrifice of its youth and strength and hope would not have been told. And if, behind the dead, there filed, the host of the maimed, the halt, the blind, the dumb, the paralysed, 50 years would hardly exhaust the dreadful spectacle.
I wish now to say a few words upon the subject of armaments and the advisableness of Australia embarking upon a campaign for the dissemination amongst its .own people of propaganda, not for the glorification of war, but for the glorification of peace. War is always the outcome of international injustice. Civilization cannot be promoted by expenditure on preparation for war. It can only be promoted by a knowledge of international truth and justice creating an atmosphere of security and peace, and promoting the fulfilment of the natural order. I suggest that we, as members of this Parliament, and especially those who are privileged to be Cabinet Ministers, should decide now that a wise policy for Australia would . be the education of our people to think peace, to talk peace, to .organize for peace, and, above all, to legislate for peace. We can do that quite consistently whilst making such provision as is necessary for the defence of Australia, so long as we declare to the world that under no circumstances shall we be a party to any Australian being sent outside our own shores to take part in any war, no matter by whom it is waged.
– I regret very much that the honorable senator was not present when at an earlier stage I said that I knew this question would be raised. I do not propose to repeat what I have already said beyond remarking for his benefit that I laid it down as part of the policy of the Australian Labour Party that we can best protect ourselves by concentrating on the building up of our industries, both primary and secondary, by making the Commonwealth the home of a happy and contented people - the home not of 6,500,000 inhabitants, but of 60,000,000 members of our own race. Let us make it a country worth defending, by raising our standard of civilization till it becomes a beacon light to the rest of the world. When I was interrupted by Senator Herbert Hayes I was about to add one or two things upon which Ave might concentrate. Edward Everett, an educationalist of some renown, in the Old Country, has said -
Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army. If we retrench the wages of the schoolmaster we must raise those of the recruiting sergeant.
Let us never forget that. The present Government, however, is never satisfied unless it is decreasing the wages of somebody. Our aim should be to provide regular employment at adequate remuneration and under conditions that will secure to our people comfort, decency, dignity and self-respect. [Quorum formed.’] One of the most unseemly hap penings during the brief period I have been a member of the Senate is that over and over again to-day the bells have had to be rung on account of the state of the House. I quite understand that honorable senators will absent themselves while I am delivering myself of these sentiments. But that only shows how impervious they are “ to the needs of this great country and to the dignity of this Parliament. Nothing more disgraceful has happened during recent months, and if the public could only see this chamber as it has been today, and as it is upon most days of sitting, the faith of democracy in our parliamentary institutions would be gone for ever. It would then be a case of God help the Australian people and all that wo hold dear. We talk about the atrocities of communism and the awful happenings in Germany and Italy, yet we are laying the foundations as firmly as possible for the establishment in this country of the very things that we deplore in other lands.
The Labour party believes that the Cockatoo Island Dock should never have been handed over to private enterprise, and that the Newcastle Steel and Iron Works should be protected to the very limit of our capacity, because they are very important Australian industries which should be encouraged and because they, can be made effective adjuncts to the adequate defence of this country. The adequate defence of Australia was injured in the most cowardly and vicious manner when the Commonwealth Line of Steamers was sold to a private shipping company, apart altogether from the disgraceful scandal that exists in connexion with the non-payment of the purchase price by that company. It was a dastardly blow to the adequate defence of Australia when we handed over the Commonwealth Woollen Mills at Geelong to private enterprise. We should employ all our own people, not on intermittent work, or on relief work, but on reproductive work at adequate wages and under decent conditions. Whilst I am quoting authorities, I should like to add to the list the name of Viscount Grey, who surely cannot be discredited by honorable senators opposite. He said -
Great armaments inevitably lead to war.
Mr. Baldwin, five years ago, said
Who in Europe does not know that one more war in tlie west and the civilization of the ages will fall with as great a shock as that of Koine.
Yet no honorable senator opposite ever raises his voice against the great armament rings which are always at work. They never sleep. They are always endeavouring to create a psychology of fear by means of their rotten and deceptive argument of preparedness - their horrible suggestion that preparedness is the only way to prevent war, when everybody knows that it is the most certain way to provoke war. Yet no protest is ever made against the great armament ring which is always doing its bloody and horrible work. Speaking at the Assembly of the League of Nations last week, an Italian delegate pointed out that the total arms exported by nations manufacturing armaments for the decade ended 1930, were valued at ?123,000,000. One of the lessons taught by the war, and supposed to be learned, was the supreme folly and wickedness of permitting trading in armaments to continue. The sacrifice of 13,000,000 of the flower of manhood oh the field of battle, the mutilation of millions more, and the squandering of wealth in four brief years of slaughter to the tune of ?40,000,000,000 with a further direct cost of ?40,000,000,000, was a lesson which seems to be still unlearned. More firmly entrenched than ever by means of untold millions it raked in as its share cf the loot during the world war, the armament ring continues merrily on its profit-making and dividendmongering way. To-day, there are more armaments being exported from Great Britain than from any other country in the world. I have selected this opportunity to voice my protest, and to submit constructive ideas as to how to destroy the war spirit and substitute for it a peace psychology. A pamphlet entitled “World Disarmament” recently came into my possession. It was written by the Honorable Henry Bournes Higgins, M.A., LL.B., formerly a justice of the High Court of Australia, and it contains .this statement -
Let us make no mistake - -armaments foster war. Do you know what the British Admiral, Hark Kerr, said last Hay at the Royal Institute for International Affairs? He said: “ Everything that could be done to reduce armaments would assist to outlaw war. . . . About three years before the Great War Prince Henry of Prussia (brother of the Kaiser), who was then the Admiral of the German High Seas Fleet, wrote to me as follows : -
We have just passed your fleet at sea. What a magnificent spectacle! It is awful to think of our two countries being at war, but the army wants it, because they are screwed up to such a high pitch of work and discipline that there is no relief except through war. Captains in the army are 35 years old, and there is no promotion possible except through war. They would sooner fight France than you, but they would sooner fight you than no one at all; but we (the Emperor and himself) know what that means.’
The less the armaments the less the strain, the less the risk of war. . . . Let us put all our persuasive powers into getting all armaments reduced in all countries, and show how everybody in the world would gain by a reduction of tlie manufacture of nonproductive goods such as munitions and instruments of war, and by the turning of the workpeople on to the production of articles which brought pleasure and good to the masses! “
Yet the shareholders in British armament firms comprise lords and dukes, church dignitaries of high degree, and many other wealthy persons who should be more Christian, and have more decency, than to live on the profits of the unholy business of war.
I made a statement earlier in my speech regarding the unsatisfactory nature of replies given to questions asked in this chamber. I recently asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General -
Will the Minister inform the Senate what action, if any, is proposed in the. direction of providing free legal aid for destitute persons involved in litigation in the courts of Commonwealth jurisdiction?
The answer that I received was as follows : -
The law of the Commonwealth provides that where, in the interests of justice, counsel should ‘be provided for a person committed for trial for an indictable offence against the laws of the Commonwealth, the Attorney-General, on the certificate of the Justice of the High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court may make arrangements for the assignment; of counsel.
Every honorable senator knows that that was not a proper answer to my question because we, on this side, believe that destitute persons should have the fullest opportunity to obtain free legal, aid in the courts. I asked that question because, some time ago, when the Seat of Govern- ment Supreme Court Bill was under discussion in this chamber, and when Senator Dunn mentioned the matter of free legal aid, Senator McLachlan remarked that, although it was an inappropriate stage at which to raise that subject, it would be considered by the Government, and, if thought advisable, action would be taken regarding it. I shall place another question on the notice-paper in relation to this matter. Unless senators can obtain answers that are not deliberately intended to sidetrack them, it will be necessary to take advantage of every opportunity, such as that afforded by the first reading of a money bill, to direct attention to the evasive replies received from Ministers. I also asked the Minister representing the Treasurer -
Has the Minister considered the wisdom of redeeming the Australian 4£ per cent. 1928-56 loan in Kew York through sterling funds to be raised in London, if it is a fact that a saving of at least £500,000 to Australia could now be effected by such redemption?
