14th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. P. J. lynch) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
HONORABLE Senators. - Hear, hear!
– I thank the’ Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) and honorable senators generally for their congratulations.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.I lay on the table of the Senate a copy of the Supplementary Extradition Convention between the United Kingdom and Denmark signed at Copenhagen on the 15th October, 1935. Notice of accession to this convention has been given to the Danish Government, with effect from the 9th November, 1936, in respect of the Commonwealth of Australia, Papua, Norfolk Island, New Guinea and Nauru. The supplementary convention is additional to the Extradition Treaty of 1873 with Denmark, which applies to Australia and territories under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. It provides that extradition may be granted, at the discretion of the high contracting party applied to, in respect of any crimes or offences, other than those set out in the treaty of 1873, for which, according to the laws of both of the high contracting parties for the time being in force, the grant may be made.
The following papers were presented : -
Audit Act - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial year 1935-36.
Commonwealth Public Service Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1930, No. 154.
Defence Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1930, No. 152- No. 153.
Meat Export Control Act - Regulations amended - Statutory Rules 1936. No. 155.
– I lay on the table -
Tariff Board - Report and Recommendation - Undressed Timber, viz., Douglas Fir.
The board recommended a reduction of the duty on sawn oregon, but the Government does not propose to give effect to the recommendation.
Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE.On the 12th November, Senator Hardy asked the following questions, upon notice : -
What is the total amount’ of yearly rentals in each State paid by the Commonwealth for the occupation of premises used in the conduct of governmental affairs?
To what departments are such rentals charged’/
What amount of the rents is paid to State governments which lease their premises for Commonwealth purposes?
The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follows : -
The rent of premises only, excluding landing grounds, pole depots, sites, wharfs, &c, in each State and territory are set out hereunder: -
The rentals mentioned in No. 1 are charged to departments as follows: -
‘Clio amount of rents paid to State governments which leased their premises for Commonwealth purposes is £10,440 per annum. In addition, the Commonwealth pays £5,503 per annum to semi-government departments such as State railways, Harbour Trusts, State Savings Banks. &c.
entitlement appeal tribunal.
– On the 12th November, Senator Hardy asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation the following questions, upon notice -
How many appeals are listed for hearing and remain unheard before the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal -
The Minister for Repatriation has now supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
– The Minister directing negotiations for trade treaties has furnished the following answers to the honorable senator’s questions -
Assent to the following bills reported : -
States’ Grants Bill 1930. Defence Equipment Bill 1930. Trade Agreement (Czechoslovakia) Bill 1.930.
Trade Agreement (Belgium) Bill 1930. Trade Agreement (South Africa) Bill 1930.
– I have to inform honorable senators, that I have received from Mrs. G. Riordan and. Mrs. William Webster, letters of thanks and appreciation for the resolutions of sympathy and condolence passed by the Senate on the occasions of the deaths of Mr. David Riordan, M.P., and the Honorable William Webster, respectively.
Debute resumed from the 20th November (vide page 2165) on motion by Senator Sir GEORGE Peakce -
That’ the bill be now read a. second time.
– During your temporary absence from the Chair, Mr. President, which we all regretted, the Senate has been discussing the appropriation of over ?14,000,000 for the part services of the Commonwealth. In that amount, the largest vote by far is flip provision for defence. Lost week, we had two very interesting speeches on the subject of defence, one from the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), arid the other from Senator Brand. The Leader of the Opposition, with his usual ostrichlike simplicity in regard to matters of defence, naively suggested that we had nothing whatever to fear, and that we should not, be alarmed or disturbed with regard to our preparations for national d pf mee. With that statement I entirely disagree because, at no time in its history can any nation afford to adopt such an outlook. It must always be remembered that when Great Britain is at war Australia also is at war, and that with the turmoil that exists to-day in European circles we must he prepared. Upon every public man devolves the responsibility, not only to be aware of the position overseas, but also to draw the attention of others to it. The Government, therefore, is to be complimented for making certain preparations for our national defence. No doubt, in the next eighteen months or two years, further preparations will be necessary to make our defence organization adequate and efficient. One matter which disturbs me in regard to our naval defence is the report, that it is proposed to scrap our S flotilla of destroyers, which, I understand, were given to us by the British Government. It cannot be denied that they must now be at least nearing the retiring age.
– Were they given to us by the British Government?
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.They were really transferred on loan but the loan was on such terms that it amounted practically to a gift. What concerns me is the report that these destroyers are to be handed over to the rude hands of the wrecker. If there is any truth in the report, the Government would be well advised to reconsider this matter. I suggest that, instead of being sunk after dismantling, the vessels should be retained in Australian coastal waters for the training of naval trainees. Every year a certain proportion of our permanent naval ratings must become due for retirement, and some system such as obtains in the Old Country of building up naval reserves with time-expired ratings could well be adopted in Australia. It seems quite feasible that these old vessels due for retirement could be manned by skeleton complements consisting of time-expired men whose knowledge could be utilized to give useful and efficient training to naval trainees enlisted under the present voluntary system.. Again, we have heard much of the efforts of the patrol boat in our northern waters to curtail the poaching and other activities, in Australian territorial waters, of alien seamen. One can only come to the conclusion that this patrol boat is entirety inadequate for the service expected of it. I submit that these destroyers, manned by a skeleton complement of naval reservists, could be utilized in our northern waters as an efficient patrol service and as an addition to our present naval strength.
Coming to the matter of voluntary training, so adequately dealt with by my colleague, Senator Brand, I agree that, with regard to the present success of enlistments in the militia, we should not rest content.
– Is the voluntary system successful ?
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.According to the latest reports published in the press, during last week-end the. militia forces are steadily approaching full strength under the present voluntary system. I contend, however, that that is not a- matter for great satisfaction. There is no guarantee that the total will be maintained.
– About 8,000 men are due to retire next year.
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.Every year there is a certain number of time-expired trainees, and it is doubtful if the present success of the volunteer system will be maintained at a rate sufficient to make good the wastage. I contend that in the very near future Australia will have to be prepared for the resumption of the universal military training of youths between certain ages. I notice in the report of the last federal conference of the Returned .Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia that the views of that body have changed since last year, when it resolved that the volunteer system should he given a further trial. The representatives of that body sitting in Adelaide decided that in the interests of the defence of Australia compulsory military training should be re-introduced. Last year that authoritative body was opposed to the reintroduction of compulsion, but in the light of recent events, which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) wishes to ignore - he would also like the people of Australia to ignore them - these experienced men contend that the re-introduction of compulsory military training is urgently required. The Government should take some notice of the views expressed by that representative body.
– Numerous branches of the organization have said the reverse.
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.We can judge such matters only by the decisions of the federal conference at which all States were represented. Last year when Senator Sampson was delivering a lengthy and excellent speech on the subject of defence, including compulsory military training, the Leader of the Opposition quickly took advantage of the fact that at that time the federal conference of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League of Australia had voted against the re-introduction of universal training.
– That is why I directed the honorable senator’s attention to the fact that the league is not so united as the honorable senator wishes us to believe.
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.The Western Australian representatives at the federal conference which concluded its sittings last week are united on the subject. Western Australia has the happy knack of always being in the forefront in matters of national importance. Both referendums on conscription were carried in Western Australia, and the number of enlistments in that State in proportion to the population was the highest in the Commonwealth. For many years the Western Australian delegates to the federal conference who were personal friends of mine - I was a branch delegate for some years - have favoured the reintroduction of universal military training. At the recent conference a significant remark was made by one of the Tasmanian delegates, Colonel Mullen, the comptroller of the Hobart Gaol, who said that since the cessation of compulsory military training there hai been an increase of larrikinism in Aus- tralia. He stated quite definitely that when compulsory training was in operation there was a decided decrease of larrikinism, and that the training which the young men received helped to make them good citizens.
– It would be better to give them a job.
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.Compulsory military service provided work for many persons. There was a substantial reduction of the staff when, universal training was discontinued. It should be the policy of the Government to keep our defence forces up to an efficient standard. It is the responsibility of the Government to consider earnestly the re-introduction of universal military training.
– Does the honorable senator advocate a standing array as Senator Foll does?
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.There are many aspects of Senator Foil’s suggestion which should receive serious consideration.
– Its financial consequences would be tragic.
– 1 have not had an opportunity to go into that, but it must be admitted that there are certain phases of the honorable senator’s suggestion that require very careful study. I do not suggest that the whole subject can he decided immediately.
– Honorable senators opposite commence with a militia force and then advocate a standing army.
– We are now attempting to build up a militia system which I am afraid is yet somewhat imperfect. It has been argued that the best type of recruit is obtained under a voluntary system, but I do not know whether sufficient permanency can be secured in that way.
I direct the attention of the Government to the necessity to extend the 4 ft. Si in. railway gauge from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle. Notwithstanding what Senator Brand has said concerning the opinion of experts regarding the shifting of troops and horses over long distances and the need for .periods for rest and exercise, we have to remember that when the late Lord Kitchener reported on our railway system in 1910, he was most emphatic that one of the greatest drawbacks to our defence system was the diversity of railway gauges.
– Did not Western Australia promise to -carry out the KalgoorlieFremantle conversion ?
– It would be impracticable financially for a
State such as Western Australia to meet the cost of laying down a third rail ‘or of building a new line from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle. Although Western Australia may have promised in pre-war days to build a line on the 4 ft. 8£ in. gauge, conditions have so altered that it would now be impracticable for the State to carry out the work without the assistance of the Commonwealth. I do not suggest that the Commonwealth should pay the whole cost; Western Australia should contribute something towards an improved service. Apart from the desirableness of having an up-to-date railway system there is the aspect of defencementioned by the late Lord Kitchener in 1910, that breaks of gauges are a decided! disadvantage to a defence system.. Moreover, the trans-Australian railway is never likely to be a paying proposition until the line from Kalgoorlie to Fremantle is converted to the 4 ft. S-j in. gauge. The trans-Australian railway is now meeting competition from the recently constructed interstate liners which in comfort and service are equal, if not superior, to some of the overseas passenger vessels. Year by year the interstate shipping service is becoming a greater competitor with the transAustralian railway, and while the discomforts and inconveniences of the railway continue it is never likely to pay.
– The Commonwealth Railway Department is putting on a third train a week.
– The mere fact of adding a third train to the schedule in order to meet the increase of traffic does not dispose of my contention. If Senator Duncan-Hughes and others were obliged to travel by that line as often as honorable senators from Western Australia do - sometimes eight times a year - they would realize that there is great discomfort on the trip compared with the comfort of interstate travel by sea.
– Would it not be better to develop aviation facilities?
Senator ALLAN MacDONALD.Aviation facilities are necessary, but it will he quite a while before all Australians are so airminded that they will neglect railway and shipping services in order to travel by air. We are dealing with the present competition between sea and railway travel. There is now a distinct advantage in the sea voyage on account of the latest interstate liners, which are luxurious and attractive to that kind of person whom we desire to travel by rail. Until the link between Kalgoorlie and Fremantle is converted to the standard gauge, the passenger traffic on the Trans-Australian Railway will not be raised to the figure necessary for the financial balance of that undertaking.
Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) [3.32 . - 1 did not anticipate that if, would be necessary for me to speak so soon on this measure; 1 propose to address myself to it in respect of only one matter - the voluntary system, of military training, and whether or not it has proved adequate for our defence” purposes. Senator Brand, who speaks Avith an. authority on military matters that very few senators can claim, has already dealt most admirably with the subject, and Senator Allan MacDonald also made reference to it. I was a little disappointed, 1’ confess, at the remark of Senator Brand that we are all agreed that the voluntary system should he given “a last trial.” We have continued to give this system a last trial for years past; it is high time that we made a start with something different. After all what is suggested is merely a reversion to the old system in the inception of which the original Labour party had a considerable share. The second matter - and it is a small one - in regard to which ray views differ from those of Senator Brand is the suggestion for the recruiting of certain unfit men. The honorable senator suggested, in effect, that men of a good heart but of insufficient physique who wish to enter the military forces should he. given exemption from the regulation of physical standards to enable them to do so. In my opinion that is quite uncalled for, particularly in Australia, which has such a big percentage of fit men. In the newspaper this week I noticed that 35,000 persons attended the cricket match against the Englishmen on the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday last; of course, not a.11 of them were men, hut that figure exceeds the strength of the whole of the militia of Australia. Therefore it. would be an unheard of thing to call upon men, who are not physically fit, to be given exemption, in order that they should be trained to fight and defend their fit brothers who are not to do anything in this way. I cannot support such a suggestion. I fully realize the motive which actuated Senator Brand in making it; but we should not ask men lacking the requisite standard of fitness to do such a thing.
– The honorable senator does not think that we should make them fit?
– Make them fit by all means, but if they do not measure up to the physical standards, do not allow them to enter the militia in the place of multitudes of men who are more fitted for such service.
Senator BROWN Even although the weak mcn are enthusiastic?
– Yes. Such men may be able to obtain treatment or do exercises in order to make them sufficiently fit to enter the militia. But to make up our numbers by admitting C class men is not a proper way in which, to deal with this problem.
– Make sure that the fittest men arc killed off !
– I agree that during the last war those who had the greatest fitness and the greatest public spirit were killed off. That is where the system, to my mind, stands condemned; those who had the public spirit to fight for their country should not be forced to sacrifice their Jives for other men who have not that spirit. That does not seem to me in any sense to be a proper outcome of democracy.
I return to the matter of the militia. Some months ago Senator Sampson elicited some interesting figures showing the numbers of the militia, and the proportion of infantry to the total. I desire to put them briefly on record.
The discharges, I. point out to honorable senators, in three of those four years exceeded the number of enlistments, fs that the way in which we should face the problems which confront the whole world at the present time ! On the 31st December, 1935, the total number of men enlisted in the militia was 26,000; the enlistment in the infantry totalled 11,000, of whom 1,000 were officers, and nearly 3,000 were non-commissioned officers. That means that over one-third of the total men in the infantry were officers or non-commissioned officers; in other words, for every two men serving in the ranks there was an officer or a non-commissioned officer. This disproportion may be sound from one viewpoint; it means that we have a good nucleus of men trained in the work of officers and non-commissioned officers. But from another viewpoint - and Senator Brand pointed this out very clearly - the numbers of our infantry ar** entirely inadequate. On every hand we see evidence that -the people of Australia are awakening to the necessity for preparation, not for offensive purposes, but in order to be able to defend ourselves, and to deter others from attacking us. Every one knows, from his own experience at school, how the bully will refrain from attacking any one who is able to put up a good show in his own defence. P reparation also inspires a feeling of confidence in the person who has been trained. When 1 was at school I had some experience in a cadet corps. I admit that I joined largely that I might indulge in rifle shooting - and, after all, there is much to be said for knowing how to handle a rifle. That experience, although not making me unduly competent or militaristic, was of great assistance to me when I volunteered in the Great War.
– What did make the honorable senator militaristic?
– I Ho not think that I am in any sense militaristic. I certainly have never made speeches as ferocious as some of those which the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) has made in this chamber.
Senator Allan MacDonald referred to the value of discipline in checking larrikinism. All of us are under orders in some form, and it is most desirable that we should be, although we do not go to the extent that people in some other countries do. I have said before that, in this respect, in my opinion, Herr Hitler acted on right lines when he took men who had nothing to do and placed them in concentration camps, where they were given food and clothing, and were drilled and encouraged to participate in sport. In that way he developed in them a sense of responsibility to their country.
– It certainly is better than half starving them on the dole.
