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Wednesday, 6 September 1911


Senator GIVENS - Not according to the speeches of the honorable senator and his side last session.


Senator MILLEN - The. principal objection which animated those who objected to the issue of Government notes was the belief that the integrity of Government paper, in order to meet the requirements of the Treasury, was always liable to be violated. No one can cite an instance where a nation has gone in one step from a sound paper currency to an unsound paper currency. It has always been done little by little. This is the first step on a downward path. I do not believe that we shall find, when the Bill is introduced, any very drastic alteration proposed. But we shall find that, in less than twelve months, the Government are commencing to whittle away the reserve for which they took so much credit twelve months ago.


Senator Rae - The Governor-General's Speech does not say that.


Senator MILLEN - Of course it does not. Does the honorable senator think for one moment that it is intended to stiffen the reserve ?


Senator Rae - Very likely.


Senator MILLEN - I think not. There can be only one way in which the Government can propose an amendment, and that is to cut down the margin of reserve. Reference is also made in the Speech to the invitation for designs for the Federal Capital. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the protest from a society which, I believe, represents the architects of Great Britain, as to the composition of the Board to adjudicate upon the designs. If I understand the position disclosed by correspondence in the press, the architects of Great Britain - and, presumably, those on the Continent and in America as well - will decline to submit designs unless they are assured that the tribunal to adjudicate will be fully competent, and a request has been made that the Board should be nominated now, so that men who stand high in the profession may know that their designs will be submitted to persons fully qualified to judge. That request has, I believe, been made to the Government, and I do urge - it is not too late yet - that it should receive their most serious consideration. However we may differ as to where the Federal Capital ought to be, there can be no possible room for division on that point. We want the best brains of the most skilled architects of the world to give us their assistance in laying, out a Capital of which we can all be justly proud.


Senator St Ledger - What about the big block in Sydney which was to be bought for the Commonwealth?


Senator MILLEN - I shall have a word or two to say about that directly.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Does not the honorable senator think that the present Board is a capable one?


Senator MILLEN - I do not know that a Board has been appointed.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Is not that one of the usual sneers against any Australian body by the Home authorities?


Senator MILLEN - I say at once, without any disrespect to Australians, that if it is really intended to appoint three officials as a Board, then, in my judgment, it will not be satisfactory. I do not suggest that you cannot find in Australia men competent for the work, but it is assuming a little too much to suppose that in Australia you have men whose experience is as wide as that which can be claimed by architects in a larger way of business in the older countries of the world. However, I am not urging a particular constitution of the Board ; I am merely drawing the attention of the Minister to what appears to be a very reasonable request, namely, that such a Board will be appointed as will guarantee to architects throughout the world that their designs will be considered by a thoroughly competent tribunal. I pass from that to a matter which, perhaps, will excite the interest of Senator E. J. Russell even a little more.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - No, I was only thinking that the honorable senator was not quite so ready to accept expert advice when we were selecting a site for the Federal Capital".


Senator MILLEN - I did. The one thing which prevailed with me was expert advice, but the advice which came from the other side was not presented in a sufficiently expert way to alter my views. I desire to say a few words about the Tariff. I am sure that it is extremely comforting to Protectionists like the honorable senators who have been born and bred and "nurtured on a Tariff to have this pathetic picture presented to them through the medium of this Speech - this picture of the Government with heads wrapped in towels consuming gallons of midnight oil seriously considering and carefully watching the Tariff. I want to know what terms my honorable friend would have employed if he had received the same assurance from any other Government?


Senator McGregor - Does the honorable senator mean to say that they were drinking kerosene?


Senator MILLEN - From the tremendous amount of mental stress which they are undergoing in their efforts to watch the Tariff, I think we can assume that they will drink almost anything.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I think that when Victoria wants a Tariff we shall hardly look to the honorable senator for sympathy or support, because we have never had it in the past.


Senator MILLEN - It seems to me that, so far as this session is concerned, the honorable senator will get as much Tariff from this side as from his own. Here isthe point I want to emphasize : That the previous Government made a proposal which, I believe, sooner or later, this country will adopt, and that was the appointment of a non-political body - call it what you like, Inter-State Commission or Board of Trade - which would have had delegated to it the duty of continually watching the operations of the Tariff, and free from all party bias or feeling would make periodic reports to Parliament as to how the Tariff was operating.


Senator Rae - The Fusion Government proposed to make that body more powerful than Parliament.


Senator MILLEN - We did nothing of the kind. The sole duty of that Board, as proposed by the Deakin Government, was to report to Parliament as to the operation of the Tariff.


Senator Rae - And on industrial matters.


Senator MILLEN - That was another function of the Board. I am not dealing with that matter, but with the Tariff itself. Sooner or later, in my opinion, Australia will come to adopt that idea, whether in that exact form or not I do not know. Assuming that it is committed to the Protectionist principle, we certainly require some non-political body. The best course is to establish a non-political body, whose mission it will be to watch the operations of the Tariff, and free from' any party colouring to report to Parliament how it is working, leaving it to Parliament to make such alterations as it may see fit. I desire to know from the Minister whether there is any authority for the threat which Mr. Hughes has uttered as to the repeal of the sugar duties. It seems to me that this Government can hardly be still considering the effect of the Tariff on industries when one member, certainly by no means the tail of the Government, can be uttering these threats in the press regarding the sugar duties. If it is the intention of the Government to disturb these duties, surely Parliament should be the first to have that intimation ? It ought not to be given .by any Minister through the columns of the press. One of the things which we have always safeguarded more carefully than anything else is the intention of the Government towards the Tariff. I say nothing at all as to the purpose for which the threat was made, though, to my mind, it was a most indecent thing to do. Here we had a member of the Government declaring in the press that so far as he was concerned he was out for the repeal of the sugar duties.


Senator Rae - Unless the men got a square deal.


Senator MILLEN - It was a threat then? Was that the condition?


Senator Rae - I hope so.


Senator MILLEN - That makes the matter, to my mind, a little worse.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I think that the people of Australia regret that, the threat is not a fact at the present moment.


Senator MILLEN - I ask now if it is the intention of the Government to do what has been threatened by Mr. Hughes?


Senator Rae - The Colonial Sugar Refining Company backed down.


Senator MILLEN - I want to know if that is the Ministerial intention, or the idle utterance of Mr. Hughes.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Does the honorable senator justify, the conditions under which the men are employed ?


Senator MILLEN - I have nothing to do with that. All I am dealing with now is this one question that Parliament is the body to declare whether these duties shall be continued. Are we to understand that it is part of the Ministerial policy to repeal the duties unless certain things happen ?


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The Senate is responsible to the men.


Senator MILLEN - If it is desirable, or is intended for any reason, to repeal the sugar duties, the Ministry ought to make a collective announcement on the subject. If that is their intention, Parliament is the place in which to make an announcement, and not the columns of the press. What would be said of a Minister who went round the country, and suddenly declared that he was going to put a duty on some article? That would be tantamount to defrauding the revenue.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator would send a wire to New South Wales in order to put them on the go.


Senator MILLEN - No; there would be no need for me to wire, because an announcement of that kind would be wired at the expense of other persons. I now come to the declaration by Mr. O' Malley of his intention to resume the heart of Sydney and several big blocks throughout Australia. I want to know whether this is the mere idle vapouring of an irresponsible Minister, or whether it represents the determination of the Ministry. Is it their intention to resume big blocks of land in the various cities?


Senator Mcdougall - That idea is twenty years old.


Senator MILLEN - Yes; and it is revived, and we have Mr. O'Malley's assurance - with which he seems to be hugely pleased - that he is going to resume big blocks in other cities.


Senator Barker - It is a good business proposition.


Senator MILLEN - Who is to determine that, Mr. O'Malley or Parliament?


Senator Barker - He did not say that he was going to do it; he said that he would bring the matter under the consideration of the Cabinet.


Senator MILLEN - I want to know whether that course has been taken, and whether the Government are going on with the proposition. I understand that a big resumption has just been effected, or is in progress, in Western Australia, and I have no reason to believe that it is undesirable, but it seems to me that there should be a limit to the power of the Government to acquire properties without apparently any reference to Parliament.


Senator Ready - There has been a resumption in Hobart.


Senator MILLEN - Is the honorable senator justifying a system under which the Government can go and buy land in any quantity without submitting the proposition to Parliament until it is too late to say whether it is justified or not? Even the Caucus was not consulted, I assume, by Mr. O'Malley. Let me show the seriousness of the point I am bringing before the Senate.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is the honorable senator speaking for his Caucus?


Senator MILLEN - I am speaking of a matter that affects every honorable senator on whatever side he sits. Are honorable senators prepared to approve of a system under which a departmental head - which we have the assurance too frequently means the permanent official - is to be at liberty to purchase big blocks throughout this country without the proposal first being submitted to Parliament? If honorable senators tell me that they believe such power should be intrusted to the heads of Departments, I recognise that I may as well cease talking on the subject. But I do not believe, that inwardly they hold that opinion. I believe they are just as keen as I am to insure that Parliament shall first be consulted.


Senator de Largie - The honorable senator cannot repose too much confidence in the present Government.


Senator MILLEN - Does my honorable friend expect them to retain office for ever?


Senator de Largie - For a very long while.


Senator MILLEN - I shall presently give my honorable friend some figures which suggest how rapidly majorities may be converted into minorities, but Senator de Largie's jocular remark does not for a moment cloud the seriousness of the proposition which I am stating. If the Government are at liberty to purchase £20,000 or £30,000 worth of land in Perth, there is nothing to prevent them purchasing ,£50,000 worth of property elsewhere. Now, if there is one thing more than another about which all Parliaments and parties have hitherto been exceedingly careful., it has been to see that in transactions of the kind I have indicated the fullest opportunity for publicity and parliamentary discussion was afforded.


