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Wednesday, 20 May 1914


Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I desire to offer a few observations on the motion for the adoption of the Address-in-Reply, and also on the amendment which has been submitted by Senator Rae. In the first place, I ask honorable senators to cast their minds back to the occasion when the motion for the adoption of the AddressinReply was submitted by Senator Oakes. Personally, I am inclined to think that the system of allowing the other branch of the Legislature to discuss that motion first, places the mover of it in this Chamber in a very peculiar position. No matter how pregnant his remarks may have been, it frequently happens that by the time we come to reply to them they have been almost entirely forgotten. I think that Senator Oakes made it abundantly clear that he intends to adopt the same attitude here that he and his party adopted outside. Throughout New South Wales at the last general, elections the so-called Liberal party never tired of proclaiming that if they were returned to power their primary duty would be to restore responsible government. The electors were assured in the press, and from the public platform that under the regime of the Labour Ministry constitutional government had gone astray, and that it was necessary for the alleged Liberal party to be returned to office in order to restore that system of government in all its purity. Yet for twelve months we have beheld the spectacle of a Liberal Government clinging to office in a way that is without parallel in Australian history - if we except the case of Tasmania - upon the casting vote of the Speaker. Not only have they clung tenaciously to office under these conditions, but time after time they have refused to follow an example which they might well have followed - an example set by the leaders of other Governments who, immediately they found their majorities were small, have handed in their resignations. Yet the first act of the present Ministry has been to degrade Parliament by clinging to office on the casting vote of the Speaker. One cannot follow their twistings, turnings, and squirmings in their endeavour to retain their hold upon the Ministerial bench without feeling that the dignity of Parliament cannot be maintained when any party seeks to hold office on the casting vote of the Speaker. I ask Senator Oakes to show me where this Government, who were pledged beyond all other Ministries to restore responsible government, have redeemed their pledges. The honorable senator had something to say about the two so-called test Bills - the Government Preference Prohibition Bill and the Postal Voting Restoration Bill. I would like to make it. perfectly clear that these measures have been introduced solely for the purpose of giving an advantage to the anti-Labour party, and not with any desire to assist the conduct of public business. Because our party took a strong stand upon these Bills, and because we have sixty-six members in this Parliament, as against our opponents' forty-five, they hope to bring about a condition of things under which they will gain a party advantage. I am inclined to hope that they will be successful in their efforts. I do not express that wish from a personal point of view, because nothing that I can do will be done to give the Government an opportunity to use Parliament in the way that they propose to use it. Senator Oakes declared that he did not know what honorable senators upon this side of the chamber were making so much noise about regarding the test Bills. By what stretch of imagination can those measures be described as test Bills, unless from the stand-point that the Liberals intend to test their strength with the GovernorGeneral to bring about a double dissolution ? Senator Oakes twitted some of us with having in the past advocated the postal vote. I wish to say that some years ago I was strenuous in my advocacy of giving electors who were unable to reach the poll an opportunity to exercise! their franchise. If we had had to deal only with honest men and women, I believe that that system would have- been an excellent one for the Democracy of Australia. But we . know that a gentleman named Louis Lesser, not to mention others, was fined as much as £25 for getting persons to fill in postal ballot-papers in favour of his own political party. He, induced quite a number of persons to sign statements that were not in accordance with facts.


Senator Pearce - And to exercise postal votes.


Senator GARDINER - Yes. He not only induced them to vote by post, but he sometimes led them into making false statements. As an Australian, I am interested in maintaining the purity of the ballot, because that system was first introduced into Australia, and because other countries have been induced to follow in our footsteps. At the time the postal vote was adopted, we did not imagine that it would be used to corrupt electors from one end of the Commonwealth to the other. It is because I have witnessed the operations of anti-Labour organizers, and because I have seen their attempts at roll-stuffing publicly exposed, that I decline to allow them an opportunity to corrupt the constituencies to an extent that was formerly undreamt of. We have heard their public boasts about what they would do if they got the postal vote. I think it was the Prime Minister who said that if they were given an opportunity of purifying the rolls he would go bail for the Liberal party retaining office for ten years. I believe that if the Government had an opportunity of doing what they called purifying the rolls, and what I call a deliberate and almost open attempt to remove from the rolls the people entitled to vote, they would remain in office for that time. Let me tell Senator Oakes that it was because of the corrupt manner in which the postal vote was used that I changed my opinion regarding it. 1 know one case where" an employer of labour called his employes together. He was a person entitled to sign applications for postal voting papers, and he signed applications for a number of his employes to secure postal votes. When he handed them out, he asked the men to vote for the Liberal candidate. Seventeen out of his twenty-four employes refused, and he told them to go down to his office next day, and get their money. They did so, and went out to look for work simply because they would not vote a3 their employer told them to.


