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Thursday, 20 October 1910

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - I do not intend to discuss the aspect of this Bill which has just been dealt with by Senator E. J. Russell ; and which I have no doubt will be made the theme for a song and chorus until the measure leaves the Senate.. I intend to confine my remarks to some constitutional considerations which are involved in the Bill. Much of our criticism of it, from an economic stand-point, might have fallen on unheeding ears hut for the circumstance pointed out by Senator Millen, that the Government, by means of an authoritative pamphlet which has been circulated throughout the world, have made it perfectly clear that it would be difficult for immigrants to find any place on earth which presents more attractions to them,so far as the administration of its land laws is concerned, than does Australia. Butthe Leader of the Opposition did not agree with certain statements contained in that pamphlet. I am not so dissatisfied with it. I have glanced through it, and I may say that its statements are as generally accurate as the statements of any publication of the kind can possibly be. That being so, the Government themselves have barbed the arrow which we are now aiming at them. It is utterly absurd to admit that the statements contained in the pamphlet are substantially correct, and at the same time to attempt to justify the harrowing pictures which have been painted of the impossibility of settlers earning a livelihood from the soil in Australia. The statement of Senator E. J. Russell, that it is impossible to obtain land in Australia which will yield a decent living to a settler, is effectively contradicted by the publication in question. Why the honorable senator did not recognise that, passes my understanding. I know that it is not his function to flog his own Government, but if his statements are true, every one of them was a condemnation of the assertions which are contained in the book. There is no escape from that position. The policy which was put forward by the Prime Minister in his manifesto, and the repeated utterances of members of the Labour party throughout. Australia, are irreconcilable with the assertions contained in that pamphlet.

Senator O'Keefe - I prefer to back my own knowledge rather than the statements embodied in that publication.

Senator ST LEDGER - If the honorable senator chooses to flog his own Government, he is welcome to do so.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The Govern ment may have experienced the same difficulty as did the honorable senator himself on one occasion when he could not read the proofs of a certain book in London.

Senator ST LEDGER - The Bill, either wholly or in part, if not literally unconstitutional, is certainly a violation of the spirit of the Constitution and of the spirit of federalism upon which that charter of government is founded.

Senator Rae - Where did the honorable senator get hold of that impalpable spirit ?

Senator ST LEDGER - If the objective of the Bill were expressed in clear terms upon its face - if it stated that its object was the bursting up of large estates - there is scarcely anybody who would not admit that it would be declared unconstitutional by the High Court.

Senator Rae - The people want a land tax to be imposed.

Senator ST LEDGER - That is not the point. The Government dare not declare the object of the measure in its title. Of course, its validity may be contested before the High Court, and that tribunal cannot look to the debates upon it in this Parliament to ascertain its real object. It can have regard only to the Bill itself. I repeat that the Government are not dealing fairly with the States or with the people when in an indirect and underhand way they do something which they cannot do directly.

Senator Rae - It is a pitiable thing that a majority of the people have decided to be unfair to themselves.

Senator ST LEDGER - I do not think that a majority of the people have yet decided to subvert the Constitution in this way. I believe they would prefer this Parliament - even if it be attempting to do something which is unconstitutional - to do it openly and directly. If its action were declared to be wrong by a superior authority, it would then be in a position to de vise some other means for achieving its object. One provision in the Bill provides for the forfeiture of land under certain conditions'. I wonder whether the VicePresident of the Executive Council has obtained from the Attorney-General an authoritative opinion that the Government have power, as a punishment, to deprive a man absolutely of the ownership of landed property? I doubt it very much. There is a vast difference between forfeiting dutiable arid excisable goods and forfeiting a man's land. The provisions of the Bill in this respect either indicate short-sightedness on the part of the Government, or display a lack of clear vision into the real essence of things. I will show how distinct the two matters are. In the case of dutiable and excisable goods, the duty or Excise is, so to speak, a lien giving to the Crown a possessory title to those goods until the duty is paid. But that title is precedent to the right of the owner to take over the dutiable or excisable goods on payment of what is due to the Crown; and on the duty being paid the goods pass over from the Crown. But not so in the case of land. As a matter of fact, and in practical effect, entirely the reverse is the case. When the Crown has parted with land, it parts with it altogether. The title goes to those to whom the Crown has sold the land, and there it remains. That is the difference between the two classes of things, and they cannot, for the purpose of taxation and forfeiture, be regarded as one and the same. Therefore, there is no analogy in saying that, as we can forfeit dutiable and excisable goods, therefore, we can forfeit land.