Senator McGregor - That is why previous Governments have had to pay so much foi properties which they have purchased.


Senator MILLEN - In their own interests I do suggest to Ministers that whenever such transactions are contemplated they should not run the risk of carrying them through behind closed doors.


Senator Ready - Does the honorable senator know that quite recently the Minister of Home Affairs was offered a very handsome profit upon a purchase which he made in Hobart?


Senator MILLEN - That may be so. But because of that fact, would the honorable senator give him a roving commission, to become a property speculator throughout Australia?


Senator Ready - He is a smart business man.


Senator MILLEN - In regard to the interjection made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, there is no force in his contention for the reason that all negotiations for the purchase of property by the Government can be carried through, and an agreement made conditional upon the- approval of Parliament. That is the proper way to conduct such negotiations.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The VicePresident of the Executive Council did not go so far as the honorable senator suggests.


Senator MILLEN - That is what I understood him to say, and I know that it is an argument which is frequently used, and which would have some force, except that there is a way out of the difficulty which I have suggested. All these agreements can be made - as was the agreement for the purchase of a site for the Commonwealth in London, which was afterwards turned down- conditional upon the approval of Parliament.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Does the honorable senator know of any Government in Australia which is purchasing land for closer settlement purposes under the system which he suggests?


Senator MILLEN - Yes. That "is the system which is always employed in New South Wales. There, a proposal is made to the owner of any particular property - I am speaking of voluntary resumptions - and an agreement is arrived at which is afterwards submitted to Parliament. I believe that the same procedure is adopted in regard to compulsory resumptions. At any rate, it is well that the Government should always free themselves from suspicion. If it be intended to carry out the spread-eagle proposition which has been outlined by the Minister of Home Affairs, I do seriously suggest that the Government should take some such step as I have indicated. I wish now to make a passing reference to the question of finance. Honorable senators will recollect that when twelve months ago that marvellous Budget was presented by the Treasurer in which the revenue and expenditure were made to balance to a penny - it was the first Budget to my knowledge that ever did so balance - it was pointed out by members of the Opposition that the Estimates had obviously been framed with a view to bringing about that result. That criticism has been amply justified. As was pointed out at the time, our revenue is now very much larger than the amount which was forecasted. But large as it is, we have still to recognise the fact which was emphasized by Senator Buzacott yesterday, that very shortly we shall be brought face to face with the problem of borrowing. We cannot hope to construct the railway to Western Australia, still .less to carry on an energetic policy of development in the Northern Territory - and I trust that we are not going to play with that Territory - without incurring an expenditure which may amount to anything from ,£10,000,000 to £20,000,000. Holding that view, I was very pleased to hear Senator Buzacott say that, while he was opposed to borrowing generally, he believed in borrowing for certain purposes.


Senator Rae - We are not all of the same opinion.


Senator MILLEN - I know that, on a former occasion, Senator Rae, with his usual impetuous frankness, did disclose the Source from which he would derive all the revenue that we may require.


Senator Rae - I would tax the rich.


Senator MILLEN - With the recklessness that characterizes him, the honorable senator always says what is in his mind. He has told us plainly, by his interjection, that if he had his way he would get all the revenue that we require for these undertakings by taxing the wealth of the country. In my judgment, he has not studied this question as deeply as has Senator, Buzacott. The latter showed clearly that there is a limit beyond which you cannot safely go, even in your vendetta against wealth.


Senator Rae - I quite admit that. But we have not reached that limit yet.


Senator MILLEN - I do not agree with my honorable friend. From the few sensible remarks which were made by Senator Buzacott, it is plain that all the preelection promises of members of the Labour party in reference to non-borrowing will have to be modified very much when we get face to face with the realities of our position. I come now to the referenda - a subject which, according to the Vice-Regal Speech, has filled the Government-


Senator de Largie - The honorable senator is a very courageous man to refer to that subject.


Senator MILLEN - I do not think that I need any courage to refer to it, seeing that I have the support of so many citizens of Australia.


Senator de Largie - The honorable senator cannot now find the people who are prepared to own that they voted against the Government proposals.


Senator MILLEN - I do not know in what circles the honorable senator has been moving, but I do know that wherever I go I feel so satisfied with the decision of the electors that I understand the reason why such very different terms are employed in the Governor-General's opening Speech from those which were used by the Attor ney-General, Mr. Hughes, immediately after polling day. Then we were assured that all the questions which were embodied in the referenda were to be re-submitted to the people. We had the valiant assurance that whether the electors liked them or not the Government intended to push them through.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I suppose the honorable senator has not a balance-sheet about him ?


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend need not remind me of the efforts of himself and the Attorney-General to make the referenda campaign a class fight - to appeal to the passions rather than to the intelligence of the people. But the electors practically said, in reply, " We do not believe you." That was the answer which they gave. They clearly understood that an effort was being made to divert their attention from the merits of the Government proposals, and by a majority of 21 per cent., they turned those proposals down.


Senator McDougall - If it had been made a class vote, the honorable senator's party would not have been in, it.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friends opposite attempted to make it a class vote. Their efforts in that direction were so palpable that the people resented them, and by an overwhelming majority rejected the Government proposals. In referring to this matter, I wish to draw attention to the marked change which has come over the extremely aggressive attitude which the supporters of those proposals exhibited when they were first introduced to our notice. When it was urged that the questions embodied in the referenda should be submitted to the people separately, the suggestion was scornfully rejected by both branches of the Legislature. A little later, we had the marvellous statement from the Prime Minister that if the people did not accept them they would get something worse.


Senator de Largie - They are getting it now.


Senator MILLEN - The people unquestionably do not think so. I can mention even some newspapers which are devoted to the Labour cause which express grave doubts as to the wisdom of the Government proposals. Prior to the polling their loyalty induced them to remain quiet. But they are not quiet to-day.


Senator McDougall - To what newspapers does the honorable senator, refer?


Senator MILLEN - I have in my mind a Broken Hill newspaper.


Senator Mcdougall - That is not a Labour newspaper.


Senator MILLEN - Of course it is not if it does not suit my honorable friend. But they are all Labour newspapers in Broken Hill.


Senator Rae - The Sydney Daily Telegraph is another Labour newspaper, I suppose?


Senator MILLEN - There are no newspapers in this country which the Labour party ought to speak less unkindly about than the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald. So far as their leading articles are concerned, they undoubtedly support the party to which I belong, but on all other matters they treat the Labour party with greater generosity than they deserve. But I wish to draw attention to the following paragraph in the Vice-Regal Speech, and to invite honorable senators to compare it with the language which was employed immediately after the result of the referenda was made known : -

My Advisers regret the result of the Referenda vote in April last. They are very strongly of the opinion that the ever-increasing exactions of the Trusts make an extension of the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth imperative.

Is that all they have to say ? Immediately the result of the polling was made known, we had a valiant declaration that the Government intended to bring these questions forward at another referendum.


Senator Rae - The honorable senator does not expect a similar declaration to be made every month?


Senator MILLEN - I do not want such a declaration every month. But if it were competent for Ministers to make that declaration on the 28th April last, surely they are in a position to tell the Senate what they propose to do with these questions? I desire to draw particular attention to the peculiar wording cf the paragraph which I have quoted. It will be recollected that the referenda dealt with something more than mere trusts. It dealt with industrial legislation. Yet there is not a word about industrial legislation in the Vice-Regal Speech. But Ministers- are very strongly of the opinion that the everincreasing exactions of the Trusts make an extension of the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth imperative.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Did the honorable senator say that the Speech contains no reference to industrial legislation?"


Senator MILLEN - I am dealing with the constitutional amendments. The referenda dealt mainly with two things, industrial matters and trusts. Now we are merely told that the Government are convinced that the enlargement of the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth to enable it to effectively deal with trusts is imperative. It was not said after the referenda campaign that the Government intended to drop the proposed alterations of the Constitution dealing with industrial matters. But now we are told that all they have time for is the extension of the constitutional powers of the Commonwealth in regard to trusts. Are we to assume, then, that they have determined to drop their proposals with regard to industrial matters ?


Senator Rae - Apparently, the honorable senator is afraid that he will not get a chance to reverse his vote.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend has always been- jocular, but upon this occasion, I ask him to be serious. I do not know that I could wish him other than he is. But if he thinks that he is going to laugh out of court the proposition that I am now submitting, he is making a very great mistake. Is it intended to drop or to refrain from renewing the proposition to alter the Constitution with regard to constitutional powers?


Senator Rae - It is proposed to drop nothing, except a bombshell in the camp of the Opposition.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend did that on the 26th April, and he must have been astonished to find that the anarchistic weapon, as is so often the case, blew him up with his own explosives. The statement has been made here by Senator McDougall that the result was due to the smallness of the vote. It is just as well to clear up this position, and to see whether there is any reason for that excuse. Let me tell Senator McDougall this. If the vote at the referendum had been as large as the vote on the 13th April of the previous year, the Government must still have been defeated. The actual figures were as follow : - In connexion with the Financial Agreement, about .1,300,000 electors- went to the poll. At the referendum on the proposed amendment of the Constitution, 1,156,000 went to the poll. That is to say, 148,000 fewer voters went to the poll as compared with the previous occasion. Now, if those 148,000 electors who abstained from voting had gone to the poll, and had all voted " Yes " to these proposals of the Government, they would still have been defeated. What is the good of pretending, therefore, that the smallness of the vote was responsible for the defeat of the policy of the Government? It requires no better illustration of the emptiness of that pretence than the fact that if every man and woman who voted on the 13th April of the previous year had voted at the last referendum, and if the whole of those who abstained from voting at the referendum had voted for the Government .proposals, they would nevertheless have been knocked out.