Senator Oakes - What was the name of that person?


Senator GARDINER - I can give the honorable senator the name and all particulars, and prove what I have stated, but I do not want to drag into the debate the name of a man who is not present to reply to the charge at once. When we find a system operating in that way, it is time to alter it. In his speech on this motion, Senator Oakes spoke almost in a boastful tone about his freedom. That is the kind of clap-trap he uses on the platform outside. He said -

I am not tieri down to the views expressed by my leader, or to those expressed hy any other man. If I joined the party opposite, I would not be allowed to hold the opinions which I hold to-day. I would have to obey the mandate of the Caucus. No matter what my individual views might be, when I entered the National Parliament of Australia I would have to pocket those opinions and vote in accordance with the decision which had been arrived at by a majority of that party.

The honorable senator knows as well as I do that that statement is not true. We have not less freedom, but more freedom, than he has. Our obligations go only to the extent of our signed pledge, which binds us to the planks of the platform. Outside of that we have our freedom. Even if the honorable senator has not been bound by his leader in a previous Parliament he has done something that no Labour man would ever do. I have brought here a document to show how, in spite of his boast of freedom, he tried to place shackles on the people of New South Wales in a way that can never be charged against any member of the Labour party. He said: " I will vote against anything in which I do not believe." I therefore take it that he has believed in everything that he has voted for so far. . I have" here a copy of an Act of Parliament, passed when he was an Honorary Minister in the Wade Government, with his vote and support. The Victorian people imagine that Mr. " Iceberg " Irvine is the champion petty tyrant of Australia, and that in his Railway Strike Coercion Bill he went further than was ever done by any British Government in their attempts to coerce the Irish people; but we in New South Wales regard Senator Oakes as the champion coercionist. His efforts in that direction beat anything done by Mr. Irvine or any British Government. The Act the Wade Government passed was as follows -

Be it enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and. consent of the Legislative Council and . Legislative Assembly of New South Wales in Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: -

1.   This Act may be cited as the "Industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act1909."

2.   Section four of the Industrial Disputes Act 1908 is amended by inserting after the definition of " Minister " the following definition: - " Necessary commodity " includes -

(a)   Coal;

(b)   Gas for lighting, cooking, or industrial purposes;

(c)   Water for domestic purposes; and

(d)   Any article of food the deprivation of which may tend to endanger human life or cause serious bodily injury.

3.   Section forty-two of the said Act is amended -

(a)   By omitting the words "or (b) insti gates to or aids in any of the abovementioned Acts."

(b)   By inserting next before the proviso the following words: - " If any person instigates to or aids in any of the abovementioned acts he shall be liable, to imprisonment for a period of twelve months."

4.   The following new sections are inserted next after section forty-two of the said Act: - 42a. If any officer of police of or above the rank of sergeant has reasonable grounds to believe that any building or place is being used for a meeting for the purpose of instigating to or aiding in or managing or aiding in the continuance of a lock-out or strike, he may enter such building or place, and may, if necessary, obtain assistance and use force by breaking open doors or otherwise for making such entry, and may seize any documents which he reasonably suspects to relate to any lock-out or strike, or intended lock-out or strike. 42b. A meeting of two or more persons assembled for the purpose of -

(a)   Instigating to or aiding in a lock-out or strike; or

(b)   Managing, directing, controlling, or aiding in the continuance of a lockout or strike already in existence, shall, where such lock-out or strike is in respect of a necessary commodity or in respect of the transport services of the State in relation thereto, be and is hereby declared to be unlawful.