– I am glad that the honorable senator has come so far. Before long, he will go a good deal further.
– I am interested in seeing how willing some people are to clothe and feed men that they might participate in wars.
– I have refrained from quoting from the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition on defence during the last three or four years, for, in view of the present world situation, I think that he would not feel proud of them.
– How many enlistments would there be from this chamber?
– Some private members in this Parliament have kept this subject in the forefront. I refer particularly to the honorable member for Bendigo in the House of Representatives (Mr. E. F. Harrison), and to Senator Sampson. I have in mind particularly Senator Sampson’s notable speech in this chamber on the 29t.h November of last year. In this connexion, I desire to mention also the efforts of Senator Collett, and, perhaps, I may be pardoned if I mention my own efforts. I have never agreed that it was sound to discontinue compulsory military training in Australia. It was discontinued, not by the decision of Parliament, or by regulation, but was, I believe, simply the outcome of a decision of Cabinet that the operations of part XII. of the act should be suspended.
– Part XII was suspended by virtue of an Executive minute.
– It could be made operative again to-morrow by another Executive minute. On the 6th
December, 1933 - nearly three years ago - I made a speech in this chamber in which I said that there were three directions in which greater protection might be afforded. I mentioned first, a revival of compulsory military service in Australia. When I made that suggestion exSenator Rae, who was then in the chamber, interjected that, if that were attempted, there would be a revolution.
– He is not here now.
– Without reflecting on any one who has taken his place, I say that I am sorry that he is not here. He had a most independent mind and expressed what he had to say admirably, and I always listened to his speeches with interest, just as I have listened to the speeches of some of those who have succeeded him in this chamber, but in a rather different way. In reply to the interjection, I said that I did not care if a revolution did take place. I added that I believed that the re-introduction of compulsory service would not have the effect which he predicted. I do not now want to say “ I told you so “, but three years have elapsed since I stood in this chamber and said that Australia should re-introduce compulsory military training. What honorable senator will say that I was wrong; indeed, who among us would not be glad to know that our men had been so trained? Yet we hesitate and ask whether the day has arrived to re-introduce compulsory training. The chief argument against the reintroduction of the system is that it will take a year for it to become properly operative ; but that, I contend, is all the more reason for acting at the first opportunity.
– The chief argument is that the money would be better expended in providing equipment.
– I shall refer to that. My second point on the occasion to which I have referred was that more substantial provision should be made foi1 the maintenance of rifle clubs. I cannot say that much has been done in that direction during the last three years. Thirdly, I urged that the Royal Military College should be returned to Duntroon at the earliest possible moment. I am glad that that will shortly be done, hut it is not yet an accomplished fact. Sena tor Hardy says that money should first he expended in providing equipment. Speaking somewhat as a tyro - for I do not claim to speak on this subject with authority, as .Senator Brand can - I should say that, just as in industry, capital requires labour and labour requires capital, so equipment and manpower should be made available more or less simultaneously. Of what use is it to have equipment without men competent to use it? I have never read that the Boers had great reserves of equipment or of ammunition, or that they had great factories producing them, but I do know that they put up a wonderful performance for several years. If Australia were attacked it might be that our form of defence would be substantially that of the Boers.
There is a tendency to overrate the importance of equipment, partly because of the desire to give employment. Useful and healthy employment that would lead to public spirit and public service could also be given in preparation for defence. If it be said : “ Nobody thinks that except you “, my reply is that many others hold the same view. It is within my knowledge that some of our distinguished leaders in the Great War are extremely worried about our lack of man-power. As for equipment, Senator Arkins raised the question of gas-masks on the 22nd May last, and I also spoke on that matter. I have put a question on the notice-paper for to-morrow in regard to it. Six months have elapsed, and nothing appears to have been done even in regard to this item of equipment. I have received no notification from my own State that gas-masks are available, and that persons may go to some place and he instructed in their use, if they so desire. I do not wish to labour this’ matter ; I have always spoken upon it with a good deal of regret. None of us has wished in the past, nor desires now, to see more warfare. But I have long been convinced that the best way to avoid war is to be prepared for it. In view of the circumstances leading up to the last war, I determined that as long as I represent my State in Parliament, I should try to see that the people are informed as to the need for defence, and made ready to defend themselves, because I feel that they look to me, among others, to advise them, whether what has been done is sufficient. I stated three years ago, and I have always said since when speaking on this subject, that it is essential to restore at the earliest possible moment the old form of compulsory training, a very limited form, which requires trainees to go into camp for a few days a year and to give up a few Saturdays.
– Why pick on Saturday, the workers’ half -holiday ?
– I do not wish to stress the Saturday side of the matter, I am sorry the honorable senator takes such a narrow view. As an employer, I should be quite prepared to allow any employee of mine to attend drills during paid time. The essential thing is that the men should have some form of training.
If the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) had any knowledge of war, and had experienced it at close quarters, he would know what a terrible thing it is to see soldiers in a state of panic. I have witnessed that, and I do not wish to see it in a widespread form in Australia. It would be lamentable to have the lives of good men sacrificed owing to lack of training.
– Does only the untrained man become panicky?
– A trained man is not so likely to be panicky as is an untrained one. A boxer, confident of his own capacity for self-defence does not easily become aggressive, nor is he much perturbed when other people throw their weight about - which they seldom do in the presence of a man who is known to be a first-class boxer. Ability to defend one’s country produces confidence and a sense of public spirit in the man himself. I am glad to know that the Labour party has some defence policy. The old Labour party did extremely well in that respect. Its defence measures constitute what I regard as its greatest contribution to the welfare of this country ; that, I think, was proved in the last war. The present Labour party now has an opportunity to show whether it has the same spirit left in it still. We are talking of the defence preparations for the country as a. whole, in case defensive action should be necessary. No question of class is raised by the proposal for compulsory training. It is a matter for the community generally. How will the Labour party respond?
– With the exception of two years, the party now in office has been in power since the last war. Why has it not re-introduced some form of compulsory training?
– I recognize the soundness of that criticism, but I point out that the various governments that have been in office have had no assistance in this matter from honorable gentlemen of the Opposition. Senators Collett and Sampson and I, as well as honorable senators who have more recently been elected to this chamber, have urged that compulsory training should be re-introduced, and objections to the proposal have always come from the Opposition. Once again I submit that such a scheme is necessary in the interests of Australia. Senator Allan MacDonald stated that the need for this reform has become increasingly obvious. My contention is that an alteration should have been made long ago. The old scheme of compulsory training should never have been departed from, and it should be restored at the earliest possible moment. By that I mean that the change should be made forthwith.
– A few days ago I witnessed a struggle between a pacifist and a militarist. The militarist won the argument, but the pacifist won the fight. We have many militant pacifists, and, as I listened to ex-military men, who are members of this chamber I came to the conclusion that many of our militarists are pacifists, so that there can be no substantial criticism of my leader, Senator Collings, by honorable gentlemen who have been connected with the military forces. According to many militarists, the only way to ensure peace is to train every man in the community to be a soldier, and to build up armaments. The party to which I belong is second to none in its desire to see that this country is adequately defeuded. Nobody on the government side can truthfully say that we do not believe in adequate defence.
– Then why not make it a non-party matter?
– Because there are so many military cyclops in the government ranks. They are one-eyed in regard to defence, but the Labour party tries to see the problem in proper perspective.
Many honorable senators opposite are whales for the conscription of the individual, but they are minnows with regard to the conscription of wealth. During the bloody ‘struggle that began in 1914, and involved the sacrifice of millions of lives, the great financiers fattened and battened on the war, and they are still drawing interest! The Labour party says that if the people of Australia are to be trained to defend this country, we should first make Australia worth defending, and that with conscription of men there should be, above all, the conscription of wealth. That is a logical argument, but one does not hear Senator Duncan-Hughes or any other honorable senator opposite speak in favour of it. Why should men be called upon to give up their lives, whilst the money monger and the money hog must have his pound of flesh now and until the crack of doom? What happened in the Old Country during the Great War? I could show honorable senators advertisements to this effect : “ We are not asking you to give your lives; we are asking you to lend your money at a, percentage “. When the banks crashed, the government issued “ Bradburies “, but soon the banks cried “ We are making no profit and demanded control of the currency. We all know how ashamed Mr. Bonar Law was to be paid interest amounting to thousands of pounds because he had lent money for the prosecution of the war. He complained that many were making excessive profits out of the war.
Honorable senators on the government side would have the whole-hearted support of the Labour party in regard to military training if every member of the community were placed on the same footing. Honorable senators have comfortable homes, but every man, woman and child in the community has the right tn a decent, hearth and home and to the enjoyment of the good things in life. If everybody were so happily situated there is not the slightest doubt tha.t in the event of a fight between Australia and any other country, our people, as one man. would stand firm in their efforts to defeat the invader. Yet, honorable senators opposite say : “ Let the exploiting system continue. Let us get the young men conscripted and trained, but, for God’s sake, do not let anybody conscript our wealth “. As soon as those who are living on the best that this country can give say that they believe in equality of sacrifice by all sections in the interests of defence, and that they are ready to give up their privileged position, so that the starved may be fed, there will be enthusiasm for military training and there will be no dearth of recruits for the army, the navy and the air force. If every person were guaranteed work and wages and a comfortable living, those who did not “ do their bit “ in the defence of this country should be treated as pariahs.
– The honorable senator speaks as if we were advocating the training of men to be killed.
– If we train men and imbue them with military ideas it is natural that when, war breaks out they will be the first to go to the front. That, I think, is admitted by everybody. Therefore, those men run the risk of losing their lives. Senator Brand has spoken of the unsuitability of a great number of the youths in Australia for military training. Why should not the Government first put in hand the matter of feeding .and clothing these underfed, narrowchested, people to whom he has referred? It is utterly impossible, to train half-starved men for military service. There is nothing wrong with feeding and clothing young men and seeing that they have a sound foundation for physical development. ‘Senator Allan MacDonald referred to the growth of larrikinism in Australia, and ascribed it to the fact: that we have abolished universal military training. That may or may not be so. hut I contend that one of the greatest reasons for its growth in this country is the fact/that of the 90,000 boys and girls who leave school every year, probably not one-half can secure employment. If the socalled militarists would put the same energy into the task of seeing that the hoys and girls, especially the hoys, were found jobs after they left school, so that “hey would be earning a few- shillings and have their time occupied, they would not degenerate into larrikins. Therefore, one of the main things that should he done by the Government is to use its wit, intelligence and power to see that boys leaving school are found employment. 1 see that my friend, Senator Brand, agrees with me as all other intelligent honorable senators do.
– We have not agreed with one word of what the honorable senator has said.
– In his omniscience, Senator Hardy claims to know what id in Senator Brand’s mind. Either he is a fakir-
– Order ! The honorable senator must withdraw that remark.
– I do so with pleasure; I have no desire to hurt Senator Hardy. There are fakirs in India who claim to have supernatural powers or to be clairvoyant. When Senator Hardy endeavours to tell us what is in the mind of Senator Brand he apparently claims to possess those supernatural powers. Senator Brand agrees, as do all intelligent generals who have had war service, that, boys should be well fed in order to be trained into capable soldiers. All authorities to whom I have spoken in regard to this matter, military generals and generals in the Salvation Army, believe the same thing. It is a good thing that Christians in one army and generals in another army of an entirely different character are in agreement on this subject.
– What is the defence policy of the Labour party?
– There was a great preacher in Wales, Evan Evans, who used to speak even faster than Dr. Earle Page. At one time he made a lengthy pause while he was searching for a word. Subsequently he asked another great preacher what he thought of his speech. “Splendid”, he replied, “cultivate the pause”! Like that gentleman I shall have to cultivate the pause when I am interrupted by stupidities. Senator Duncan-Hughes has said that there are no class distinctions in the army. From what I can see there have developed in the Australian defence forces very definite class distinctions. The ordinary worker has not much chance of becoming an officer.
– He is given every chance.
– He must have money to finance the long period of special training.
– Under the old system of universal military training officers in training did not require a penny.
– It is a good thing that every member of the rank and file should be given an opportunity to be promoted to the higher ranks, and that there should be no class distinction in such matters. One of the arguments advanced against militarism is the fact that the army breeds class distinctions. The Labour party desires to see this undesirable feature abolished. Why should there be a distinction between soldiers and workers? We ask a man to do useful work in the community. It is admitted by all parties in this House that it is necessary that the country should be defended. If that is so, why put a soldier on a different plane from that of the ordinary working man ? Why not say to the young men out of work “Here is a job at award rates ; while you are in this job we shall train you as a soldier and pay you as a worker “. That is a sensible proposition, but the members of the Government go about the country moaning that there are not sufficient men coming forward to join the militia, and that it is a hard job to keep the units up to requisite strength. If the Government inserted an advertisement in the press in Canberra, calling for applications for the filling of a job, possibly hundreds of men would apply. If a job were offered in Sydney at £5 a week thousands would rush is. There would be no difficulty in getting men to join the militia in this country, if they were offered the same inducement as is offered to the ordinary working man seeking a job. But, of course, the Government does not do this, because “t would cost quite a lot. of money. Many of our loyal imperialists and militarists would object to the levying of any extra taxation for such purposes.
I have urged on several occasions when speaking on defence the necessity for making provision for the encouragement of gliding clubs. As honorable senatorare aware, T have been very interested in the development of gliding clubs in Queensland, and it has been my task to make certain investigations in regard to this matter. “I have told my friends that I -would place the results of those investigations, for what they are worth, before honorable senators for their consideration. Unfortunately, the ages-old antagonism between the different arms of the defence forces is accentuated as the years go by. We know that such antagonism manifested itself before the war among militarists in the Old Country, where there are different schools of thought regarding the relative values of the various arms of defence. Much the same thing applies in Australia. The man who believes in the Navy fights bitterly against the man who believes in the Air Force. The older they get the more stubborn they become, and the less likely to change their views. We know that this is a development in every person ; with age the brain loses a certain amount of power, and the elderly person is always looking into the. past. That is one of the reasons why the Great War lasted for such a long time; most of the leaders in that struggle were old men. There is antagonism between different sections of the defence arms, between the Air Force and the blue-water school in Australia to-day. The following quotation is taken from a leading article entitled “ Defence of the Empire “, which was published in the Brisbane Telegraph, a Tory newspaper : -
There would appear to exist a persistent prejudice in favour of military measures on the conventional lines of land defence, which must be overcome if Australia is to enjoy any real sense of safety. The creation and training of units of infantry, light horse, . artillery, and the ancillary services, are by no means so essential as the development of air services, which would play an infinitely more protective part than can be visualized in the attempted resistance of an invading army once it had its footing in Australia.