Senator McGregor - We can forfeit a ship.

Senator ST LEDGER - Again the honorable senator makes a mistake. I do not think that a State Government, or any Government, can forfeit a ship in the sense in which this Bill purports to enable a man's land to be forfeited.

Senator McGregor - In exactly the same way.

Senator ST LEDGER - I think not. I have been consulted upon this important part of the Bill, and have given my opinion. Forfeiture of goods, in my opinion, is not forfeiture in the sense in which the Government propose to forfeit land under this Bill, because the Government, like an individual, may pursue its claims. The Government may pursue its claim like an ordinary individual when enforcing any civil right, for the purpose of enforcing a penalty. But, as a rule, when a person is proceeded against on account of goods, and those goods are sold to satisfy a claim, the balance, if any, is paid over to the owner after the claim or penalty is satisfied. There is an implied right of ownership all the time, in a case of that kind. Hence 1 am inclined to doubt whether, under the Constitution, we have the right of forfeiture in the sense intended by this Bill.

Senator Rae - There is no doubt about the power to forfeit goods, is there?

Senator ST LEDGER - I have pointed out the difference. I do not say that my opinion settles the matter, or is final. 1 can easily understand that another opinion may be taken, more favorable to the point of view of the Government. But if my view be right, the clause dealing with forfeiture may be held to be unconstitutional. I wish, also, to refer to clause 29, which provides that a covenant or stipulation in a lease of land which has, or purports to have, the purpose or effect of imposing on the lessee the obligation of paying taxes shall be absolutely void if the lease was made after the commencement of this measure, or if the lease was made before the commencement of the measure, shall not be valid to impose on the lessee the obligation of paying land tax to any greater amount than would have been payable if the lessee had been the owner of the land.

Senator Rae - That will make some people sit up !

Senator ST LEDGER - I doubt whether the Commonwealth Government has the power implied in that provision. What does it amount to?

Senator McColl - I call attention to the state of the Senate. [Quorum formed.']

Senator ST LEDGER - The Government claim that they have the right of altering contracts made between individuals on account of property properly acquired. I have no doubt that the Government when they seek to enforce this provision will be confronted with litigation. In fact, having regard to the operation of some leaseholds in Queensland, it is almost certain that any attempt to enforce clause 29 will be questioned. Another clause which has the colour of a violation of the Constitution is 67. This clause proposes to affect a curious and very notable alteration of the law. It deals with the forfeiture of lands, and with what is to happen in the case of undervaluation. A person who, with* intent to defraud, understates the unimproved value of any land, is to be guilty of an indictable offence, and where the value stated in the return is less than 25 per cent, or more than the value as found by the jury, the value is to be presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary to have been understated with intent to defraud. Clauses 68 and 69 also deal with the same matter. Honorable senators know that in the making out of income tax returns persons frequently consult their solicitors. Solicitors either take their instructions from their clients personally, or go through their books for the purpose of obtaining the information upon which to base the income tax , returns. Under this Bill, however, an undervaluation is in itself prima facie evidence of fraud. Are the communications between solicitor and client in that case privileged ? Usually such communications are privileged. That privilege is the client's, not the solicitor's. The exception to the rule as to privileged communications is that a communication by way of conspiracy to crime or fraud is not privileged. The clauses to which I draw attention appear to alter the law in an important point. The subject has been considered by the Law Associations of New South Wales and Queensland, the members of which consider that these clauses may make a serious inroad upon their business. They wish to understand what their responsibilities are, and how their duty to their clients is affected. The two associations have communicated with each other on the subject, and a communication from both has been forwarded to me in order that I may bring the subject under the notice of the Federal authorities. Those who have communicated with me give their reasons. I shall be glad if the Vice-President of the Executive Council will furnish us with some information on the point.

Senator McGregor - Are the associations of any standing in those two States?

Senator ST LEDGER - They control the most important part of the professional conduct of members of the bar, and of what is called the lower branch of the profession. They are always recognised by the Courts; they are men of the highest standing, who are frequently consulted by the Supreme Court Benches, and called in to assist in matters pf that kind.

Senator McGregor - I should have thought that if they were men of that standing, they would not need to consult anybody else.