Senator McDougall - How many reversed their votes?


Senator MILLEN - That is quite a different matter. We are now talking about the smallness of the vote. « The honorable senator is like a jack-in-the-box. When he is refuted on one point he jumps to another.


Senator McDougall - I made no reference to the smallness of the vote.


Senator Ready - It was not the smallness of the vote, but the shortness of the money that was responsible for the result.


Senator MILLEN - Here again we have one of those unsupported statements which are quite easily made, but are absolutely incorrect. If it be true that it was not the smallness of the vote that was responsible for the defeat of the Government policy, all that I have to say is that Mr. Hughes said it was. and that Senator McDougall repeated that statement this afternoon.


Senator McDougall - The honorable senator is making a mistake. I never said anything of the Sort.


Senator MILLEN - Then I beg the honorable senator's pardon. Some one sitting near him said it.


Senator McGregor - Why did not the honorable senator say it?


Senator MILLEN - Apparently, in the opinion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, it does not matter what a member of his party says or abstains from saying. At any rate, the statement was made by Mr. Hughes. In the month of April, while still smarting under the bitterness of defeat, he had no hesitation in saying that the result was due to the smallness of the vote.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - And the £100.000 spent in New South Wales.


Senator MILLEN - What proof did Mr. Hughes offer of the expenditure of £100,000?


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - He can prove it.


Senator MILLEN - I venture to say that if Mr. Hughes could adduce any proof of such a thing he would not have wasted his time in shrieking about it, but would have supported his statement by facts.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Let the honorable senator challenge him, and he will prove it.


Senator MILLEN - He would not wait to be challenged if he could prove it.


Senator Rae - He named some of the men in the columns of the press.


Senator MILLEN - Some of those who had the handling of the alleged £100,000?


Senator Rae - Who were trustees for the money.


Senator MILLEN - Will he vouch for the sum of money handled? If he means to say that the party to which I belong collects funds for campaign purposes, I simply say, " Of course it does." So does the party of honorable senators opposite. But we do not levy upon the salaries of members of Parliament. We do not compel them to put their hands in their pockets for campaign purposes. Every contribution received by our party is a voluntary one.


Senator Rae - Paid by the trusts.


Senator MILLEN - Will the honorable senator say that again?


Senator Rae - The honorable senator's party is paid by the trusts to work for these things.


Senator MILLEN - If the honorable senator means to sa.y that members of this Parliament are paid for their advocacy of any particular policy in the interests of trusts, I am entitled to ask him either to withdraw his statement or to prove it. It would be just as easy for me to say that he is corruptly paid for what he does politically. We cannot conduct political controversy on decent lines if these reckless accusations are to be hurled about the chamber. I quite understand, however, how the iron has entered into the souls of my honorable friends opposite when they resort to .accusations of this kind. I venture to say that there is no party in this country that would shrink so much from having its political funds examined into as the party to which my honorable friends opposite belong.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - We have no funds to examine.


Senator MILLEN - How is it, then, thai one could not walk down the streets of Sydney on referendum clay without seeing motor cars going about in the interests of the Labour party's policy. Did they get those cars for nothing?


Senator Ready - In Tasmania the honorable senator's party engaged all the halls three months in advance, and we could get none.


Senator MILLEN - What does Senator Ready mean? Was there any injustice in what he alleges?


Senator Ready - It was smart business, that is all.


Senator MILLEN - Was it reprehensible ?


Senator Ready - Only smart.


Senator MILLEN - Here again we have an instance of the different way in which honorable senators opposite regard things affecting themselves and conduct of the same kind affecting others. The same smart practice of engaging all the available halls was resorted to recently in a byeelection in my own State by the Labour party. That was not reprehensible. But when, as alleged, the same thing was done in Tasmania, to the inconvenience of the Labour party, it was reprehensible.


Senator McDougall - The newspapers got double rates from the honorable senator's party in New South Wales.


Senator MILLEN - How much did the Labour papers get?


Senator McDougall - Nothing at all.


Senator MILLEN - Double rates for what ?


Senator McDougall - For advertising.


Senator MILLEN - Any one who has done any electioneering is well aware that extra rates always have to be paid for electioneering notices, but if it is alleged that our party paid double rates to newspapers for political services, the statement is absolutely incorrect. What I suppose my honorable friend to mean is that my party paid higher rates than his own, but that simply means that in spite of their denunciation of sweating by others they themselves cut down rates every time. I come back to these figures concerning the referendum, and to the statement that the defeat of the Government policy was owing to the smallness of the vote. I have already pointed out that if every absent voter had voted for the Government propositions, they would nevertheless have been defeated. Let us take another view of the case. Upon the Financial Agreement, 1,300,000 voted. The majority against the proposal was only 2 per cent. We heard nothing then about the smallness of the vote. My honorable friends were delighted with their victory. There was no attempt on this side to ignore the fact that the pro- posal had been defeated, though it was only beaten by 2 per cent. Their own proposals at the last referendum, however, were beaten by 21 per cent. Are they not pitiful - these efforts which are made to ignore the effect of the verdict of the people, a verdict which, I venture to say, will require more than eloquence, more even that the arts of my honorable friends, to reverse it within any period that we care to forecast? As showing how emphatically the proposals of the Government were defeated, let me point out that there are seventy-five Federal electorates. At the time of the referendum, thirty of those electorates were represented by Liberal representatives, and forty-five by members of the Labour party. Of these electorates every one represented by a Liberal declared against the Government proposals, whilst of those represented by Labour members, seventeen voted " yes," and twenty-eight voted "no." In other words, fifty-eight electorates declared against the proposals, and only seventeen declared in favour of them.


Senator McDougall - Why this inquest ?


Senator MILLEN - I quite understand that a man who is charged with murder would like to say, " Why bother about an inquest? "


Senator McDougall - The past is buried.


Senator MILLEN - Is it not intended to revive it? Will my honorable friend answer that question? We now have an assurance that the old policy is dead and buried. I am glad to hear it. A little time ago, however, we were assured that it was to be re-presented. A statement has also been made, and was repeated here yesterday, that the reason why these proposals were beaten was because the people did not understand them.


Senator Rae - Hear, hear.


Senator MILLEN - That is a serious reflection upon two sets of people. It is a serious reflection, in the first place, upon the electors to tell them that they did not understand the proposals that were made to them; and it is also a very serious reflection upon the members of the Labour party to say that they were unable to explain their own proposals.


Senator McDougall - .We have no newspapers - that is the trouble.


Senator MILLEN - No newspapers ! Why, the best man in the honorable senator's party for that work is being paid every week to explain the policy of the party, and has the free run of the columns of the Sydney Daily Telegraph in which to do so.


Senator McDougall - They put his contributions out of sight.


Senator MILLEN - That is not correct. Every Saturday, in spite of his numerous other duties, Mr. Hughes is able to expound the policy of the party in the newspaper to which I have referred ; and, what is more, I have seen in that newspaper, during the heat of the campaign, no less than two pronouncements by Mr. Hughes on the same day in reply to one by Mr. Deakin, one in the form of an interview, and the other in the form of a speech. What is the use of saying, therefore, that the party opposite is not able to make its voice heard in the newspapers ? They have been treated with exceptional liberality. The newspapers which oppose them have treated them with a generosity which the Labour papers have never extended to us.


Senator McDougall - We know what misrepresentation is.


Senator MILLEN - Misrepresentation ! Why, when the Worker commences to speak even respectfully of a political opponent, I shall be prepared to recant what I have said on this subject. But I have never seen a paragraph in the Worker that has even been decently respectful towards an opponent. Only the other day I saw in its columns a reference to one of the most brilliant members of the Liberal party - a man who is not a member of the Senate - who was described as a " blitherer." This is the type of "literature" which is regarded as being fair to opponents by a Labour journal.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Does the honorable senator say that that is typical of the Worker?


Senator MILLEN - I say so, unquestionably.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The honorable senator ought to produce a few samples.


Senator MILLEN - I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that the Worker never refers to any of its political opponents in respectful terms. But, on the other hand, the party opposite receives the most' considerate treatment from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph, though honorable senators- opposite have not the decent gratitude to recognise the fact and acknowledge it. I wish, However,, to come back to the reasons why the proposals of the Government were beaten. It is said, that the people did not understand them. 1 think the reason was because the people did understand them. But if there is any truth in the statement that they were not understood, why was that?


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The newspapers would not permit the electors to know what the questions meant.


Senator MILLEN - Whose fault was that?


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The proprietors of the newspapers.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We had to face the lies of the press.


Senator MILLEN - The newspapers printed the lies uttered by the advocates of these proposals. I wish to give some of them, and ask if there was any wonder that the people turned down the proposals when their advocates gave such contradictory interpretations of them as I am about to read.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Is the honorable senator aware of the fact that the Argus told the people that if they did not vote " No>" their votes would not count.


Senator MILLEN - I am not aware of it, nor do I believe it now.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Thanks


Senator McDougall - That is base ingratitude for information tendered.


Senator MILLEN - Senator E.J. Russell will not, I hope, misunderstand me. I do not mean to say that he has wilfully made a misstatement, but that I do not believe that the Melbourne Argus, or any other reputable journal, would venture to tell the people anything so silly as that.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I shall produce the advertisement before the debate is over.