Any person taking part in any such meeting who has reasonable grounds to believe that the probable consequences of a continuance of such lock-out or strike will be to deprive the public, either wholly or to a great extent, of the supply of a necessary commodity, shall be liable to imprisonment for a period of twelve months. 42c. Any person who, either as principal, or as agent, makes or enters into any contract or agreement, or is or continues to be a principal of or engages in any combination or conspiracy with intent to restrain the trade of the State in any necessary commodity to the detriment of the public, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding Five hundred pounds. 42d. Any person who monopolizes, or attempts to monopolize, or combines, or conspires with any person to monopolize, any part of the trade of the State with intent to control, to the detriment of the public, the supply or price of any necessary commodity, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding Five hundred pounds.

5.   Section forty-five of the said Act is amended by omitting " the three last preceding sections," and inserting" in place thereof the words and figures " sections 42, 42b, 42c, 42d, 43, and 44."

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.


Senator GARDINER - I have read that measure because Senator Oakes boasted that he was a free man. What was the use of his freedom if it was used in such a way that every law-abiding citizen in New South Wales could have been arrested at the time of the coal strike by means of that measure?


Senator Oakes - No law-abiding citizen who did not break that law could be arrested.


Senator GARDINER - The Act made it an offence punishable with twelve months' imprisonment, .without the option of a fine, for two people to meet together to discuss the strike, or to do anything to aid the strike. After its passage in New South Wales, a Britisher's house ceased to be his castle, because an officer oi police could break into it without warrant at any time, if he believed that such a meeting was likely to take place. Senator McDougall, Senator Rae, and myself, who were then not senators, were travelling around the country, and could have been arrested at any moment under that legislation. The honorable senator loves freedom' for himself, but he would take it from every other man ' in the country. Under that piece of legislation four or five men were actually sent to gaol for twelve months.


Senator Oakes - You mean Peter Bowling ?


Senator GARDINER - He was one. Mr. Gray was another - a better man than any man on the Liberal side could ever be. He was most unfortunate. At every meeting where the coal miners were discussing the strike he fought against it every inch of the way, and when they decided to go on strike he stuck to them like a true man.


Senator Oakes - Why did not Billy Hughes stick to them like Peter Bowling did?


Senator GARDINER - Anything will do the honorable member for a snuffle. The honorable senator who boasts so loudly of his freedom was a party to passing the greatest outrage on British liberty ever passed by any Parliament in the world..


Senator Oakes - And I would pass it again under the same circumstances.


Senator GARDINER - That is one of the reasons that make me fight so strenuously against that party who in the name of freedom would rob us of all freedom. The honorable senator feels a great deal of pleasure in his heart in supporting men of the Irvine stamp.


Senator Oakes - You would not support the Labour pledge at one time.


Senator GARDINER - The honorable senator is fond of making insinuations to convey an impression that is not true. He has not the courage to say straight out what he means.


Senator Oakes - I will say definitely now that you refused to sign the pledge of the Labour party.


Senator GARDINER - I refused at one time to sign a pledge of the Labour party, but not the pledge that the party has now. I remained outside the Labour ranks all the time that pledge was in existence, but I never ran in opposition to a Labour candidate, and never ranfor Parliament as anything but a selected Labour candidate.


Senator Oakes - Was not Hannay a selected Labour candidate?


Senator GARDINER - No. That is another of those insinuations by which the honorable senator tries to mislead the people who do not know any better. The facts are these : I was sent to Parliament in 1891 as a pledged Labour candidate. In 1894, when the incident to which the honorable senator refers took place - there was a division of opinion as to whether we should sign the 1891 pledge or the solidarity pledge, which was much stronger. I went down to the league that selected me in 1891, and said, " Two Labour candidates cannot win this seat. I will sign the 1891 pledge, and let your candidate sign the 1894 pledge, and let the selected candidate run." The whole of the leagues agreed to that.


Senator Oakes - The central body.


Senator GARDINER - There was no central body at that time. The whole of the leagues consented to my suggestion, and Mr. Hannay was one of my opponents "in the ballot. He drew out of the ballot. Mr. Bowman, the father of Mr. Bowman who is now secretary of the Australian Workers Union, contested the ballot right to the finish. I was the selected candidate of the united labour leagues, and won the seat. I am putting my position before the honorable senator so that he will not make the same mistake again. I was in that Parliament in 1894 and 1895. I believe Senator Gould was there, and so was Senator Millen, and I challenge them to say that, during all that time, I ever set foot in their room. That is the position I took up when I went back to that Parliament. I hope that now Senator Oakes knows the facts he will no longer try to make out that at one time I was a member of the Liberal party.