Senator ST LEDGER - The person who places the matter before Parliament on their behalf may be assumed to have some knowledge of it, and should give his reasons for so doing. The other points in their communication were merely professional, and it would be quite useless for me to bring them under the notice of the Senate. However, if the Attorney-General is consulted, he will, I am sure, explain at once why this matter should be mentioned, and why I have mentioned it. With regard to this Bill, if we are to take the declaration of those who fathered the Constitution in various parts of Australia, as to what it meant and what was intended, it will be found to be, if not unconstitutional in the legal sense of the word, the last thing which we ever expected would be imposed on the States. I shall make good my words.

Senator McGregor - May I ask the honorable senator whether the two bodies of high standing have communicated with the Attorney-General ?

Senator ST LEDGER - I cannot say so; though possibly they have. 1 shall telegraph to Queensland and ask them if they have not done so to do so.

Senator McGregor - That is better.

Senator ST LEDGER - I do not know why the Minister should have doubted the statement at all. When

Mr., now Sir Edmund,Barton, who was the Federal leader, came to urge Queensland, as he urged other States, to enter the Federation, it was very important, especially to New South Wales, and possibly to us too, that that great State should come in. The advantages of coming in, and the disadvantages of staying out, were placed before us strongly and clearly. And if anybody was competent to give us a clear direction on the former point it was Sir Edmund Barton. He certainly must be taken to understand better than anybody else, both then and now, what it was intended to do under the Constitution, what powers the States would have to give up, and what powers would remain to them. According to the Brisbane Courier of 13th May, 1909, he said -

Union does not exist where the individual (State) powers do not remain intact. Union which does not prescribe such a thing is not federation at all. The Commonwealth cannot touch the land or territory of any State, neither can the interests or the mineral development or progress of any State be touched or hampered.

It was argued, by those who wished Queensland not to go into the Federation, that it was being asked to hand over powers complete and ample to the Federal Government ; and Sir Edmund Barton dispelled those fears by practically telling us that the land was not to be touched, but was to be ours. Some time afterwards, he came up to Brisbane again, and on his way he spoke in Toowoomba and other places. Speaking at Brisbane on 3rd September, 1899 -

He hoped that Federationists would remember that this Constitution must be tried on its merits before any one laid a heavy hand on it.

He assured us, as he had assured many others, that our territorial jurisdiction, of which the control over land was the most important part, was absolutely untouched in the Constitution. Addressing a very large meeting in Brisbane on another occasion, he gave an interpretation of Federalism and the Constitution which he was seeking to establish in Australia. First he quoted the opinion of a Federalist whom lie had adopted- Hamilton, I think-

Your own Colonies must be sovereign and supreme in the sphere of local affairs as distinguished from national affairs.

Then I find this reference to the leader of the anti- Federalists in Queensland, a very able and competent man -

Their leader declared that his idea of the Bill was that there should be only one Parliament, and that all others should be wiped out. To have that (says Mr. Barton) all their public possessions would have to be given up. " Would you like to give up your railways?" Mr. Barton asked. "Not much," he added. "Would you like to give up your lands?" "Not much," he added. Then you won't support Mr. Unmack and the anti-Federalists.

Still further, Sir Edmund Barton made it clear and distinct, as far as he could, that the intention was that our railways, our mines, and our lands, were to be absolutely ours under the Federation; but, as I shall show later by a quotation from a very famous Federalist, the power to tax and deal with land implies necessarily control of it.

Senator McGregor - Was not the gentleman whom the honorable senator is quoting considered famous for ambiguity of expression ?

Senator ST LEDGER - I shall try to answer the honorable senator as courteously as I can ; but he never seems to be happy except when he is asking impossible questions, and casting a reflection on somebody else. How could I be expected to know whether the gentleman is famous for ambiguity of expression or- not? How could I be so impertinent as to say that he is, even if I thought so? I do know that that statement was perfectly clear to us, andthat it was not possible for a man to be clearer in the particular instance which I have quoted. If Senator McGregor pre-' tends to fmd in that simple statement any ambiguity, then in the fine spirit in which he made the interjection 1 may retort that he can scarcely be fit for his position. I shall now quote a statement by a man who was once Chairman of Committees in. the Senate, anti who is now a member of another place. T refer to Mr. Higgs, who was an ardent Federalist, and who, forhis ardour in the cause of Federalism, was at serious variance with his colleagues in his own State. Throughout Queensland he fought on behalf of Federation. Speaking in Brisbane on the 8th August, 1899, he said -

We shall still retain our local Parliaments. We give up nothing. We only agree to act together with our own kith and kin. We surrender not a single State right or privilege. Queensland will still retain her land and all that therein is. She will control the rivers, the roads, the railways, the miners, the farmers, the orchards, the pastoral properties, the factories, and the work-shops. All our resources will be to us what we choose to make them, and the Colony that has the greatest resources is that which is going to, prosper most under Federation.

