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Wednesday, 14 October 1914


Senator BAKHAP (Tasmania) . - Like those who have preceded me, I do not wish to introduce into my few remarks anything superlatively controversial. Those who have addressed themselves to the Chamber so far have very properly referred in the first place to the tremendous war in which our Empire, in common with practically all the European peoples and one of the Asiatic races, is engaged. All questions of internal policy, all questions of government, must properly be regarded as complementary, and even subsidiary, to the great matter of seeing that our Empire is triumphant in the struggle. Senator Millen very properly remarked that the people of this country hardly seemed torecognise what this war means. Australia has been classed by one of our poets as the only nation from " the wombof peace, ' ' implying that we were born in peace, have grown to material prosperity in peace, and have become the inheritors of the most important part of theKing's oversea dominions in time of peace. A hostile shot has never been fired along our shores, and, with the exception of the trouble which took placeat Eureka fifty or sixty years ago, therehas been nothing even remotely approaching civil war amongst the Aus-- tralian people. Senator Millen's very proper remark about the Australian people not fully recognising the seriousness of the struggle applies also in some degree to the people of the Old Country. I regret to read that the statesmen of the Old Country, even at this most critical juncture in the Empire's fortunes, have not taken into serious consideration the recommendations of that worthy general, Lord Roberts, for the establishment of a system of compulsory military service. No more pathetic sight has been presented to 'the gaze of any person who has the Empire's fortunes at heart than that man, with a military career behind him so honorable as to justify his Sovereign in conferring a peerage upon him, going up and down the country, not of his birth, but of his love - for I understand that he was born in India - advising the people in the piping times of peace to prepare themselves for that war, which, in his prescience, he foresaw to be inevitable.


Senator Maughan - And they heeded him not.


Senator BAKHAP - As the honorable senator very properly interjects, to our great national regret, they heeded him not. Fortunately, he still lives, and fortunately the position of the Empire, although very grave, is still, owing to her undoubted and unchallenged naval supremacy, such that there remains to us, not only the hops, but practically the assurance, of ultimate victory. We have read in communications from newspaper correspondents in the Old Country what war means. We read how our enemies, in the wildest' paroxysms of bestial fury, pursue shrieking maids and matrons in Belgium. We have never had such an experience in this country, and God forbid we ever should, but it is one of the possibilities of war. A great many people believe that in this day of The Hague Convention war is conducted somewhat on ball-room lines, but war is a very pitiless and terrible business, and the statement is as true to-day as it was 2,000 years ago, when one of the most renowned of ancient philosophers put it into the mouth of the Cretan, that in war the wives., property, territory, and institutions of the conquered pass to and become the property of the conquerors. That is war, stripped and in its naked reality.


Senator Maughan - A great man once said; " War is Hell," and I think that is the best way to sum it up.