Senator Oakes - I want to put you in the position of having asserted -your rights to freedom, the same as I do.


Senator GARDINER - If the same pledge was put forward now as was put forward in 1894 by Mr. Hughes and Mr.

Holman, I believe I would take up the same position, because, with my knowledge of parliamentary procedure, I thought it was unworkable. No one feels the awkwardness of that pledge more than Mr. Holman does now.


Senator Oakes - You voted for Cook then.


Senator GARDINER - Mr. Cook was the selected leader of the Labour party then. I was in the room when he signed the pledge to vote as the majority of the Labour party decided, although he fights against the Labour party now. Not only that, but when the party met again in 1893, and he was elected leader again, he Again signed the Labour party's pledge, and issued our manifesto in the name of the Labour party. He secured his position as Minister in the Reid Government simply that Labour might be represented in it. It is a difficult thing for a man to clear himself of the ignominy of having followed Mr. Cook. He has gone so far in the other direction now that it is difficult for people who did not know him in those days to believe that he could ever have been the elected leader of the Labour party. People will say that one is to blame for following him. I admit that I "was to blame, and plead my youth and inexperience.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - You followed him in that Parliament when he was a Minister.


Senator GARDINER - The only unfortunate part about my support of him at that time was that it lasted for only eleven months and three weeks, and then we went to the country, and the penalty I paid for supporting him was to lose my seat and remain out of Parliament for the next nine years. It is not fair for Senator Oakes,' who should know better, to try to put me in a false position by uttering half-truths.


Senator Oakes - What is the half-truth that I uttered?


Senator GARDINER - The statement the honorable senator made the other day that I was a follower of Mr. Cook in New South Wales, the inference being that I followed him in his Liberal proclivities after he became a renegade.


Senator Oakes - I said you had been his follower.


Senator GARDINER - The whole position is very clear. There were two parties. Men of the calibre of Mr. George Black, Mr. Bavister, and Senator Rae, and quite a number of other men were outside the movement. But apart from all that, I am perfectly satisfied to say that I have been elected to two Parliaments since then - first to the State Parliament as a selected Labour candidate, officially indorsed by the central branch, and next to the Senate. I think that the forgiveness of these electors would be quite sufficient without me having to explain the position to Senator Oakes. When he states only half the truth with the ability .that he has for stating half truths, we know how difficult it is to combat it.


Senator Oakes - I shall prove the other half later.


Senator GARDINER - Here is something about which we would like the whole truth. Here is a measure that out-Irvines Irvine. Here is a measure which, in the direction of coercion, goes farther than any Bill passed to coerce Irishmen fighting for Irish liberty. Here is an Act which says that two men, if seen together,' constitute a public meeting, and may be arrested by a sergeant or officer above that rank without warrant, that force may be used if necessary, that doors may be smashed open, and that men may be dragged from their homes, and if found guilty of the awful offence of striking because they are helping their fellowworkmen to get better wages and conditions, can be sent to gaol for twelve months, without the option of a fine. Such is the legislation of the man who loves liberty. That is the man who will not be bound by a caucus. I hope that he will spend a little of his time in explaining that away. It stands as the most condemned of any legislation ever passed in an Australian Parliament, as a cruel attack upon the workers of this country. As I mentioned, Gray, one of the men who did a considerable amount of time in gaol while the miserable Wade Government hung on to office after passing this legislation-


Senator Oakes - Do not forget that a Labour Government put Dickson in gaol under it.


Senator GARDINER - Do not forget that Gray - the man who at every committee meeting when they were talking about going on strike fought against the proposal - did his time in gaol under this cruel piece of legislation.


Senator Rae - And he lost his life shortly afterwards.


Senator GARDINER - He never recovered from the effects of the imprisonment.


Senator Rae - Did Senator Oakes have anything to do with that?


Senator GARDINER - -He was an Honorary Minister in the Cabinet that drafted the Bill, and has made the boast that he only votes of his own free will, and will oppose a measure to which he is not favorable. I want to fetch this thing right home to him, because now that a couple of years have passed away, will any one look back at the Newcastle coal strike as anything but the act of a body of men banded together to make better their conditions? I recognise that in connexion with strikes there may come occasions when the law is broken. But the law under which these men were convicted on that occasion was one passed for the purpose of convicting them. The offence for which they were convicted was committed before the law was passed. Yet they went to gaol over it.