Our lands, our mines, our minerals, our factories, and our workshops were to be. all our own.

Senator Rae - And they are yet.

Senator ST LEDGER - Not in the sense in which Mr. Higgs, or Sir Edmund Barton, or anybody else, intended. I shall quote another authority which will show how little the States will have left if the power of land taxation is exercised by this Parliament. In the light of this declaration of seven or eight years ago I am reminded of a very characteristic story which is told of Swift. In the days of his mental decline somebody brought to him that great story, the Tale of a Tub, and when he read it tears rolled down his cheeks. He glanced at the pages, closed the book, and said, " What a genius I was in those days." When Sir Edmund Barton, Mr. Higgs, and others, come to re-read what they said on the occasions when they were inducing us in Queensland to enter the ' Federation they will each probably say, " Well, what a genius I must have been in the days when I told the people that these would be the sovereign powers which they would possess under the Federation."

Senator Rae - " They builded better than they knew."

Senator ST LEDGER - He certainly was not speaking better than he knew, so far as the future was concerned, and a future of a very different character from that which he painted in 1899 is now looming straight in front of us in this Parliament. I shall quote another authority as to what the Constitution means with regard to the States' sovereign control, and that is no less a person than the late Sir Frederick Holder. Speaking at the Adelaide Convention, in 1897, he said -

We have created an instrument of partnership between us, which, I believe, while it secures the independence of the several States, will provide for the joint control of certain matters. At the same time, as it also leaves free and complete self-government in all matters not committed to the central authority, and this, it seems to me, is what it should have done : To provide that national questions should be federalized and that local questions should be left to local self-government.

I ask the Government to consider this question, "What can be more local than the land?" It is the great localizer. It will localize us all at last, whether our bodies are burned or something else happens to them. It is the great local agent, and when men spoke of the powers of local Government being retained to us under the Federal Constitution, it could have no other application than consideration for the land. So we went into the Federation.

The power to tax is the strongest of all powers which a Parliament can have, because it is from that power that the executive authority of the State is determined. One great jurist - probably the greatest Federal jurist whom the world has seen, I refer to Chief Justice Marshall - puts the matter very clearly in his celebrated judgment delivered in the case of McCulloch against Maryland. His explanation of taxation, and its effect in connexion with the powers of government, is worthy of consideration. The principle contained in his judgment in that case was afterwards quoted and applied, in the way he applied it, in the case of D' Emden v. Pedder. He impressed upon the United States what was involved in the power to tax, and what' were the consequences involved in the exercise of that power. Here are his words -

The power to tax involves the power to destroy. That the power to destroy may defeat and render useless the power to create are propositions which will not be denied.

The converse is also true, and here is the issue before us now. If we exercise this power, we may, through our taxation, control the land policies of the States. By exercising a superior control over the lands through our power to tax them, we may modify or nullify the powers of the States in such a way as to render them unable to adopt independent land policies of their own. Consequently, the consolation derived by some from the suggestion that in leaving the lands to the States we are not impairing their jurisdiction is entirely illusory, because, on the judgment of Chief Justice Marshall, this power of taxation is equivalent to a power to create or destroy a policy in regard to the land. Some aspects of the land question often referred to here make it difficult for one to believe that some honorable senators have ever seen so large a State as Queensland, and they certainly do not appear to be seized of the various conditions and requirements of so large a territory in connexion with land settlement. I have had some correspondence sent me from residents of Queensland who are competent judges of a land policy, but as the hour is getting late I refrain from reading the many pertinent observations they make. Amongst other things, they point to the fact that nineteen-twentieths of the area of the State is certainly not fit for close settlement at the present time. If land in the remoter districts is to be settled at all for years to come, it can only be by men who are prepared to risk a large amount of capital, and can take up large areas of country. If honorable senators, were generally familiar with the vast State of Queensland, they would know that that is a proposition which is not arguable.