Senator BAKHAP - It is hell. A victorious war on the part of our present enemy undoubtedly holds out tous the prospect, not of being the practically independent occupiers under the beneficent protection of the British Empire of this part of the King's oversea dominions, but of being reduced to the condition of the vassal peoples of German Poland and those otherportions of the German Empire that are subject to the domination of Prussia. I trust that if this Parliament at any time deems it necessary to make a recommendation to the Parliament and Administration of the Old Country, it will take the form that we are as firmly resolved as the people of ancient Rome to see that pur Imperial supremacy is maintained, and that we advise the people of the Old Country, in common with other portions of the Empire, to wage war relentlessly until we triumph. This cannot be a war of half measures. Much as I regret the misery inflicted by war, I would very much rather see the war prosecuted to itsultimate conclusion than see a peace patched up when there can be no real peace - a peace so patched up as to allow the old sore to be reopened later on and the conflict fought out anew. Let us recognise the fact that this is the great crisis of our Imperial fortunes, that the liberties of mankind, as we people brought up under British civilization understand them, are at stake, and that we are one and all resolved to fight this war relentlessly to its conclusion, in order to secure the triumph of our arms and the triumph of our allies. If we at any time feel that the people of the Old Country are wavering under the strain and stress of the war, let us address them as Pitt found it necessary to address the people of England in another crisis of its fortunes. He had to put heart into them when their hearts failed them on finding their Empire confronted with the gigantic power of the French Republic. We want at the head of affairs men who will shape like Pitt. He never despaired of the fortunes of his country, but relentlessly initiated combinations which would bring about the consummation of the legitimate ideal of the British people that no one continental power should ever be allowed to become so great as to cause the peoples of the free nations of Europe to feel that their liberties were at stake. That is the British ideal. That is the ideal which has been pursued by the best Administrations of the Old Country for the last 300 or 400 years. One thing has always been kept in view by the politicians of our Empire, and that is that no continental Empire should be allowed to become so great as to menace the liberties of mankind. It is, I think, a matter for congratulation that some members of this Parliament have recognised what their duty is, and that as soldiers they are about to lead certain brigades or regiments in the Expeditionary Forces on the field of battle. It does not fall to all of us to fill a military position or to have military rank, and I hail with pleasure the "fact that Colonel Ryrie and Major Abbott are going to fight for. Imperial supremacy on the battlefields of Europe as officers in command of certain units in our Forces. We may place that fact alongside the other one, namely, that sixty or seventy members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons are doing their duty on the field of European battle. That is another illustration of our determination not to be behind-hand, and I am sure that if it is necessary to fight for two or three years - or even for twenty-three years, as Great Britain had to fight Napoleonic France - we shall continue the struggle with a full assurance that we must, in the interests of mankind, achieve victory. I do not intend to attempt to slay the slain. I do not propose to bring up for discussion, unless I am forced, the question of who shall have the merit attributed to them or him of having inaugurated, and fairly well established, the Defence system of the Commonwealth. My opinion always has been that the merit could be fairly apportioned between the two political parties. That was the attitude I took during the recent campaign, and I am not going, as it were, to attempt to rehabilitate the ghosts of controversy once more. But I think, seeing we are the inheritors of a continent, that the defence scheme - even when considered along the lines on which it has been projected - is completely inadequate. My opinion is that the people of this continent will have, sooner or later, to recognise that they must have something in the shape of a standing army. We must have professional soldiers, for it is to men whose lives are, to quote an English historian, "one long preparation for the day of battle," that we must look for victory if the Commonwealth is at any time assailed. Nations with colonial possessions have standing armies. Australia has colonial possessions, and I think that we will have them in greater measure as a consequence of the present war. We need to have men who will get more than the training which it is projected to give to our Citizen Forces. I ask honorable senators to consider this point, that the importance of the British Expeditionary Force now serving alongside the army of Republican France is not altogether due to its numbers. Of course it pleases us to think that one British soldier is, man for man, considerably more valuable than any soldier in the ranks of the armies allied to ours, or the armies opposing ours. That is pardonable on the part of all peoples. I think that Conan Doyle has referred to it in his very entertaining, if somewhat apocryphal, reminiscences of Brigadier Gerard. Gerard said his experience through the Napoleonic wars taught him that the men of all nations were brave, and if anything the French were a little braver than others. We Britishers believe that all men are brave, but that the British are a little braver than the men of other races. That may be so, but one thing is certain. It is the long training that has been given to the British soldier which makes his individuality and numbers so important at the present time. Men who have been trained for five or six or seven years are undoubtedly more than equal to men who have had only two or three years' training, and who, perhaps, have come quito fresh from the shops, the factories, and the fields to enroll themselves in the ranks of the defenders of their country. The importance of the British ExpeditionaryForce is due to the fact that the men have had long military service; they have had that barrack-yard training which enables them to stand punishment in the face of an enemy - punishment which would completely disorganize less well-trained troops. It is the professional soldier who stands the punishment on the battle-field, and if the British unit transported to the battle-fields of "the Continent had numbered 400,000 or 500,000, instead of 150,000 - nien of the same quality as those who were sent - the issue of the struggle during the next two or three months would be beyond all doubt. In fact, that long and very severe retreat on Paris would not have had to be effected, because the battle of Mons would have resulted in an emphatic victory for Britain and her Allies. From that I deduce the necessity for the Australian people, who claim not only a continent, but a continent with appanages providing in the near future for at least a satisfactory nucleus of our Defence Force in the shapeof a standing army.