Those who are associated with gliding clubs contend that the object of those clubs is to develop the air sense and to give to young lads an interest in air development. I am sorry to say that there has been on the part of the Government no real desire to develop gliding clubs, which consequently have been carried on only under great difficulties. I have in my hand a letter from the secre tary of the Queensland Gliding Association. The writer points out the value of gliding in aviation, and says that where young men are trained in the art of gliding they can readily become proficient in the control of power machines. I admit, however, that there are others who say that gliding is not so valuable as its enthusiasts contend; I believe that the Comptroller-General of Civil Aviation is not very enthusiastic about gliding, and in a letter to another senator stated that although an amount of £600 was made available three years ago for the assistance of gliding clubs, it had not been entirely used up. In answer to a question addressed to him on this subject, the Leader of the Government in the Senate said that a certain amount was to be set aside in the Estimates of this year for the development of gliding clubs. I have looked through the bill now before us, but I can see no provision of funds for that purpose. Gliding clubs in Queensland are being carried on under great difficulties. Germany and other foreign countries have recognized the value of such clubs. If those who believe in military training would show some interest in gliding they would be doing a worthy service for Australia. An extract from the letter to which I have referred reads -
On the Continent great value is attached to this form of aviation. In some countries a pilot must have reached a certain standard of proficiency in this branch before he is allowed to receive aeroplane instruction, and in addition a pilot must hold a “ C “ certificate in gliding and soaring before he is granted his “B” or commercial pilot’s licence. The Civil Aviation Board evidently does not agree with Mr. Henderson, secretary of the Queensland Gliding Association. He says that foreign countries are building up great reserves of air pilots. If gliding is as good as my friends assert, why does not the Government help the gliding clubs? The Brisbane Gliding Club has built a number of gliders, but because of the absence of hangar accommodation, the machines have to be taken to pieces after they have been flown, and re-assembled for further flights. That club asks that the Government should build a hangar at Eagle Farm. Such, however, is the enthusiasm of the militarists, and their loyalty to Australia that they cannot even help the gliding clubs to continue in operation. Senator DuncanHughes and Senator Brand both called attention to the danger that faces Australia. By assisting gliding clubs the Government could do much to develop the air sense of the boys of Brisbane.
– There is a considerable amount of difference of opinion as to the value of gliding clubs in building up a reserve air force personnel.
– Yes. We have been saying that; but European nations believe that gliding clubs create interest and enthusiasm amongst young men and enable them to become efficient pilots. Greater consideration should be extended to the members of gliding clubs, many of whom are workers and do not earn sufficient to enable them to incur heavy expenses. At present the members of such clubs pay an annual subscription of 10s. and ls. a week for lessons. If the Government increased the subsidy they would possibly be able to erect hangars, the dismantling and reassembling of their gliders would be obviated, and the time now occupied in that way could be devoted to gliding. Every opportunity should be afforded for efficient members of gliding clubs to pass from training schools to aero clubs, which are assisted by means of a subsidy under this bill. The Labour party is solidly in favour of an efficient home defence system. It does_ not believe in building up a military caste, and contends that there should be no distinction between soldiers and workers. If the Government wishes men to become soldiers, it should pay them the wages and provide them with the conditions enjoyed by those engaged in industry.
– I propose to deal more particularly with the necessity for encouraging primary production which, in view of the ever-recurring droughts experienced in various parts of Australia, is most essential. Our overseas credits, which provide funds for the servicing of debts abroad, and the payment for imports, are provided largely by the proceeds of our exports. Such credits are also required, to defray the cost of imported machinery used in the development of our secondary and primary in dustries. Primary production is responsible for approximately 97 per cent, of our total exports. In 1935-36, Australia’s exports of primary products were valued at £131,610,682, included in which were the following pastoral products: -
Over a period of ten years the proportion of these exports to the total exports from Australia was 53.09 per cent., and the value £618,508,000. In 1935-36, the wool and skins exported were valued at approximately £58,000,000, and during the same period the pastoral section of primary production exported 67.49 per cent, of its total production. Fully 90 per cent, of the wool produced in Australia is exported. In dealing with the value of secondary production, I do not wish honorable senators to think that I am endeavouring to institute a comparison between our primary and secondary industries. In 1934-35, the value of secondary production was £14l3,5i27,000, and the proportion of exports to the total production was 3.08 per cent. We have, however, to remember that in that year 450,000 male and female persons were engaged in secondary production, and that they received £72,825,000 in wages. The power and fuel used was valued at £12,338,000, and the materials used at £209,447,000. Great credit is due to those controlling our secondary industries, and also to the skilled artisans they employed for the manner in which their production has developed; but such development would have been impossible without the assistance of the tariff. High protective duties have improved the living of 450,000 persons engaged in secondary industries, and have also enabled higher wages to be paid than are received by workers in other parts of the world. The imposition of customs duties has also made it possible for those engaged in secondary production to utilize £209,047,000 worth of material, which has been of enormous benefit to certain sections of primary producers. Moreover, the £72,000,000 paid in wages in secondary industries has provided a beneficial home market for primary produce. I have quoted these figures to enable a comparison to be made between manufacturers and the wool-growers, who have received little or no benefit from the home market. Their product is sold at open auction in Australia, and with the exception of exchange the price which the manufacturer pays in this country is the same as that ruling overseas. I realize that without the assistance of the tariff it would be impossible to develop our secondary industries, but 1 wish to show that up to the present, little or no benefit has been conferred by the Commonwealth Government or by any State government upon the wool industry, which is not carried on in fairly closely-settled areas but largely in the more remote parts of the Commonwealth. Although the industry in itself is of immense value to Australia, the voting power of the people engaged in it, compared with that of persons living in closely-settled areas, particularly the large cities, is practically negligible. “Federal and State governments, and representatives of all political parties, admit that at intervals parts of this continent have experienced seasons of extreme drought and periods of plenty. In the inland areas, where the wool industry is established, the tendency to drought conditions is more marked than on the coastal districts. I have shown that the secondary industries of Australia have been greatly assisted by means 6f the tariff. Some of the primary industries are now receiving assistance by obtaining for that portion of their products which is consumed on the home market a price higher than, world’s parity. Another great primary industry, ranking next in importance to the wool industry, is wheat-growing. For a number of years this industry passed through desperate circumstances, due partly to the fall of world prices, and partly to drought conditions. Since 19:30, when this industry got into such a had position and the Commonwealth Government came to the rescue of the farmers, a sum of £14,430,994 has been disbursed among wheat-growers from the following sources :- Flour tax, £3,203,035; loan funds, £3,429,572 ; general revenue, £7,798,387; total, £14,430,994. The amounts paid annually to wheat-growers by way of assistance have been -
Payments have also been made to other primary-producing industries by way of subsidies or bounties. Upon an analysis of the list, of such payments, I find that only one could have been of any assistance or value to the wool-grower; that was an amount of £1,700,000, which was paid out as fertilizer subsidy. It should be realized that, in the majority of the wool-growing areas, it would be a practical impossibility for the graziers to take advantage of that subsidy. I have endeavoured to show honorable senators the nature of the assistance granted to practically all primary industries by bounty, the fixation of a homeconsumption price, subsidy, or in some other way, and also to the secondary industries by means of the tariff. In contrast to these grants, the wool-grower during the whole of the period under review - for that matter, for the whole of the time he has been growing wool - has been left out in the cold ; yet his production is more subject to fluctuations of price and varying seasonal conditions than is any other product of this country. This brings me to the disastrous condition of the woolgrowers of western and north-western Queensland at the present time. They have been battling against adverse conditions for the past ten years. The area devastated by drought in those parts is one and two- third times the size of Victoria, and it is difficult to understand why it should have suffered for so long on account of drought. Dry conditions commenced in this area towards the close of 1925, when wool prices were high. I mention this fact because it is one of the causes of the desperate plight of graziers in that part of Queensland to-day. The average price of greasy wool for the ten years, 1920-1930, was 17.1d. per lb. gross ex seaboard; hut the average price for 1924-25 was 26.3d. gross ex seaboard. The high price of wool at that time encouraged wool-growers to endeavour to save their sheep from the drought by moving them to more favoured areas. They were faced with the -choice between allowing their stock to die, or taking them great distances by rail, or droving them, for agistment, where better pastures were, or buying fodder with which ro hand-feed them. The industry decided that the best policy would be to save the ewe portion of the flocks at all costs. Many of the flocks in western Queensland were consequently taken to the borders of South Australia on one side, and into the Gulf country of Queensland on the other; in so doing, some of them travelled hundreds of miles from their home stations. In .1926 drought conditions continued to spread over Queensland, and the graziers discovered, that they were unable to move their sheep from the distant areas where they had been put on agistment. In many instances heavy losses resulted from endeavours to move the sheep over dry stock routes; heavy expenses were also incurred in carting feed in order to keep the sheep alive while they were being so moved. Often the drovers had to transport water because the dams were dry. and there were no bores available from which water for stock could be obtained. One grazier who had a flock of 15,000 sheep on the South Australian border endeavoured to move them by means of .motor lorries; but, owing to the poor condition of the sheep and the long journey, fully f>0 per cent, of them were dead on arriving at the home station. Such were the conditions with which the graziers had to contend in the early stages of the drought. For hand-feeding the principal feed used was lucerne hay, cotton seed nuts, and maize. The price of these commodities went so high as -.£15 a ton for lucerne hay in Townsville, to which had to be added railway freight - the Government of Queensland reduced it by one half in order to aid the stricken graziers - and the cost of carriage from the railway to wherever the feed was wanted. The average cost of freight and road cartage was from £5 to £8 a ton, before feed reached the starving flocks. Maize cost ]0s. a bushel at silos at Atherton in
North Queensland, and to that price had to be added freight and cartage to the places where the maize was used. Cartage costs were heavy because motor lorries had to travel long distances over difficult country to reach the flocks. Great as were the losses of the sheep-owners, there was little financial loss to Australia as a whole, because all the feed purchased to feed the starving flocks was produced and paid for in Australia. Shiploads of lucerne hay were sent from Victoria, and train loads of oaten hay were despatched from “Wagga in New South Wales. There was a transfer of liabilities from farmers on the coast to wool-growers in the inland portions of the continent. The governments, both State and Commonwealth, probably reaped additional revenue from income tax paid by those who sold the fodder. In 1930 there were some rains, and itwas generally thought that the drought had broken and that several years of plenty could be anticipated. Numbers of sheep-owners partially restocked their properties, and all prepared for heavy lambings. There were good lambings in both 1930 and 1931; but, unfortunately, wool prices in those years were lower than the cost of production. In 1931 stock prices were so low that young wethers were sold for ls. 6d. a head, and young ewes, the pride of the flock, brought only 3s. The average price of greasy wool’ in 1931-32 was 8 3/4d. per lb., and in the following year it was 8-Jd. per lb. ; in 1934-35, the price rose to 14 5/8d. per lb., but many pastoralists had reduced flocks to shear in 1934-35, and gained no advantage from the increase. In 1932 another dry period set in, and many sheep had to be shifted. Conditions, however, were not so bad as in 1926. But they became worse in 1933, and hand-feeding and the removal of stock again commenced. Later in the year, drought conditions became so much worse, and money so difficult to obtain, that sheep were shorn for their six months’ wool, and in some cases sold for as low as ls. a head on the property and slaughtered there for their skin value. From December, 1934, to March, 1935, the whole of the western and north-western portions of Queensland received practically no rain, and again hand-feeding had to be employed. During that period only the very best of the ewe flocks were handfed; the remainder had to take their chance. Many properties were heavily mortgaged to make possible the feeding of even the pick of the ewes. Towards the end of June and the beginning of July, 1935, the long-looked-for rain arrived. The average rainfall over the whole area mentioned was from seven to ten inches in a week. “Welcome though the rain was, the heavy fall proved to be another disaster, for it was impossible to take feed to the starving flocks, because of the boggy nature of the ground. Creeks and rivers were in flood, and stock had to be left to do the best they could for themselves. But worse disaster was still to follow. Following the winter rains, came a spell of very cold weather. During May and June many sheepowners had shorn their sheep in order to get some return from them before they died. I do not hesitate to say that of the sheep shorn between May and July of that year, very few remained alive after the cold spell. Many thousands were washed down the flooded rivers, and hundreds of thousands more stood where theywere until they became bogged in the black soil or were buried under the silt from the rivers. I shall relate the experience of a district which I know well - I refer to the Julia Creek district in the North- West of Queensland. The district is good sheep country; _ it has a number of well-improved holdings with good supplies of water. Before the rain came, twenty selectors in that area held between them 250,000 sheep. Julia Creek had been rather fortunate in the earlier part of the year, in that a number of isolated showers had fallen in the district. But after the rain and the cold weather, those twenty selectors were able to muster only 5,000 sheep. Those figures are authentic. One of them, whom I know well, shore 17,000 sheep in March; in July he was unable to muster more than 500 of them. Similar conditions were experienced at Richmond, Aramac, Longreach, Winton, and elsewhere. The losses of the sheep-owners were almost unbelievable. The official estimate is that 3.800,000 sheep were lost in north-west and western Queensland during 1935. We must bear in mind that most of those sheep were young ewes. To that loss of 3,800,000 sheep, 3,000,000 of which can be estimated as having been ewes, must be added the loss of the natural increase which on the basis of a 50 per cent, lambing would have meant another 1,500,000 sheep, making the total loss for that year about 5,300,000 sheep. I have given these particulars in order to bring home to honorable senators the cumulative effects of ten years of low rainfall in north-west and western Queensland between 1925 and 1935. What is the position to-day? Although the rain which fell in the winter of 1935 had disastrous effects on the remaining flocks, it gave the country a thorough soaking. The rain that came in November and December was followed by other good falls. In January, February and March last a natural wet season was experienced, and country which for years had been almost, if not entirely, bare, responded in the vigorous way which is characteristic of that part of Australia. Although it was thought by many old residents that the Mitchell and Flinders grasses would not re-appear, they grew prolifically in the areas where good rainfall had been experienced between December and March. Dry feed is plentiful even at the present time, but the country needs to be restocked, and this is the problem which J bring under the notice of the Senate. The financial resources of the settlers were exhausted during the years when they were trying to save their stock. With a threatened total loss, they were left with properties which might be said to be bearing a debt equal to fi a head of the total carrying capacity, and, in many cases, the debt was greater than the settlers’ equity in those properties. The banks and other financial institutions have greatly assisted the settlers by providing funds to enable them to surmount their difficulties, and in many cases interest has been suspended on overdrafts for some years. Some of the holdings have already been lightly restocked, but the area affected by the drought is solarge, and the cost of restocking so great, that it may be definitely said that theproblem is one of national importance..
Other industries, both primary and secondary, have received assistance at the hands of governments, and, considering that 3,800,000 sheep have been lost in one part of Queensland alone, the matter warrants grave consideration. If such n catastrophe had occurred in one of the capital cities the newspapers would have been filled with appeals for assistance.
It may be contended that this is a problem with which the Queensland Government should deal. I have pointed out that various industries have been assisted by means of the tariff, and that help has been given to the wheat-growers throughout Australia, and to many other industries by grants, bounties, or a homeconsumption price. I claim, therefore, that the difficulties of the wool-growers in north-western and western Queensland should be regarded as of national concern. The Government of Queensland has taken some action to assist these settlers. Where possible it has granted extra land to men who are in a particularly sorry plight, but this .will be of no value to settlers who are unable to restock it. In almost every capital city large sums have been voted for public works and for the erection of public buildings. In Brisbane alone it is proposed to spend about £2,500,000 on two public works. If only one-third of that amount had been made available as a loan, free of interest, for a number of years, to enable settlers in a distressed condition to purchase a few thousand sheep a piece, these men could have made a fresh start with a hope of recouping themselves and repaying the loan in instalments.
– Which government is spending that large sum on public works in Brisbane?
– The Government of Queensland. The distressed settlers could be assisted by free transportation of stock, which would probably have to be obtained from New South Wales. Freight would have to be paid on stock transported 1,000 to 2,000 miles from the centre of New South Wales, and the transport charges would be so great as to make the cost of the stock prohibitive to individual settlers. Possibly, the Queensland Government would pay half of the freight, if the Com monwealth Government would defray the other half.
– Should not the Queensland Government carry the stock free in such circumstances?
