10 November 1936

14th Parliament · 1st Session

The Senate on the 9th October, 1936, adjourned till a day and hour to be fixed and to be notified by the President to each honorable senator.

The Senate met at 3 p.m., pursuant to the notification of the President.

The Clerk. - I have received from the President an intimation that, owing to illness, he will be absent from the sitting of the Senate to-day. In accordance with the Standing Order, the Chairman of Committees will take the chair as Deputy President.

The Deputy President (Senator Sampson) took the chair and read prayers.

page 1616


Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

by leave - It is my sad duty to propose to the Senate a motion of condolence with the widow of the late Sir Murray Anderson, Governor of New South Wales. Sir Murray, who passed away in Sydney on the 30th October, had not been very long in Australia, but in the short time that he was with us he gave abundant evidenoe ofhis deep interest in Australian affairs. Hecame to us with a record oflong and distinguished service to the Empire in general, and we were looking forward to a continuance of that service, with respect to New South Wales in particular. His service in the Navy over a very lengthy period earned for him great renown, and he achieved the distinction of commanding the Royal Navy on the China and African stations. Later,he was appointed High Commissioner for the United Kingdom in South Africa. He was the representative of. the Admiralty on the League of Nations Permanent Advisory Commission and, immediately prior to his recent appointment, was Governor and CommanderinChief of Newfoundland. We deeply regret his passing, and our sympathy goes out to his widow in her time of great sorrow. I move -

That ‘ this Senate expressesits profound regret at the death of Admiral Sir David Murray Anderson, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., M.V.O., Governor of the State of New SouthWales and tenders its heartfelt sympathy to his widow in her bereavement.


– I second the motion, and associate the members of the Opposition with the remarks of the Leader of the Senate regarding the passing of Sir Murray Anderson. I was not personally acquainted with the deceased gentleman, but the passing of a distinguished public man is always a matter for regret to the community generally, and for grief to the loved ones whom he’ leaves behind.

Senator HARDY:
New South Wales

– I desire to associate the members of the United Country party with the motion. Like the Leader of the Opposition, I did not know. His Excellency personally, but I have heard a good deal during the brief period that he was in Australia of the strength of his personality, and am sure that, had he been spared to live among us, he would, following the example set by his predecessors, have discharged his duties in accordance with the highest ideals, and endeared himself to the people of New South Wales.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.

page 1617


Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

by leave - It is with profound regret that I inform honorable senators of the death of Sir Littleton Groom in Canberra, on Friday last, the 6th November. Born in Toowoomba 69 years ago, he received his early education in that town. Passing on to the University of Melbourne, he crowned his brilliant scholastic career by attaining the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Laws. Later he was admitted to the Bar.

His association with this Parliament began in 1901 when, on the death of his revered father, the late W. H. Groom, he was elected as member for Darling Downs. He represented that constituency, with one intermission, for a period of 33 years. During much of that time, he was a Minister of State; his service as a Commonwealth Minister was somewhat striking for the diversity of the portfolios he held at one time or another. He was, in turn, Minister for Home Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for External Affairs, Minister for Trade and Customs, Honorary Minister, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Works and Railways, and Minister for Health. He was AttorneyGeneral and Minister for Trade and Customs on two separate occasions. In 1924, he was the senior delegate from the Commonwealth to the Assembly of the League of Nations, and was chairrnain of the First Committee of the Fifth Assembly.. Earlier in that year, he was honoured by His Majesty by being appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished

Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. In 1926, he was chosen as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He retained that position until the general elections in September, 1929. During his occupancy of the Speakership, he worthily upheld the traditions of that high office. As chairman of the Bankruptcy Legislation Committee from 1932 to 1936, he gave of his best in the praiseworthy task of endeavouring to improve an important branch of the statute law.

I have so far referred to his record of public service as a member of this Parliament and a member of successive Cabinets. In other ways also, his record of service is equally notable. His abiding interest in, and appreciation of, spiritual things is shown by his life-long devotion to the ideals and practices of the church of which he was such a faithful member. His services to literature and cultural movements in general will be acknowledged by those whose privilege and pleasure it was to be more intimately associated with him in his moments of leisure. He was a man splendidly equipped by nature, endowed with a fine intellect, actuated by the highest ideals of service, and unsparing in his efforts for the betterment of his country. A great figure has passed from Australian public life, and many will mourn his passing. Thoughts of his widow and daughter come into our minds at this time. We grieve with them and offer our sympathy to console them in some measure in their great sorrow. I move -

ThatthisSenateexpresses its profound regret at the death of the Honorable Sir Littleton Groom, K.C.M.G.,K.C., Member tor Darling Downs. and a former Commonwealth Minister of State and Speaker of the House of Representatives, placesonrecord its appreciation of his outstandingpublic services to Australia, and tenders to his widow and daughter its deep sympathy in their bereavement.