Senator MILLEN - I do not mind saying that there might be circumstances and conditions in which I should myself feel justified in saying that if the people voted " No" their votes would not count.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Could the honorable senator give a simple illustration?


Senator MILLEN - Clearly, their votes would not count if they were in a hopeless minority.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The honorable senator ought to go back to Sunday school.


Senator MILLEN - I am free to admit that,, while the honorable senator is present, there is ample opportunity here for a Sunday school teacher. I ought to apologize for these frequent interruptions. I wish to point out why there was some excuse for the people if they did not understand these proposals, though I think they did understand them. First of all, we have this statement made in Sydney at his great meeting there by Mr. Hughes. He said, speaking of the Government -

All they wanted was the power to do those things the States .had not the power to do.

That was a plain and easily understood statement. Mr. Hughes went on to elaborate his argument. He pointed out that the States could not do these things, that the Commonwealth, as the Constitution stood, was not in a position to do them, and he asked for the power to do those things which the States had not the power to do. But what did Mr. Fisher tell the meeting in the same hall? He said -

We only ask for the powers possessed by the States.

There was a contradiction which surely might be submitted as a reasonable excuse for the electors being a little puzzled. They had the two chief spokesmen of the party speaking on the subject - one saying that they asked only for the powers not possessed by the States, and the other that they asked only for the powers possessed by the States. " Senator E. J. Russell. - There is no contradiction there.


Senator Lynch - The two statements are perfectly reconcilable.


Senator MILLEN - They might be to a higher class of intellect than mine ; but I frankly admit that to me there appears to be no reconciling the two statements. I think that thousands of the electors, when they saw the strong conflict between these two statements, thought as I did, that it was obvious that the sponsors of these proposals did not themselves understand them.


Senator Henderson - The one statement is precisely the same as the other. The honorable senator must know that his interpretation has no application.


Senator MILLEN - If Senator Henderson has correctly followed the quotations I gave, and still adheres to that statement, all I can say is that I must have a very feeble understanding of the ordinary meaning of English words. I will put it in another way. 'One man says. " I want what is on that table," and another says, " I want only what is not on that table." Those are clearly irreconcilable statements. We have the same thing in the quotations I have given. One Minister said, " We want what the States have not got," and the other said, " We want what the States have got," and yet I am told that there is no conflict between them. A large number of the electors thought there was a conflict between them, and decided that as the sponsors of these proposals could not themselves give a clear definition as to what they were, they could hardly do better than turn them down. Let me give another quotation. Honorable senators will, perhaps, recollect that after the proposals had been framed, the Government of New South Wales communicated with the Federal Government asking for a clearer definition of what was wanted. We might assume that as the Government of New South Wales was not composed of dullards, they were fairly competent to interpret the proposals for themselves. Still, they sought information from the fountainhead, and, as a result of their request, Mr. Hughes, the Attorney-General of the Federal Government, sent a memorandum, I believe to all the State Ministries, but certainly to Mr. McGowen, the Premier of New South Wales. In that memorandum, there appeared this paragraph -

In regard to new powers in connexion with trade and commerce and corporations no class of measures not covered by existing powers is contemplated.

Naturally, the question follows, " If you do not contemplate any measures not covered by existing powers, why do you want additional powers? " I say that it was because of conflicting statements of this kind that a very large number of electors came to the conclusion that it was not desirable to accept these proposals, at any rate in the form submitted; and, therefore, whatever may have been their sympathies in ordinary politics, they voted very largely to assist in negativing the referendum proposals.


Senator Ready - The Hobart Mercury told the people they would lose their farms.


Senator MILLEN - I think they will lose a great deal more if they continue to keep my honorable friend where he is. I shall give another illustration. We had assurances from Mr. Hughes and others that, as the Constitution now stands, the Commonwealth was impotent to deal with trusts, and, although we passed legislation, it was so much waste paper. I think I am fairly stating the declaration made from beginning to end of the campaign. The people of New South Wales were rather puzzled by that declaration, because, at the very time that Mr. Hughes was declaring that there was no power under the Constitution to deal with trusts and combines, he was lavishly expending public money in prosecuting a combine. He was upon the horns of this dilemma : either there was at the time Dower under the Constitution to proceed against the combine, or he was guilty of a scandalous waste of public money in a mere game of bluff. Either there was upon the statute-book a law which Mr. Hughes considered sufficient for the purpose, or he would not have launched the prosecution against the Coal Vend. If he believed the Constitution to be defective with regard to trusts, and our present legislation insufficient, he was guilty of a scandalous waste of public money in launching that prosecution.


Senator Lynch - That could only be known by means of a test.


Senator MILLEN - Yes; but the AttorneyGeneral did not wait for the test, tfe told the people that the Constitution was impotent, and the legislation already passed only so much waste paper, and not one of my honorable friends opposite waited to see the result of the test case. They asked the people on the 26th. April to decide that we had insufficient power under the Constitution. They did not wait to see, as a result of the test case, whether we had or not. However, the electors decided that they would wait.


Senator Rae - We did not say that we had no powers, but that they were not sufficient to meet all the operations of trusts.


Senator MILLEN - The statement was that with regard to trusts we had not sufficient power to deal with them, and at the same time that the Attorney-General said that, in launching a prosecution which is not going to be settled without a very heavy bill of costs whichever way the case goes, he was spending public money in putting into operation a law which we have a right to assume he believed to be effective for the purpose of controlling trusts. There is another thing which was rather puzzling to the people of New South Wales. In those extremely interesting articles which Mr. Hughes contributed, for, I think, a not inadequate fee, to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, we find these statements published only a short time before the referenda campaign was launched.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Does the honorable senator not think that the labourer is worthy of his hire?


Senator MILLEN - Yes, I do; but 1 have heard my honorable friends opposite denouncing people with two jobs.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Which friend? The honorable senator is very fond of using the plural.


Senator MILLEN - J have heard my honorable friends denouncing people holding two jobs, and I cannot say that I am myself prepared to commend a gentleman in the position of the Attorney-General, and possessing private means as well, doing some unfortunate scribe out of a job. 1 want to show why it was that the proposals of the Government were turned down. This was the position at the time of starting the campaign : Mr. Hughes, as legal adviser of the Government, stood forth as the head and front of the case against the Coal Vend ; but only a little while before he had published this in the Daily Telegraph -

Bad as things are in the North (Newcastle), they would have been worse if cut-throat competition had continued. The miner is paid by the ton of coal hewed - we contend he is paid insufficiently - and the rate goes up and down with the declared selling price. The Vend fixes a price - that price controls the market, which is thus not subject to violent and erratic fluctuations. The miner knows exactly where lie is, and consumers are able to make contracts and arrangements with something like assurance of a fixity of price.

What a blessed thing the Vend was then, when votes were not wanted.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - What is the date of the quotation?


Senator MILLEN - I have not the date here, but my honorable friend can look at the paper for himself. .


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - The point I wished to make was that in the early days the combine did not put up the price so high.


Senator MILLEN - This appeared prior to last Christmas when the coal strike was on. Mr. Hughes continued -

As for the public, I do not think the Vend, as a Vend, has operated prejudically.

Why in the name of heaven should a prosecution be launched against the Vend when it was not dealing prejudically with the public, and was operating beneficially for the men?

My complaint against the Vend is not that it regulates prices nor that it regulates output, but that it does neither effectively.

Mr. Hugheswent on to say ;

Combines, trusts, vends, on the other hand, attempt to control prices by regulating production. They mark a substantial advance in economic development.

This was the education which Mr. Hughes was giving the electors, at any rate in New South Wales, up to December of last year, but when the votes of those electors were required, he is suddenly found pressing with every energy this prosecution against the Coal Vend, which he declared did not injure the public, and was of benefit to the coal-miner. In the circumstances, it was reasonable for the electors to ask themselves : "Is there any sincerity in this? Why is it that always on the eve of an election, when votes are wanted, we have this talk of trusts, and the moment the votes are cast our representatives in Parliament are found to be the stoutest champions of trusts and combines wherever they exist ? ' ' That was the proposition confronting the people of New South Wales. The statement by Mr. Hughes published in the Daily Telegraph was never withdrawn or retracted.


Senator Rae - No wonder they went astray when the honorable senator attempts to mislead us with such shoddy arguments.


Senator MILLEN - I am not so foolish as to attempt to mislead honorable senators. These quotations speak for themselves, and honorable senators may attempt to excuse or palliate them as they please. To my mind there is no reconciling these statements with those made later on by Mr. Hughes, or with the action he took as AttorneyGeneral in launching that prosecution.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Did it cross the mind of the honorable senator when he accuses Mr. Hughes of holding two jobs, that at one time he held two himself?


Senator MILLEN - Yes, but I have never denounced the practice. I am prepared to take as many billets as my ability will enable me to fill, and I shall restrain no one else in that regard. I desire to say a few words on what appears to me to be the somewhat sobering effect of office on my honorable friends opposite. I propose to deal with the different position which has been created by the presence of my honorable friends for some months on the Treasury benches, and of their confreres on the Treasury benches in the Parliament of New South Wales. The whole outlook has been altered during that time. Up to the tremendous fluke of the 13th April my honorable friends opposite were living on the wild hopes which were engendered by the use of reckless promises. But what is the position to-day?


Senator Rae - On facts.