– If the stock could be transported to the New South Wales border, I believe that the Queensland « Government would give sympathetic consideration to a request that it be carried from the border to its destination free of charge. The position of the settlers is serious in the extreme. Owing to the sparsely-populated nature of the areas affected, it is difficult for these men to make a united appeal. If such a disaster occurred in a densely-populated area, this Parliament would be bombarded with applications for assistance. Drought occurs so frequently in some parts of Australia that the need for consideration of the problem has become a matter of national importance. It may become necessary to have a Minister whose duty it would be to deal especially with it.
– The burden should not be carried by the States individually.
– It is impossible for them to shoulder the whole of the load. In the case of the wheat-farmers, hardship has been experienced in several of the States. The drought to which I have referred has occurred only in one portion of Queensland, but it is a very large part of that State. I doubt very much whether the financial institutions will be able to carry on some of the selectors and graziers. Without stock their position is hopeless. This is where the national Government should step in. Organizations representing selectors and graziers’ interests in Queensland would be very glad to co-operate with the Queensland Government and representatives of the Federal Government in evolving some method of overcoming the difficulties of their members. I feel sure that I am voicing the opinion of those organizations when I say that all that would be asked for would be a loan free of interest, say, for ten years. While a good many of the sheep-owners may not be able to be placed on a very good footing in that period, they would at least be placed in the position of being enabled to carry on with a reasonable degree of safety. I appeal to Ministers in this chamber to make representations to Cabinet, with a view to making available a sum of money, say £1,000,000, as an interest-free loan for the purpose of restocking the areas I have mentioned, in order that normal production may be resumed in north-west and western Queensland, where at the present time, industry is stagnant.
Senator ARKINS (New South Wales) 5.22]. - At the outset I propose to make a passing reference to the remarks of Senator (Brown, in which he took to task honorable senators on this side of the chamber for something that happened during the war. The honorable senator said that he considered that in the event of wai- there should be conscription of wealth as well as conscription of man-power. I know of no country in the world to-day that would not have to consider that policy in the event of another outbreak of war. The honorable senator should not, however, imagine that all the patriotism during the war was exhibited by one class of the community. Those who know the history of the war know that many of the workers in England who were unable to serve in the army in France received wages out of all proportion to the value of the work which they performed. I remember discussing the matter in the Midlands, where I noticed that in some of the great steel works workmen were receiving from £10 to £12 a week. I do not believe that those who controlled industry in England should have made undue profits, any more than I believe that certain workers should have been paid abnormal wages while their compatriots were in the trenches and drawing the proverbial ls. a day.
– The controllers of industry are still drawing undue profits.
– I shall develop my argument a step further. We know full well that Great Britain imposes the highest death duties in the world, recognizing the death duty as the best means of getting at the abnormal accumulations of wealth during the war period. The rates of tax are so high as to absorb about half the values of huge estates. Senator Brown also said - and he was quite candid about it - that certain statesmen in England, first Mr. Bonar Law, and after wards Mr. Baldwin, had brought this fact under the notice of the nation. As a matter of fact, Mr. Baldwin was a descendent of a long line of engineers who were connected with great engineering works in Great Britain. After the: war he - a Tory, a member of the Conservative party - said that he considered that a number of the rich people in England had no right to their wealth, and he added - “ I shall lead the way , I have bonds which I shall hand back voluntarily to the State “, and he subsequently handed over to the State bonds valued at approximately £60,000.
– What did he have left after that?
– The honorable senator need not imagine that all virtue resides within the ranks of the Labour party. The honorable senator’s speeches in this chamber would lead one to imagine that we on this side have no thought at all for the people of the country and that, irrespective of their well-being, ‘we are only anxious to place them under arms and organize them into units for the defence of their country. Nothing is further from the truth. Senator Duncan-Hughes said that one of the good things which the La’bour party did for Australia was to establish compulsory military training. I agree with that statement; the wisdom of Labour’s policy at that time was proved, by later events. I endorse Senator Brown’s statement that every individual in this country should bc well-nourished. That should he the first care of all governments ; but I am unwilling to admit that only the members of the Labour party are anxious to bring it about. The history of political parties in this country shows that measures for the benefit of the masses have not been the sole prerogative of one party. For a long time, I have considered that one of the main essentials in the defence of this country is that we should first of all have adequate supplies of motor . fuel. This country could never be successfully defended without adequate supplies of oil.
– The MinisterinCharge of Development (Senator A. J. McLachlan) said that local production would be too costly.
– We are rapidly approaching the stage at which we shall be able to produce all the oil required in this country from coal or shale. We should push on with the development of our natural coal and shale resources; there has already been too much delay in connexion with the building up of oil manufactures and reserves which, in my opinion, are essential in the defence of Australia. Honorable senators have stressed the necessity for man-power in time of war; it is impossible to get away from that, but it is difficult to find out where the strength of the argument in favour of military-trained man-power begins and ends. The history of the South African war reveals the weakness of that argument. For three years, the Boers set the whole of the British Empire at defiance, and proved that a certain type of man-power could be utilized with remarkable success against highly trained military forces. I believe that in this country, the same thing could happen. If war should break out in Australia, I feel sure that it would develop upon lines somewhat similar to the South African campaign; the conditions in the two countries are somewhat similar. The next essential for the adequate defence of this country is the setting up of a committee of defence, which should be composed of men who have a thorough knowledge of the whole of the geography and physical features of Australia. That committee should be in touch with men trained in bushcraft and possessing intimate knowledge of its far-flung areas in northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and the northern parts of Western Australia. We should have a list of men who could supply accurate information with regard to the whole of those territories; their rivers, harbours, mountains and other physical features. I should like to see made for military purposes a thorough topographical survey of the whole of those areas, and ultimately of the whole of the continent.
– Something of that sort has already been done.
– If so it has only been done in a very haphazard way. If ever war breaks out in Australia, it will be essential that we have a trained staff intimately acquainted .with the distant parts of the continent, and fully qualified to take charge of the various troops and even civilians who are brought into active military service. Senator Marwick asked that training should be given to members of rifle clubs in the use of machine guns, Lewis guns and also the Bren gun, a weapon of the latest type, which has’ been adopted by the British Government, and which, I understand, will be adopted and probably manufactured in Australia. It should be possible to supply to every rifle club in Australia a Bren gun. This might entail an expenditure of many thousands of pounds, but the advantage of having keenly interested riflemen fully conversant with the mechanical operation of this new weapon would be worth the cost. From my contact with bushmen throughout Australia, I have formed the opinion that nearly every one is a potential mechanic. In every rifle club can bcfound a score of men who would quickly respond to tuition in the mechanism and use of machine guns. If such guns were made available to rifle clubs, and a large body of men of the right type trained in the use of this particular type of weapon, what a wonderful nucleus of a defence organization would be established ! The difficulty of one man handling and transport prevents them from being used more extensively, but I agree with Senator Marwick that the Government should make some of these guns available to the members of rifle clubs. I disagree entirely with statements made from time to time that a mechanized defence force cannot render efficient service in time of war. Prior to the outbreak of the Italo-Abyssinian dispute, it was said, that a mechanized army could play only an insignificant part in military warfare; but in spite of the contentions of experts, Italy with its mechanized army conquered Abyssinia in a comparatively short, time. Some honorable senators who have had considerable military experience said that” Italy with its mechanized army would never conquer Abyssinia.
– Aeroplanes were of considerable assistance.
– They formed a portion of the mechanized army. No army had ever previously been so highly equipped mechanically as was the Italian army which fought its way into Abyssinia. Many eminent military authorities contended that Italy had insufficient trained men to defeat the Abyssinians; but its mechanized forces were successful.
I now propose to deal with the construction of roads that are so essential in the development and the defence of Australia. The Northern Territory is always regarded as the back-door of the Commonwealth, and it has frequently been said that an invading army wishing to conquer Australia would enter the continent from the north. We all admit that, if we are to hold Australia, that huge tract of territory must be developed more effectively ; but if we are to succeed, wc should discontinue constructing railways and build roads instead. Some authorities say that roads cannot serve the same purpose as railways, but I believe that within a relatively short number of years railways will be almost obsolete. For ten or fifteen years, certain civic authorities said that the use of motor omnibuses would not solve a city’s traffic problems, but in some of the capital cities omnibuses, which when under the control of private enterprise were considered unsuitable, are now being used by transport authorities to carry the people and relieve traffic congestion. A main highway should be surveyed from some point in Queensland and certain other States to the Northern Territory. I realize that one of the principal difficulties that would be encountered would be the rivers, which at certain times of the year alter their course and are also subject to floods. If the Government could guarantee that travellers could proceed from the eastern States in a fairly direct route to the Northern Territory, the development of that portion of Australia would be accelerated. I have been informed by a gentleman who managed one of the largest commercial undertakings in the Northern Territory, and who has lived there for some time, that the first essential in developing the territory is the construction of roads and bridges.
– Does the honorable senator believe that that is a practicable proposition ?
– Has the honorable senator ever seen the Georgina?
– I have never visited the Northern Territory.
– At times it has five different channels covering an area five miles wide.
– And the course of the stream alters every few weeks.
– I am unable to speak from personal observation; but in discussing the development of the Northern Territory with persons who live there I have been informed that good roads would be more serviceable than railways for the purpose of opening up the country and giving adequate transport facilities.
– Bridges would cost more than the Northern Territory is worth.
– I do not suggest that a bridge should be constructed over every watercourse, but it should be practicable to construct a main highway from the eastern States to the Northern Territory and to erect bridges over the main watercourses. Allow me to enumerate the following points which are of interest when comparing roads with railways -
Flexibility. Elementary roads which are serviceable under all ordinary conditions can be constructed at a little more than the survey expenses.
Concrete main roads need to be completed only by sections but are usable at all times over undeveloped sections. Half or single track portions can be laid down and used at a fraction of the cost of railroads and a hundred times as quickly.
Hoad vehicles can pick up freight at any point and deliver it at any other point on the mainland without trans-shipment.
Railroads are (1) rapidly becoming obsolete ; (2) indexible; (3) unsuitable for sparsely populated communities; and (4) utterly ungutted to tropical conditions unless specially designed.
The capital cost of railroads is out of all proportion to the benefits they confer.
One interested gentleman makes the following suggestion : -
The section of railroad now existing in the Northern Territory should be liquidated and dismantled, and the road bed be converted into the foundation of an interstate highway, thereby immediately becoming an asset instead of a white elephant. No further money should bc spent on railroads in NorthAustralia.
– The person who supplied that information to the honorable senator is probably selling motor cars and oils.
– No. I wish here to refer to the development of freightcarrying aeroplanes and gliders. Honorable senators who smile at that suggestion should remember that the New Guinea gold-fields have been developed not by railways and roads but by aeroplanes. When a Sydney architect first suggested air transport to aid in the development of New Guinea the idea was ridiculed. He was asked how dredges and similar heavy machinery could be carried by aeroplanes, but he told them that such plant could be transported in sections and assembled later, and eventually that was done. Heavy machinery, motor cars, general stores and live freight are now being transported by aor over the mountains and rivers of New Guinea. Within the last six months an aeroplane with six gliders attached’ to it set out from San Francisco on a transcontinental flight. At certain stages of its progress a glider was released and it descended to earth at a specified point. The whole operation was performed with unqualified success. In view of the rapid development of aviation in other countries, we must give this form of transport our serious consideration. In the United States of America, Russia, Canada and other countries, road trains are in operation capable of carrying loads of 150 tons at 25 miles an hour.
– Does the honorable senator propose by the introduction of such methods, to shut down our railways?
– I did not suggest that the railways should be shut down.
– In due course they will shut themselves up.
– What of the debt owed to the British investors?
– It is futile for the honorable senator to imagine that railways as a form of transport will exist for ever.
– The honorable senator is suggesting these forms of transport in connexion with the future development of the Northern Territory?
– Yes; I am dealing with the progress of science in relation to methods of transport. Honorable senators should realize that all things ultimately become obsolete. Stephenson’s Rocket is just as obsolete in respect of railway transport as the dodo is unknown to-day. Stephenson himself did not foresee the wonderful development of railway transport through the application of electricity. Any one with a knowledge of the advancement of mechanical science must know perfectly well that railways in time will become obsolete. Apart from their ability to haul heavy loads at a rapid speed, road trains possess the additional advantage of flexibility, being able to traverse open country or well-constructed concrete roads with equal facility. Associated with much of this development is the diesel engine, which operates on the cheapest fuel, to the unit of power, that is obtainable in the world. When the process of extracting oil from coal and shale is more highly developed, the diesel engine will be almost universally used in industry. Senator J. V. MacDonald must be aware that the railway services in Northern Queensland and on the Tablelands are carried on principally by rail motors; yet there was a time when people were definitely opposed to the introduction of these petrol-driven trains. In New South Wales, fifteen years elapsed before the development of the petrol engine in connexion with railway services was brought to an advanced stage. One such rail motor was so long in process of construction at the Eveleigh works, that it became known as the Kathleen Mavourneen. In many quarters in the State, the opinion was expressed that such a motor train would never be brought to perfection; but, strange to relate, at the time when this experimentation was taking place in Australia, similar trains were actually running in other countries; in Great Britain motor trains equipped with Ford engines operated with considerable success. The opponents of the introduction of this form of transport in New South “Wales wanted no substitute for the steam engines with which they were conversant; they hesitated to introduce any new form of transport. In my opinion (hey were afraid that experts on the operation of the new form of locomotives would enter the business and displace them from their positions because they were not familiar with the new technical requirements. The development of the Northern Territory will have to be tackled along new. lines.
– By the construction of a railway line from Queensland into the Northern Territory.
– After all, Northern Queensland is not the only part of Australia that desires to be connected to the Northern Territory. I still contend that the construction of roads and bridges is the best plan for the development of this vast area. At the present time, men are formulating new ideas in this connexion. Mr. Morris, of whom honorable senators have probably heard, has made some remarkable suggestions for the development of the Northern Territory. His ideas are novel, and seemingly of merit. Remarkable though it moy appear, nearly all of the great modern developments have been made by men who followed a. new line of thought. By doing exactly the opposite to generally accepted practice, Henry Ford achieved hundreds of times what was declared to be impossible. He stated that the opinion of experts was never the deciding factor. In reference to experts, I am reminded that many great inventions in their early stages have been the subject of serious objection. For example, Stephenson’s locomotive remained for ten years on the Kenilworth estate in England before people accepted it. They contended that it would not work, despite the fact that it happened to be working at the time. A select committee of the House of ‘Commons was appointed to inquire into this remarkableinvention; it decided that the locomotive would not work because a smooth wheel could not be expected to run on a smooth rail; it would slip and therefore there could be no forward movement. For such reasons members of the select committee refused to accept the locomotive as a practical invention, although it was in actual operation. One member of the select committee said, “ experts are yesterday’s men, seldom to-day’s, and never tomorrow’s because they are limited in the ambit of their own expertness “. Just as that remark was .true many years ago when the first locomotive was constructed, so it is true to-day in connexion with new inventions and new ideas. When Stephenson engaged surveyors to lay the railway line their theodolites were broken by the doubting public and they were forced to hire prize fighters to protect their instruments.
– What has this to do with the Appropriation Bill?
– I am endeavouring to show that the Northern Territory can be developed if we adopt ideas different from those followed in the past. For 70 years all attempts to develop this vast area have been abortive; apparently everything has been done wrongly. The technique necessary to carry out the development of the Northern Territory has been lacking. In those circumstances I appeal to honorable senators not to be afraid of new ideas because Northern Australia is a. strange land and must be developed by strange methods.