Senator Ready - You do not agree with Lord Kitchener on that point.


Senator BAKHAP - It does not matter if I do not. I have every respect for Lord Kitchener's opinion ; but I have a greater respect for the opinion of Earl Roberts. At the same time, my military reading has extended over a sufficiently wide field to justify me in forming an opinion of my own in these matters.


Senator Keating - Is your opinion contrary to Lord Kitchener's?


Senator BAKHAP - I do not know. I do not think that Lord Kitchener at any time would deliver himself of the opinion that a citizen force was equal to a regular army. I am aware that General Sir Ian Hamilton, who has quite recently reported on our Australian Forces, does not lay the flattering unction to our souls that citizen soldiers are equivalent, or will be at any time equivalent, to the same number of regular soldiers. He simply says that we may get a very fair service from the Australian Army as projected; but I think he told the. people of New Zealand that it would require two of its citizen soldiers to be the equivalent of one professional soldier; so that my opinion in the main is not in contravention of that expressed by military experts - by men who have seen service, have handled large bodies of troops, and should know the value of men in battle. It is well for us to recognise that we are facing an Empire in arms, and a people who are at least equal to us in every line of industrial life; whose scientific discoveries have at least been on a par with ours; whose technical utilization of products, investigations in chemistry, and so on, surpass our own. We had better recognise at once and for all that to defeat these people we shall require the greatest effort of which our Empire is capable. I have no doubt of the result.. Every other question is completely subsidiary to this question. There is a great difference between the two parties here. But my honorable friends can feel sure that in everything which is necessary to secure the triumph of the Empire they will have, few though we may be in numbers, the whole-souled support of senators on this side of the Chamber. In regard to any measure necessary to finance the war, or to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion to our arms, they will not find us lacking in assistance. They will also find that any criticism that we may have to offer will be of the most generous, and certainly not of a captious, character. I thought that our leader, Senator Millen, properly acknowledged that the Liberal party was defeated at the recent general election.


Senator Stewart - No.


Senator BAKHAP - We were most substantially defeated. It is a matter of bitter regret to me that we were defeated, because of one thing. I predicted, although that issue was very carefully kept from the public gaze by our opponents, that a Liberal defeat would at once be assumed by the Labour party as a justification of the principle of national preference to unionists. Many issues are involved in a general election. The fondness of the electors for individual candidates comes in. I venture to say that, had there been a referendum on the question of whether we should have national preference to unionists or not, there would have been an overwhelming negative.


Senator Watson - You are wrong.


Senator BAKHAP - But, be that as; it may, the only course that was. open to us was taken. The verdict can be reasonably construed as adverse to us, and- we, for the time being regretting the result, do. not attempt to hide our eyes to the fact that such a result was attained. I would not have dealt with this matter had not the Minister of Defence, in rather a genial fashion I admit, expressed his surprise at our leader not having made more forcible reference to the fact. I am not going to say that I will take up the gage of battle, for it is not a battle, but I will certainly, as is my habit, take up the gage of discussion which my honorable friend has thrown down.


Senator Mullan - You are a political prisoner of war for three years.