The reply furnished to me was as follows : -
The Government is carefully watching the position of the Australian loan issues in America and, in the event of favorable conditions arising for dealing with these loans, will take appropriate action.
Does not the Government consider that it should take advantage of an opportunity to save, at one stroke, £500,000? The reply did not state that no such favorable opportunity presented itself, because the Government knew that if the loan were converted as I have indicated, this amount could have been saved. Evidently, the ‘Government was not willing to save it. It seems that the business of this chamber is being reduced to a farce.
Senator MacDonald spoke ably on the proposal which has been bruited in the press for some months as to the Government’s intention to hand the Northern Territory over to a chartered company. The Leader of the ‘Senate (Senator Pearce) took the honorable senator severely to task, and would have us suppose that the Government has no intention to proceed with this proposal, when we all know perfectly well, from the Minister’s remarks in this chamber, that the scheme is afoot. I fear that the reply which we shall receive from the Government will be similar to that given in connexion with the Ottawa agreement, the New Zealand trade agreement and other agreements which are already before the Parliament. The Government will say, “ The agreement has been made, and it may not be amended. Take it or leave it “. Why should honorable senators be treated as children in these matters?
Within the last few days we have received a printed document from the Perth Morning Post, headed, “ Plan for a New Colony. Proposal for Empire Settlement on Large Scale in Kimberley Division of Western Australia”. The writer is Sir James D. Connolly. I ask the Leader of the Senate and every other honorable senator, whether they think that anybody would be willing to flood this country with propaganda of this kind unless it was thought that it would produce the desired result. It is regarded as essential to create a chartered company psychology amongst the legislators of this country. The Leader of the Senate has attempted to put us off by saying that it is unnecessary for us to have any anxiety in the matter, but we know that the proposal is to give a chartered company huge tracts of land in fee simple, and honorable senators on this side of the chamber will not stand for that policy. If this Ministry is succeeded by a government that supports the policy of the Labour party in this matter, such an agreement as that now contemplated will be nullified, no matter with what safeguards it may be buttressed. We will not have the eyes picked out of this :country, and handed over to private interests, nor will we agree to the employment of indentured labour of any kind. These companies are not philanthropists, and they will not be content with any land unless it is of the best quality. They will expect fiscal advantages which are not enjoyed in other parts of Australia. I do not accept the Minister’s statement that the Senate will have an opportunity to amend any agreement that may be made. We know that we shall get the same opportunity, but no more, than we have had with regard to other agreements. If the Government makes an agreement with a chartered company, we shall be told after.wards, that it merely awaits the ratification of Parliament ; that if Parliament is dissatisfied, it can reject it. The Government will make that offer to honorable senators, knowing quite well that it has the necessary majority to carry any proposal which it brings forward, no matter how anti-Australian or nefarious it might be. Honorable senators on this side are continually being taunted with not submitting concrete proposals. This afternoon, the Leader of the Senate declared that there was nothing constructive in our criticism, and went on to say that proposals, such as the development of the Northern . Territory, in the manner suggested, should not be made the foot- ball of party politics. I tell the right honorable gentleman definitely that all this talk about not making a particular matter the football of party politics is merely pandering to the ignorance of the people. What the right honorable gentleman means is that he does not believe in the other fellow’s brand of politics, and that his own alone is above suspicion. We all know as a matter of fact that nothing of the kind is true.
– The honorable senator’s time has expired.
Motion (by Senator Dunn) put -
That an extension of time for 30 minutes be granted.
Question put. The Senate divided. ( President -Senator the Hon. P. J. Lynch.)
Majority . . 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [11.58]. - The proposals that have been discussed so far have been the defence policy of the Government and the development of the Northern Territory.
For all practical purposes, they are allied subjects. I hope that what has been said by other honorable senators with regard to the preparations for war will be taken to heart by the people of Australia.
I was interested in the remarks of SenatorCollings concerning the ratification or rejection of any agreement which the Government might enter into with chartered companies for the development of the Northern Territory. Obviously certain forms of agreement cannot be amended by Parliament. An agreement between two countries, such as the trade treaty made between Australia and New Zealand, cannot be altered without the approval of either party, because its main lines have been discussed and approved by the parliaments of both countries. But an agreement between the Government and a chartered company for the settlement of land in Australia or territories under its control, is one which could not possibly be dealt with in the manner suggested by the Leader of the Senate. It must be accepted in its entirety, although some clause in it might be entirely against the interests of the people, and he opposed by a majority of members of the Parliament. [Quorum formed.] But the Government would crack the party whip, and while members might object strenuously to some details in it, they would feel bound to ratify it, because the Government might regard its rejection as vital. We are told that any agreement which might be made for the settlement of the Northern Territory will contain ample safeguards for the protection of the native races, and thesatisfactory performanceof obligations entered into by the company concerned. We may take it that if a chartered company enters into an agreement with this Government, it will not engage upon this important enterprise for philanthropic purposes, but to make profits -for its shareholders. Consequently, it will expect to have available to it an adequate supply of cheap labour.
Sitting suspended from 12.2 a.m. to 12.80 a.m. (Friday).
Friday, 1 December 1933
SenatorRAE. - When the Cook Government was in power, an agreement, which contained many objectionable pro- visions, was entered into between the Commonwealth Government and Vestey Brothers. I was not a member of the Commonwealth Parliament at that time, and, consequently, could not do anything to prevent its adoption, but I remember writing a resume pointing out the objectionable provisions which the agreement contained. If we admit that all previous efforts to develop the Northern Territory have failed, the only way in which a company can do what the Government has failed to do is by granting special concessions at the expense of the Australian people. That could be done by permitting the company to employ labour at any old rate.
– One important part of the continent would be controlled by a company that could employ persons at any wage it thought fit, which would necessarily mean that the standard of living in Australia would be lowered. To achieve success in the task which it undertook, a company would have to conduct operations on a fairly large scale, and employ a good deal of capital. I suppose that there would have to be concessions in the matter of customs duties, labour conditions, and in other directions. Modern history shows that wherever big companies are able to control large areas of country they exert political influence out of all proportion to the measures necessary for the safety of the people. Take, for instance, the famous East India Company that gradually obtained what was virtually sovereignty over a large portion of India. The manner in which that company conducted its operations was largely responsible for bringing about the Indian mutiny, when it became necessary for the Imperial Government practically to abolish the company, to conduct the work in which it had been engaged, and to institute a system of direct government. That, of course, is an extreme instance. The tendency of human nature when it has acquired something is to grasp for more.
– The Canadian Pacific Railway Company was granted concessions.
– Yes, and various railway companies in different parts of Australia have received concessions, which, in every case, have been abused, and sooner or later governments have at great expense been compelled to redeem the rights conferred upon such investors. In New Zealand, a charter was granted to a company, to build the Manawatu railway SO miles in length through the most fertile portion of the north island. The company was granted a -charter for a limited number of years, but, in effect, it received a perpetual grant; consequently, when, for State reasons, the Government eventually found it necessary to resume the railway because it wished it to operate it as part of the general railway system, it had to pay £3,000,000 in hard cash for a right created by the State and presented to the company. The V.D.L. Company in Tasmania is another instance
– That company never made any money.
– At any rate, the rights of the company were eventually acquired by the Government. In every case where State Governments have acquired the property of companies they have been “ rooked “.
– That has not been the case in connexion with the hydro-electric scheme in Tasmania which was established by a private company.
– That may be an exception. “We have been informed that the operations of the chartered company to be formed for conducting operations in the Northern Territory will assist to populate that portion of Australia and aid in its defence. There are numerous instances of companies commencing to populate districts, but, eventually, governments have had to repatriate those who have become stranded as the result of the companies’ failure.