Senator Stewart - It ought to be burned by the public hangman.


Senator Rae - And the authors too.


Senator GARDINER - I am pleased to" say that the Wade party that passed this law has appealed to the people twice since then, and that each appeal has left them in a worse position. It shows the distaste of the people for legislation of this kind. That inherent love of British liberty, which will not tolerate such legislation, has not .only shattered the Wade party, but has driven them from office, and it will only be when one by one its members are driven out of public life, that ever the people of New South Wales will rest satisfied that they have dealt properly with those who had such small regard for the working classes. This was a measure to send men to gaol because otherwise there was no law by which they could be gaoled. Senator Oakes boasts that he has more liberty than we have in the caucus.


Senator Oakes - Hear, hear.


Senator GARDINER - So far as our caucus pledge is concerned, we are pledged to vote as a majority of the party decide on the planks of the platform.


Senator Oakes - And you are pledged to vote in the House as the party decide.


Senator GARDINER - On the planks of the platform. I put these matters before the honorable senator so that when he gets amongst the dairy-farmers he may boast as a man with all his freedom before him. I wish to show that there are in the ranks men who say that in the Liberal party there is a caucus, and that men have no freedom there. I shall quote a gentleman, whom I think that even Senator Oakes will not disown as a veteran Liberal, as a powerful antiLabourite. I ask honorable senators to listen to these words -

When one joined an organization lie expected to he treated as a friend, and not as an enemy within the camp. If, on the contrary, instead of support and sympathy, and sympathy and advice, one found traitors in the camp all round, the only thing to do was to resign from the association and become a free man.

These words are taken from a speech delivered by Sir William McMillan, and published in the Sydney Morning Herald of 13th November, 1913. It is not ancient history that I have quoted, but the statement of a well-known anti-Labourite, quite as bitter an old Tory as Senator Oakes.


Senator Oakes - An unsuccessful applicant for a position.


Senator GARDINER - This gentleman was compelled to resign from the Liberal organization in order that he might become a free man. It will be seen that he throws at Senator Oakes the taunt which the latter has thrown at me. So far as our liberty is concerned, our pledge to vote with the majority is limited by an agreement printed on the planks of the platform. If we do not agree. with the planks of the platform, we have no occasion to sign the pledge.


Senator Long - It is a printed contract.


Senator GARDINER - It is printed in black and white" before we enter the organization, but Senator Oakes follows his leader wherever he may be led. No leader and no contract whatever would bind me to support a Government in such a pernicious piece of legislation as that in which the honorable senator glories - his Coercion Act of 1909.


Senator Oakes - It all depends upon whether a' caucus majority decided it.


Senator GARDINER - Much depends upon the caucus majority. But we have something to guide us. We know that most of those we are choosing from have graduated amongst men who have been battling to make the conditions better for the workers. We are not surrounded by men who imagine, and I believe that some really do imagine it, that bettering the conditions of the 'workers makes their own positions less comfortable. The members of our party are associated together because we have the same ideals and aspirations. We are following the same light as it were, and although we may get a party in power with a sufficiently servile majority to pass legislation like the Coercion Act of 13th December, 1909, although for a time the honorable senator may send some of our workers to gaol, although he may break them and they may never recover from the effects of the term they have served in gaol, although he may leave their wives widows and their children orphans, it is of no use for him to get up in public and boast of his freedom. That is what he has done, and also the Government with which he was associated. There is no getting away from that.


Senator Long - You must admit that he looks very much ashamed of himself now.


Senator Oakes - Apparently.