Senator MILLEN - Yes, but the facts are very different from those which were promised. They can no longer claim that theirs is a party which stands for principle- Principles, as I shall show directly, are torn up when it does not suit the convenience of its members. They can no longer pretend that their platform is so plain and simple that he who runs may read, because there have already been two crises brought about by the inability of the rank and file to determine what it does mean. They no longer live by denouncing those whose painful duty it is to uphold law and order when the necessity arises. We know that at the last general election in New South Wales the cry was " The Coercion Act." We know that at the Federal election the echo of that cry was heard and largely influenced the minds of people. What has become of the Act? Although its repeal was promised it is still on the statute-book and a Labour Government is carrying out its penal provisions. Had any but a Labour Government been in office we should have expected to find Senator McGregor - or somebody else on the other side - rising here as he did on one occasion and protesting vigorously against the sending of police to Lithgow. I would remind my honorable friend that he questioned a previous Government about the despatch of soldiers to Broken Hill. For fear that I might do him an injustice I shall quote his actual words -

I believe the difficulty has been aggravated to some extent by the action of the New South Wales Government in sending detachments of police to that city.

I also desire to ask whether the Government have any opinion as to whether it is not a violation of the Court for any State to keep armed forces for intimidation or any other purpose. If Senator McGregor held those views then and the question was not asked for the mere purpose of vote-catching outside, let me ask him whether in his official position he is prepared to make a protest to the State Government against the action which they have taken?


Senator McDougall - The circumstances are quite different.


Senator MILLEN - Of course they are.


Senator McDougall - The difference is that whereas police were sent to Broken Hill before there was any trouble, they were not sent to Lithgow until there was trouble. To the former place they were sent in order to provoke trouble.


Senator MILLEN - Apparently, when the police are sent by one Government they are sent to provoke trouble, and when sent by another Government the object is to ease out the trouble. My honorable friend virtually says, " Let the horse out of the stable and then lock the door." If there is trouble why has not the Coercion Act been repealed? Surely the Labour Government have had time enough to do that? They declared at the general election that if returned it would be wiped off the statute-book within twenty-four hours, but it is still there, and the members who denounced it so bitterly are enforcing its provisions to-day. It is no.t long since there was a strike on a railway being constructed by day labour from Moree to Mungindi. What happened when Mr. Griffith, the Minister for Works, came to deal with the strike? He bought a plant and sent up a number of men to break the strike. That was the action of a Labour Minister. Before taking that step, however, he offered the strikers the provisions of the Coercion Act as a means of settling the dispute.


Senator McDougall - There is no Coercion Act.


Senator MILLEN - I know that, but the honorable senator said that there was. He and his friends lived on that cry and got into power. The only thing which they could talk of was the Coercion Act.


Senator McDougall - The Industrial Disputes Act.


Senator MILLEN - If there is no Coercion Act did the men at Carcoar, who were prosecuted under that Act, voluntarily pay their fines?


Senator McDougall -Not coercion.


Senator MILLEN - Have the men paid the fines voluntarily?


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Name a strike which occurred in New South Wales?


Senator MILLEN - I did. The carters said, " We were getting 12s. a day under Wade. Surely we are going to get a bob more out of a Labour Government?" Their request was refused and they struck. Mr. Griffith's answer was, " I will give you the machinery of the Coercion Act to settle your trouble."


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Did any man have his wages reduced thereby?


Senator MILLEN - No. Under Mr. Wade the men had their wages increased. When they struck on the works Mr. Griffith's answer was to send them the machinery of the Coercion Act to settle the trouble, and when they were not prepared to accept that his next step was to employ strike breakers.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Nonsense. No man has suffered any reduction of wages.


Senator MILLEN - Mr. Griffithsent up other men to take the places of the strikers. No man at Lithgow is getting, less to-day than was paid before. I know that my honorable friends opposite are in a most uncomfortable position. Prior to the advent of that party to power, everything which is now taking place, and which is merely carrying out the law, took place. I am not finding fault with any Government for doing so. What was done there is the only thing which any Government alive to the responsibility of its official position could have done.


Senator McGregor - What is the honorable senator finding fault with?


Senator MILLEN - I 'am trying to point out to the honorable senator the position which he occupied before he sat on the Treasury bench - how he denounced the efforts of his predecessors to maintain law and order. The fact that a Labour Government is in office in this Parliament, and also in a State Parliament, is altering the entire outlook. No longer will my honorable friends make these wild promises and appeal to the more thoughtless section of the community by the statements which they have hitherto made.


Senator Blakey - Is not that more to their credit?


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend does not see the point, surely. If these things were wrong when done by a Liberal Government, they cannot be right when done by a Labour Government. We know that whenever they have been done by a non-Labour Government Labourites have bitterly denounced them, and attacked the Government for doing them. Let me point out another effect which has arisen from the fact that my honorable friends have been successful in the political arena. Hitherto it has been claimed that their programme was so simple that any person who could read could immediately grasp its meaning. Yet we have had, first with regard to the Financial Agreement, the party almost torn asunder in its effort to interpret what the Brisbane Conference determined. More recently in New South Wales a crisis has been brought about. Why? Because the Ministry of the day - that is, the parliamentary party, were not able to decide what was meant by the plank relating to the nationalization of land.


Senator Rae - Nothing of the kind. It was not divided on that at all.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend will see that, so long as the party stood solid and gave the one interpretation of their programme, I, perhaps, was bound to accept that interpretation; but now, when every one appears to be at liberty to interpret it, surely I can claim the same right. The split which has arisen has been as to what the land policy of the party is.


Senator McDougall - No. It is not a right, but only a privilege.


Senator MILLEN - Here is another instance of the fact that the party, once in office, is for the first time surrounded with the difficulties of the position. A party in Opposition has no internal difficulties ; they have only to be sufficiently reckless and careless. My honorable friends for years fattened on reckless promises, and now, when they are approached to redeem them, it has been borne in on the minds of electors that the promises were not simply reckless, but had no foundation in fact.


Senator Rae - Is not the honorable senator pretty hard up when he is dealing with State matters ?


Senator MILLEN - Am I dealing with a State matter any more than Senator McGregor, was when he asked the Federal Government to interfere with the despatch of police to Broken Hill ? On that occasion Senator Givens followed him up by saying, " Seeing that this disturbance is likely to spread to other States, and to become a Commonwealth matter, it is the duty of the Commonwealth to intervene in the early stages." Is not the Lithgow trouble likely to become a Commonwealth matter?


Senator Rae - Hear, hear ; but has that anything to do with the land policy of the State Government?


Senator MILLEN - The point of the reference to the land policy was simply to show that the claim that the programme was so plain and so simple that he who runs may read can no longer stand, because the party itself is split in its efforts to interpret its meaning. I want to deal with another subject raised by this Speech, and that is the question of immigration. Here, again, we see a considerable difference in the attitude of the Labour party since it has taken office, as compared with that which it manifested when in Opposition. We have first of all the very interesting statement made by Mr. Fisher in a public utterance on his native heath. He had been entertained by the Ayrshire Miners' Union, and he was speaking not merely to agricultural labourers, but to miners. He then appealed to those contemplating emigration to turn their attention to Australia. Almost on the same occasion Mr. McGowen, the Labour Premier in my State, said, in a press interview, that he was surprised that more people did not go to Australia, where there were opportunities of sunshine and comfort which did not exist in the older civilizations. I want also to quote a few utterances from some prominent Labourites, to show how different they are from those they delivered but a few months ago. I turn again to Mr. Griffith, who, referring to the Newcastle men, many of whom are out of work because of the slackness of. the times there, said to a press interviewer : -

There is not a district in New South Wales to-day, except Newcastle, where the single man willing to work cannot get regular work and good wages. It is the married men or men with family obligations in whose interest I am taking all the trouble. I told them at Newcastle, and I reiterate it now, that there are 1,000 miners in the Newcastle and Maitland districts out of work, and if for that thousand permanent work can be found in other parts of the State it will be better for them and better for Newcastle. As long as there is a surplus of miners hanging round the mine proprietors have always got the big end of the stick.

Mr. Griffithwas asked, " What about their fear that new chums will take their places?"

I am not much concerned about that, said the Minister. All the new chums I have met have far too much sense than to refuse regular work at good wages and sit down beside a mine that works two days in a fortnight. The new chums go out where work is available, and men are wanted, and the surplus worker of Newcastle will have to do the same.

I ask honorable senators to compare these statements, made now by responsible Min,isters, with those wild declarations made a little while ago that there was no room for additional population in Australia. The statements made have always been in deprecation of any effort to introduce population. ,


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - A Federal land tax has been passed.


Senator MILLEN - I see. I recommend my honorable friend to go to the Trades Hall and make an address pointing out that there is room now for immigrants because of the imposition of the land tax.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Since the Labour Government came into power there have not been sufficient berths obtainable for persons wishing to come out.


Senator MILLEN - That is perfectly, true.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - Be specific for once. Will the honorable senator tell me the name of any Labour man who ever said there was not room for any more people in Australia ?


Senator MILLEN - Unquestionably. The Attorney-General, Mr. Hughes, on one occasion said that there was no room for additional labourers in Australia.


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - On what occasion? Be definite.


Senator MILLEN - If I understand my honorable friend to say that the Labour party is, and always has been, in favour of immigration-


Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I have always been opposed to subsidized immigration, but at the same time I am surprised that more people do not come here.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend must see why I have not brought day and date with me as to when the statement was made, but I take his attitude as being representative of that adopted by the party to which he belongs. His statement is that he is opposed to subsidized immigration, and that I thought was so much the accepted creed of the Labour party that I did not think it necessary to equip myself with any data of the kind to which he refers. But it so happens that I have with me statements which are sufficiently illuminative of the attitude of the great body of workers throughout this country. Here is one in connexion with the sugar workers' strike. Mr. T. D. Mutch, of the Rural Workers' Union, speaking at the Labour Council, moved the following resolution, which was carried -

That the Council deplores the fact that the Queensland Intelligence Agency is being used for the purpose of providing scabs to replace the unionists on the Queensland sugar-fields, and that immigrants are being brought in to act as strike breakers.