Senator BAKHAP - I am not a political prisoner, but a free man. For the first timeI am in opposition. It has been my political fortune to support a Ministry, and the exigencies of party government are such that during my parliamentary career I have had, so to speak, to keep the brake upon myself, often recognising that things must be handled as they are. 1 have supported a Ministry, and have always been known, notwithstanding that I am not in favour of party government, as a good party man. The Minister of Defence has certainly invited a little friendly discussion of the issue that brought about the recent general election which resulted somewhat disastrously to the Liberal party. I would, have addressed myself to a consideration of tins matter even if the Minister had not invited me to do so, because I would have been impelled to that course by some of the observations made by Senators Guy and Watson, the mover and seconder respectively of the motion for the adoption of the Address-iii-Reply. The former - I have not read the Hansard report of his speech, but I hope that I shall not misquote him - said that the GovernorGeneral "was made to say" certain things. He evidently recognised the responsility of Ministers for the utterances of the Governor-General. Not only are Ministers responsible for those utterances, but, as a matter of fact, they are responsible for the actions of the GovernorGeneral. There can be no doubt of that. Now let me discuss the situation which arose in consequence of the submission to the House of Representatives, and subsequently to this Chamber, of a certain principle that was embodied in the Bill and which was responsible for the double dissolution. If there be one matter more than another in connexion with the gulf which separates the Liberal from the Labour party, it is that of preference to unionists. I am aware that many members of the Liberal party, in the interests of industrial peace, have, in times gone by, permitted legislation to be placed on the statute-book embodying the undemocratic principle of preference to unionists. I say that the punishment of the Liberal party in regard to this matter is just, for it has not been true to the principles of Democracy. I know that Australian Democracy has now to veil its face. The statue of Democracy in this country may be properly veiled in crepe, just as the statue at Strasburg has been veiled in crepe for the last forty years. T am confident, however, that, even as the statue at Strasburg has had the crepe unrolled from it since the outbreak of the present war, so the statue of Democracy in Australia will have the crepe unrolled from it. If the Labour party decries the Liberal party for objecting to preference to unionists, I am content to regard hostility to that principle as my very own.


Senator Ferricks - The Liberal party will be talking about preference to unionists in a few years as if the principle were their own.


Senator BAKHAP - The honorable senator is welcome to it, if he can discover anything in my utterances to condone the undemocratic principle of preference to unionists.


Senator O'Keefe - I suppose the honorable senator will admit that his leader, Mr. Cook, was in favour of it?


Senator BAKHAP - I am not responsible for that. I invite anybody to discover any inconsistency in my utterances, so far as preference to unionists is concerned.


Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - Does the honorable senator recognise Mr. Cook as his leader?


Senator BAKHAP - I ask Senator O'Loghlin to refrain from discussing what took place nine or ten years ago. It would be quite easy for me to dig up from the recorded deliberations of this Chamber ample evidence that the Labour party which is now claiming credit for our defence scheme, not very long ago expressed themselves as being hostile to it.


Senator O'Keefe - I referred to what Mr. Cook said only a few weeks ago.


Senator BAKHAP - If Mr. Cook is in favour of preference to unionists, he and I are Liberals of a different brand.


Senator Lt Colonel O'Loghlin - Will the honorable senator continue to follow him?


Senator BAKHAP - I sympathize with Senator O'Loghlin's curiosity in that regard, but I will not satisfy it.


Senator Ready - Will the honorable senator admit that those who made the greatest noise about preference to unionists in Tasmania were defeated at the last election ?


Senator BAKHAP - The electors were not sufficiently discriminating. Did not every one of the honorable senator's party endeavour to hide as much as possible the principle of preference to unionists? Didthey not talk of everything but that? It was the one issue which they attempted to evade. I say that the Liberal party, by their action during the last Parliament, showed that they were hostile to the principle of national preference to unionists.


Senator Guy - They fought the issue upon it, and lost.


Senator BAKHAP - I fought the election upon it, I confess. To my mind, that principle embodies a cardinal difference between the two political parties. The Government Preference Prohibition Bill when submitted, followed the usual constitutional course, did it not? I invite a reply from honorable senators opposite. It was presented to the House of Representatives passed through that Chamber, and forwarded to the Senate, where it was rejected. After the proper constitutional interval it was again submitted to the other Chamber, and afterwards forwarded here, where it was again rejected. Then a certain constitutional position was created. The Senate had in its full view a section which provides machinery for dealing with such a situation. Is that a correct statement of the constitutional position, or is it not?


Senator O'Keefe - The honorable senator is putting the position just as it was.