Senator Findley - Does the honorable senator mean to say that nineteentwentieths of Queensland is fit only for occupation by big men in big areas?

Senator ST LEDGER - That is so, though the proportion may be to some extent over-stated.

Senator Findley - Then what becomes of the honorable senator's frequent statement that there is land available in Queensland for the settlement of thousands of immigrants ?

Senator ST LEDGER - The honorable senator overlooks the fact that there are districts in Queensland which are larger than Tasmania. If he knew anything about that State, he would know that a very great area of it must for years to come be very sparsely settled indeed. It can only be settled by men possessing some capital, and in a position to take up large areas. Honorable senators will therefore see that a policy which would be applicable to Victoria would be inapplicable, if not injurious, to a State like Queensland. In imposing a land tax, which is in another form establishing a land policy, the Commonwealth is restricted under the Constitution to the adoption of a uniform policy, and while the policy decided upon might be a good and a necessary one as applied to one State, in the different circumstances of another its application might result in irreparable injury. It is for this reason that the State authorities have so strongly urged that the powers of their local Parliaments over the land should remain unimpaired. I do not feel that I am at all competent to criticise what might be the best land policy to adopt for a small State like Victoria, which is comparatively closely settled, and I do not disparage Senator E. J. Russell, when I say that I think he is not sufficiently acquainted with the conditions existing in Queensland to enable him to decide what would be the best policy to promote settlement in that great State. The diversity of circumstances and conditions make the question difficult and complicated, and for this reason, under some Federal Constitutions, local matters, including land taxation, are left expressly to the authorities of the States composing the Federation.

Senator McGregor - One of the Scotch agricultural delegates has said that where there is good land open to settlement in Queensland to-day there are always too many applicants for it.

Senator ST LEDGER - There will always be a great many applicants for desirable land. If there were only five people in Australia to-day, and they had been accustomed to agriculture under Victorian conditions, they would all want a corner in Victoria in preference to land in any other part of Australia. But any one who, on that account, would say that there was a scarcity of land in Australia might reasonably be told to go to a doctor to have his head examined.

Senator McGregor - But I thought it was not the practice to allow people who already had laud to put in applications for new land ?

Senator ST LEDGER - The honorable senator would impose a penalty for their foresight upon those who have already secured land. When he talks in that way is he not, after all, repeating the old story about Naboth's vineyard? There will always be land hunger. There was land hunger in Australia when there were only 10,000 people, and there will be land hunger when there are many millions ' of people here. In providing facilities for people to settle on land there is room for the exercise of a wise discretion. I am not one of those who claim that land should be immune from taxation. I think that, in common with other forms of wealth, land should bear a fair share of the cost of the country. It is a question of policy when, and to what extent, it should be called upon to do so. My chief objection to this Bill is that the Commonwealth is not the authority which should rightly impose land taxation, even if under the Constitution and within its spirit we can legally or consistently do so. I have pointed out that the proper authority to deal with this question is the State authority, which is in the best position to secure justice in the incidence of the taxation. This should be the work of the State Parliament, which is best able to formulate a land policy for its own State.

Senator Rae - But the State Parliaments will not do this.

Senator ST LEDGER - That does net justify us in doing what we ought not to do. But I would ask, How can it be said that the States are not doing this work? The main instrument in the settlement of land is railway extension, and I remind honorable senators that Queensland has the largest railway mileage per head of population of any country on earth. Some of the other States are not far behind.

Senator Keating - What about Chili ?

Senator ST LEDGER - I think we are ahead of Chili. I have looked up the statistics recently in Knibbs' Year-Book. In view of the railway extensions carried out in all of the States, it cannot fairly be said that they are not attending to land settlement.

Senator Rae - They are not taxing the land ; that is what I said.