– Something of that kind is happening in Victoria at present under a scheme controlled by a State Government.
– If a government is responsible it should carry the burden, but it should not shoulder the liabilities of private companies.
– Did not the Government come to the assistance of those who went to Paraguay?
– That venture was justified if for no other reason than it has given our opponents an opportunity lo gibe at us ever since. In that case no concessions were required and the State was not involved in any expenditure. Those who went to Paraguay did so at their own expense. [Quorum formed.] The settlement of the Northern Territory is of vital importance to Australia and worthy of discussion. If a company succeeds in increasing the population of the Northern Territory it can do so only by engaging in industries other than mere cattle-raising. It is quite clear to any one with the slightest experience in that country, that it is suitable only for cattle or sheep-raising, and that in those industries only a limited quantity of labour is required. Unless the Northern Territory is suitable for other industries it is manifest that there would be no great increase of population. If it increased as the result of the operations of a chartered company and the people were utilized in the defence of Australia, they would have to be removed from industry, and if required for defence purposes would be under the control of the Government, and not of a company. Surely a chartered company would not have the right to establish a defence force. “When this proposal is analysed it will be seen that a company could not possibly succeed unless it possessed rights and privileges which would be detrimental to the working class. A chartered company could succeed only by acquiring labour at the cheapest possible rate. Over 40 years ago I was a member of the New South Wales Parliament when the population of Australia was a little over 3,000,000 persons. At that time the population of the Dominion of Canada was approximately 7,000,000 and we then heard of the necessity to defend Australia in exactly the same terms as are used to-day. We were then told that if Australia had a population as great as that of Canada, we would not be at the mercy of any foe envious of our possessions. We were told that we should people this country if we wished to hold it. Everything that we have heard ad nauseam during the last few years was said 40 years ago. Now that we have a population of about 6,500,000, the same thing is said. War scares are engineered now as they were then. I remember when there was a general belief that the Russian navy would come here, and that Australia was in danger of becoming a Russian colony. At that time, the Government of New Zealand strengthened its few little forts, and laid in munitions of war for the expected raid by the Russian navy from the opposite side of the ‘world. This kind of thing is always going on, the idea being to get the people alarmed for their own safety. It is true that the Labour platform provides for the adequate defence of Australia, but who can say what constitutes adequate defence? It may well be said that the adequate defence of any country means its ability to defeat any possible combination that might be brought against it. To-day, as in ancient times, nations seek alliances. The great powers manoeuvre to effect alliances with other countries so that one group may be more powerful than another in the event of war. It takes time to reach that position in which one group of nations believes that it might safely attack another combination. When that- time arrives, the aggressive powers say that the best form of defence is attack, and they endeavour to persuade their people that they are in imminent danger from other alliances and that they must attack to avoid defeat. That kind of propaganda is being preached in our midst to-day. We are told that the Japanese nation is only awaiting a favorable opportunity to attack Australia. Years ago, our greatest potential enemy was said to be Russia, and, later, Germany. Honorable senators will recollect the earnestness of those who at another stage spoke of the “ yellow peril.” They told us of the congestion in China, and that that nation was seeking an outlet for its surplus population. To-day the same things are being said about J apan. We are reminded that the population of Japan is increasing at about the rate of 1,000,000 a year, and that an outlet for them is being sought. I sometimes wonder how Japan would transport sufficient troops to capture and hold Australia. I suggest that it is possible to make friendly treaties with nations.
– By shutting out their goods !
– While I would not give unrestricted access to Japanese goods, I see no reason why some agreement cannot be arrived at with Japan. So long as we are compelled to have tariffs, we must conserve the Australian market to the Australian people, but there are ways, other “than the imposition of higher duties, of preventing the flooding of the Australian market. For instance, Australia can be flooded with Japanese goods only if the people of this country are willing to buy them. We must necessarily trade with the world to some extent; we cannot be sellers only, and not buyers. Instead of shutting ourselves up absolutely, as Japan did a generation ago, we must be prepared for a giveandtake policy.
– Senator Collings would not subscribe to that view.
– I am not bound by the opinion of any other honorable senator. While it may be regarded as patriotic to be as self-contained as possible, to be absolutely self-contained is not only a Utopian dream, but also most undesirable. If we hope to sell, we must be willing to buy. It is unfortunate that the world is being divided into watertight compartments in which every one Ls trying to sell, and refusing to buy. That, however, is only the natural outcome of the capitalistic system under which we live. The fact that all people are seeking to produce for a profit makes mass production more profitable than small-scale production; but it also means glutting our own market because our purchasing power is not sufficient to pay for what we produce. We, therefore, have a surplus which must be sold to others if our goods are not to perish. Only a year or two ago, we were told that the solution of Australia’s troubles lay in greater production, but more recently, a policy of restriction of output has been preached. To-day the cry is to restrict production, even to the extent of destroying what has already been produced. When people find that their much vaunted capitalistic system is crumbling, they flounder about, and apply patent remedies for ills which can be cured only by diagnosing their fundamental causes. Some of us realize that the world is in a terrible mess as the result of the capitalistic system having broken down hopelessly. The wealthiest countries, as well as the poorer ones, have their huge armies of unemployed, and cannot solve the problem because the production of wealth has outstripped the means of its equitable distribution. I agree in a great measure with the sentiments expressed by Senator Collings, that we must check the growth of a war psychology and create a peace psychology in its place. To-day’s Sydney Morning Herald contains an account of a conference held in Sydney yesterday under the auspices of the New South Wales Branch of the London Peace Society. In an effort to consolidate public opinion in favour of the abolition of war as a method of settling international disputes the President of the branch, the Rev. W. Henry Howard, said that the subject of the preservation of peace was of vital importance to the world. He said that the occasion was essentially one not for temporizing, but for generating enthusiasm in a great cause. One speaker at the conference was Mr. D. G. Stead, who occupied a prominent position in the industrial world in New South Wales for a number of years. Speaking of war hysteria Mr. Stead referred to what he termed the failure of attempts in Australia, and especially in New South Wales, to further “ a real war psychosis.” He added that the churches had been in the forefront everywhere in justifying resort to war. He referred also to the “ frightful disclosures “ regarding the manufacture of armaments, and of the “ faked talk “ of disarmament. He added that the only nation which has made a decent suggestion for international disarmament was Soviet Russia. During the Great War the Russian Soviet Government made strenuous efforts to bring about peace. I am concerned that the governments of many countries, and of Australia in particular, are deliberately entering into a race of armaments, notwithstanding that that policy has been strongly condemned throughout the world. We are trying to build up a defence force which will be regarded as adequate for the defence of this country. If Australia were involved in a war through taking part in an Imperial war, we could expect reprisals. Were Australia to become involved in another titanic conflict and be defeated, the conquering nation would inflict on us penalties similar to those imposed on Germany and her confederates by the other parties to the peace agreement. My contention is that if Australia looks after its own business there is not much danger to this country. The danger I foresee is that if the present system is allowed to continue the country will not be worth fighting for. Of what interest is it to the hundreds of thousands of unemployed in the country, whether they are under British, German, Japanese or any other rule? These unfortunates have no country; they are evicted from their homes, and if found in the streets are treated as vagrants. They have no rights in the land in which they live, and in which the majority of them were born. It is true that a benevolent country grants them the dole; but even the dole can be taken from them at any time under any pretext. Consequently, there is a growing number of people to whom “ patriotism “ is an idle word. They are encumbrances on the State, and perhaps only the members of their immediate families would be sorry to hear of their death. The first duty of the Government is to make the country worth defending, and that can be done only by insuring that every one is given an opportunity to work for his own and the general good.
– If the honorable senator believes that this country is not worth fighting for, why is he so afraid that some British company may get a part of the Northern Territory ?