Senator BAKHAP - The Constitution provides machinery for dealing with a crisis such as its framers foresaw might arise.


Senator Gardiner - Does the honorable senator think that the framers of our Constitution intended that the Senate should not be able to reject any small Bill?


Senator BAKHAP - The Government Preference Prohibition Hill was not a small measure. Will the VicePresident of the Executive Council deny that the authors of our Constitution made provision for a dissolution of the Senate if it designedly took up a certain position ? They provided machinery for the settlement of questions which were vitally at issue between the two Chambers.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator is making very heavy weather of it.


Senator BAKHAP - The Minister of Defence knows that I am not. I am absolutely proving my case. When the late Ministry, which secured the passage of the Government Preference Prohibition Bill through the more popular Chamber, decided to advise His Excellency the Governor-General-


Senator O'Keefe - Improperly.


Senator BAKHAP - The honorable senator is begging the question. When they decided to advise His Majesty'srepresentative to dissolve both Houses of Parliament, what justification had they for their action ?


Senator Ready - They are not very pleased with the result of their action.


Senator BAKHAP - There is no need for the honorable senator to rub it in. We admit defeat. But I am not discussing that matter. Had His Excellency the Governor-General not accepted the advice of his Ministers, the latter would certainly have resigned. In doing so, they would only have been following constitutional practice. What alternative would then have been open to the Governor-General ? That of sending for the Leader of the Opposition, who could not possibly have carried on in the circumstances.


Senator Gardiner - Why not?


Senator BAKHAP - Because he was in a minority in the House of Representatives. The only course open to the GovernorGeneral, I repeat, would have been to send for the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Fisher. Had. the latter formed a Government it would have been immediately defeated, and then the only course open to His Excellency would have been to dissolve the House of Representatives.


Senator Ferricks - And the result of the elections showed that that would have cured the deadlock.


Senator BAKHAP - Let us postulate a Liberal victory upon that-


Senator Pearce - That is unthinkable.


Senator BAKHAP - The Minister of Defence knows that my argument is unanswerable, and is therefore attempting to divert me from it. Had a Liberal Administration been returned with the same or an increased majority in the other Chamber, Ministers would have been in honour bound to again submit the Government Preference Prohibition Bill. Is not that so?


Senator Pearce - We cannot say what they would have done.


Senator BAKHAP - Will honorable senators opposite admit that in such circumstances they would have recognised the verdict of the people by allowing the measure to pass through this Chamber ?


Senator Ferricks - I would not. Then the double dissolution could have come.


Senator BAKHAP - Why not before?


Senator Ferricks - Because the possibilities of the Lower House had not been exhausted.


Senator BAKHAP - The honorable senator recognises that the contitutional machinery could legitimately be put into operation. But since he has interjected so freely, I wish to say that, in my opinion, he very unfairly attacked the Governor- General for having accepted the advice of his Ministers.


Senator Ferricks - I attacked him for inconsistency in not submitting the referenda proposals to the people.


Senator BAKHAP - The honorable senator attacked him for having taken the advice of his Ministers - advice for which they must constitutionally be held responsible. By so doing, Senator Ferricks took up an absolutely unfair position, because, as Senator Guy has pointed out, His Excellency, in his opening Speech, " is made to say " certain things for which the present Ministry are responsible. I say, without fear of contradiction, that His. Excellency simply put the constitutional machinery into operation.


Senator Ferricks - He put it behind his back.


Senator BAKHAP - The unreason of the attack upon him lies in the fact that it fell to his lot to be the first GovernorGeneral to grant a double dissolution.-


Senator Ferricks - He was inconsistent in not sending the referendum questions to the people after having granted the double dissolution.


Senator BAKHAP - The honorable senator blinks the fact that, although our Constitution is an admirable instrument of government, it has its imperfections, and he, further, blinks the fact that had the Administration of the day been confronted with the necessity of submitting the referenda questions to the people they might have avoided doing so by the simple expedient of refusing to make the necessary financial arrangements.