Senator ST LEDGER - There is State land taxation in some of the States, though not in Queensland, but I remind honorable senators that in Queensland there are eight or nine different forms of taxation imposed upon the lands of the State for local government purposes. Land in all the States is heavily burdened to provide revenue for local requirements, and to say that land is not contributing already a large amount te the revenue of Australia is to say the thing which is not. Let me deal now with another aspect of the measure as it will affect Queensland, and in this connexion I ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council to make a note of what I have to say, that he may be in a position to give some answer to my objection when he speaks in reply to the debate. I object to the provisions of this Bill which interfere with the right of persons to make their own contracts as between lessor and lessee. There are in Queensland lands held under lease from the Crown in long leases extending over from twenty to forty years. Improvements are often made which cost thousands of pounds, and the lessee has the right to sell his' interest in them to the incoming tenant. When he parts with his interest in the property,' it is usual for the incoming tenant to pay him the value of those improvements ; but all the time the Crown holds a reversionary interest in the land. Will this Bill interfere with the making of -such an arrangement between the incoming and outgoing tenants?

Senator McGregor - The Bill does not provide for the taxing of leaseholds.

Senator ST LEDGER - That was my Impression. But the question was put to me, and I was asked to get it answered. Whether we can make a distinction between a lease which is. held from a private individual and one which is held from the Crown is an important and very nice- point.

During the course of this debate a good deal has been said about the unearned increment. Senator E. J. Russell has pointed out that immense sums of money have fallen to men by way of unearned increment. But there is another side to that picture. If- the State claims the right to tax the unearned increment, it ought also to compensate men who have suffered from the unearned decrement. I have never been able to follow the reasoning of those who speak of the unearned increment of land generally. In the case of land which has been made productive, I have always maintained that there is 110 such thing as unearned increment. Any attempted definition of the term in its application to such land will fail to' meet the requirements of the case. It is impossible to legislatively apply any such definition. - Consequently, I have always held that the unearned increment is a delusion of economists and of theorists.

Senator Blakey - Is the honorable senator a better economist than was Henry George ?

Senator ST LEDGER - I differ from Henry George, whose works I began to read at a very early age. I have discussed his book with his greatest disciple, Michael Davitt, whose association and friendship I enjoyed during his sojourn in Australia. But he could not bring me to understand, the so-called unearned increment.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator cannot blame him for that.

Senator ST LEDGER - No. I will answer as the Irish' servant girl answered Samuel Wilberforce when he inquired if she were saved, " I have no doubt that I will be saved through my invincible ignorance." But let us assume that there is an unearned increment. The position, then, is that' about £125,000,000 has been paid by landowners to the Governments of Australia. It has been applied by those Governments to the construction of railways, or to pay-, ing interest upon borrowed money which has been used for reproductive work's. Thus, Governments have been enabled to undertake works to develop the resources of the country. " This money has therefore earned an increment for the State. When honorable senators talk about the unearned increment, that fact should be taken into consideration.

Senator Givens - If the honorable senator is opposed to a land tax, how will he. get rid of landlordism in Australia?

Senator ST LEDGER - That is not the question with which I am concerned. I have previously held that the only authorities which can deal with the landlord if he is inflicting injury upon the community are the States.

Senator Givens - There are absentee landlords in Queensland, and the State does not deal with them.

Senator ST LEDGER - An important portion of this Bill has been copied from the New Zealand Act. But that Act clearly discriminates between income tax and land tax in the case of mortgagors. The mortgagor is relieved of payment of the land tax to the extent that he pays income tax. When the Prime Minister was explaining his manifesto during the last election campaign, he stated again and again that mortgagors would not be taxed to the same extent as other land-owners. But I can find no evidence in this Bill of an attempt to redeem his promise. So far as I can gather from his reproduced utterances in the local newspapers, he intended to adopt the discrimination which is made in the New Zealand Act, in order that the tax might not press too heavily on the mortgagor. He desired to temper the wind, so to speak, to the lamb, who is frequently a shorn one. It was on that understanding that many electors were induced to vote for him. Either I have misunderstood the words of the Prime Minister on this important question or he has been misreported. But in Committee we shall be afforded an opportunity of discussing it more closely, and I hope that some attempt will then be made to reconcile what at present appear to be irreconcilable statements - statements which were probably made with a view to securing a certain vote in a certain quarter. I hope that his promise will be fulfilled. There are many cases in which the mortgagor is already between two mills. Many very hard cases were brought under the notice of the Prime Minister, who promised to give them due consideration. I hope that it is not too late for that promise to be redeemed. I trust that due consideration will be given to these persons who, in the newly-settled districts of Australia, are doing valiant work under great disadvantages, and who deserve the most generous treatment when we can extend it to them.

Debate (on motion by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) adjourned.

Senate adjourned at10. 30. p.m.

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