SenatorRAE. - I did not say that. It is not sufficient that a country be beautiful and fertile; it must give its people more than a bare existence for them to think that it is worth defending. The riches of a country mean nothing to the inhabitants who are in abject poverty. When Great Britain pioneered the capitalistic system, and had almost a monopoly of the carrying trade of the world and machine production, it was the richest country on earth. But that wealth did not filter down to the vast majority of the people of Great Britain, who were oppressed by the most barbarous laws. They had no political rights, and the lives of tens of thousands of them was one record of misery.
– The honorable senator is going back for centuries.
SenatorRAE. - For only one century. Anybody who reads the history of the textile industry and of the working classes, during the transition from hand manufacture to machine manufacture, knows that workers died like flies because of the insanitary conditions under which they were forced to labour, and the lack of proper food.
– The conditions were almost as bad then as they are inRussia to-day.
SenatorRAE. - Trade unions had not then been established. [Quorum formed.] The. conditions of the wage-earners at that time were shocking; every writer described them as appalling. The beds of thousands of children who worked in the factories were never cold, because immediately one shift left the dormitories another took its place. The fact that the total wealth of a country may be great does not imply that the workers individually enjoy good conditions. We have to consider, not whether Australiais worth living in, but whether the conditions that have been created for hundreds of thousands of workers lead them to believe that they have nothing for which to fight. We should make their conditions of living worth while, and then they will he prepared to defend their country. For some time I have had a notice of motion on the business paper in these terms -
That, in the opinion of the Senate, the Constitution should be amended to provide that the Commonwealth shall not make war, or participate, or agree to participate, in any
Avar, except to repel invasion or resist attack.
Obviously, if every country decided that it would go to war only in the event of the invasion of its territory, Avarwould be immediately abolished. If the motion of which I have given notice were agreed to, Australiawould be setting an example which would possibly be followed by many other countries, and this would help to create a world opinion whichwould gradually make it impossible for the rulers of the nations callously to plunge their countries into war. My views on this subject are identicalwith those of
SenatorCollings. I agree with him that those who are responsible for wars should be placed in the front trenches, so that they might be shot first. When an amendment of the Defence Act was under consideration some years ago, provision was made for the exemption of members of Parliament from liability to serve in a military capacity. I opposed that provision, and would do so again if I had an opportunity. When the last war ended, the leading spirits in all countries should have been placed against a wall and shot.
– I thought that the honorable senator did not believe in capital punishment.
– What a bloodthirsty pacifist !
SenatorRAE. - The treatment that I have indicated would be justifiable retribution. Earl Grey assured the House of Commons, shortly before the outbreak of the last war, that Great Britain was not committed to agreements with any other country, but the fact was that secret treaties had been entered into between Britain and France, and between France andRussia, that those three countries should act together in opposition to Germany and its allies. If theRussian Government, which my one-time Labour colleague, Senator Pearce, finds pleasure in denouncing, has done anything to help to open the eyes of the people to the fraudulent character of their rulers, it is the publication of the secret treaties which nearly all the powers in Europe entered into with other powers whereby, if successful in battle, they would divide among them the territories of the conquered countries. The value of such war prizes is problematical. The mere possession of vast areas of country, already populated, does not seem to be advantageous. The whole principle of war is so foolish that one is surprised that sane countries adopt policies that must inevitably lead to war. Probably no phrase has done more harm to civilization than the old military adage that to secure peace, it is necessary. to be prepared for war. Preparation for war involves the building up of a military caste whose whole success in life, represented by promotion and glory, depends on the bringing about of war.
As that caste grows in numbers and influence, so those who minister to its requirements increase in number.
– Is that whyRussia is the most heavily armed nation in the world to-day ?
SenatorRAE. - The right honorable gentleman must know that from the time of the BolshevistRevolution, or soon afterwards, nearly every great power in the world established an army in order to overthrow it. All the great powers, without any declaration of war, agreed to intervention, some in alliance with the White Guards. At one time the Bolshevist Government was fighting enemies on fourteen separate fronts and it succeeded in driving them out of the country.
– Why does notRussia disarm now ?
SenatorRAE. - Because, when it presented its proposals at the Disarmament Conference, it was not even allowed time for their discussion; they were ridiculed out of court. Immediately afterwards, France sought alliances with Poland on one side, and with Latvia and Esthonia on the Baltic side, supplying them with arms, ammunition and training officers. Consequently they were a direct menace to the Soviet Government.
– It is right forRussia, but wrong for Australia to increase armaments.
SenatorRAE. - The more recent history ofRussia shows that, for some years atleast - it may have eased off now, particularly since the trade agreement with the United States of America - that country was afraid of a combined attack from the great capitalistic powers which sought to destroy the new system of government.
– A policy which in Australia the honorable senator would regard as war-mongering is apparently justified inRussia.
SenatorRAE. - It has been justified, by events. For some years after the revolutionRussia was menaced by hostile forces. The country was invaded without provocation by enemies, which caused enormous destruction of its national assets. These countries, Great Britain among the number, instituted a blockade whenRussia dropped out of the world war, and continued it for two or three years after the war had ended. Russia has been alarmed because she has been brutally treated by nations, not one of which had any direct cause of quarrel with it, or reason to declare war against it. About 1921, when Mr. Short,, a Minister in the British Cabinet, was asked to state what expenditure had been incurred by Great Britain in attempting to defeat the Russian revolution, he admitted that it had supplied munitions of war, and cash to the amount of £100,000,000, to defeat the Soviet Government. (Quorum formed.]
– It is a pity that it did not succeed.
– At one time the right honorable gentleman was a member of the Labour movement in this country. Since he deserted the cause to which he had pledged himself he has become quite malicious in his opposition to principles which he once approved.
– -I was thinking of the suffering to which the people of Russia have been subjected under the new system of government.
– Apparently the right honorable gentleman has entirely forgotten the hundreds of thousands who suffered terrible privations under the Czarist regime; but as a matter of fact only a few people have suffered under the Bolshevik rule.
– I have read that 2,000,000 of the intelligentsia of Russia were murdered.
– Actually, at the outset of the revolution only a few people suffered. “When Lenin and his followers were in power, counterrevolutions, engineered by interested parties, were the cause of the internal fighting which drenched Russia with blood for years afterwards. The government, under Lenin, had no desire at any time to slaughter any one. On the contrary, it released on parole a large number of officers and men who undertook not to engage in further hostile action against the government, but shortly after they had been given their freedom they broke their parole on the ground that they were under no obligation to observe a pledge given to the Soviet Government. Such of these men as were recaptured were shot. Such treatment of those who break their parole is customary even among enlightened peoples who regard Russia as a barbarous country.
– But what about the priests who were murdered under the Soviet rule?
– That was simply a phase of the revolution. If the honorable senator had read contemporary Russian history, he would know that the priesthood in Russia had allied itself to the most reactionary forces under the Czar, and merited the hatred of the people. Consequently, when the system of Government was changed they lost the prominent positions which, up till then, they had occupied . in the country.. Several writers of repute who have visited Russia in recent years tell us that there is the utmost religious freedom there. No attempt is made to prevent people from attending church and worshipping as they think fit, whereas, under the old regime, the Orthodox Greek church persecuted every one belonging to other creeds. Now there are in Russia almost as many creeds as there are in any other country. I was induced to refer to this matter because of the statements made by Mr. Stead in Sydney that Russia was the only country that, up to date, had made a genuine attempt at disarmament. When the Soviet Government negotiated for peace with Germany before the close of the war, it sent an invitation to the allied powers urging that, instead of having a conference with Germany alone, a general conference of all the warring powers should be held to secure peace by negotiation; but the other powers ignored its proposal with the result that Russia made a separate peace with Germany at Brest Litovsk. I repeat that many of the massacres which took place in “Russia were the direct result of counter revolutions engineered by people who, if they visited this country, would be officially welcomed by the Leader of the Senate and his ministerial colleagues.