Senator Ferricks - Then the GovernorGeneral could have thrown the responsibility upon them.


Senator BAKHAP (TASMANIA) -The GovernorGeneral did not need to throw any responsibility upon them. They accepted their responsibility. I say that a general election, -when the personal equation is bound to influence the decision of the electors, is a most improper time at which to submit to the people by referenda proposals involving a substantial alteration of the Constitution, and practically doing away with the Federal principle upon which the Commonwealth is founded.


Senator Ferricks - Because the vote was likely to be too high to suit the honorable senator.


Senator BAKHAP -We will see what will be the result of the submission of those proposals at a time when there is no general election.


Senator Ferricks - I hope they will be submitted at no other time.


Senator BAKHAP - If the Labour Government succeed in getting the referenda proposals through Parliament, and submit them to the people at a time when there is no general election, and if a constitutional verdict in their favour is given by the people of Australia, I, for one, will accept the situation, and bow to that verdict, but until that time I shall remain an uncompromising opponent of proposals that have for their object the utter abrogation of the truly Federal principle of our Constitution. I would not have discussed this question had I not been invited to do so. There is always some imputation of cowardice upon men who fail to discuss measures they have fathered, and which have led to their defeat. I regret my good comrades who have fallen on the political battle-field, but I say that rather than that we should have had the constitutional tangles which must have occurred had the Cook Administration been again returned with the Speaker's casting vote and a hostile Senate to face, it is a fortunate circumstance that the decision of the electors has been that for the next three years the Labour Government have to shoulder the responsibility of administration. That is better than that we should have a Liberal Government like the last with only the semblance of power, and lacking the political means toput its measures upon the statute-book.


Senator Watson - It is better in any circumstances.


Senator BAKHAP - I do not say that it is better in any circumstances. The Democracy of Australia may seem to be deaf and blind to the true principles of freedom for the time being. The people may not yet properly appreciate their responsibilities in regard to these matters, but I have no doubt of what the ultimate result will be. I feel sure that Liberal principles will be upheld, and that the Liberal resistance to the undemocratic principle of preference to unionists in national employment will be justified by the electors when they come to view this great question in a clearer light. This question has, for the time being, been decided by the electors, and we reluctantly accept their verdict, hoping that the decision will be reversed in a few years' time.I have said that I would not have discussed this matter had I not been invited to do so.


Senator Pearce - Then I am glad I issued the invitation.


Senator BAKHAP - The whole business is passed. We appealed to the electors, and they thought our appeal not well-founded. But I say that if the Labour Administration succeeds in placing the initiative and referendum upon the national statute-book, the very first question that will come up for the decision of the people by a referendum, when the personal equation will not enter into the matter, will be this question of preference to unionists in national employment. I promise my honorable friends opposite that we shall have a decision upon this matter, which is so repugnant to the true principles and instincts of Democracy, at the earliest date at which the constitutional machinery for such a decision can be provided.


Senator Pearce - The honorable senator's contention is that the people are against preference to unionists, but the Liberal party are so unpopular that they are prepared to swallow preference to unionists rather than support the Liberal party.


Senator BAKHAP - No, the Minister will not catch me in that way. I am not giving an explanation, but am accepting the fact of the defeat of the Liberal party. If the honorable senator would like to have my explanation of our political defeat I can give it to him in a word. The war had caused many electors to be apprehensive in regard to employment, and many of them, having in view the example set by Western Australia and New South Wales, thought that a Labour Administration would go to greater lengths in providing employment than a Liberal Administration could safely go. They decided, on that account, to support Labour. It was simply with them a matter of self-interest. I should like to say, also, that a very unworthy use was made of the fact that there are about 100,000 old-age pensioners in Australia.


Senator O'Keefe - The honorable senator told the electors not to swop horses when crossing the stream.


Senator BAKHAP - I did. I should like to see no election, involving the existence of the Ministry, take place during the currency of the war, if it should last until this Parliament is dissolved by effluxion of time. I should prefer that the Government who have been returned to power should continue to hold the reins of power, and, with the assistance of Liberal representatives, support the fortunes of the Empire in this terrible crisis.