– It has strange people, too!
– That is so. This great area which is now lying dormant, awaits the hand of man to make it a rich heritage. In conversation with a leading grazier in the train coming to Canberra to-day, I was informed that the old idea that the Northern Territory was an inhospitable and hostile country wa3 absolutely incorrect; yet we disregard our obligations in respect of that area and formu- late no proper plan for its development, in view of the fact that the effective occupation of the Northern Territory is essential to the defence and progress of. this great continent I hope that the Government will formulate a policy along the lines which I have suggested.
Some time ago in this chamber when dealing with the matter of tubercular returned soldiers, I drew attention to the fact that new methods of ascertaining the presence of tuberculosis were being carried on through the medium of the X-ray. The Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) appeared to doubt the accuracy of my remarks; but 1 have in my possession a book which, shows that remarkable progress has been, made in the diagnosis of this dread disease. I have also discussed the matter with a gentleman who has had considerable experience with returned soldier sufferers from tuberculosis, and he gave me some information in connexion with the method of diagnosis of the disease with the aid of the X-ray. The method of treatment has improved beyond all expectations. I raise this matter in order to be certain that the Government, in conjunction with the medical authorities, will do all that is possible to keep abreast, of the progress made in the treatment of tuberculosis in other parts of the world. In this connexion I quote an extract from Why Keep them Aline11, bv Paul De Kruif-
This was the lesson I learned from Surgeon O’Brien, and from Detroit’s roentgenologist, Evans, who showed me the ultimate marvel of the X-ray: that this magic eye actually knows more about the tuberculosis of any man or woman or child than their bodies show, by their symptoms, by their subtlest feelings. It is basic and of the highest importance that the X-ray can tell you you’re threatened with death when you imagine yourself to be entirely healthy.
With the assistance of the X-ray the medical authorities are enabled to determine whether tuberculosis is present in a person before there are any outward signs of it.
Senator A. J. McLACHLAN Who is the honorable senator’s authority?
– Mr. Paul De Kruif, a doctor who became an author and has written several books including Microbe Hunters, Hunger Fighters, and
– An American writer?
– I thought so.
– The honorable senator should not attempt to discredit the author because he is an American. The United States of America has produced some of the world’s most eminent surgeons and scientists, and the discoveries by American inventors in all branches of science in recent years have been remarkable. An Italian doctor first discovered the process by which a lung is allowed to collapse and the technique was improved by German doctors. A collapsed lung is at rest, and while in that state the part of it that is affected by tuberculosis has a chance to recover, until, eventually, the disease disappears. On this subject the author writes -
You say if you collapse :> lung how do you breathe without it, but that’s easy; you see, nature’s been generous with the amount of lungs she’s given us, so that actually, to breathe enough to live, one-fifth of one lung i.. all that you need to keep you going! Of course, otherwise this collapse treatment, this splinting of a sick lung, or even both sick lungs as they now can do it, wouldn’t have been possible.
Even in Australia, the process of collapsing one lung is in operation, but, so far as I can ascertain, no attempt has been made here to apply the process to both lungs of a sufferer. “My main reason for bringing this subject forward is to inform the Senate that what has already been done to, relieve sufferers when only one lung is affected is now done when both lungs are affected, and I want the authorities here to investigate the matter in the interests of sufferers from tuberculosis in this country.
– The author continues -
And it turned out to be a sad fact that there were many consumptives who couldn’t be saved by these magical air injections. Their lungs refused to collapse because they were stuck tight to their chests with adhesions. But even for these unlucky ones hope came very soon from German surgeons, who invented a terrific operation. These surgeons knew that at all costs the deadly cavities had got to be closed, so to vest the sick lungs of these doomed people, they began actually to de-rib them. They cut ali the ribs completely away from the consumptives’ chests on the side they were sickest and the mortality from those awful operations would have scared off anybody but the tough north German that old Ludolph Brauer was, so that he kept at this dreadful business of snapping the ribs off the spines and the breastbones of people who were surely going to die anyway, and presently a number of these lived - cured of their incurable consumption.
But, alas, there were other people too sick to stand the shock of this super-heroic effort to save their lives by de-ribbing them, but great i« science, gi-eat is the devotion of our deathlighters, and now in a little while there was hope even for these who were most forlorn. Again it was Germans. They made no-account nicks in these sick folks’ necks. They cut the phrenic nerve that governs the up-and-down pumping of the automatic muscle, the diaphragm. That paralyzed it. So that it rose into the sick man’s chest. So that it relaxed his lung and gave his now closed cavities a chance for healing.
– Does the honorable senator propose to connect his remarks with the subject before the Chair?
– This bill includes an appropriation for the Health Department, and I am urging that, in the interests of Australian sufferers from tuberculosis, that department should investigate the claims made in this book and by American authorities. One of the greatest post-war problems is that of tubercular returned soldiers. Although many brave men have already gone to their graves from this disease, others may yet be saved. I am concerned also for the wives and children of sufferers from tuberculosis. By means of the X-ray, the discovery of this disease in its early stages is now possible. I urge that this and other discoveries in medical and surgical science which make possible the successful treatment of cases previously regarded as hopeless, should be investigated, and if found to be reliable, the new methods should be adopted in Australia, thereby saving many valuable lives. In no better way could money be expended than in preventing suffering and. in saving human lives. The white scourge, which not many years ago carried prematurely to their gravees thousands of people every year, is on the verge of defeat; tuberculosis, even now, ranks as one of the chief causes of death. The Government should be vitally interested in the prevention of disease; for not only does disease cause pain and suffering, but it also brings poverty and distress into the homes of the people. If I had my way, I would build institutions throughout the country where sufferers could be medically examined and their diseases diagnosed correctly. I would arrange for a complete examination of every patient by competent medical practitioners and specialists, and I would inform him of the nature of his trouble so that the spread of the disease could be prevented. Prevention is better than cure, especially in the realm of human suffering. A modern community demands that these things shall be done. We in Australia should take advantage of the progress which has been made during recent years in other countries in the scientific treatment and prevention of disease. In the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, Russia and other countries, scientists are at work investigating the causes of, and remedies for, diseases, and the Commonwealth Government should keep in touch with what is being done. No stone should be left unturned to find effective means of combating the dread scourge of tuberculosis, which has wrought untold havoc among the people of every country, particularly among returned soldiers who were gassed or suffered extreme conditions during the war. In expending larger sums of money in this direction the Government would not only do more to relieve suffering among the present ‘generation, but it would also earn the gratitude of future generations.
Debate (on motion by Senator Leckie) adjourned.
Sitting suspended from 6. IS to 8 p.m.
Debate resumed from the 20th November (vide page 2139), on motion by Senator Sir GEORGE Pearce -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) [S.lJ. - This is a simple measure, and the Opposition will support it. The important provision is obviously clause 2, which states -
After section sixteen of the Financial Relief Act (No. 2) 1936 the following section is inserted : - “ 16a. Any variation, of any salary, wages, pay or allowance which would, but for the operation of the principal act, have been made under or in pursuance of any regulation, contract or agreement, or of any award, determination, order or decision of any authority, during the financial year commencing on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and thirty-six, by reason of a variation in the cost of living, as disclosed by index-numbers published by the Commonwealth Statistician, shall be made as from the commencement of the period in respect of which the first periodical payment is made after the commencement of this part and up to the end of that financial year.”.
I understand that to mean that, instead of a variation taking place immediately a rise or fall of the cost of living has been determined, it will now be made on a particular date. Whilst I am prepared that this practice should be followed when it means a reduction of the wage, I do not wish it to be adopted in the case of an increase of the wage, because it might seriously affect employees on the lower salaries.
– As the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) pointed out, the object of this measure is to rectify a legal difficulty that has arisen in regard to the operation of the regulations and by-laws which provide for the adjustment of salaries of Commonwealth officers and employees in. accordance with variations of the cost of living. As the present law stands, there is a hiatus, and we are simply proposing to fill the gap by allowing cost-of-living variations to continue to operate from the date when the relative provisions of the Financial Emergency Act were repealed. If the law were not altered, there would be a time when the cost of living would remain static.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Debate resumed from the 19th November (vide page 2072), on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– I do not propose to enter into a general discussion of the subject of nationality, which bristles with difficulties ; I shall refer particularly to the position of women who marry foreigners. The interesting speech by the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), in moving the second reading of this bill, was of a technical nature, and, as it appeared in Hansard, was not easy to follow in detail. I think, therefore, that some honorable senators who have not studied this question may be in doubt as to the purport of the measure. Nationality is a complicated subject, because practically every country has a different law in regard to it. In Great Britain the law of nationality began as the law of the soil, that is to say, a person born on British soil was British; but, after long years, if not centuries, the law of the blood was engrafted onto the law of the soil, so that a Britisher, wherever born was regarded as British. We took it with both hands! Those born on British soil were said to be British even if they came of foreign parentage, and those born abroad of British parentage were also British. Other nations adopted similar laws, and the rather astonishing position arises that some people have two nationalities. A person born of French parents in Great Britain is regarded under the law of France as being French, and under the British law as being British. This indicates the difficulties experienced under the law of nationality.
This bill arises from the changed position of women. It will be within the knowledge of honorable senators that, until relatively recently, a married woman, as such, lost practically all her rights. She was not allowed to hold property in her own right. In legal books she was classed collectively with, infants - persons under the age of twentyone years - and lunatics. In the early eighties that English law was changed so that a woman, when she married, had the same right to hold property as a man. But more than that, with the increasing recognition of their true status, women have come eventually to be regarded as just as much entitled to express their views on matters of importance as are men; and, of course, they do so. They have the right to vote and the right to a pension. The majority of us agree that it would be only fair in regard to nationality, which is one of the greatest assets a person can have, that the grave injustice of forcing a woman to lose her nationality because she marries a foreigner should he removed. Hitherto, if she married a foreigner she ceased to be British, and, indeed, in some cases, the position was even worse. If, for instance, she married in Australia a national of the United States of America she lost her British nationality, but she did not acquire that of the United States of America, under the law of which a person must reside there for a certain period before becoming eligible to acquire the nationality of that country. Such a woman would have no status at all; she would cease to be British and would not have become an American. It is grossly unfair that a woman should be placed in such a position in regard to her nationality. Is there any reason why a woman who marries a foreigner should be forced out of her own race, any more Thau a man who marries a foreign woman should be so treated? By degrees it was realized that this position was indefensible, and that it should be changed. In saying that, one does not find it necessary to raise the difficult subject of the nationality of the children of such marriages. That, I suggest, is an entirely different matter, and opinions on it may differ. My personal view is that, just as a wife adopts the surname of her husband, he being, at any rate, nominally the head of the family, the children should follow the father’s nationality. Other people think that a son should have the nationality of his father and a daughter that of her mother.
This subject was brought under my notice over ten years ago. In 1926 I made a motion in regard to it in the House of Representatives, and it was carried unanimously. As a matter of fact not a single speaker of any party spoke against it, which I think is a rare thing in the House. The then Prime Minister (Mr. Bruce) promised to present the resolution to the Imperial Conference of 1926, and to do what he could for it. Then difficulties and delays began, and they have continued from that time up to the present. Difficulties arose inside the Empire as to what change, if any, should be made; some thought that the existing law was the better and pointed out difficulties in detail which would follow any change; others thought that the change would be for the better and were in favour of it; and so the merits of the case were argued. Eventually the question went before the Hague Convention of 1930, and there a compromise was reached which, in effect, with one additional detail is included in this bill. The bill does not go so far as we had hoped, and, as I still hope, may be possible in the future. My original motion, speaking in general terms, was that a woman shall not lose her nationality by the mere fact of marriage, but that it should be open to her to make a declaration of alienage; that is to say, she should not automatically cease to be British but, if she chose, might sign a document that she wished to acquire some other nationality. This bill does not go so far as that. What it says in effect, is that a woman shall not be left without any State at all; it deals with the case, of a woman who has lost her original nationality and has not acquired another nationality, it prevents her from being stateless. The British Government passed an act in 1933 - one of a series known as The British Nationality and Status of Aliens Acts; and which was in substance enacted in New Zealand in 1935. I may say that there has been a whole series of moves and counter moves over the provisions of these acts. On one occasion a private bill was introduced into the House of Commons by Sir John Sandermann Allen, which proposed to bestow complete rights upon women, but it had not gone far when the Government introduced into the House of Lords a hill effecting a compromise, and eventually passed it through both Houses. The bill became the 1933 act. Many women’s organizations all over the world have been working on this matter for years. Many of. them do not approve of this bill. They want full justice and they regard the privileges granted to women in this bill as only halfjustice. My advice to them has always been that they should take the half-loaf when it is offered, and immediately afterwards start working for the other halfloaf.
– I think that they are in agreement with that advice now.
– I hope that they are; I would certainly urge them to go on working for a fullmeasure of justice after this bill has been passed. In substance, it excludes the most glaring instances of what I think, without stretching words, one may call injustice. I agree entirely with the Government on the general principle, which has prompted the introduction of the bill ; that is, the importance of uniformity in the nationality laws of the Empire. I do not grumble at the Government for saying that it cannot go further than this at the present time, because it seems to me most important that we should not have conflicting nationality laws inside the Empire itself or that in one dominion a woman may be regarded as British and in another dominion as not British. That does not seem to me to be practicable, and while I am strongly in favour of a full measure of justice for married women, which this bill does not give, but for which my original motion provided, it is essential that we should come to it by agreement inside the Empire, but not by taking any radical step which will put us out of step with other parts of the Empire. There is one provision in this bill which goes a little further than the British act, although a similar provision is included in the New Zealand legislation. It relates to a British subject who marries an alien and, acquires the nationality of her husband by so doing, and the effect of it was that if, for instance an Australian woman marries a Frenchman in Australia, she may under this bill retain her British nationality and her electoral and pension rights when she is in Australia. This was originated in the New Zealand act, but I am not altogether happy about it; though it may remove some hardships, difficulties may arise in its operation. .1 understand that the proposed provision was submitted by the Government of New Zealand to the British Government, which offered no objection to it.
– That is so.
– I am not suggesting that there was any interference on the part of the British Government, but as the head of the British Commonwealth of Nations, it indicated that it did not mind the nationality laws of New Zealand being varied by the insertion of this particular provision. We are incorporating it in practically the same form in the bill now before the Senate.
Clause 7 provides -
Suppose a woman who has married a Frenchman in Australia, goes overseas and forfeits her British rights; when she returns to Australia, do her British rights accrue to her again? In other words, the strange position will arise that she will be a British subject while she is in Australia ; and if she goes to France she will assume French nationality while she is in France. If later she returns to Australia, will she again be a British subject while in Aus tralia ? Is she to have the right to resume her British rights as often as she returns to Australia? If she loses them on her first departure from Australia that difficulty will not arise. The matter is not perfectly clear, and I would like the Minister to give any information he can regarding it. As honorable senators may be aware, I have special reasons for cordially supporting this bill, although it does not go as far as I would wish.
– Our only reason for supporting it is that it goes part of the road.
– Possibly my reasons for supporting it are stronger than those of the honorable senator, because it was really I who initiated this legislation in Australia, and it is some satisfaction to me that after eleven years of effort something which I instigated in the past, in however humble a way, is at last assuming definite form.
– The honorable senator sees that the tree he planted is growing.
-HUGHE S . - It is not so robust a tree as I had expected, but I still hope that it will grow stronger.
– Lt has not suffered from lack of water.
– The weather has been droughty.