This country is in an entirely different position from Russia; consequently, there is not the same need for increased expenditure on defence. We are not surrounded by foes. Thousands of miles of ocean separate us from our nearest potential enemy. Therefore, it is absurd to suppose that largeforces could he mobilized and transported to Australia at a moment’s notice. The modern means of communication would make it impossible to keep secret any movement hostile to Australia, so there would be ample time to take the necessary steps to defend this country. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland and Holland were surrounded by powerful warring nations during the most titanic conflict that has ever taken place in the history of the world ; yet they did not suffer except for losses sustained through the sinking of shipping by submarines. In such circumstances this country, separated as it is from alien nations by thousands of miles, should dispense with expenditure on defence. It is a crime to expend the large amount to be appropriated by this bill when many thousands are on the verge of starvation. It is infamous to attempt to join in these hopeless international struggles. What is the danger? The danger, if any, lies in the fact that we might do, as Ave did during the last war, plunge headlong into a conflict because Great Britain for political and trade reasons thought it necessary to engage in deadly conflict Avith other nations.
– What of our own safety?
– I have just said that our OAvn safety would not be endangered. It cannot be refuted that during the last war smaller countries closer than we are to the great powers managed to maintain their freedom and independence. Some of their vesselswere torpedoed, but they were not direct sufferers.
– Those countries were not such a good prize as Australia would be.
– They are worth possessing.
– It was not their strength but the mutual jealousy of neighbouring nations that ensured their safety.
– I did not say that their military strength ensured their safety and enabled them to maintain their independence. Holland and Scandinavian countries, as well as Switzerland, which is under some kind of mutual guarantee, were all able to avoid war. If those nations, surrounded as they are by heavily armed powers, were able to keep out of the fight, we are justified in saying that Australia is not in danger.
– They relied upon the mutual jealousy of their neighbours.
– The mutual jealousy of France and Germany Avould not be a strong factor when those countries were actually at war. Great Britain could have remained out of the conflict. Germany did not declare Avar against Britain, but Britain declared war against Germany. Why it did so is its own business.
– Was it not to honour the treatywith Belgium?
– The war had been in progress for some time before that excuse was made. We knoAv how these things are done.
– The German Ambassador was Avarned before he left London that the treaty with Belgium would be honoured.
– That secret treaty shoAvs that France had permission to march its troops through Belgian territory.
– What Avas the “ scrap of paper “ ofwhich Bethman Hollweg spoke?
– Nations engage in plundering the property of their neighbours, and then make excuses.
– But what of the “ scrap of paper “ ?
– That treaty was draAA’n up prior to the German States forming a German Empire.
– A “ scrap of paper “ was hurled at England.
– For the sake of a “ scrap of paper “ Britain was expected to adopt a certain course. That statement is attributed to the German Ambassador. I am not defending Germany.
– It sounds as if the honorable senator is doing so.
– The Minister may interpret my remarks as he Avishes; but I can only say that that “ scrap of paper “ showed that France had obtained the consent of Belgium to march its troops through Belgium in order to check the German advance. Great Britain, like other nations, was concerned much more in material matters than in the honoring of “ a scrap of paper.” Is it thought that a great Empire such as the British Empire would plunge into such a tremendous undertaking, merely for the purpose of honouring a treaty? “We all know that it was a trade war. Commercial and scientific development in Germany had advanced to such an extent since the formation of German Empire in 1871, that Britain felt that drastic steps had to be taken to retain its trade. German products were fast invading British markets, and by scientific skill and organization that country was building up a most powerful Empire. By the payment of shipping subsidies and various other means, Germany extended its trade and was a serious competitor in British markets. That was the real cause of the enmity and friction that arose between those two great rivals, but the destruction of Germany’s naval and military strength has resulted in other formidable powers coming forward to take the place of the defeated. An Empire with possessions scattered all over the world is more liable to be drawn into a conflict than is a smaller and more compact power. Are we to be always open to destruction by taking part in Britain’s quarrels? Only a few years ago, France and Britain were at loggerheads over Fashoda, an obscure portion of Africa when Major Marchand, a French officer, endeavoured to annex a portion of that country to which Britain thought it had a right. The friction was so great that the two countries were on the brink of war. Africa has been distributed among great European powers to such an extent that Abyssinia is now the only portion that can claim to possess nominal freedom. It is ridiculous for Australia to be associated with the disputes between other nations. Our association with the British Empire places’ us in greater danger than we would otherwise be. We are told that the trade routes between Australia and other countries are protected by the British Navy, and that in the event of a blockade our overseas trade would be stopped and we would be faced with disaster. A country which can produce everything necessary for its primary needs would not starve even in the event of a successful blockade. We could exercise our energies to manufacturing commodities which we do not now produce, and instead of a blockade being a disaster, it might be a blessing in disguise. Surely it is not suggested that a country that can produce wool, wheat and numerous other primary products would be starved in the event of a successful blockade. We would regret such an event but it would not be tragic. We have been informed by the Minister for Defence that the amount to be appropriated for defence is only a commencement, and that the Government intends to provide additional millions of pounds for this work of destruction. When the measure is in committee, I shall oppose the appropriation of any money for this purpose. It would be better to withdraw from the League of Nations and save the expenditure which Australia’s membership involves. Let us admit frankly that we are a martial race, and are training ourselves to be the masters of the world.
– If the honorable senator’s arguments are sound, we should not have even a police force.
– There is no analogy between a police force, whose function is to maintain peace within a country, and an armed force trained to take part in all Imperial wars, even to the extent of going away from its home country.
– The British Navy is the greatest guarantee of peace in the world.
SenatorRAE. - The right honorable gentleman seems capable only of repeating phrases which he learned when a boy at school.
– Truth is not less because it is old.
SenatorRAE. - If the British Navy is the greatest guarantee of peace in the world, as the right honorable senator claims, then the British Government has recently made a big contribution to world peace by deciding to increase its navy. If it were to construct another 20 or 30 big fighting vessels, the peace of the world would be assured.
– Additions to the British Navy make peace more certain.
– The greatest fallacy of all time is the belief that the best way to guarantee peace is to be prepared for war.
– The British Navy will never be used for aggressive purposes.
– History shows that wars have injured all those who have participated in them.
– My opinion of the Senate is not enhanced by the procedure on this occasion. It is stupid for a few honorable senators to continue at this late hour listening to long and diverse speeches on all matters under the sun. It is a sad commentary on our intelligence that, with so much time at our disposal, we should continue sitting when honorable senators are half asleep. I, therefore, ask leave to continue my remarks at a later hour.
Leave not granted.
The refusal to grant my request has shattered my faith in the Senate. Like Senator Collings, I am a pacifist, but, if struck, I would strike back. Senator Collings, although a pacifist, is a fighter, too. On one occasion when addressing a pacifist meeting in Market-square, Brisbane, he told the crowd that the only way to end war was to adopt the folded arms policy. Thereupon, some one in the crowd struck him with a potato weighing about 2 lb. The speaker got down from the platform, closed with his antagonist, and a fierce fight ensued. A little later a policeman came along and said, “Leave the man to me,” at the same time striking him so severe a blow that he had to be taken to the hospital. On that occasion, the pacifist, now Senator Collings, showed that he was also a fighter. The sentiment of the individual is also the sentiment of the nation. With human nature what it is, it is absurd to expect the nation to adopt pacifism. If an enemy were to attack Australia to-morrow, the whole nation would rise to resist the attacker. Although the Labour party’s platform stands for the adequate defence of this country, there are some who say that that does not involve any of our fighting forces leaving Australia. If it were known that a force was on the way to attack Australia, the best means of defence would probably be to go out and meet it. I can see no logic in the arguments of those who profess to believe in adequate defence, and yet object to Australia being defended outside its territorial limits.
– If there must be war, it is better that the fighting should take place in the enemy’s country than in our own.