Senator Ferricks - We appreciate the honorable senator's condescension.


Senator BAKHAP - It is not a matter of condescension, and the honorable senator would appear to be one in whom anything like a sense of political chivalry is lacking. We on this side will live to fight politically another day, although we did not run away at the last election. Honorable senators need not make any mistake about that.


Senator O'keefe - The people are good judges.


Senator BAKHAP - The people judged, certainly; but I do not say that they were good judges. I take the responsibility of saying that I believe they were very obtuse and purblind judges, in regard to a vital question of Democracy - the question whether there should be preference to unionists ; and industrial sectarianism established.


Senator READY (TASMANIA) - The honorable senator is abusing the bridge because it did not carry him over.


Senator BAKHAP - I remind the honorable senator that it did carry me over, and that I won under a very serious handicap. Reverting to the point I was endeavouring to make, I say that there were 100,000 old-age pensioners in the

Commonwealth, and they were most unworthily and secretly appealed to to reject Liberal candidates who were said by Labour candidates to be anxious to deprive the poor old people of Australia of their pensions.


Senator Ferricks - It was quite true as regards Sir "William Irvine, who described the old-age pension legislation as " soup-kitchen finance."


Senator BAKHAP - If, in view of the highly honorable record of the Liberal party in connexion with this matter, the honorable senator has the political effrontery to say that the Liberal party were hostile to old-age pensions, I am reluctantly compelled to believe that he is capable of saying anything. Who drafted the Constitution, which embodies the machinery for the granting of old-age pensions? No Labour man had a hand in it.


Senator Barnes - The honorable senator supported a breach of the Constitution.


Senator BAKHAP - Let me tell the honorable senator that the double dissolution provided for by the Constitution was condemned by one of his leaders, the Hon. Wm. Hughes, who, nevertheless, as a member of the Legislature in New South Wales, endeavoured to make provision for a single dissolution of the Senate if it should dare to oppose the will of the House of Representatives. In the circumstances, to say that we strained the Constitution when we put into operation for the first time the machinery provided by the Constitution, is to take up the most illogical attitude which could be assumed by any man claiming the leadership of a political party.


Senator Russell - When the honorable senator says that the Liberal party asked for a double dissolution, does he know the reasons why it was asked for?