– In seconding this motion I feelthat I am honouring myself and my colleagues of the Opposition when I join withthe right honorable the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) in paying a last tribute of respect to the memory of one who hasbeen so suddenly removed fromour midst. I knew the late Sir

Littleton Groom from the time he entered the public life of my own State. I also knew his father, and can testify to the splendid service of father and son to Queensland and Australia generally. If it cun he said of any man that he was a cultured gentleman, and that he had a well-balanced nature, that he earned the profound respect of every one with whom he came in contact, that can be truly said of Sir Littleton Groom. A man of wide education, a lover of literature and of all that is best and most beautiful in life, he was incapable of coarseness of either thought or expression. As a speaker he was much sought after. I heard him speak on numerous occasions, on widely different subjects and always with advantage to myself. He ennobled and dignified the simple and the abstrusealike. He will be long remembered by all who love Canberra for his wonderful work in connexion with this splendid National Capital. Before a spade was turned, or a brick laid in, the building of this city, he visualized the Canberra that now is, and what it will yet be. He saw it as Australia’s contribution to our national consciousness. He loved its beauty and dignity as few others have done, and in this connexion, as in others, he has left us a legacy worth cherishing. All our hearts go out in deepest sympathy to Lady Groom, whose loss is tragic and irreparable.

Senator HARDY:
New South Wales

– It is one of the sad duties of the leader of a political party to express, on behalf of members of his party, sorrow at the passing of great men who have served the Commonwealth, and always on such occasions it is extremely difficult by means of the spoken word to pay adequate tribute to their memory. The Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) expressed the thought of all honorable senators when they said that Sir Littleton Groom was a great Australian, a man who followed the dictates of his conscience, regardless of consequences. Sir Littleton Groom had an independence of thought which it was most refreshing to find in a public man, and his passing is a national loss. I associate myself with the expressions of sympathy with the widow and daughter of the late honorable gentleman.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.

page 1618


Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

by leave - I have to announce, with regret, that yet another member of this Parliament has passed from our midst since we last met. I refer to the late Mr. David Riordan. member for Kennedy in the House of Representatives who passed away in Brisbane on the 15th October last. The late Mr. Riordan was formerly a member of the Legislative Assembly in Queensland, having been elected as member for Burke in 1918. He continued to represent that constituency until his election to this Parliament in 1929. For several years he had been a Temporary Chairman of Committees in the House of Representatives Mr. Riordan was a big-hearted Australian whose word was his bond. Possessed of a remarkable knowledge of the problems of the electors in his huge electorate of Kennedy, he never failed to champion their interests. We greatly regret hi3 passing, and extend to his widow and children our sincere sympathy in the great loss they have sustained. 5 move -

That this Senate expresses its profound regret at the death of Mr. David Riordan, member for the Division of Kennedy in the House of Representatives, places on record its appreciation of his meritorious public service, nml tenders to his widow and family its heartfelt sympathy in their bereavement.


– I second the motion. I knew the late Mr. Riordan before he entered the Queensland State Parliament, and have had the opportunity to watch his career both there and in the wider sphere of this National Parliament. I have just concluded a tour of North-western Queensland, which included 5 a considerable portion of the vast area which my friend and comrade represented in this Parliament, and I do not think I have ever previously realized so keenly how occasionally there comes out of the welter of public life and service a character which earns, not only the esteem of the people -whom he served, but their love and affection also. That does not in any way over-colour the picture. Everywhere I went, amongst’ his political friends and those opposed to him, I found genuine sorrow because of the loss of a friend. Born and bred in the Queensland bush, accustomed to a life of toil and hard knocks, “Darby” Riordan had that rugged personality, that kindness to all in need, and that faithfulness in the discharge of his duty to his electorate and his electors which endeared him closely to all who knew him, and made him a prominent figure in the public life of, not only Queensland, but all Australia. I tender to hia sorrowing widow and daughters, and to all other members of his family, the sincere sympathy of myself and my colleagues of the Opposition.