– The only logical anti-war policy is that of the man who is prepared to lay down his life rather than fight. During the war, a number of pacifists in England would not even go to the front as non-combatants. They contended that, if they succoured a wounded soldier, and he recovered, he would be sent back to the war arena to fight again. Those men had the courage of their convictions, but so fiercely were they persecuted’ that many of them ended their days in lunatic asylums. I do not greatly care what a man’s views are - whether he is a true-blue, all-wool-and-a-yard-wide tory, or a Communist or an anarchist - if he is prepared to die for his belief, he is entitled to respect.
A ludicrous position has been reached when a man is compelled to continue his address in a state of coma. If ‘I am forced to continue this debate, I shall take every advantage of my opportunity. If the people of Australia could see how the business of this chamber is conducted, the Senate would not last for another day. Parliamentary institutions are brought into disrepute, because of the stupidity of continuing our deliberations at this hour of the morning. [Quorum formed.]
I have been endeavouring to place before the House the true position in regard to defence from the Labour party’s point of view. It is remarkable that for war purposes, and for defence, millions of pounds are readily voted. The defence estimates of the European countries, the United States of America and Japan, are now larger than they were a few years ago, despite all the striving for peace and disarmament. If Australia were in danger of invasion, and if the people of this country could be convinced by newspaper propaganda that Australia was threatened with invasion, millions of pounds would be found for defence purposes. In fact, the present Government is now increasing the amount to he voted for defence, purposes. If it were not for the fact that work is needed for thousands of unemployed in our midst, and that the invalid and old-age pensioners should have the full amount of their pensions restored to them, I should welcome expenditure on defence, because it would mean the restoration of purchasing power to that section of the community which has practically no purchasing power to-day. If guns were mounted along the whole coastline of Australia at a cost of millions of pounds, at least employment would be provided for large numbers of people, who would be raised above the breadline. If the Government called for a loan of some millions of pounds for defence purposes, the banks would be prepared to find the necessary credit. I am not worried unduly about the need for the defence of this country, because if Australia were in any danger, as has been suggested by the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. Hughes) and others, the financial institutions of this country and the economic rulers would find the necessary funds to make adequate provision for defence. [Quorum formed.]
The ringing of the bells for a quorum further demonstrates the stupidity of the practice of carrying on the debate at this unreasonable hour.
Senator Pearce, in his reply to Senator MacDonald, said that efforts had been made on many occasions by various governments to settle the Northern Territory, but without success. He added that private enterprise had now come to the rescue, and was prepared to develop that vast territory, and make it secure against invasion. I have often wondered why it is considered possible for either a government or private enterprise to settle that country when large areas of more fertile land are available for settlement in other parts of Australia. Are we not hitching our wagon to a star? If we adopted a proper policy of national development, the problem of the settlement of the Northern Territory would not arise. If Australia’s internal policy is controlled by a weak government that fails to understand our economic posi- tion, it will be of no use to invite capitalists abroad to invest their money in the development of the Northern Territory. The adoption of a proper policy by the Government would result in bringing to these shores thousands of workers who would be pleased to settle here, and enjoy the high standard of living which would be assured to them. Under the policy of the present Government, the Northern Territory will continue to be a white elephant.
I have received a letter from the Douglas Social Credit Association, which held a large meeting in the Sydney Town Hall on the 14th September last. This associa-tion considers that it has found a solution of our economic troubles, and that, if its ideas were put into operation, the problem of populating the Northern Territory would be solved, and unemployment would disappear. I ask leave to continue my remarks.
Leave not granted.
– The Douglas Social Credit Association has a large number of followers in Australia. I understand that it is adding to its numbers from week to week, and now ranks among its members men of the highest intelligence and the greatest enthusiasm. Sometimes I think that their enthusiasm is greater than their intelligence, but evidently this organization believes that it has a solution for all our economic ills. At a meeting in the Sydney Town Hall, on the 14th November, it made the following declarations and demands : -
We declare that cruel and unnecessary poverty is being imposed upon the people of Australia.
We declare that, for all fundamental purposes, finance has subjugated the elected Government of Australia and reduced the Sovereign rights of the people to a sham.
I hope that Country party senators are listening carefully. Under our present social system, governments are dominated by the financial interests.
We declare that there is no physical reason why tlie people should not enjoy a standard of living commensurate with greatly increased ability to produce goods and services.
Every honorable senator will agree that we should enjoy the highest standard of living.
We declare that the changes necessary are merely those of financial method and financial policy. Bank deposits and savings, the private control of industry, the property of shareholders, the daily habits of the people, and personal initiative need not, and should not, be interfered with.
All conservatives will approve of the latter part of that declaration -
We declare that the Douglas Social Credit Association, while remaining non-party, and reaffirming its educational policy, will throw its whole weight behind such approved candidates as will fully support and advocate the following demands on the floor of Parliament:
We demand that full use be made of the Commonwealth Bank to finance the mi tion.
As this proposal is approved by the Labour party, we may be reasonably sure that, when Labour again comes into power, it will give effect to it.
Wo demand that all credit issued for national undertakings and services, including defence, be debt free.
I direct the attention of the Leader of the Senate to that demand. If Australia had financed the war by means of credits free of interest, the Commonwealth would not now be in ite present difficult financial position. Sir Oswald Stoll, a prominent financial authority in the Mother Country, has written a book on national credit, in which he advocates tho national control of credit and the granting to the people of free credit to the extent of 50 per cent, of the value of all productive industries. Sir Oswald Stoll maintains that if the Empire is to carry on in successful competition with other countries, it must adopt the proposals which he has outlined in his book. I do not say that I agree with all of his conclusions, but all honorable senators will admit that we cannot ignore the ideas that are promulgated by so many acknowledged financial authorities who are closely allied to the existing financial system in the Mother Country. Another authority supporting financial reform on somewhat similar lines is Professor Irving Fisher, a man of great intellectual attainments, one who has spent a lifetime in the study of economics. He affirms that if the nations of the world are to escape from the grip of the financial octopus, which is strangling the community, action must be taken to control the financial situation. Further demands made by the Douglas Social Credit Association are -
We demand that loan credit, free of interest, be provided to local government bodies, manufacturers, farmers and pastoralists, &u., on approved security.
I hope that the representatives of the primary producers are studying the propaganda issued by this association. 1 do not say that I believe in it, but it does hold out some hope for the farmers -
We demand’ that credit be issued to pay a bounty ou primary exports in order to bring overseas prices up to the average cost of production (including profit) in Australia.
We demand that a national dividend, based on the increasing productive capacity of the whole community, be paid (over and above wages) to every mau, woman and child whether in work or not.
I do not say that. I endorse that, for T agree with St. Paul who, we are told, declared that ho who will not work neither shall he eat. “
– Would the honorable senator deny food to a man simply because he was out of work ?