Senator BAKHAP - As the Assistant Minister has put a direct question to me, I am prepared to give him a direct answer. I did not know the actual verbiage in which the reasons were stated, because I was absent from the Commonwealth at the time; but I have no doubt whatever as to the reasons which were embodied in the communications from the Liberal Administration to the GovernorGeneral, and I accept my full share of re sponsibility in the matter. I was one of those who urged upon the Liberal party the necessity of bringing about a double dissolution. It was a question of the greatest importance to every man who professed himself a Liberal, in the interests of those who supported us in the 1913 elections, to bring the hostile Senate before the people for their judgment. I do not blink the situation. I was one of those who advised the course that was followed. Let me tell honorable senators opposite that the victory they secured astonished nobody more than it did themselves. In discussing questions that have been decided, I feel that I am doing something unworthy of my position as a member of the Senate, because the issues confronting the Empire are so momentous that we should not devote any of our valuable time to a prolonged and controversial discussion of questions already temporarily decided. I reiterate the conviction I expressed in 1913 that the people of this country will have to make up their minds that they have arrived at national manhood. We must provide a Fleet and an Army commensurate with our national aspirations, which, before the present war, were remarkably high. We wanted to have a say in what was done in the New Hebrides, and we looked to be consulted on questions of Imperial policy. At the same time, we found many of those who are supporting present Ministers urging the cutting down of the defence vote. I am not afraid to repeat in the Senate those state-, ments which I have made from the platform, and I am not in the habit of manufacturing false political evidence. If the people of this Commonwealth still maintain their high standard of national aspirations, they will have to be prepared to embrace with both arms a policy which will have for its object the filling up of this continent. Until we have a population of 25,000,000 in Australia this Commonwealth will not be safe. I am not one of those who believe that wars are going to end with the consummation of the war in which we are at present engaged. It may be but the prelude to other wars, and long years of havoc may yet have to run their destined course. Whilst European civilization is exhausting itself, the power of another civilization is becoming greater, and it does not require any large amount of prescience to foresee that there arc many grave problems confronting, not only the people of our Empire in general, but the people of this Commonwealth in particular. I arn not going to discuss this business in any very particular way, because I promised the electors during my campaign that, whatever my opinions might be on certain matters that were not suitable for public discussion, I would embody them in a confidential memorandum addressed to the Minister of Defence, whether of a Labour or Liberal Administration. All I can say now is that that will be done, and be my conclusions valuable or valueless, those intrusted with the guidance of affairs in this part of the King's oversea Dominions must attach to them just the importance which they think they deserve. I believe that in the near future we shall have to take into consideration the establishment of a standing army as the nucleus of our scheme of a Citizen Defence Force. It will have to be the. kernel around which the pulp of the fruit must gather. Without that kernel of professionalism in military matters the Commonwealth cannot hope to maintain itself in the eyes of the world, for without full military training, and without full knowledge of military usage, the greatest natural courage is of no avail, but tends only to the destruction of those who possess it. I give the Minister of Defence my full assurance that the measures which his Administration project to maintain our military supremacy will receive from me, in my humble capacity, my full support, and that, if at any time I have to address criticism to any of those measures, it will be of a generous, and certainly not of a vitriolic, character.

Senator STEWART(Queensland) if 5. 27]. - I have listened with much interest to Senator Bakhap's speech, and am in full agreement with his statement that Australia will never be in a position of safety until, instead of 5,000,000 of population, she has 25,000,000. Unfortunately, we are met here to-day considering the policy of a Government and discussing the Address-in-Reply in' circumstances altogether new to Australia. We are at war in common with the Empire, and 1 think every one of us trusts that the Empire and its Allies will come out of the war successfully. I am not one who lays very much stress on the Imperial idea. I believe, however, that, although the path may be somewhat rugged and difficult, the end is almost sure. I believe, also, that there will be, not only a political revolution in Europe, but probably an economic revolution, as a consequence of this war. We hear a great deal about fighting the enemy, maintaining the integrity of the Empire, and all that sort of thing, but 1 wish to bring home to the minds of honorable senators that there is a greater enemy even than war stalking throughout Europe to-day, and probably having some little footing in Australia. The great masses of the people of Europe live in a continual war with poverty. War between nations has killed millions, but poverty has killed thousands of millions, and will continue to slay them unless our social and economic conditions are made somewhat different. At a time of crisis like the present, a bold policy is not only desirable, but necessary. The Government have failed in this respect. Their policy has not risen to the occasion. Something very much more might have been proposed, and something very much greater accomplished. There is, however, one item in the Government's policy with which I am in full agreement, and which I welcome very heartily. That is the revision of the Tariff. I have been hammering at this question for a considerable period, in common with a number of other members of this Parliament. If, years ago, when the Labour party had the power to do it, they had proposed to revise the Tariff in a protectionist direction, Australia would not find itself in the position of stress and difficulty in which she is now. That must be evident even to the meanest understanding. Our industries, or a number of them, are at present paralyzed, simply because we have no means of using up within our territory the raw material which we produce. Everybody sees now the great benefit Protection would have been to Australia, but the wise man is not he who sees what ought to have been done in the past when a great crisis like this arises. The wise man is he who sees beforehand the policy which is going to be most beneficial for the people of the country. I am glad the Government have taken up the question of Tariff revision. In fact, both political parties are pledged to an alteration of the Tariff in a protectionist direction, and I hope that both parties are serious. I trust that when the revision of the Tariff is entered upon the question of revenue will be put where it ought to be - out of sight altogether.


Senator Bakhap - We must get money.







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