– The tree may not have been watered as it could, and should have been. In any case, eleven years have elapsed since the planting, and although it is not a very robust tree it is at least still growing. Therefore, I feel a certain amount of real cordiality towards the Government for having brought this bill forward; I welcome it. Amongst others who have done a good deal in connexion with this matter, are Sir Donald Cameron, and Mr. Nairn, members of the House of Representatives, who have both worked on it for some years. The introduction of this bill will give great satisfaction to an enormous number of women. “When I use the word “ enormous “ I am not exaggerating. The interest taken in this matter is simply tremendous, and a large number of women’s organizations have actually concerned themselves in it. If any one asks me why should we worry so much about what, after all, must affect only a few women, .my reply is that in five countries women have equality with men in all matters connected with nationality now. I shall not at this stage enter into a discussion of whether women’s abilities are equal to those of men. I do not think that comes within our purview at all, and it is probably a question better left alone. In nineteen countries, including the United States of America, marriage of a woman national- to a foreigner does not deprive her of her nationality without her consent; and in twelve countries the marriage of a foreign woman to a national of the country does not compel her to take her husband’s nationality without her consent. So that the prin ciple of which this bill is an instalment is becoming recognized all over the world, and I personally think that the sooner the whole of the Empire can be brought into agreement that there is no justification for driving a woman out of the race in which she was born, the sooner will essential justice be done to women as a whole.
– I feel impelled to endorse what has been said by Senator Duncan-Hughes. In common with many other honorable senators, I recognize the magnificent and persistent work which has been done for many years by organizations of women in Australia in connexion with this matter. Several such bodies in Tasmania, in conjunction with similar organizations in other parts of the Commonwealth, have been working on this subject for many years, and I am glad that they have at last secured some result from their labour. I am rather disappointed that the measure does not go further, but I agree with Senator DuncanHughes that half a loaf is better than no bread. I know that these organizations have been working very hard, and, from what I know of women, I feel sure that they will not be content until they get all that they require. Every person who has given this important subject careful consideration realizes that women have had to face many unnecessary difficulties in respect of nationality. There does not appear to be any good reason why women should not have the same rights as men. I am glad that the women are working assiduously to secure the full measure of relief within the Empire, which should have been granted years ago.
– In the absence of the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), who moved the second reading of this bill, I shall reply to the points raised during the second-reading debate. I join with Senator Payne in congratulating the women’s organizations throughout Australia upon the persistence they have displayed in connexion with the subject of nationality. I also congratulate Senator Duncan-Hughes and those other parliamentarians whom he named, upon the energy they have shown. I am not sure that some of the organizations, in their zeal for the cause which they have championed, have recognized the extreme difficulties surrounding nationality. Senator Duncan-Hughes said that he is willing to accept what this bill provides, in the hope that the full measure of relief will bc given later. The honorable senator will realize that the Government has followed the course of conceding those things which it seems possible to concede without becoming involved in international complications. The honorable senator might adopt the motto of my native city, Vires, acquirit eundo - as it goes it acquires strength - and assist still further in obtaining for women all the rights to which they are entitled. In an interesting survey of this important subject the honorable senator raised the point of whether a woman who, having married a foreigner, leaves Australia and then returns resumes her British nationality. Perhaps I am not correct in saying nationality, because she would adhere to her own nationality regardless of the country in which she lived. She would, however, enjoy the benefits accruing from nationality - the rights of British subjects - while in Australia.- Proposed new section 18 a provides -
If a woman left Australia for a time and returned she would, while in Australia, be entitled to all the rights of a British subject. She would, of course, be entitled to such rights only while she remained in Australia. If we attempted to go further we would be making an incursion into international law which might be beyond our powers. The matter mentioned by Senator Duncan-Hughes was specifically brought under the notice of the British authorities by the New Zealand Government. The British Government expressed the view that, as it was a domestic matter, the New Zealand Government was entitled to adopt the course which the Commonwealth Government has now followed. I do not think that the matter was expressly brought under the notice of the British Government by the Commonwealth authorities; we accepted the opinion expressed by the British Government in respect of New Zealand as applying also to the Commonwealth.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Debate resumed from the 20th November (vide page 2140), on motion by Senator A. J. McLachlan -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– This is purely a machinery measure and the Opposition does not intend to oppose it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 and 2 agreed to.
Section6a of the Principal Act is amended -
by inserting in paragraph (a) of subsection ( 1 . ) , after the word “ law “ (second occurring), the words “ and desire to forward such an argument”:
by inserting in paragraph (b) of subsection (1.), after the word “law” (second occurring), the words “and desire to forward such an argument”; and
by omitting from sub-section (1.) the word “nine” (wherever occurring) and inserting in its stead the word “ four “.
Section proposed to be amended - 6A. - (1.)If within nine weeks after the passage of the proposed law through both Houses there is forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer - (a) an argument in favour of the proposed law, consisting of not more than two thousand words, and authorized by a majority of those members of both Houses of the Parliament who voted for the proposed law; or
an argument against the proposed law. consisting of not more than two thousand words, and authorized by a majority of those members of both Houses of the Parliament who the Chief Electoral Officer shall, within two months after the expiry of those nine weeks, and not later than two weeks after the issue of the writ, cause to be printed and posted to each elector, as nearly as practicable, a pamphlet containing the arguments together with a statement showing the textual alterations and additions proposed to be made to the Constitution.
– This clause provides for the distribution of statements setting out the arguments for and against a proposal to he submitted to the electors by means of a referendum. The statements to be issued in connexion with the forthcoming referendum will probably have as much effect upon the electors as did the arguments for and against the secession of Western Australia from the Commonwealth, because I do not think that many electors bothered to read them. In 1912 Parliament decided that arguments for and against any proposed alteration of the Constitution should be submitted in a condensed form so that those electors who desired information would not be compelled to read the whole of the speeches delivered in Parliament on the subject.
– What would the honorable senator do if there were half a dozen sides to the question?
– The public would have eventually to vote either “Yes” or “No”; if there were five good reasons for voting against the measure, I take it that they would all be inserted in the one case as alternatives. Indeed, I expect that a large number of arguments will be put from various aspects against the marketing proposal. On that point I was rather amused, when perusing a copy of Hansard of the 20th December, 1912, to find that, when the Referendum (Constitution Alteration) Bill No. 2 was moved by Senator Pearce, Senator St. Ledger asked -
May we advance ‘ fresh arguments, or only those already used in the course of debate?
– I regret to say that I have been unable to find that the Opposition have used any arguments up to the present. If between now and the time when the pamphlet is produced they can discover some arguments, fresh or stale, they will be at liberty to use them in the pamphlet.
I hope that the arguments which have hitherto been used in opposition to the marketing proposal have been at any rate sufficiently good for it to be said of them that they were good arguments, whether fresh or stale.
The particular point which I desire to make, though small, is very reasonable. This bill in its original form contained a provision that the arguments for and against the referendum proposal should be forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer within eight weeks after the passage of the bill. In this case, we understand that the bill will be passed on the 2nd December, unless some of those who voted for the second reading think that the arguments have been so overwhelmingly, against it that they will vote against it on the third reading. In 1915 the period of eight weeks was increased to nine weeks ; but this bill seeks to make the period four weeks. There can be no justification for that reduction.
– There is a very good reason for it.
– The reason will presumably be the period required to get the case printed and issued to the electors before the referendum ; but the reduction of time is not fair to the comparatively small number of opponents of the marketing proposal in the two chambers. I think that there was only one opponent of the third reading of the bill in the House of Representatives, and four honorable senators voted against the second reading in this chamber. I urge that this minority should be given the rights, which have been enjoyed for 24 years, of a reasonable time in which to prepare a reasoned case against this proposed alteration of the Constitution. If the Minister in charge of the bill (Senator A. J. McLachlan) has any really good argument to justify the reduction of the period, I should be prepared to listen to him; but I cannot see that it is fair to reduce the period from nine weeks to four weeks.
– Does not the honorable senator consider that four weeks is sufficient ?
– I do not.
– It is a bad case if the honorable senator cannot prepare it in four weeks.
– This bill is likely to pass the third reading on the 2nd December. In view of the Customs Tariff schedules, which have to be considered, and other business, Parliament may be sitting until the 11th. December. From then on we shall be stepping on the heels of the Christmas season. I can see no reason why the preparation of this case should be rushed through; I think it is doing a substantial injustice to the small minority - most of them pretty busy people - to expect them to produce an effective case at lightning speed. On the other hand, the Government obviously can simply detail some departmental officials to prepare a good case on its behalf from the best speeches made by its supporters in both chambers. So far as the Government is concerned, the matter is perfectly easy; but, on behalf of the five persons of both chambers who have to produce a report in opposition to the marketing proposal, I say that they should be given a longer period than four weeks. I find in Hansard of the 16th December, 1912, volume 69, page 7164, the following passage: -
Mr. DEAKIN , Ballarat [10.25]. I understand that the Attorney General is quite satisfied that eight weeks is the longest possible time that can be allowed. But the Christmas and Now Year holidays will reduce that period to six weeks.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the change from the horse to the automobile helps us in this matter?
– It may help politicians to move more quickly from place to place; but we are concerned, not with the dissemination, but with the preparation, of the case. It would be arguable that the period should be longer, because aeroplanes will enable the printed pamphlets to be distributed throughout Australia in a few days, instead of requiring weeks to reach “Western Australia, as was the case years ago. The passage in Hansard to which I referred continued -
Mr. HUGHES , West Sydney Attorney General, [10.20]. I have gone into this matter very carefully. It was considered at first that only four weeks should be allowed owing to the fact that the printer stated that he required eight weeks to do the work of print ing. That period of eight weeks, however, has now been reduced by three weeks. Over 500,000 of these volumes will have to be printed, wrapped up, addressed and despatched all over the continent, and that in itself is a monumental work. The publication must Teach the electors at least one month before the election - it must not .be too remote from, nor yet too near, the election. Allowing for a week or so after the New Year there is absolutely no margin, and eight weeks is the longest possible time.
If the printer could do the work in three weeks, then, surely, with the improved appliances, he should now be able to do it in a fortnight.
– But this proposal to alter the Constitution is not nearly so comprehensive as those which were submitted to the 1912 referendum.
– If the honorable senator thinks that he can, without preparation, go on the platform and discuss every legal aspect of this matter, he is a great deal more confident than I am. The present proposal bristles with argumentative points and ought not to be rushed through against a Comparatively small minority, who have to prepare the opposition side.
.- I have already indicated that I am in complete accord with the view of Senator Duncan-Hughes. The period allotted for the preparation of the case has been reduced by more than one-half.
– The honorable senator was the first to take objection to it.
– That is so. Parliament will probably be sitting until the 11th December, and with the approach of Christmas the time to enable the minority to prepare their side of the case against the proposed referendum is altogether too short. Even if my previous suggestion that six weeks should be allowed to prepare the case, were adopted, there would still remain sufficient time in which to hold the’ referendum on the date desired by the Government - the 6th or the 13th March. Let us assume that the date will be the 6th March. Even if the period were extended to six weeks, the passage of the bill on the 2nd December would allow the minority until the 13th January in which to prepare a case. Three weeks could be allotted for the printing of the pamphlet, which would bring us to the 3rd February. The Government would then have more than a month in which to place the issue before the electors. I, therefore, move -
That the word “ four “, paragraph e, be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ six “.
– The Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies), when introducing this measure in the House of Representatives fixed the period at three weeks instead of four weeks. Representations were subsequently made to him that three weeks might be a little short for the purpose of preparing the pamphlet, and the honorable gentleman accordingly extended the period to four weeks. The act which we are now amending stipulates -
If within nine weeks after the passage of the proposed law through both Houses there is forwarded to the Chief Electoral Officer -
an argument in favour of the pro posed law, consisting of not more than two thousand words, and authorized by a majority of those members of both Houses of the Parliament who voted for the proposed law; or
an argument against the proposed law, consisting of not more than two thousand words, and authorized by a majority of those members of both Houses of the Parliament who voted against the proposed law, . . .
Honorable senators must have regard to the duties imposed upon the Electoral Officer. What is this official to do when he receives the pamphlet? He - . . shall, within two months after the expiry of those nine weeks, and not later than two weeks after the issue of the writ, cause to be printed and posted to each elector, as nearly as practicable, a pamphlet containing the arguments together with a statement showing the textual alterations and additions proposed to be made to the Constitution. . . .
Sub-section 2 of section 6a of the principal act reads -
When there are to be two referendums upon more than one proposed law on the same day.
the argument in favour of any proposed law may exceed two thousand words if the argument in favour of all the proposed laws do not average more than two thousand words each; and the argument against any proposed law may exceed two thousand words if the arguments against all the proposed laws do not average more than two thousand words each ;
instead of separate statements in regard to each proposed law, there may be one statement setting out all the alterations and additions to the Constitution to be made by all the proposed laws, with marginal notes identifying the proposed law by which each alteration is proposed to be made.
In my opinion, four weeks is a reasonable time in which to prepare arguments of 2,000 words each. Judging by the fluency of some honorable senators, especially when a Hansard reporter is present, an argument of 2,000 words can be prepared in much less than four weeks. The important thing is to get the pamphlet in the hands of the electors as early as possible. The issues are such that I do not think that either side will require 2,000 words to express its views. The simpler and shorter the statement, and the more to the point the argument it contains, the more likely are the electors to decide wisely. Honorable senators know that the Constitution itself imposes certain limitations as to time. The proposals must be submitted to the people within six months, but not before two months, after the passage of the bill through both Houses of the Parliament. A period of four weeks from the 4th December should be ample for preparing the arguments, pro and con.
– A start could be made now.
– From what I have seen in certain journals which I read in order to obtain a guide as to popular opinion, it is evident that a number of arguments, both for and against the Government’s proposals, have already been prepared. All that is now necessary is for those arguments to be expressed in words suitable for placing before the electors. I ask the committee to reject the amendment.
– In my opinion, a period of four weeks is sufficient.
– Why alter an arrangement which has existed for 24 years?
– I. am aware that the law requires that arguments for and against the proposed law shall be printed in a pamphlet and distributed to the electors; but, in my opinion, the printing of the pamphlet is practically a waste of paper and ink, for not 5 per cent, of the electors will read it.
– The honorable senator is a long way out in his estimate.
– 1 do not think so. I am reminded of a publication prepared by the Government in reply to the case for the secession of Western Australia from the federation. Although that publication cost the taxpayers of this country about £25,000. not many of the people read the arguments it contained. I do not think that those opposed to the proposed law will require more than four weeks to prepare their case. I was somewhat amazed to hear it suggested that four or five persons would prepare the case against the proposed law. I am reminded that, in one of the State parliaments, a member tried to prevent the referendum nearly a month ago. We can rest assured that the case against the Government’s proposals will not be left in the hands of four or five persons. The time proposed in the bill is sufficient, and, therefore, I cannot support the amendment.
– I support the amendment moved by Senator Grant. The Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) has completely failed to justify the change proposed by the Government. Originally a period of eight weeks was provided, but doubt was expressed as to the sufficiency of that time, and in 1915 the period was extended to nine weeks. This bill seeks to reduce the period to four weeks. We are entitled to an explanation of such a radical reduction. The only excuse given by the Minister is that it is essential that certain things be done in order that the referendum may be held on a certain date.
– Will there not be chaos if action is not taken immediately?
– I do not think so. If there is urgency, and the Government wishes to deal with this matter at once, it can act without waiting for a referendum at all.
– What can it do?
– The Government, may act under the constitutional powers vested in the Commonwealth.
– What power would the Government have to use?