– I welcome that interjection, because it gives me the opportunity to say that, if I had my way, and if we had in power a Labour government, drastic changes would be made in the existing capitalist system, and work would be provided for all our people. Under the present system the farmers produce abundance of foodstuffs, but thousands of our people are unable to procure it. I wish it to be clearly understood that, although I have read the declarations and demands of the Douglas Credit Association, it does not follow that. I endorse them. I have merely brought them under the notice of honorable senators, and particularly the representatives of our primary producers, in order that they may study them and decide whether or not they are of any value. The association made this further demand -
We demand that the national credit be used to reduce prices to consumers by means of a subsidy, ensuring to vendors the recovery of full costs of production, and agreed margins of profit, thus preventing inflation, and increasing the purchasing power of money. These demands are made by an association which is growing in power and cannot be ignored. Many who have criticized the Douglas credit system do not understand how it operates. There is much in the system with which I do not agree, but I must admit that Mr. Douglas is rendering a service to the community by drawing attention to the present financial oligarchy, and in opposing a stupid system under which people are starving in a world of plenty. Douglas is right when he says that capitalism cannot continue unless there is a continual flow of bank credits, rendering possible the development of the system, building up capital goods, and restoring purchasing power to the people. When capitalism ceases to advance, it tends to reach a static stage and unemployment ensues. Douglas is right when he ‘ says that some method must be adopted by governments or financial institutions to provide that when productivity increases the purchasing power of the people also must increase to remove the products of their energy from the markets. I challenge the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), or any other honorable senator opposite who has studied economics to prove where I am wrong. I do not suggest that the Douglas credit system, the nationalization of banking or any other credit system will solve all our economic problems. They ;are so great and so numerous that they cannot be solved by one reform. The action which the Labour party is taking is in the right direction. That party is attempting to organize the banking facilities of Australia on national lines for the benefit of the nation. Nationalization of banking will be a big step towards the stage when the people will be able to produce commodities for their own benefit. I remind the Leader of the Government who has asked how we can issue credits and how they pan be repaid, of what was done during the war. Credits were issued for the prosecution of the war, .and I do not think that any economist will deny that during that period there was inflation through the issue .of bank credits, which had only the backing of the nation. If the nation allows private banking institutions to issue credits which build up bank balances to b.e lent to their customers at high rates of interest, why should not the nation control its own monetary policy and organize its banking facilities for the benefit of the nation? The nation can issue credits to those requiring them without interest. The backing would be the productive and taxing power of the community. If the private banks had the power to tax the community, the amount of credit they could issue would -be enormous. If the private banks could issue such credits, why should not the nations do so? Unfortunately, many of our farmers and those who are unemployed will not study this interesting subject. They tinker with tariffs and subsidies and other superficial matters, but they will not get down to bedrock.. Douglas and other authorities point out that in Australia and in other countries the productive power could be increased to a remarkable extent if the means of distribution were improved and the present banking methods changed. A few days ago, the honorable member for Darling Downs (Sir Littleton Groom) said that there are many fallacies concerning credit and th.e issue of currency. He described the position by saying, “ Here is a table on which there are all the necessary products of this country. If we issue paper money in order to facilitate the distribution of those products, the quantity of goods on the table will not be increased “. No intelligent student of monetary reform would contend that by increasing the issue of paper money productivity is increased. The Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) made a similar stupid accusation against the members of the Labour party recently. No member of that party is sufficiently foolish to say that the issue of paper currency would increase productivity. The inflation of currency is reflected in prices, but the quantity of the commodities produced is not increased. I point out for the benefit of Sir Littleton Groom that it’ is the objective of the members of the Labour party and of the monetary school with which I have been associated so to exercise their power to control currency and the issue of credits that it would be possible to increase productivity and distribution. Douglas has endeavoured to show how, by the application of the principle which he advocates, we should be able to increase productivity and distribution, and, at the same time, maintain prices at a normal level. Up to the present, I have been unable to find that the Douglas credit system will do all that he claims for it. He is, however, making a serious attempt to solve the problem, and his proposals are worthy of careful consideration. Stupid antagonism arises simply because it is a new idea. On a number of occasions I have discussed this system with some of its exponents, because I believe that much of it is right. At present we have financial ‘ poverty in ‘ the midst of real wealth. “We have a huge production of all kinds of commodities which we cannot . distribute because of our financial policy. The Marxian students argue that certain economic .relationships, in this and every other capitalistic country, have caused the troubles which beset the world. They say that the world’s troubles are primarily due to the system of profit-making and profit-taking, and that while that system exists no amount of tinkering with the monetary machine will effect any radical improvement of the economic lot of the people. One school of monetary reformers points to Russia and says that in that country great improvements have been effected by changing the financial structure, whereas the Marxians claim that the change in the economic structure has caused a fundamental change in the financial structure. One school believes in first changing the economic relationship; the other in changing the financial policy. I shall read an excerpt from Twelve Studies in Soviet Russia in order to enlighten those honorable senators who are unacquainted with the relation of finance to distribution and production -
The financial structure of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics which it has been the object of these pages to describe, has passed through many metamorphoses before reaching its present shape, lt has to-day many features in common with those of capitalist countries. It has a monetary system which is everywhere in daily use. It employs cheques for transactions between different business organizations. It has a central bank of issue and special banks. It provides long-term advances . and short-term credit for industry. It raises loans from the citizens for furthering the objects of the government.
That will probably be news to many honorable senators who have not thought that the Government of Soviet Russia would raise loans, and pay interest, to those who are prepared to assist it. The excerpt continues -
But in many of these things the superficial similarity of technique hides a very wide difference in essence.” It must never be forgotten when . thinking of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics that the big hand of the State is behind nearly all the transactions. The “ trusts “ which rim its industry are organs of the State, and the cheques which pass between them do not really alter ownership; they resemble the cheques that a man who owns a factory and a farm may draw in order to transfer money from one of his accounts to another to pay for articles supplied and to keep correct accounts for both his undertakings.
In the realm of prices and exchange the similarity with capitalist finance is thinnest of all, and rugged differences brought about by the real basis of the communist system are everywhere coming to the surface. Gone is the law ‘ of supply and demand. Gone are the common market and the single price. Gone is the general price level. Gone is any real correspondence between exchange rates and purchasing power parity. Instead, there is a system of price-fixing and regulation of exchange which depends on the conscious, deliberate will of the government.
Perhaps most remarkable of all is the method of raising capital for new and extended development. It used to be a favourite argument of defenders of the capitalist system that a Socialist State would spend all its income and save nothing. The exact reverse has taken pla.ee in the Union of Socialist .Soviet Republics. Under the Communist Government the people have been called on to make sacrifices of the present for the future on a scale undreamed of elsewhere. I have shown that the principal financial means by which this is accomplished to-day consists in the turnover tax, which has., of course, the effect of raising the price of consumers’ goods.
The financial structure of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics certainly seems to make up a logical self-consistent whole which works successfully and provides the necessary checks against inefficiency and waste. It is far too early, however, to say that it has reached its final form. For the plastic nature of the whole Soviet regime is one of its most notable and engaging characteristics. A rigid, unchanging system may provide stability; it may in a sense be a sign of strength. But the power to change is one of the fundamental indications of life.
In this country the majority of the people have no desire to emulate Russia. They believe that, through their Parliamentary institutions, they can make big changes which will eliminate much of the unrest and the economic troubles from which the people suffer. The Douglas school of reform maintains that there is no real necessity to emulate Russia. Its followers contend that the greatest need is to control policy, not administration. In Russia both policy and administration are controlled. In Australia those who believe in monetary reform contend that, by the control of policy, they will be able to govern, administration. In other words, they believe that administration can be left in the hands of private individuals. Under the Douglas system an ordinary employer in any line of business would continue to administer his factory. Every employer would continue as to-day; but, instead of finance being under the control of private institutions, there would be such a control of policy that finance would be utilized for the common good, and for ensuring that the products of privately-controlled factories of every description were distributed among the people. * Q varum formed.’]*
In hi3 somewhat acrid and ineffective criticism of my speech the other day, the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) said that the banks made their profits from lending the money entrusted to them by depositors, and that it would be stupid of them not to release credit if there was a demand for it. I did not use the words attributed to me by the right honorable senator. Monetary reformers definitely state that the banks do not make their profits from the lending of depositors’ real money. They contend that bank credit, which, in effect, is purchasing power, is created by the banks themselves.
– What do the banks do with the deposits?
– They have the real money as backing for the credit. The remarks of the Leader of the Senate show his, lack of understanding of modern banking methods. Apparently, he does not know that modern trading banks have the power to create credit. That they do so is confirmed by the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 14th edition. I commend to honorable senators Booms and Depressions, by Irving Fisher, an American economist of repute. In it the writer says -
Deposits are the balances on the stubs of cheque-books- “the “ money “ which people have in banks and which they transfer by cheque. A typical depositor deposits neither gold nor silver, nor any other money, but merely his promissory note. What he thus accomplishes is to trade his debt to the bank for a debt from the bank to himself; tlie object being that he may get something which will circulate. His own note will not circulate, but the bank’s deposit-liability to him will. Against this, he can draw cheques which, in his own business circle, will be accepted almost as freely as legal-tender money. In short, he converts his own non-circulating credit into the bank’s circulating credit. New “ money “ is thereby created, not by the mint nor the Bureau of Engraving, but merely by the pen and ink of the banker and his customer. But when the customer pays his note, he undoes the whole transaction; that is, he wipes out an equal amount of circulating credit.