Senator GARDINER - He will be ashamed of the Coercion Bill, no matter how long he may live. I wish him good health because he is a type of the men we want to oppose us. I wish now to refer to some matters in regard to the railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie. Senator Rae has made a statement of what he saw during our visit. As the representatives of the Labour party, Senator Rae and I visited the scene of the railway contract. Why ? Because Mr. Kelly, Senator Millen, Mr. Joseph Cook, and other honorable gentlemen were trying to make out that a fair contract had been let to Mr. Teesdale Smith. I do not make any pretence to the knowledge or the skill of an engineer, but I do claim to be a practical man who understands earthworks. I claim from a hard practical experience to be able, when I look at work, to get near what it is worth to perform. I went to the earthworks with Senator Rae. We had not made up our minds one way or the other. We decided to jot down in our pocketbooks exactly what we saw, and I propose to quote from my lengthy notes. If there was any change in the country at each half-mile we noted down what we had seen. At the first halfmile peg we wrote down what class of country we had passed through, and that practice we followed until we reached the end of the work. We could not have commenced to do that if we wanted to be unfair to any one. I desire to give the Senate the benefit of the notes I made, because Senator Millen made some slight quotations from the engineers' reports, and he, with that skilful method of his; put his two engineers' reports before mine. I venture to say that the Senate, if there was any serious difference between those reports and what I have to say now would, certainly be weighed down by the judgment of men in their positions, because it is their business to know what class of work they are doing. I propose to do what Senator Millen did not do here, and what Mr. Kelly did not do in another place.' I intend to give the whole report of one of the engineers, and honorable senators will find that there is not a great deal of difference between the report of Mr. Hobler and the statement I made on a recent occasion, and the statement I am now making. What I am about to read is taken almost word for word from the notes I made in my pocketbook while I was walking over the line.

At 91* miles a cutting about 6 feet deep in pure sand, with same material for embankment.

At the 92 miles a high embankment, made up of material taken from a. deep cutting, the greater part of which is a stiff white pipeclay, through which run bands of hard sandstone, getting harder towards the bottom of the cutting. More material was taken from this cutting than was required for the embankment, and was accordingly dumped alongside.

The next cutting was of a slatey gravel formation, somewhat difficult to work. AH the material from this cutting was used to form the high embankment (about 20 -feet high), and to complete the embankment additional material had to be taken from the hillside.

Then follows two long shallow cuttings, like a dried-up river bed, consisting of smooth stones in soft soil, very easy to remove.

From the 03-} to the 94 miles very shallow cuttings, with low embankments, made from soil and loose stone obtained from alongside. A water-table has been made on the high side of this work.

From the 04 to the 94} miles almost level, with short embankments about 2 feet high. Very open soil with gravel on top. Watertable on the upper side.

From 04* to 95* alternate cuttings and embankments running to 0 feet deep. All ploughable. No stone or shooting.

These cuttings are all soil and kaolin. In the bottom of the deepest cutting a sticky clay like soft, rotten, wet diorite, easily ploughed and thrown out of the cutting with shovels.

From the 95* to the 96 miles is perhaps the deepest cutting on the contract. This cutting has a soft light-brown soil for the first 5 feet'.

Easily .removable by plough and scoop. Then follows a formation of gypsum (a light smooth chalky substance) that shoots well and is easy to move on account of its lightness.

From the 96 to the 97 is another long cutting, but not very deep. The core of this is slightly harder than the gypsum, but is good stuff to work, easy to bore, shoots well,, and is light to remove.

From the 97 to 98$, passed through a long cutting down about 7 feet at the deepest part. Was informed by one of the men that 24,000 yards would be taken from this cutting.

Fifteen horse scoops were working at the time we passed along, doing really good work in the light-brown soil on top, and effective work in the strata of thin marble-like sandstone at the bottom of this cutting.

We were now well up on the tableland, and long stretches of almost level country follow.

From 98$ to the 100-miles peg passed through a long even cutting - 4 feet at the deepest. Brown soil on top, with bed of kaolin.

At the top of the ridge the surface is strewn with big gravel of the river bed kind; beneath this rough surface the plough sinks into a soft brown soil. Occasionally large flat stones are met with, but I saw nothing too heavy for a man to lift.

From the 100-mile peg to the 103 the country is still almost level, but falling perceptibly.

At the 103 a gang of men were just opening up_ a new cutting. Stony on top, but a plough with six horses were cutting a very deep furrow, and ten tip-drays were being utilized carting material to be used at the end of the cutting to form an embankment.

From the 103 no work had been done right to the end of contract at the 106-mile peg,

But the whole country from the 97 to the 106 miles is similar, and can be easily worked with ploughs, scoops, and shovel.