What are the Commonwealth Government doing if they allow strike breakers to be brought into 'the country*?


Senator Needham - Does the Commonwealth Government control immigration?


Senator MILLEN - Yes, and if that statement be correct they are controlling it In a. very lax manner. It is competent for the Government to prevent the introduction into the Commonwealth of any person.


Senator Findley - Under contract.


Senator Needham - The honorable senator forgot those words.


Senator MILLEN - I forgot nothing of the kind, as I shall show presently. There is ample power on the statute-book to prevent people being brought into the Commonwealth to act as strike breakers.


Senator Findley - Only if they are brought in under contract.


Senator MILLEN - If they are " brought " here, does not that imply that they are under contract?


Senator Pearce - There were seventyfive passengers for Queensland on the steamer by which I travelled from Japan recently, and not one of them was under contract. They were brought out by an Association.


Senator MILLEN - I do not believe the statement which I have been quoting. But the resolution in question was carried by the Labour Council, and if it be true, the Commonwealth Government are most remiss in their administration of the law.


Senator Rae - The immigrants are brought out first, and are afterwards used for strike-breaking purposes.


Senator MILLEN - If I bring a man out to this country he does not come of his own volition. There is an arrangement behind him, and if these men are being brought to Australia there must be an agreement with them somewhere. But I am merely pointing out the character of the resolutions which are frequently passed by Labour Councils. .


Senator McDougall - Why does not the honorable senator get better information before he comes here with it?


Senator MILLEN - If my honorable friend had said worse information I could understand him. The resolution which I have quoted represents the attitude which is usually adopted in respect of immigration by Labour organizations. Prior to the advent to office of the present Government, we know perfectly well that members of the party opposite led their supporters outside to believe that they were not in favour of subsidized immigration.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Do not forget the operation of the Federal land tax.


Senator MILLEN - I will not forget it. I am coming to the 700 disappointed applicants for land to whom my honorable friend referred yesterday.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I did not say there were 700 disappointed applicants. I said that there were several hundreds.


Senator MILLEN - Here is another resolution -

Mr. Stacey,of the Australian Engineers, moved in the Labour Council last night - " That a letter be sent to the Acting Minister for External Affairs protesting against the admission of contract labour under' any pretext."

Did Senator Findley, during the time that he filled the office of Acting Minister of External Affairs, sanction the introduction of any immigrants under contract?


Senator Findley - Let the honorable senator move for a return in that connexion.


Senator MILLEN - If I had given that answer I should have been told not to quibble. I do not ask for details, but for a simple ' ' yes " or " no " to the question, "Did the honorable senator admit contract labour during the time that he administered the Department of External Affairs?"


Senator Findley - The honorable senator knows that during the period that I acted for Mr. Batchelor I did sign permits for the introduction of immigrants.


Senator McDougall - With the consent of the unions concerned.


Senator MILLEN - If that statement be true, we understand that Ministers no longer administer their Departments. It is a mere question of the unions administering them.


Senator McDougall - The unions and the employers who bring out immigrants under contract. The manager of Mort's Dock, Mr. Franki, went to the unions first. He recognises them.


Senator MILLEN - The report continues -

Mr. Staceyreferred to the paragraph which appeared in the press that the Mort's Dock Engineering Company had applied for permission to bring out 120 mechanics under contract, the plea being the shortage of labour in Sydney. He understood that consent to the importation of 18 mechanics had already been given, and if that was so, where was the thing to stop?

Mr. Hampton(Boilermakers) said that his society would have been prepared to admit workers under contract to meet an emergency, but it was realized that when slack time came their own men would be put off to give way to the new comers.

The motion was carried.

The two motions which I have quoted fairly represent the attitude of organized labour throughout Australia, and it is, I venture to say, an attitude which was freely indorsed by Labour representatives up till the time when the present Government assumed office. Here, again, we find the sobering influence of office upon them. I do not say that they are taking strenuous steps to attract people in the Mother Country to our shores-


Senator Mcdougall - Look at the prosperity of the country.


Senator MILLEN - When I was speaking of the changed attitude of my honor able friends in regard to the introduction of fresh people to Australia I was interrupted by the statement that the influx of immigrants was the result of the operation of the Federal land tax. As Senator W. Russell seemed extremely anxious to lure me on to that question, I am glad to be able to oblige him. I -always endeavour to find out the mental attitude of those from whom I have the misfortune to differ by an analysis of their utterances. In this connexion the first paragraph to which I wish to direct attention is one which the Government is in a position to affirm or contradict. It appears in this morning's newspapers, and it reads -

Useful and attractive posters are being prepared by the External Affairs Department for distribution in Great Britain. Four typical Australian subjects are depicted - pastoral sheep raising, fruit growing, wheat farming, and wine making - and in bold letters at the bottom readers are promised cheap land, and asked to apply to the High Commissioner for information.

Is that statement, generally speaking, correct?


Senator Pearce - What does the honorable senator himself say?


Senator MILLEN - I am asking the question ?


Senator Pearce - Does not the honorable senator think that he might also answer it?


Senator MILLEN - It is the duty of Ministers to supply us with information.


Senator Pearce - Does the honorable senator think that the statement is untrue?


Senator MILLEN - I think it is true. Of course, the Minister may fence the question, or may decline to answer it or deny its accuracy. But he knows perfectly well that I can, if I wish, put on the businesspaper a question relating to it, which, I assume, would receive an accurate reply. At present, however, it is optional for him, if he is in possession of the information I seek, either to give it or withhold it. Certainly the paragraph in question is in entire conformity with the statement which was made in the pamphlet issued by Mr. Batchelor, to the effect that cheap land is to be obtained in abundance in Australia. We are all aware that whilst in England recently, Mr. McGowen, the Labour Premier of New South Wales, was tendered a banquet, at which he said -

Australia wanted people for the interior. She must have them if they were to hold Australia for the Empire. There were 26,000,000 acres suitable for settlement, and the Government intended to pass legislation to do away with all alienation of Crown, lands. In the future land tenures would be based on the principle that the State control should continue over all lands still the properly of the State.

He asked Britain to direct those of her people desiring to emigrate towards Australia, so that they might always live under the flag that gave them freedom.

Senator W.Russell has said that the flow of population towards Australia is due to the operation of the Federal land tax. Yet the fact remains that land in Australia is higher in price to-day than it ever was before.


Senator Givens - In spite of the land tax.


Senator MILLEN - When my honorable friends say that, as a result of their policy, land is now cheaper than it was previously, they make a statement which is absolutely contradicted by fact. Land in Australia to-day is commanding higher prices than it ever did before.


Senator McDougall - Then the honorable senator was a bad judge, because ;he said that prices would go down.


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend is quite correct. The effect of the Federal land tax has been to lower values on those estates which are seriously affected by it. But there has also been operating a set of factors and forces which have increased the value of land to .a greater extent than the tax has decreased it.


Senator Rae - According to the honorable senator's own admission, one has helped to counteract the other.


Senator MILLEN - On the few estates which were sufficiently large to feel the tax it has had its effect. Senator Givens, in dealing with this matter, made the clearest Statement of the effect of the tax, from his point of view, to which I have had the pleasure of listening. He pointed out that the area which would be seriously affected by the impost would be insignificant. It was only a few estates, he affirmed, which would be seriously penalized by it. The result proves that he was correct.


Senator Rae - We want the tax made heavier.


Senator MILLEN - Senator W. Russell brought forward his one or two swallows which he thought made a summer. He spoke of the subdivision of one or two estates. I do not want to say that it is because of the land tax, or anything of that kind, but I do make the statement that subdivision is going on in New South Wales to-day less rapidly than was the case a year or two ago.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Did I not prove what I alleged by the case that I read?


Senator MILLEN - My honorable friend proved that one particular man - not the owner, by the way - had made the statement that because of the tax some one was willing to sell certain land as the result of thisgrand policy of the Government, and he contended that, as a result of that policy,, hundreds of people in Australia were enabled to get land. But the case that the honorable senator cited confirms what I have said, namely, that the tax has not lowered values. The fact remains that today, whatever else may be the case, the land tax has not had the effect of securing cheaper land for the people.


Senator Findley - My honorable friend knows what appreciates land values.


Senator MILLEN - Of course I do ; but the statements made by the advocates of this land tax - that it would have the effect of causing land held for speculative purposes to be thrown upon the market, and that, in consequence, large areas of cheap land would be available - was so much nonsense. lt. has had no such effect. Senator W. Russell himself admitted so much in his statement that in his own State hundreds of applicants for land have had to go away unsatisfied.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The land tax has: only been in operation for a few months.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator said that more land would be made available to the people as a result of the tax. But does he say that it has had the effect of bringing down values?


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It will.


Senator MILLEN - A land tax could only have the effect of bringing down land values at the time of its imposition. There is no possible means by which you can secure " cheap" land to the ultimate user of it, unless in some country that is fast going to pieces. You may pass any legislation you like ; you may even take land and give it to people for nothing ; but that land' will not be cheap to the man who has to use it ultimately. You may give a block of land to a man to-day, but when he sellsit he does not give it away for nothing because he got it for nothing.


Senator O'KEEFE (TASMANIA) - Did the honorable senator notice the statement made in England by the chairman of the Van Diemen'sLand Company that, owing to the operation of the Federal land tax the companywould be compelled to sell?


Senator MILLEN - Yes. But what


Senator O'Keefe - The company must sell cheaper than they were previously prepared to do, because they could not sell at the price they were asking.