A few days ago I said that, if people to whom taxes were remitted used the remission for the purpose of paying off their debts to the banks, it followed that, if the money was not re-issued, -it went out of circulation, with the result that deflation ensued. In that case, although taxation had been remitted to some people, no impetus would be given to employment, because the money has been returned to the banks and was not re-issued. Irving Fisher continues -
In this respect, the payment of a business debt owing to a commercial bank involves consequences different from those involved in the payment of a debt, owing from one individual to another. A man-to-man debt may be paid without affecting the volume of OUtstanding currency; for whatever currency is paid by one, whether it be legal tender or deposit currency transferred by cheque, is received by thu other, and is still outstanding. But when a debit to a commercial bank is paid by cheque out of a deposit balance, that amount of deposit currency simply disappears.
That supports a statement recently made by me regarding the effect on unemployment of the remission of taxes. Some people consider that the banks cannot create credit, but lend real money. That is not the opinion of Mr. R. McKenna, chairman of the Midland Bank, who was once British Chancellor of the Exchequer. He shows clearly that the private banks have the power to create credit. The Labour party claims that the nation has a perfect right to control that credit. Under a system of nationalization of credit, the community would not be exploited. To-day the farmers are extensively exploited because of the system of private banking. About 85 per cent, of them are either bankrupt, or on the verge of bankruptcy; yet, with less expenditure of energy, they are producing more wealth than ever before. This shows (hut the present stupid system needs to he overhauled. “William Kniffin, a noted American financial writer, states, iu
A merican Banking Practice -
When a loan is made, the amount is credited to the’ depositor as a deposit would bv, aud he draws against the credit.
The Melbourne Herald, in its issue of the the 22nd September, 1920, in describing the method of raising loans in the United States of America, remarked -
Banks subscribed to the loans simply by writing deposits on their books to the Government’s credit..
It will be contended that in the issue of loans the banks have collateral security; but, during the last war, loans were issued without collateral security. In this way the banks practised inflation. Mr. McKenna and others realize that the issue of bank credit creates bank deposits. It was shown clearly, in the Macmillan report, that the issue of loans is followed by a relative increase of bank deposits. If 1 borrow ±’1,000 of bank-created credit, and pay the money to other individuals, the amounts are credited to their hanking accounts, and an increase of deposits is shown. This simply means that an increase of the amount of bank credit issued has occurred. I do not say that bankers ure a vicious body of individuals who are trying to exploit the people of Australia”, I do not stand for propaganda of that kind. I realize that the banks of this country have played their part within the ambit of capitalism, and that bank managers are intelligent men; but the fact that Uley understand their business is not evidence that a better substitute for private banking is not possible. Merely because monetary reformers criticize banking institutions, many people jump to thu conclusion that bank managers are n band of modern financial gangsters, who are out. lo throttle the community iu order to increase their own wealth. Bunking is a growth of our economic system, but the development of economic forces outside the banking institutions has been such that at the present time they are compelling a change of banking policy. If a policy of nationalization were adopted, it would be possible to overcome many of the disabilities which Australia is suffering. I have not stated, as I was accused of saying a few weeks ago, by the Brisbane Telegraph that nationalization furnishes the sole solution of our economic problem ; yet 1 believe that if the nation had full control of its financial institutions, it could use them for internal development to the fullest extent that the economic position of Australia would permit. If these institutions were utilized for the benefit of the community as a whole, not one primary producer would be suffering, as he is today, because of bankruptcy, or the fear of bankruptcy, due to the very low prices of his commodities. The control of finance is the first step necessary towards the stabilization of prices. The internal price of wheat, or any other primary product, could he raised to such a level that it would compare favorably with the prices of commodities in secondary industries. The Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page), the honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson), and several members of this Senate, have stated that one of the causes of our present troubles is that, the prices of primary products are low in comparison with those of secondary products, and it is impossible for the farmers to purchase from city manufacturers the commodities that they need. One of the economists has said that the best remedy would be to stabilize the prices of primary products at a higher rate so as to increase the purchasing power of the farmers. I hope that, as the result of the constant efforts being made in this country, the people of Australia will he induced to return to power a government that will be sufficiently courageous and intelligent to realize that such a system of nationalised banking could bc used for the benefit of both the producer and the worker. Before many years have passed, I believe that nil workers in this country will receive the full benefit of their labour, and no man, woman or child will need to go short of the necessaries of life.
Some reformers go further than nationalization, and adopt a different attitude from that of the supporters of the Douglas credit system. Mr. G. D. H. Cole, who has been a constant writer on economic matters in the Old Country, thinks that nationalization, although a step in the right direction, would not bc sufficient; but, personally, I. consider that if nationalization could he achieved, an important reform would have been effected. Mr. Cole states - lt ia therefore necessary to control tlie destination Cla well as tlie amount, of credit, and accordingly to control tho joint-stock banks, which arn tile main granters of credit, as well as the Bani; of England, which is the chief regulator of ils amount.
He believes that means should be adopted whereby the application of credit to industry could be controlled. It would be folly, under a rational system, to lend banking credit to entrepreneurs, if they used it for the purpose of building up industries which are not essential to the community. We have sufficient boot factories in Australia, at the present time, and it would he ridiculous to allow national credit to be employed in establishing more of them. Similarly, it would be a mistake to use the credit of the country for tho further exploitation of wheat lauds when we grow sufficient wheat for our own requirements, arid have a large exportable surplus. Therefore, in the. application of monetary policy, the issue of credit should be intelligently directed, and we should use it with a national objective- the utilization of the productive forces of the country, both primary and secondary, with the idea of producing all that is necessary to supply our needs with the least expenditure of energy. I am quite satisfied that, before many years are over, we shall have in this country a system of national planning and intelligent direction of our productive forces and distribution agencies. Our present difficulties arc due to the lack of understanding and application of these principles. But for tho drought we would be producing this year such au enormous quantity of wheat that we should be unable to get rid of it, although at the present time hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world are in need of it. The same conditions obtain in many other countries. Publicists and preachers have, for a long time, been emphasizing that tho world is suffering from over-production and a dearth of purchasing power solely due to lack of national planning. I am aware that there are in the community people who believe that, if only we could get back to the position that obtained prior to the war, when trade flowed more freely between the various countries, many of our troubles and most of the world’s unemployment problems would disappear. Even the most cursory analysis of modern production and distribution systems must dissipate that idea. Every intelligent student of world economy must come to the conclusion that since the war there has been such a hurried development of production that it is impossible to revert to the old order. We can no longer keep our heads in tho clouds or, ostrich-like, buried in the sand, in the belief that, by ignoring what is happening in the world, we can escape its consequences. Dr. Schacht, the Reichbank president, upon his return from the World Economic Conference a few months ago, made this statement concerning the failure of that gathering: -
Tt would be useless to put special blame on any one. It nas the system that was at fault. . . International co-operation will not prove effectual until each individual State, out of its own latent resources, becomes master of its own economic situation.
I agree with that view. I believe that before Australia can - emerge triumphantly from its present difficult situation, it must put its house in order. ThiB will not bc possible until the people are educated to the need for financial reform. Once they realize its importance we shall be able to utilize our economic resources in such a way that every section of the community will benefit. The national control of our financial institutions is a step in that direction.
– The honorable senator has exhausted his time.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a first time.
Senate adjourned at 3.21 a.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 30 November 1933, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1933/19331130_senate_13_143/>.