Rough estimate of plant -

 

I do not make any pretence that this rough statement is the statement of an expert. It is the statement of one who, accompanied by Senator Bae, went over the country to see things for himself and to report to his party exactly what he saw. I have not, with the exception of a word here and there to convey my meaning more clearly, altered one of these statements from the notes which I made in my note-book on the spot. There might be something to be said for the Government if those .statements were contradicted directly by the engineer's report which Senator Millen set up in opposition to my previous statement on the motion for the adjournment of the Senate. But if Senator Millen had done what he should have done, and had put the whole of the engineer's report before the Senate, it would have been found that their conclusions and mine as to the character of this country are very similar. Senator Millen knew that. The Government are very touchy on the subject of this contract, and if there is any feeling in the Senateand another place, or in the country, that there is any suspicion attaching to the Government in connexion with it, it is due to the way in which the Government have met the charges made against them. It has been claimed that statements about the contract are made in such a way as to leave the Government, as Senator Millen has said, to be suspected of corrupt practice. I say deliberately that that suspicion is growing because of the shifty statements and paltry excuses which have been put forward by Ministers.


Senator Oakes - Does the honorable senator suggest any corruption ?


Senator GARDINER - Do I suggest any corruption ? What a statement to make I


Senator Oakes - The honorable senator would not make it.


Senator GARDINER - I say that if there is any suggestion of it, the public gather it from the continual attempts of Ministers £o cover up their tracks.


Senator Oakes - No; from the honorable senator's remarks.


Senator GARDINER - I am trying to speak without passion. I am speaking in my usual manner, and I say deliberately that if there is any cause for suspicion, nothing is more calculated to create that impression than the fact that Ministers, responsible for the business, have not been open and candid with both Houses of this Parliament and with the general public in regard to it. If a blunder were made, what better course could the Government have followed than to make an ample and candid admission of the blunder, but when a gentleman in the position of Senator Millen stands up here, and, in reply to the statements I made on the motion for the adjournment, defiantly submits the opinion of two engineers against mine, and resumes his seat without completing the report of one of the engineers, and leaves it at the place where it best suited him to leave it, what can we expect will be the result ? I have here the full report, and will put it before the Senate. This is Mr. Hobler's report on the materials taken out on Teesdale Smith's contract -

Commonwealth of Australia,

Commonwealth Railways,

Office of the Engineer-in-Chief, 84-88 William-street,

Melbourne, 20th April, 1914.

The Secretary,

Department of Home Affairs.

Material taken out of cuttings under Tees dale Smith's contract. As instructed by the Minister, I have obtained a report from the Deputy Engineer-in-Chief (who is now at Port Augusta), as to the nature Of the material which is being excavated by Mr. Teesdale Smith under his contract.

Mr. Hobler'swire reads as follows: ; " Your wire re contractor Smith's earthworks. He has 35 small scoops working, and is ploughing and scooping tops of some cuttings, also some portions of banks. The cuttingsgenerally, so far as he has opened them up, which is to cutting 119, show that 103 and 104, though fair material on top, have hard cores of reefs of disjointed silicated sandstone, which is too hard to plough, awkward to bore, and bad shooting. Cutting 113 pure sand; 114 hard material, consisting of silicated sandstone mixed with stiff white clay. Anticipate cutting 102 will be hard material similar to 103. Cutting 119 not bad material on top, but indications point to it being hard core similar to cutting 103 and 104. Remaining cuttings opened up are generally on good material. Regarding cuttings not yet opened from 119 on, no trial hole sunk. I consider these will be fairly good excavation material throughout, with probably few hard cores. Contractor's chief difficulty and most unusual expense is that in regard to water. Position with regard to this is causing heavy expenditure and great anxiety."

Summarized, the information I have obtained is as follows: -

 

Remaining cuttings opened up are generally of good material.

Regarding cuttings not yet opened from 119 on, no trial holes have been sunk. It is considered, however, that these will be fairly good excavation material throughout, with probably few hard cores.

The total amount of excavation under the contract is 107,279 cubic yards.

I have wired Mr. Hobler asking for an approximate estimate of the cost of supplying water per cubic yard of material excavated.

And that is the report which was put before another place and before the Senate by Ministers and which they left off at the part dealing with what appeared to be difficult cuttings. I made the statement that I believed the contractor was making about ?1,000 a week out of this contract. I did not make a guess at it. I saw no material in the hardest cuttings on the contract that could not be profitably removed for 2s. a yard. The contractor is getting 4s. 6d. a yard for removing it. There is therefore a profit shown of 2s. 6d. a yard for 107,000 cubic yards.


Senator Senior - And the contractor is getting another 2s. 6d. for depositing the soil on an embankment.







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