Senator MILLEN - Will the honorable senator say that I can buy land to-day cheaper than I could buy it two years ago ? As a matter of fact, land values to-day are higher in Australia than they have ever been.


Senator Pearce - And, side by side with that, there is more land available:


Senator MILLEN - There is not. There never was a time in New South Wales when you could not purchase land if you were prepared to pay the market price, for if. The market price previously was declared to be speculative, but, nevertheless, prices to-day are higher than they have ever been, and I venture to predict that they will continue to be high. As Senator Findley says, land values are going, up. No matter what the cause may be, prices are rising. Therefore the fact remains that, the imposition of this tax has- not fulfilled its purpose, and that the prediction of those who said that it would secure cheap land to the people has been falsified. I venture to add that promises of cheap land for the people always must be falsified.


Senator Rae - There are many estates in New South Wales that have been thrown open that would not have been available except for the tax.


Senator MILLEN - I claim to have as intimate, a knowledge of matters, concerning the land in New South Wales as any one in this Chamber, and I say now that, whilst probably there may be a few estates which, for sentimental and family reasons, have been held up in the way suggested, I do not believe that there is any considerable number of them ; and, what is, more, I say that, irrespective of the operation of the land tax, I do not believe that any great number of those estates which are now being subdivided were seriously affected by the tax at all. What has brought about subdivision has not been the Federal land tax ; it has been the recognition of the fact that good seasons have widened the area devoted to agriculture. The consequence has been that agricultural prices have been offered and paid for land that has hitherto been dealt with on a pastoral basis. The result is that prices have gone up ; and the promise that the land tax would have the effect of securing, land cheap and abundant for the people has been falsified, as such a promise always must be falsified.


Senator Rae - We shall have to raise the tax..


Senator MILLEN - There is, in my belief, no means of giving cheap land to the man who is going to be the ultimate user of it.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Where does the confiscation come in, then ?


Senator MILLEN - There is confiscation when you admit - as the honorable senator did - that this tax was the means of taking away a third of the capital value of an estate.


Senator Rae - Was there confiscation in putting up the value of land?


Senator MILLEN - Does the honorable senator say that the tax put up the value? It did not ; but, at the same time, the tax did not keep the price down, as honorable senators said it would. That is1 my contention. If the conditions of prosperity that now prevail continue - as I hope they will - the price of land will not go down.


Senator Givens - We can make land cheaper to the ultimate consumer by preventing artificial scarcity.


Senator MILLEN - We were always told that the price of land in. this country was above the true productive value. The answer to that is that, in spite of the land tax, land is being, sold to-day at higher prices than it ever was before. There can be: no speculative values affecting those prices. There is, I repeat,, no means by which you can secure to the ultimate user of land, cheap land.; and by cheap land I mean land at a price lower than it will command in the open, market. Let me demonstrate this point clearly, because to me, as to my honorable friends opposite, the land question is. always full of interest. Some of the State Governments are endeavouring to give cheap- land to" the people. In Western Australia, land has- been given for nothing. In New South Wales, land has been supplied to settlers at a price considerably below what it would command in the open market. What is the effect? Will the ultimate user obtain cheap land? Not a bit of it. A man having got his cheap land from the Crown, and having worked it for a few years, will, when it passes from his hands to some one else, take care that he does not sell it cheap. He will demand the full market value for it.


Senator Rae - That is an impeachment of the freeholder system.


Senator MILLEN - It may be. I have never, as my honorable friend Is aware, contended that the demands of the leasehold advocates are not entitled to serious consideration, although I do not pretend to be an advocate of them. Suppose that a man pays the Crown £25 a year for land which is really worth £100 a year. When he sells that land, he does not sell it for £2$. He sells for a sum which represents £75 capitalized. The result is that the man who buys is no better off than he would have been if he bought his land at auction. The ultimate user of the land is no better off, whilst the Government is much worse off.


Senator Givens - That is quite true; we allow the individual to fleece the Crown in the first instance, and afterwards to fleece the ultimate user'.


Senator MILLEN - Neither the land tax nor any other device will secure cheap land to those who have ultimately to work it. Leaving that point, I should like to draw the attention of the Minister of Defence to one or two matters connected with his Department. I am spurred to do so by a paragraph in the Governor-General's Speech which refers to the fact that the compulsory training of cadets has been successfully inaugurated. As far as the boys themselves are concerned, I think we may indorse that statement, except that a little friction has occurred in isolated cases. On the whole, it may be said that young Australia has responded with good feeling and all readiness to the call made by the Commonwealth. But when the Government say that the system has been successfully inaugurated, I am entitled to point out that that term cannot be applied to cases in which boys have actually fainted on parade in consequence of the scanty, insufficient, and unwholesome conditions under which they were being trained.


Senator Needham - Would that not be an isolated case?


Senator MILLEN - I do not know.


Senator McDougall - It is a case of " one swallow."


Senator MILLEN - In a case that has come under my notice, at Mittagong, four boys fainted at one' parade. When such a thing can occur, there must surely be something wrong. Further than that, some of us have seen statements in the newspapers from parents who have made bitter complaints about the unsatisfactory accommodation provided for these boys when they went up for medical examination. ' I was told of one place where boys were examined, and must say at once that I do not believe that the Minister himself would come to any other conclusion than that it was not creditable to the Defence Forces of Australia, and not likely to create a favorable impression in the minds of the boys, that such conditions should prevail; whilst, at the same time, it was not fair to the officer responsible to the Government that he should be expected to carry out his important duties under such circumstances. The Minister, I am sure, must have had instances of the kind brought under his notice.


Senator Pearce - Will the honorable senator give a case in point?


Senator MILLEN - I have mentioned the case at Mittagong where four boys fainted. I believe that the facts are in the Department, but, if they are not, I shall be glad to furnish particulars. As a matter of fact, the Minister made a declaration the other day, in the course of which he asked why halls which were available for the purpose were not utilized.


Senator Pearce - That was not accommodation for the medical examination.


Senator MILLEN - I am not speaking solely of that. The Minister must be aware of these claims, because in a statement he made to the press, he complained that halls in various places belonging to the parents of the lads were not made available to the Defence Department, although the Department, in the excess of its generosity, offered to clean the halls afterwards. Is the Defence Department to loaf for its accommodation? In most communities where halls have been erected for any purpose, the residents have contributed to the cost as shareholders, and it is expected that by the income earned, the buildings will pay for themselves.


Senator Pearce - We offered more than the honorable senator has said.


Senator MILLEN - In the statement to which I refer, the Minister will see, if he looks into the matter, that he only said that the Department offered to attend to the cleaning of the halls. I should be the last to suggest that the necessities of the Defence Department should be made an excuse for the exaction of an undue rent. I say that the Department should not be dependent upon the goodwill of the proprietors of any hall for the training of cadets-


Senator Rae - Why should not any public building be available for Defence purposes ?


Senator MILLEN - To what public buildings does the honorable senator refer?


Senator Rae - Municipal halls, and schools of arts buildings, for instance.


Senator MILLEN - I do not think they should be available. If the residents of a city build a hall for any purpose, why should the Defence Department loaf upon them ?


Senator Keating - As a Commonwealth, we have not reciprocated in this matter.


Senator MILLEN - As Senator Keating points out, we have never taken this view when an application has been made for the use of Commonwealth buildings.


Senator Keating - We invariably refused the use of drill halls.


Senator MILLEN - There is another matter to which I wish to refer, and I will ask the Minister to correct me if I am wrong in the statement I propose to make. I understand that area officers responsible for the administration of an area are receiving an allowance of £150 a year.


Senator Pearce - That is so.


Senator MILLEN - I understand these gentlemen are responsible for the administration of their respective areas. I hope that honorable senators fully recognise all that is involved in the administration of an area.


Senator Pearce - They are responsible for the supervision of the area administration. There is, of course, a staff to carry out the administration.


Senator MILLEN - That is so. I do not mean to say that they must attend to the whole of the actual work. But, if I understand the nature of the work thrown upon them, it represents continuous occupation for the officers appointed. The effect of the payment of £150 per year has been, what I suppose was intended, that the officers appointed, give only their spare time to the work. In the more important areas, and certainly in the more scattered ones, where travelling is a great feature, the work is sufficient for the constant occupation of any man. If that be so, a salary of ;£r5° a Year >s quite inadequate for the position. I suggest to the Minister that the whole success of the scheme is dependent upon the proper administration of these areas.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - We have the money required now from the land tax.


Senator MILLEN - It does not matter whether we have or not. The point I am raising is whether we are launching this scheme under the best possible conditions. That is a point entitled to consideration. I am making a statement which I believe to be correct, when I say that the work involved in the control of these areas is such as should occupy the greater portion of the time of any man.


Senator Pearce - No.


Senator MILLEN - I must differ from my honorable friend on the point. I went round with one area officer, and though, perhaps, his work may have been a little heavy at the launching of the scheme, I came to the conclusion that these areas cannot be effectively administered in the spare moments of the area officers. To ask men who have to do their ordinary business during the day, and, not unfrequently, as is the case with most of us, have some work to do in the evenings, to accept the responsibility of administering an area in their spare time, seems to me, I will not say to invite failure, but to militate against the success of the scheme. It might even be desirable to reduce the number of areas, and have permanently paid officials in charge of the work, so that we may have men devoting the whole of their time to it as a means of livelihood. We should then be much more likely to have the work done effectively than we shall be if it is left to men who have to depend upon other things for their livelihood, and must give the greater portion of their time to their private concerns. There is a matter connected with the Postal Department upon which I wish to touch. I am not going to refer to the continued chaos which exists in that Department further than to say that it is one of the things which the party opposite talked loudly about remedying, before they came into office. They said that they would put it all right in a very short space of time once the electors placed them in a position to do so. But we have had the admission from the other side that the state of affairs is now as bad as it ever has been.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Not quite.


Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator says that in a palliative sort of way, but he made the statement that since the advent of the Labour Government- there had been nearly a strike in the Department in South Australia. We did not get near to a strike under the previous Ministry. It took a Labour Government to do that. I wish to refer to another matter, and I will ask my honorable friends opposite to say whether the statement I am about to make is correct. I am informed that the company which was given a licence to establish wireless telegraphy at the Hotel Australia did so, and started its business on a certain tariff, and that the Government then came along and insisted upon the company raising the tariff and charging more for the work, it was doing for the public than it was content to receive.


Senator Needham - An increase of the charge to the public?


Senator MILLEN - Yes. The Government compelled this company, known, I think, as " Wireless Limited," to raise its tariff. We had a long debate last session on the system of wireless telegraphy to be adopted for Government stations. This company obtained a licence to establish a station of its own for the transmission of private business until such time as a Government station was erected'. The company issued its tariff, commenced to do business, and then the Government came along and insisted upon it increasing its tariff by 50 per cent. The position is anomalous, and I think indefensible. If the company was prepared, and it is said that it was, to do business for 4d. per word, it is little short of an iniquity that the Government should compel it to charge 6d. per word. The reason given throws a little light upon the advantages of private enterprise as against State enterprise. It was just this : that byandbye when the Government station was at work, it would have to charge higher rates. The Government could not stand a private company working at a lower rate before the Government station was in operation. It was thought possibly that some odium would attach to the Government if they came along later and raised the rates.


Senator Rae - Is that the honorable senator's explanation?


Senator MILLEN - No; that is the explanation given by the Department. The Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral can correct me if the statement is not correct. The statement is made from an extract from an official letter to the company from the Government, laying down the rate to be charged at 6d. per word, whereas the original tariff issued by the company was 4d.. per word. Before the debate closes, the Minister can say whether I am correct in this statement. Let me point out again that this trouble arises not through the Postal Department, but from the tendency of the Defence Department to loaf upon other Departments. The reason the Government would have to charge higher rates at the public station is that to meet Defence Department requirements it will be a high-power station, whereas for ordinary commercial messages, such as those sent by the Wireless Limited, a low-power station is sufficient. A high-power station will, of course, cost more to erect, and the Government must charge a higher tariff in order to make it profitable. We must have a highpower station, not for commercial purposes, but to meet Defence Department requirements, and the whole of the commercial community of Australia is to be penalized because our defence service requires the establishment of a high-power station.


Senator Needham - Does not our defence system protect the commercial community?


Senator Rae - I think it is a fair tax on commerce.


Senator MILLEN - But surely honorable senators- must see that if commercial messages can be sent at a certain rate, and if for defence purposes something further is ^required, the extra expense involved should be charged against the Defence Department, and ought not to be imposed upon people who use wireless telegraphy for commercial purposes.


Senator Rae - If that argument be sound it knocks out the other argument with regard to the failure of State enterprise.


Senator MILLEN - I do not follow the honorable senator. Here is a private company prepared to do business upon a certain basis, and the Government comes along and compels it to charge more than it is content to charge.


Senator Keating - The Government are prepared to allow Father Shaw to operate messages from King Island at those rates, but I am afraid they are too high.


Senator MILLEN - They are, I understand, 50 per cent, higher than the Wireless Limited Company was prepared to charge. If the Government has to erect a station which is above what commercial requirements demand, all that it is necessary to charge in excess on that account should be a specific charge against the Defence Department requiring the high-power station, and should not be loaded upon the commercial users of these appliances.


Senator St Ledger - Are not the Government tied up in connexion with a wireless patent?


Senator MILLEN - Is it possible to tie this Government up with anything?


Senator St Ledger - The law courts will have something to say about it shortly, I believe.


Senator MILLEN - I am endeavouring to show that it is because of the requirements of the Defence Department, and the loafing, as I call it, of that Department upon other Departments of the service, that we are likely largely to restrict the use of wireless telegraphy. It is world-wide experience that the lower a tariff in postal and telegraphic matters, the greater the volume of business. Messages will be sent for 4d. per word which would not be sent if the charge were 6d. per word. It is unreasonable that those engaged in the commerce of the country who desire to make use of wireless telegraphy should be handicapped to such an extent because of the requirements of the Defence Department. We should not permit the Defence Department to loaf - and I can find no other word for what is done - upon the Postal Department. Even if it will be necessary when the Government station is completed for the Government to charge this higher tariff, why should not the commercial community in the meantime be given the benefit of the lower rates which the private company is prepared to charge? What justification is there for penalizing the commercial public at the present time? It will be some months before the public station is established, and why should we in the meantime deprive commercial people of the advantage of the cheap tariff the private company offers? A great deal is said about the desire of the present Government to cut down prices, and to see that the consumer and the general community are fairly treated, but here we have a case of a private company - for which my attitude in the debate last session indicates that I .have no possible regard - prepared to do business upon a reasonable tariff, and the Government, merely because they fear there may be some protest against the higher charges which they would have to make, in virture of their monopoly, compelling the company against its desire, and against the interest of the users, to raise its tariff by 50 per cent.


Senator Chataway - *It is worse than the Sugar Company.


Senator MILLEN - The action is on the same lines, but I have not heard such a specific charge against the Sugar Company as I now make against the Government. Let me refer now to another little matter. During the recess the Government appointed an accountant for the Commonwealth Military College. I should like to know how Mr. Binnie came to be appointed. I do not know anything about the position or what it is worth. All I know is that a gentleman was appointed to the position without anybody else having an opportunity to apply for appointment. The particulars of the case are, perhaps, best given in the words of Senator McGregor when he was interviewed by the press on the subject.

General Bridges thought it necessary that there should be an accountant, and the matter had been one of urgency. If an advertisement had been called for a position of this kind there would have been about 1,000 applicants, and the examination of their credentials would have taken a very long time. Private negotiations had been entered into with half a dozen men who were applicants for the position.

How did they know of the position? " Oh," replied Senator McGregor, " it got about through some one recommending this man, and some one else recommending that man. It was on General Bridges' recommendation that Mr. Binnie was appointed."

Was his application supported by a particular Federal member? " I do not think there is any letter from a Federal member. The appointment is only on probation."

But does not that mean permanency? " Yes, if he proves suitable during his six months' probation."

We were supposed to have a Public Service Act which would prevent favoritism of any kind.


Senator Needham - You have it.


Senator MILLEN - We were supposed to have one, and I almost believe that there is one, because I have my honorable friend's assurance that it is still in existence. We were supposed to have this Act which was to prevent Ministers conferring positions on favourites or obliging friends by placing relatives in positions. Here we have the Acting Minister for Defence apparently going outside the Act and making an appointment. What is the excuse given? The reason given is that there would have been a thousand applications if called for, and that only six persons were given the opportunity of applying for the position.


Senator Rae - The reason was the urgency.


Senator MILLEN - We may take the urgency for what it is worth. The fact that there would have been a thousand applicants only shows that 994 persons have been unjustly treated in being denied the right to apply for a Government position. The Ministry should have some better excuse than that published by Senator McGregor. They may have, for all I know to the contrary, but unless they have I venture to say that their action is not one which will commend itself to the Senate, lt is not one which we can quietly allow to take root and develop. I have occupied the time of honorable senators very much longer than I had intended, but for that I am sure they will largely accept the responsibility by reason of their interjections. I want> in concluding, to say this-


Senator McGregor - Say you will support the Ministry.


Senator MILLEN - I cannot support a Ministry which tears up Acts and gives plums in the Public Service to certain individuals, and which is guilty of many other slips - too many for me to deal with this afternoon. I ask the Minister to remember that rarely has there been a session when we have not been, as it were, marking time, when we have not been working half shifts. I feel perfectly certain that the desire of honorable senators is either to be at work or to be free from the necessity of attending here.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is it the shearing season?


Senator MILLEN - Of course I expected that from my honorable friend, but it does not happen to be my shearing sea-' son. I am an autumn shearer, so that the gibe passes me by harmlessly, and I do not know that it reflects credit on my honorable friend.


Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It was not meant in that way.


Senator MILLEN - My attendance here will compare, I think, not unfavorably with that of most honorable senators. When there is work to be done I believe that a majority of honorable senators are prepared to attend to carry it through, but we ought not to be brought here merely to, as it were, trifle with the work. I know that there is a sort of general feeling that we ought not to close the Senate for fear of creating a wrong impression outside. If we, being the smaller body, can get through with our work in less time than can the other House, there is no sound sense in keeping us here one moment longer than is necessary.


Senator McGregor - Get the Navigation Bill through as quickly as you can.


Senator MILLEN - It is desirable that the Ministry, as far as the exigencies of public business will allow, should give us work to keep us constantly employed ; and when there does come a gap or a lull, to recognise the fact and adjourn the Senate for a period instead of bringing us over for a half-day's work a week. I feel sure that in their hearts Ministers quite agree with me. A liberal supply of Bills has been foreshadowed, and I look to Ministers to see that a fair number of the more important measures is introduced here. With regard to some matters there is a difficulty arising out of the Constitution, but this list contains a sufficient number of measures of first class importance, which could be introduced here just as well as in the other House. If Ministers will take that course they will equalize the time which will be required by both branches, and will, I think, find themselves not so jammed towards the end of the session.







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