Senator HARDY:
New South Wales

– I had not known Mr. Riordan over a long period of years, hut, even during my brief contact with him in this Parliament, I could not help being impressed by his obvious sincerity of purpose and his method and interpretation of life. He was a stalwart of the Labour movement, and he fought strenuously to promote ite interests and ideals. His passing is a loss to Queensland and to the people of the Commonwealth generally.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.

page 1619


Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

by leave - It is with very great regret that I have to inform the Senate of the death of the Honorable William Webster, a former member of the House of Representatives, who passed away at Parramatta, New South Wales, on the 8th October last. The late Mr. Webster first entered Parliament iu July, 1901, when he was elected to represent the Division of Moree in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales. At the general election of 1903, he was elected as member for Gwydir in the House of Representatives, and retained that seat until the general election of 1919. During the years 1908 to 1910, the late gentleman was a member of the Royal Commission on Postal Services. In October, 1915, he was appointed Postmaster-General in the Hughes Ministry, and held that portfolio until February, 1920. He was a man of strong personal character, unsparing in his efforts on behalf of the cause he represented, a staunch and true friend, and a colleague in whom one could place implicit trust. I greatly regret his passing, and it is fitting that we should convey to his widow and family a resolution of sympathy. I move -

That this Senate expresses its profound regret at the death of the Honorable William Webster, a former member of the New South Wales and Commonwealth Parliaments, and Commonwealth Minister of State, places on record its appreciation of his distinguished public service., and tenders to his widow and. family its deep sympathy in their bereavement.


– I desire to associate myself and other members of the Opposition with the motion. I cannot claim a close personal acquaintance with the late Mr. Webster, but I knew of him as a public man. We all regret the toll which death is continually taking of distinguished men who have rendered services such as the deceased gave to both his State and the Commonwealth. Our sympathy is extended to those who are left to mourn his departure. ‘

Senator HARDY:
New South Wales

– Ou behalf of the members of the United Country party, I support the motion. We associate ourselves with the remarks of appreciation of the public service of the late Mr. Webster, and extend our sympathy to the widow and family.

Question resolved in the affirmative, honorable senators standing in their places.

page 1619


Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

– I suggest that as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Sir Littleton Groom and Mr. Riordan, and in order to enable honorable senators to attend the funeral of the late Sir Littleton Groom, the sitting of the Senate be suspended until 8 p.m.

Sitting suspended from3.22. to 8 p.m.

page 1620


The following paperswere presented : -

Conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, held at Adelaide, 20th to 28th August, 1936 - Proceedings and Decisions of Conference.

High Commissioner for Australia in London - Report for 1935.

Arbitration (Public. Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c- No. 15 of1936 - Commonwealth, Public Service Clerical Association.

Commonwealth Public Service Act -

Appointments - Department of - Attorney-General - W. D. McNiven. Interiors - A. Brennan.

Regulations amended - Statutory, Rules. 1936, No. 143.

Commonwealth Shipping Act - Australian Commonwealth Shipping; Board - Balancesheet, as, at 29th February, 1936, and Liquidation Account for the year ended 29th February, 1936, of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard; certified to by the Auditor-General.

Tariff Board - Reports and Recommendations -

Artificial Flowers, Fruits-, Plants, Leaves, and Grains, of all kinds and materials.

Cartridges; Felt Wads for Cartridges-; Cartridge Cases; Percussion Caps.

Pearl Shell.

Photographic and’ X-ray, Plates, Films and Materials, Sensitized’ Blue Print and Heliographic Papers and Fabrics, &c.

Australian Soldiers’ Repatriation Act -

Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1936, No. 134.

Customs Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules1936,Nos. 136-141.

Colonial Light. Dues Collection Act. - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 135.

Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 142.

Customs Act and Commerce (Trade Descriptions) Act - Regulations amended -

Statutory Rules 1936, No. 149.

Meat Export Control Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules1936, No. 145.

Transport Workers Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 148.

Commonwealth Railways Act - Report on Commonwealth Railways Operations for theyear ended 30th June, 1936.

Defence Act- Regulations amended - Statutory, Rules 1936, No. 144.

Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act - Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1936, No. 140.

Lands Acquisition Act- Land acquired at - Archerfield, Queensland - For Defencepurposes.

Kempsey, New South Wales - for Defence purposes.

Lane Cove, New South Wales - For Postal purposes.

Meteorology Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936, No. 133.

Naval Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1930, Nos. 146, 147.

Norfolk Island Act -

Ordinance No. 19 of 1936 - Printers and Newspapers.

Customs Ordinance - Regulations.

Northern Territory Acceptance Act and Northern Territory (Administration). Act -

Ordinance No. 10 of 1936 - Pharmacy. Crown Lands Ordinance - Regulations amended.