– That is a matter for the Government to decide. The Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) has admitted that the Government has power to act, and that is sufficient for me. It is not prepared to act, because it wants additional powers. In order that the vote may be taken on a certain day, the Government proposes to reduce the period for the preparation of arguments for and against the proposed law. The Postmaster-General said that the fluency of some honorable senators is such that they could put out 2,000 words easily in four weeks, hut I remind him that the ‘ Government took about six months to prepare the 38 words in the marketing referendum proposal.
– Its task was more difficult.
– Presumably the Government had to consider various arguments for and against its proposals. Ministers travelled from one capital city to another trying to find the most appropriate words to use. Their time was not reduced. The printer also is to have his full time. Further, the referendum is to be held on the date desired by the Government regardless of the need to hold it then, or, indeed, at any time. The only people whose time is to be reduced are those who will prepare the opposition arguments. 1 am reminded of the bed of Procustes, a legendary figure of ancient Greece, who tortured his victims by placing them on a bed, and stretching or lopping off their legs to adapt the body to its length. Although for 24 years those who have opposed alterations of the Constitution have had eight or nine weeks in which to prepare their case, on this occasion the time i» to be cut down to four weeks. So far, no logical or equitable reason has been given for the alteration.
– I can only say that if the arguments to be set out in the pamphlet on behalf of the Government’s proposal are no sounder than those advanced by Senator Duncan-Hughes, they will deserve all the criticism that is likely to be directed against them. The honorable senator said that the Government, having taken all the time it required to prepare its case, now desires to restrict the time previously allowed to the opponents of any proposed law. I do not understand his argument. The electors have already read in the newspapers and elsewhere arguments both for and against the proposed alteration of the Constitution. Surely those who support the proposals are in exactly the same position as are those who are opposed to them. No good purpose is served by quoting what happened in 1915, when this machinery was last used. In 1911 and again in 1913, a series of complicated questions had to be decided. The proposals on those occasions required a good deal of careful explanation. On those occasions a great deal more time was necessary to assimilate the arguments than will be necessary on this occasion, when the proposals are much simpler. It is proposed to ask the electors to alter the Constitution in respect of marketing, and also with respect to the control of air navigation and aircraft. The ballotpaper submitted in connexion with the proposals which were referred to the people in 1926 contained many instructions, and asked “ Do you approve of the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled so and so “ ? There were then several proposed alterations, as there were in 1913, but on the present occasion two extremely simple questions are to be referred to the electors. The first may he “ Are you in favour of restoring the powers of the Commonwealth to the position in which they were taken to be before the decision of the Privy Council in the J James case “ ?
– Hardly that.
– That is the way in which the issue has been stated.
– What percentage of the electors know what the position was and now is?
– If a small number of the people fail to understand the simple question proposed to be submitted to them, I fail to see how the people managed to deal with the extremely complicated issues put before them in 1911, 1913 and 1926. My colleague, Senator A. J. McLachlan, has a copy of the booklet which was prepared to show the arguments for and against the proposals referred to the people at the 1915 referendum, but was not distributed. A glance at it shows how extremely complicated was the issue on that occasion. The alterations proposed were of an extraordinarily far-reaching nature.
It was hardly fair of Senator DuncanHughes to suggest that the Government had power to overcome the difficulty that has arisen in connexion with marketing legislation in some other way than that in which it proposes to deal with it. It is true that the Attorney-.General (Mr. Menzies) stated in Adelaide that, as a strict matter of law, it would be possible to meet the situation under the excise power of this Parliament, but he did not recommend, at the recent conference of Commonwealth and State Ministers, that that course should be adopted. On the contrary, he pointed out the difficulties in the way. Honorable senators are aware of the trouble that has arisen in connexion with the flour duty and the wheat bounty. Surely honorable senators would not urge the use of the excise power as a permanent remedy for the difficulty that has arisen in regard to marketing legislation owing to the decision of the Privy Council.
– Is it fair that the Opposition should he the only section that is deprived of its rights?
– In what way is it losing any of its rights? Why should we assume that those who oppose the proposed alterations of the Constitution have been kept in. utter darkness up till now, whilst supporters of the Government throughout Australia know exactly what is to be done? I think that the time allowed is equitable, and honorable senators generally ought to agree to the proposal. In the House of Representatives the Attorney-General conceded a week longer than the three weeks he had originally proposed, and that was accepted with cordiality.
– The remarks of the Minister would be partly convincing if the proposed alteration of the period of nine weeks were to apply only to the referendum to be held shortly; but the alteration will apply to all future refer- endums until the law is again altered. We have been told by the Government that a few months hence most revolutionary proposals, affecting the powers of this Parliament, will be submitted to the people by referendum.
– What proposals?
– Those which the Opposition favours. I refer to complete powers over trade, commerce and industrial matters.
– The Government has never said anything about seeking full trade and commerce powers.
– I have read statements by the Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) that the people will be invited to confer full industrial and, I believe, other powers on this Parliament. Yet the time for preparing arguments for and against a referendum proposal is to be cut down from nine to four weeks on the pretext that the alteration is to apply only to the two comparatively simple questions to be submitted to the people in the near future. I consider that the period should be extended, if an alteration is to be made at all, because of the far-reaching nature of other proposals that have not yet come before this Parliament, but which we are told will he submitted to the people. I am convinced that at least the period of nine weeks should he retained.
– I was not quite familiar with the reason which actuated the Government in coming to its decision in this matter, but I find on inquiry that it is considered essential to hold the referendum on the 6 th March next. The Government Printer and the Chief Electoral officer have assured the Attorney-General (Mr. Menzies) that, in this particular case, one month is the longest period that can be allowed if they are to comply with the requirements of the law. The Government has no desire to curtail the opportunities of honorable senators who desire to oppose the proposals to be submitted to the people. The AttorneyGeneral believes, and Ministers generally are satisfied, that a month is ample to prepare the case for and against the proposals. I realize the. difficulties which honorable senators may find themselves in, owing to the Christmas vacation, but 1 give to Senator Johnston an undertaking that, if any referendum such as that indicated by him is to be held, the period will be extended. I do not think that any injustice will be done.
– I am utterly at a loss to understand the psychology of honorable senators who are asking for an extension of the time proposed to be allowed; nor do I see anything to justify their inferiority complex. The Opposition in this chamber will favour both of the proposals to be submitted at the forthcoming referendum. We know our reasons for doing so ; we stated them in this chamber in a few moments. I do not believe that honorable senators who are opposed to the proposals are less competent than we are to reach their conclusions on the matter, and I am sure that they have already formed their opinions on the questions to be submitted to the electors.
– That is not so.
– Then they are guilty of sheer perversity.
– The honorable senator must not impute motives.
– If the expression is objectionable, I withdraw it; but personally, I should not take exception to it. I do not believe that honorable senators who object to the proposals require four weeks in which to prepare their case. If it is not already prepared they should not have ‘been so definite in their opposition to the bills providing for alterations of the Constitution. Senator Johnston has raised a bogy about, other proposals that may be submitted to the people, but he is already well aware of the arguments that will bo adduced against the adoption of a 40-hour week, or the granting of increased industrial powers to this Parliament, and if such proposals were to be submitted to the people he would not require much time in which to state his objections. Although I am now taking up a few moments of the time of the committee, I waited until I was driven into making my present remarks. This discussion might have ended an hour ago if honorable senators who oppose the proposed alterations of the Constitution had left the. chamber and proceeded immediately with the task of preparing their case.
– I have listened with some amusement to the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), and I am interested to notice that the Government has such slavish followers as the members of the official Opposition. The members of the official Opposition in this chamber have been the strongest supporters of the Government for some considerable time.
– Even governments are sometimes right.
– Apparently the honorable senator thinks that this Government is always right. I have scarcely known him to differ from it on any matter.
– That is not correct.
– The Government should welcome criticism in this chamber; if it does not come from the official Opposition, it can quite properly come from government supporters. As the law stands at present, eight weeks are allowed for the preparation of the case to be submitted to the people. Even that period of time was considered in the past to be insufficient, and it was increased to nine weeks. Now the Government asks us to accept a proposal to reduce the time allowed to four weeks. It is said that the shorter period may apply only to the referendum proposed to be held next year. I do not think the case is quite so simple as the Minister tries to make out. The preparation of the arguments for and against the proposals will take a lot of time. The Government has all the forces of the departments at its back to prepare the affirmative case; probably that case has already been prepared by departmental officers. But the opponents of the proposals have to prepare their own case, while at the same time attending to their parliamentary duties. As Senator Johnston has said, when the law is altered it will remain in its amended form until it is again amended.
– I have explained to Senator Johnston that the pro posal to shorten the time was made at the request of the Chief Electoral Officer and the Government Printer to enable them to have everything in readiness for the taking of the referendum on the 6th March next.
– The Minister, however, has not explained why it is absolutely necessary that tie referendum be held on the 6tn March.
– It must be taken either on the 6th. or the 13th March.
– We have not been given any explanation as to why one of those dates must be accepted. I suggest to the Minister that the 13th will be rather an unlucky day on which to make an appeal to the people; if the Government is superstitious, it should choose either the 6th or the 20th March. The Minister also gives an assurance that in respect of any subsequent referendum, the question of the extension of the time allowed for the preparation of the case would be again considered. Though he has given that undertaking, it is quite possible that the present Ministry may not be in power when the next referendum is held.
– That is the fly in the ointment.
– I admit frankly that it is. There may be another government in power which for purposes of its own might reduce the time allowed for the preparation of the case to a week. Such a government might consider that it had such a strong mandate from the people that it could take a referendum in five weeks; to do so it may be necessary to allow only a week in which to prepare the cases to be presented to the people for and against the proposal. Would the Minister regard that as fair.
– The Minister regards four weeks as fair, but six weeks as excessive. I daresay he would regard four weeks and a day as unfair. The Government is impatient of any criticism of its actions in this chamber and, in fact, has accepted no amendment from a member of this Senate during the whole of the present sittings. Are we expected to be slavish followers of the Government? I do not propose to be put into that position. If I wish to move an amendment, I shall do so regardless of whether it will be supported by a majority or not. Certainly the Government with the slavish assistance of the Leader of the Opposition and others, with their support of anything it likes to submit, can defeat any proposed amendments. As a Tasmanian senator, I intend to justify my position in this chamber by moving amendments when it appears desirable to do so, and by insisting that the Senate shall have the opportunity to record its opinion by a division.
.- I think Senator Johnston, who, although he is opposed to us on this particular matter, realizes that what is being asked is mere fairness. In reply to Senator James McLachlan, I point out that, under the original act, it is not necessary .for members who are opposed to the case to prepare it; all they have to do is to authorize it. Fairness, however, requires that whoever prepares it should have a reasonable time in which to do so. That, I think, is not given. But the cream of the discussion was the attitude of the PostmasterGeneral (Senator A. J. McLachlan), who opposed this amendment, and was supported by some other ministerial senators, and later admitted that, when he spoke on the first occasion, he was ignorant of the Government’s reason for limiting the time allowed to prepare tlie case.
.- I am inclined to think that there is reason in what Senator Grant has said. I do not think that a decent argument could be prepared by the opponents of the marketing proposal in four weeks, or even four months, but if further time were given to them, they might discover some logical reason for their opposition. My own conviction, however, is that, no matter how long a time is given for the preparation of the case for and against, it will not affect the issue by more than half a dozen votes.
– I cannot see any logic in the amendment, because those who are opposed to the proposed alteration of the Constitution had the same time to pre pare their cases as those in favour of it have had, and unless they can put up a better case to the electors than they have made out in this Parliament, an extension of the time to even four months would not make any difference. The longer the referendum is delayed the more dangerous will become the position of the primary producers. Already dumping has commenced in two States, and, immediately the existing contracts expire, the practice will become general, and chaos will be caused throughout the country. I have the gravest fear of dumping in Western Australia.
– I take no exception at all to the amendment moved, or to criticism of the Government, even if it be a little catty. Cats, of course, like cream. However, there are special circumstances on this particular occasion which necessitate the reduction of the time. I cannot regard the opposition to the Government’s proposal as having any solid foundation. For weeks past this matter has been debated in the House of Representatives; for a week or a fortnight it has been before this House. A further week still remains before the call of the Senate on the 2nd December. Everybody knows that the statement of the pros and cons of the case which go out to the people need not necessarily be prepared by those who have debated this matter in the Parliament. Those to whom the responsibility has .been delegated will have six weeks in which to prepare their case. The difficulties of the situation are as have been pointed out by Senator Marwick. If the proposed alteration of the Constitution in relation to marketing be approved by the people, legislation may have to be immediately introduced for the protection of the dried fruits industry. I ask honorable senators not to accept the amendment, and I give them an assurance that, with regard to any subsequent and more complicated referendum, in which the element of time is not so important as it is now, a longer period for the preparation of the case for and against will be provided.
– I have listened to the contention of the Postmaster-General (Senator A. J.
MoLaohlan) and other honorable senators, that sufficient time is being allowed for the preparation of the document that is to go to the people. That is absolutely ridiculous. A statement of the case to the people will not contain merely the arguments that were advanced in this Parliament, but a reasoned argument that will show, amongst other matters, the futility of believing that the proposed alteration to the Constitution will either make or break world markets or maintain prices, as has been alleged by some of its supporters. I do not think that those who are opposed to the marketing pro- posals have yet prepared such matter for inclusion in that document. We have heard a lot about, what will happen to the primary producers if there is any further delay. The primary producers concerned, who are looking for good prices if the alteration of the Constitution be approved, will soon find that the two things have nothing in common.
– The primary producers are not looking for good prices. They want the same prices as they got before.
– -Honorable senators arc always talking about orderly marketing. The primary producers on whose behalf they speak are interested only in getting a good price market, and, if the market is satisfactory they will quickly furnish the necessary products.
– Tell that to the dairy cockies.
– It is all eye-wash.
– The dairy cockies are not as foolish as to believe that they will get better prices if the Constitution is altered.
– We say that they will get worse prices if it is not altered.
– The benefits resulting from the Government’s proposals will be negligible.
– That is not so.
– I can assure the honorable senator who disagrees with my contention, that if the Government’s proposals be adopted by the people the prices of primary products will not he affected.
– The primary producers are not expecting increased prices ; they wish to retain the prices they have been receiving.
– The consumers do not want to pay higher prices. I would add that those in opposition to the proposal desire a reasonable time in which to prepare a case for inclusion in the proposed pamphlet. It is ridiculous to reduce the period in which arguments for or against a proposal may be prepared from nine weeks to four weeks.
Question - That the word proposed to be left out (Senator Grant’s amendment) be left out - put. The committee divided. (Chairman - Senator B. Sampson.)
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Clause agreed to. Clause 4 agreed to. Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment ; report adopted.
Debate resumed from the 20th November (vide page 2141)j on motion by Senator Sir George PEARCE -
That the bill be now Tend a second time.
– With the permission of Senator Grant, I desire to state that the Opposition intends to support this bill.
– We did not expect anything else.
– It is obvious from the remarks of the honorable senator that he thinks that because we are in Opposition we must oppose every measure introduced by the Government. If that is the honorable senator’s conception of an intelligent Opposition it is not ours. We propose to reserve to ourselves the right to support or to oppose every measure which comes before this chamber according to our estimate of its merits or demerits. We are supporting the bill, but I suggest to the Minister that a very deserving section of the community is overlooked in connexion with this and similar measures which have been introduced from time to time. There are a large number of fishermen on the Australian sea-board who obtain their livelihood entirely by fishing, and who have vessels, plant and equipment to maintain. Many of these fishing craft are driven by engines in which petrol is used as fuel, and, as the fishermen do not use the roads to the same extent as do other taxpayers, the Government should consider seriously whether some rebate should not be made to them to protect them from the losses which they incur when their boats or fishing equipment are destroyed or damaged during rough weather. Havens could he built in which the boats might shelter when danger threatens. The Government should divert some of the revenue obtained by means of a petrol tax to afford relief in such cases, particularly as the men are rendering a very valuable service to the community. This measure is merely to extend the existing agreement for a period of six months, but I trust that when a new agreement is entered into the point I have raised will receive favorable consideration.
– The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) should also include in his plea those who use petrol in large quantities in aircraft, and who have to pay a tax of 7 1/2d. a gallon, 2 1/2d. of which is paid to the States for road construction purposes. Those using petrol in aircraft pay the tax but they do not use the roads, and, consequently, are entitled to some consideration. I understand that, in New Zealand, a refund of this special tax is made to those who use petrol for aviation purposes, in fishing’ boats, stationary engines and engines used for lighting purposes.
– I do not suggest that they should not pay the tax, but that a portion of the money collected should be used to compensate them for the losses they incur.
– That should be done. The Commonwealth Government stated that difficulties would arise in making provision in Australia similar to that in New Zealand, but in my opinion there are no insuperable obstacles to assisting these non-users of roads who are users of petrol. I commend the Government for extending the operation of the Federal Aids Roads Agreement for a further six months. As the result of this agreement the condition of main roads throughout Australia has considerably improved and substantial . benefit is derived from the fact that this is the only distribution, to my knowledge, upon a really federal basis. In respect of most of the other distributions made by successive federal governments, the population basis has been adopted, and the money has been given to congested populous centres which do not necessarily contribute to the wealth of the country on a population basis. I also commend the Bruce-Page Government for having initiated the system under which only three-fifths of the proceeds of this tax is distributed on the favoured federal basis of population, while, in the disbursement of the remaining two-fifths regard is paid to the areas of the States. Naturally, the bigger the State, the more sparse is its population, and the greater the length of roads to be maintained in proportion to the population. In commending the bill, I hope that the measure extending the operation of the Federal Aids Roads Agreement for ten years will soon be introduced, because it will make a larger distribution of the amount received from petrol tax for the necessary and important work of making main roads.
. - in reply - The subjects raised by Senator E. B. Johnston and the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) are old but familiar friends. When the Federal Aids Roads Agreement was first entered into, the government of the day endeavoured to make some provision for the non-users of roads who use petrol. A report upon the matter was received by the then Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Pratten), in which it was disclosed that it would be utterly impossible to administer the relief to this section in any way other than by the payment of some direct subsidy.
– It is being done in New Zealand.
– I am not quite sure that the Government of New Zealand is quite satisfied that success has attended its efforts in this connexion. Aviation appears to be fairly prosperous at the present time, and my sympathy rather goes out to the fishermen, for whom I have pleaded in an endeavour to obtain some relief for them. Unfortunately it has been impossible to determine a method for refunding the amount of tax paid by them on petrol, which would not be liable to abuse. This measure is only a stop-gap, operating for a period of six months ; but I understand that in the agreement which is now being negotiated, it is proposed that the States shall receive an additional half-penny a gallon of the proceeds of the perol tax; out of that money they may be able to extend some consideration to the deserving fishermen.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment, or debate; report adopted.
Debate resumed from the 20th November (vide page .2142), on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce -
That the bil] be now read a second time.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill read a second time. In committee: Clause 1 agreed to.
Clause 2 (Appointment of Trade Commissioners and Assistant Trade Commissioners) .
– Some time ago the announcement was made that a Trade Commissioner for Egypt would probably be appointed. I should like the Assistant
Minister (Senator Brennan) to give the committee some information as to v/hat has been done in that matter ; . and as to what other Trade Commissioners the Government contemplates appointing in the near future.
– This subject has engaged the attention of the Government, and so far as I am aware there is no immediate prospect of the appointment of a Trade Commissioner fur Egypt. Several names have been considered in connexion with this office during the present year; but it suffices to say that the Government did not feel satisfied that the applicants were suitable for the position. The matter is consequently still under consideration.
– Have any other appointments been made? For instance, it was suggested that a Trade Commissioner for the Ear East would be appointed.
– A report issued on the subject states -
Although appointment of Trade Commissioners lias so far been limited to Canada, Now Zealand, and the immediate East, the Government have in mind the question of further appointments. Thought is being given particularly to the matter of representation in Europe, and the form such representation might take; whether by Trade Commissioners at large, based on the High Commissioner’s office in London, or by Trade Commissioners stationed at appropriate centres on the Continent. The Commonwealth has no specific trade representation in the United States of America, but it does maintain a form of general representation in New York. In view of the current trading difficulties, the present is not an appropriate time to amplify our representation. However, with an easing of the existing trading difficulties, accompanied by an opportunity for development of our export trade more in consonance with mir consumption of American products, the Government looks forward to a stage when the question of some form of specific trade representation in that country will merit serious consideration.
The honorable senator will therefore realize that the matter has not been overlooked.
Clause agreed to.
Clauses 3 and 4 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.
Debate resumed from the 20th November (vide page 2143), on motion by Senator Sir George Pearce -
That the bill be now read a second time.
– The Opposition -will support this bill. I have never heard the reason - or if I have heard it, I have never understood it - why the representative of the Northern Territory in the House of Representatives was denied a vote. I am gratified that he will now be given, under this measure, what amounts . to a partial opportunity to make himself effective by virtue of the following provision : - (Ja). The member representing the North- cm Territory may vote on any motion tor the disallowance of any Ordinance of the Northern Territory and on any amendment of any such motion.
That provision is at least a step in the right direction. I wonder whether this proposal will mean that the Northern Territory will, in consequence of this change, be entitled to send six senators to this chamber. “Will it now become a separate State?
– I do not think that the honorable senator needs any information on that point.
– It would appear that preparation is being made for the creation of a new State. The Opposition will support the bill.
– Like the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), I am of the opinion that the time has arrived when the member for the Northern Territory in the House of Representatives should have a vote. Even under this measure he will have only half a vote, but “half a loaf is better than no bread”. I have often wondered why the member for the Northern Territory was denied a vote.
– For a long time the residents of the Northern Territory were without representation in Parliament.
– It may be that it was thought that all members were representatives of every federal territory. The Northern Territory is entitled to a representative to place before the Parliament information relating to that portion of the continent, and, in my opinion, he should have a full vote. As a South Australian, I am particularly interested in the Northern Territory. From time to time the possibility of a foreign power taking this country away from us is discussed; but I remind the Senate that for many years the Northern Territory was not regarded as of any great value. Until about I860 it was no man’s land, and, had it not been for Governor MacDonnell, the then Governor of South Australia, it would have remained so. In that year Governor MacDonnell asked that it be annexed to South Australia, and the annexation took place in 1863. During the period that the territory was under the control of South Australia, a great amount of work was done in developing it. Indeed, for the £6,000,000 expended in the Northern Territory by South Australia there is more to show than for the money expended there by the Commonwealth. Compared with the cost, the development which has taken place in the Northern Territory since its transfer to the Commonwealth is deplorable. While under the control of South Australia, a railway was built from Darwin to Pine Creek, the overland telegraph line was constructed, the railway was extended from Quorn to Oodnadatta, and a wharf was erected at Darwin. Under an agreement with South Australia, the Commonwealth Government took over the Northern Territory, and promised to do a number of things, some of which have not yet been done. During the twenty years that the territory has been under the direct control of the Commonwealth, a further £1-0,000,000 has been expended there, making a total of about £16,000,000 ; hut, whereas the revenue was £241,366 for the last year of control by South Australia, the amount is now only about £18,000 a year. The territory has not been managed properly since it was taken over by the Commonwealth, one of the reasons being that it has never had proper representation in Parliament. Those who advocate unification would find their enthusiasm lessened by a visit to the Northern Territory. It is a pity that more money has not been expended in the development of the natural resources of that portion of the continent; although some expenditure has been incurred in searching for metals, the value of the mineral resources is as yet uncertain. Company promoters, with wild-cat schemes, have made more money out of the Northern Territory than has been taken from the ground. Were the Government to turn its attention to the development of the country’s natural and visible resources, instead of searching for invisible wealth beneath the surface, it would receive a return for its money, and would help Australia to hold its own against Argentina. I commend to honorable senators an article by Mr. Abbott, the member for Gwydir in the House of Representatives, regarding the possibilities .of the Northern Territory as a producer of meat. His scheme would involve an expenditure of about £1,000,000. I do not say that I agree with Mr. Abbott’s plan in detail, but something along the lines suggested by him might well be done. Concessions have been offered to people who will take up laud in the territory and develop it, but who knows better than do the lessees already there how to meet the varying needs of that area? Our heritage in the territory is being allowed to go to waste for want of proper development. As a producer of meat, the Northern Territory has great potentialities, and therefore the Government should provide facilities for the shipment of meat overseas. I agree with Senator Arkins that it is preferable to construct roads in the territory than to build railways; but I cannot agree with some of his remarks about bridging the rivers there. It would appear that the honorable senator is not aware of the nature of those rivers. A glance at a map of Central -and Northern Australia might give the impression that it is a country well supplied with water; but a visit to the area would show that, whereas the river channels are sufficiently large to carry great bodies of water, they are frequently dry for months at a time.
– The honorable senator is getting beyond the scope of the bill.
– In an endeavour to show that the Northern Territory should be represented in Parliament by a member with a vote, I was pointing out that, although the country possesses a number of rivers, they are not always well supplied with water. For instance, after heavy rains the country becomes flooded, and below the confluence of the Cooper and Diamantina rivers thousands of acres are covered with water. The flooding of the land is beneficial, for it causes vegetation to grow; through country such as this roads are preferable to railways for transport. The difficulties confronting the road-builders are not so great.
– I agree that the giving of a vote to the representative of the Northern Territory in the House of Representatives is a step in the right direction; but I cannot agree that he is entitled to full voting powers. In the event of the opposing parties in that House being almost equal, it may happen that the member for the Northern Territory would have a voting power out of all proportion to the number of electors that he represents. In giving to the representative of the territory a voice, we followed the practice of the United States of America. I would go further, for I would give a voice to the residents of New Guinea, also. More attention would be given to the requirements of that territory of wonderful potentialities if it were given a representative in the House of Representatives.
– The honorable senator should preserve his remarks in respect of New Guinea until a bill dealing with New Guinea comes before the Senate.
– The time will come when the representative of the Northern Territory will be given full voting powers; but at this stage in its development he should not be given a power which would be out of all proportion to the number of people that he represents. When the population of the territory is substantially greater than it is to-day its representative should have the same voting power as is enjoyed by other members of the House of Representatives. As the result of this bill the member for the territory will, no doubt, be able more effectively to represent that isolated part of the Commonwealth.
– This measure provides for a slight step forward, as it is desirable to give the representative of the Northern Territory a vote on matters directly affecting his constituency. I, too, trust that the time will come when he will have the full voting privileges enjoyed by other members of the House of Representatives. Had the problems of the territory been dealt, with on proper lines and settlement carried out by regimentation - a kind of socialistic development - that part of Australia would probably have had now a population of 50,000 instead of 5,000. Although I do not agree with those who say that the territory is capable of remarkable development owing to ils alleged great natural resources, I daresay that it will eventually have a population of 500,000 ; but I am sure that settlementwill never be possible on the large scale on which it has taken place in the more favoured south-eastern portions of Australia. Tlie Mandated Territory of New Guinea comes under the care of the Commonwealth, and it is not too much to anticipate that at some future time we may see in this Parliament a representative of that territory. I have previously made the suggestion that the aborigines of Australia, including the Northern Territory, should be represented in this Parliament. My statement was ridiculed by some honorable senators opposite who evidently did not appreciate exactly what 1 meant. The aborigines are, undoubtedly, of low mentality. I have had some experience in dealing with aborigines, and I am aware how far they are behind other native races within the British Empire; but our Christian civilization demands that we should regard them’ as human beings. British peoples have endeavoured to be more humane than other European conquerors in their treatment of the native races living within their borders.
– The honorable senator is discussing a matter which is not within the ambit of this bill.
– I submit, that it is, and that whilst this measure represents a step forward, a further advance would be made if the aboriginal population of the Northern (Territory, where probably one-half of the total number of aborigines in Australia is to be found, were represented, preferably by a half-caste or a quartercaste. It was suggested that I had advocated a ballot of the aborigines for the selection of their own representative, but that is ridiculous. Tailing representation of the aborigines by one of their own blood I think that the white representative of the territory- could be presumed to have a closer acquaintance with the needs of the aborigines in Australia than has any other member of this Parliament. Organizations that are engaged in work in the interests of the aborigines have expressed approval of my suggestion. The representative of the Northern Territory should be allowed to vote on matters affecting the interests of the aboriginal population. On a former occasion I suggested that the aborigines in the northern parts of Australia could be trained to act as sentinels in connexion with the defence of this country instead of regarding the natives of Arnheim Land as wild people, intractable, and capable of any kind of crime. -Senator Marwick. - Could a half-caste aborigine be found who would be capable of representing the aboriginal population?
– I have seen frequent references to half-castes and quarter-castes who have taken a prominent part in the work of Christian missions in Northern Australia and would be equal to the task. This bill represents a short step forward, but I think that, in the future, it may be advisable to give greater voting power to the representative of the territory.
, - This measure raises the whole subject of the administration of the Northern Territory, in that it provides for a vote for the member from that part of Australia regarding .the allowance or disallowance of ordinances affecting the territory. It seems to me that the time is opportune to review the Commonwealth administration of this territory during the last 25 years. The mere passage of a bill to improve the status of the member for the territory will have little or no good effect in regard to the development, of that area. I think that, on mature consideration, the Government will come to the conclusion that the Northern Territory would have showed greater development under State than under Commonwealth control. Some years ago, when I was speaking concerning a land ordinance relating to the territory, an honorable senator asked me what I would do with that part of Australia. I believe that the suggestion I made on that occasion, that the Northern Territory should be divided amongst the three adjoining States, Queensland, South Australia and “Western Australia, is well worth examining now. Each of those States has all the machinery necessary for the development of the territory. The States have the best record in the development of Australia which, prior to federation, was entirely in their hands. They have the trained staffs required to undertake this responsibility and the records of their past achievements are a monument to their efficiency. If such a scheme were carried out, the Commonwealth could very well give such financial assistance to the States as would be necessary in , the pioneering work of developing the Northern Territory on sound lines. By no stretch of imagination can it be said that the Commonwealth is the proper authority to administer effectively a territory so far removed from the Seat of Government. The purpose of this hill is only to give to the member for the Northern Territory a little added status by permitting him to vote on motions for the acceptance or rejection of ordinances affecting his constituents. It will mean nothing a.t all to the development of the territory. I suggest that the Government, after 25 years’ experience of administering the Northern Territory, should take stook of the results. As little if anything of any importance has been done during that period to further the advancement of this vast province, the Government should seriously- consider whether some policy more productive of results cannot be evolved. While I support the bill, I take this opportunity to express my views in regard to the future of the Northern Territory. Certainly in reviewing the activities of tha Commonwealth in that area, during the last 25 years, we cannot by any means feel proud of its achievements.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.
Senate adjourned at 10.53 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 25 November 1936, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1936/19361125_senate_14_152/>.