Papua Act - Ordinances of 1936-

No. 5 - Shipping.

No. 6 - Supplementary Appropriation. (No.1) 1935-1936.

No.7 - Sago.

No.8 - Quarantine:

No. 9 - Customs Tariff.

No. 10 - Supplementary Appropriation. (No. 2) 1935-1936.

No.11 - Uncontrolled Area.

No.12 - Appropriation 1 938-1937.

No. 13 - Uncontrolled Area (No. 2).

No. 14- Shipping (No. 2).

No. 15 - Uncontrolled Area (No. 3).

River Murray Waters Act - River Murray Commission - Report for the year1935-36; together with Statements furnished on. behalf of the Governments of New South, Wales, Victoria and South Australia in respect of gaugings and quantities of water diverted.

Seat of Government Acceptance Act and. Seat of Government (Administration)Act - Ordinances of 1936-

No. 41 - Timber Protection.

No: 42-Industrial Board (No. 3).

No. 43 - Hawkers.

Industrial Board Ordinances - Regula tions amended.

Seat of Government (Administration) Act - Statement of Receipts and Expenditure of the Federal Capital Territory for the period 1st July, 1935, to 30th. June, 1936.

Taxation Acts - Eighteenth Report of theCommissioner, years 1933-34, 1934-36 and 1935-36.

Wool Tax Assessment Acts - RegulationsStatutory Rules 1936, No; 139.

page 1621


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Sampson). - Ihave received from Mr. S. A. Glassey, son of the late Honorable Thomas Glassey, a letter thanking the Senate for its resolution of sympathy.

page 1621


Assent to the following bills reported : -

Orange Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1936.

Special Annuity Bill 1936.

Apple andPear Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1936.

Western Australia Grant Bill1936.

Tasmania Grant Bill 1936.

South Australia Grant Bill 1936.

Invalid and Old-age Pensions Appropriation Bill 1936.

Prone Bounty Bill (No. 2) 1936.

Senator E. B. JOHNSTON (through

Since the inception of the federal aid roads scheme in 1926-27, what amounts have been paid each year in petrol taxes (including primage) in Western Australia, and what amounts have been paid annually to that State in the form of road grants?

page 1621




asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice-

  1. What is the total amount of financial assistance which has been granted to the pearlshell industry by Parliament?
  2. In what years, and under what terms and conditions, was such financial assistance made and paid?
  3. Will he supply a list of grantees, showing the amount paid to each?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.The information is being obtained, and a reply will be furnished as soon as possible.

page 1621



B Class Stations


asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

In view of his answer to the question by Senator Collings on Thursday, 1st October, concerning the earnings of ‘ B “ class broadeasting stations, will ho have the necessary search made by an officer of his department as to company earnings,so that a return may be made available to the Senate showing exactly the profits made by the holders of licences which are issued by. the department at the nominal charge of £25.

Senator A J McLACHLAN:

– As it does not appear that there would be any benefit in making the extensive investigation suggested by the honorable senator, it is not intended to proceed further with the matter in existing circumstances.

page 1621



Senator MARWICK:

asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

Will the Defence Department considerthe advisability of instructing the 49,000 members of rifle clubs in the use ofmachine guns?


– The Minister for Defence has supplied the following answer: -

This matter has recently received close consideration, but, as such a proposal would necessitate the provision of additional instructors, weapons, ammunition.&c., apart from the additional cost of administration involved, it is not practicable underpresent conditions to enlarge the scope ofrifleclub activities in this manner.

page 1621


Bill received from the House of Representatives and (on motion by Senator Brennan) read a first time.

page 1621


Aviation : Commonwealth Powers

Motion (by SenatorSirGeorge Pearce) proposed -

That the Senate do now adjourn.


.- Has the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) any information to convey to the Senate at this stage regarding the judgment delivered to-day by the High Court concerning the Commonwealth Government’s powers in relation to aviation? I understand that the High Court has ruled that allthe powers which we thought the Commonwealth had in this matter are not, in fact, possessed by it. I am anxious to know whether the Government proposes to add a proposal for increased powers in that direction to the other matter proposed to be referred to the people by referendum.

Minister for External Affairs · Western Australia · UAP

[8.14]. - It is obvious that, as the judgment was given only to-day, the full text of it cannot yet be known to the Government. I am, therefore, not in a position to answer the honorable senator’s question at this stage.

Senator Collings:

– Will the right honorable senator take the Senate into his confidence at the earliest possible moment ?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.Yes.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 8.14 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 10 November 1936, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.